Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 1 hr
Yields: 12-15 squares

Quick and easy to make dessert to serve warm or cold. Top with vanilla ice cream for a special treat.

This recipe was one of the first desserts I remember helping my mom make back in the mid-1960’s, growing up in Detroit. The original recipe was likely from one of the women’s magazines Mom read or on the can of pie filling, but I’ve changed it several times over the years, doubling the ingredients and  adding coconut. Over the years, I’ve also played around with the amounts of butter and sugar used.

It’s a very forgiving recipe, easy to experiment with. My well-worn card bears witness to my tinkering. I think the original recipe used margarine… (not my preference)… but it was the trend then.

coco-cherry-sq recipe card
Kat’s original Coconut Cherry Squares recipe card

Read the Notes section below for an adjustment I make that provides a sturdier bottom crust that makes for easier serving.


  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter (chilled)
  • 1 3/4 cup short shred coconut
  • 11 ounce can prepared cherry pie filling


Preheat over to 350º F.

Mix together flour and sugar.

Cut in butter until mixture pieces of butter are pea-size.

Stir in shredded coconut.

Divide mixture in half. spread one half into a 13×9 inch baking pan. Lightly press down with spoon or flat-bottom glass.

Top with Cherry Pie Filling, spreading out evenly.

Cover with remaining half of mixture.

Bake at 350º F for 30-35 minutes or until coconut starts to slightly brown. Cool at least 20 minutes  before cutting into squares for serving.

Excellent alone or served (warm or cold) with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


This recipe has been tweaked from one my mom made. I doubled her recipe so this one can easily be halved and baked in smaller pan. 8×8 inch or even a pie pan works well.

Over the years, I’ve also tested adjusting some of the directions. For instance, I prefer a firmer crust so will often divide the shredded coconut in half, chopping half of it finer before adding to the flour/sugar/butter mixture that goes on the bottom. Then I partially bake just the bottom crust about 10 minutes to create firmer base before adding the pie filling. Combine the remaining coconut with the top mixture. Bake 25-35 minutes.


  • Substitute blueberry or other fruit pie filling.
  • Use a brown-butter crust, prepared pie filling, and top with half the flour, sugar, butter, coconut mixture. Bake. Use the remaining mixture for a small batch of the main recipe.

Coconut Cherry Squares ready to serve

About the Author - Kat

Kat first started working with Chef Dennis professionally in 1995 as his assistant for "Gourmet for You or Two" cooking classes he taught at Macomb Community College.

Over the years, she's worked alongside him at home and in the professional kitchen, as well as helping with managing and marketing at a small Best Western and historic B&B in Michigan's Thumb area, as well as local catering and classes.

She also offers coaching and business training at

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