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green, yellow, pink, purple and white Mứt Dừa, or coconut candy, on a wicker plate with lunar new year signs around it

Vietnamese Candied Coconut Ribbons (Mứt Dừa)

Mứt Dừa is a delicious Lunar New Year treat made with young coconut flesh. You won't be able to stop snacking on this lightly sweet and creamy candy.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Asian, Vietnamese
Keyword Coconut, Lunar New Year, Tet
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 375kcal


  • 1 20 oz can young coconut ribbons in light syrup
  • 3½-4 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 drop food coloring (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (optional)


  • Strain and rinse the can of coconut shreds. Let most of the water drain out before transferring the coconut to a dry bowl.
  • Mix sugar into the coconut ribbons and let sit for a minute until a sugar syrup forms.
  • If using food coloring, add a drop to the sugar water and mix thoroughly. Let coconut sit for at least 30 min.
  • Transfer all of the coconut and liquid into a nonstick pan on medium high heat. Stir constantly as the liquid evaporates.
  • Once most of the liquid has evaporated and the coconut has darkened and become sticky, turn heat down to low or medium-low. Add the vanilla sugar if you wish.
  • Continue to stir and mix the coconut constantly until all of the liquid has evaporated, the coconut has turned opaque, and each ribbon is coated in a thin layer of sugar.


Don't buy coconut ribbons in heavy syrup. It will prevent the sugar from recrystallizing properly and the coconut won't dry out in the pan.
Use a very light hand with your food coloring, as the mứt dừa darkens as it cooks. My batch is a little darker than I'd like.
Use your best nonstick pan to make sure the mứt dừa doesn't get stuck.
The most frustrating part of the process will be the very end, when you're waiting for the candied coconut to become fully dry. Be patient and keep the heat low to prevent the coconut from burning. Keep it on the heat longer than you would think, to make sure everything is completely dry. Look for a completely opaque ribbons, lightly coated in sugar.
I find using chopsticks is the best way to stir the coconut so that it doesn't break.


Serving: 1person | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 56.3g | Protein: 5.7g | Fat: 14.2g | Sodium: 0.2mg | Potassium: 0.4mg | Sugar: 22g