Coquitos – Coconut Balls Recipe

Coquitos are a classic sweet in Gibraltar especially in summer. They are small balls of desiccated coconut, mixed with condensed milk to form a lovely sweet filling, covered in a crunchy sugar coating. It is a mouthful of heaven and bliss, creamy on the inside, sweet, and crunchy on the outside providing not only a wonderful taste but also different textures.

The sugar coating can be a bit tricky because it involves dipping the coconut balls in molten sugar and you have to take care not to burn yourself, and the sugar gets darker as time goes on so you don’t want to be too slow which is why I’ve rated the difficulty as hard. Plus, I don’t like very much working with melted sugar as it’s easy to get burned.  However do not be put off by this, the sweet rewards are definitely worth it. It is customary to use red colouring in the sugar coating, like toffee apples but I prefer to not use artificial colours if I don’t have to.

Coquitos – Coconut Balls Recipe
Yield: 25 Servings
Difficulty: Hard
Cooking time:


  • 125 g finely shredded or powdered coconut
  • 125 g condensed milk
  • 200 g sugar
  • 25 cocktail sticks
  • 4½ oz finely shredded or powdered coconut
  • 4½ oz condensed milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 25 cocktail sticks


  1. Mix the coconut and condensed milk in a bowl until it comes together and forms a paste.
  2. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours so that it sets and hardens.
  3. Make and roll into small balls of about 2 to 3 cm in diameter (1 inch).
  4. Place a cocktail stick into each one so that is resembles a lollipop. Make sure the stick is most of the way in but doesn’t pierce the other side.
  5. Melt the sugar in a bowl on a low heat. This could take a while. Stir so that it doesn’t caramelise too much, removing occasionally from the heat if need be so that it doesn’t burn.
  6. Dip each ball into the sugar so that it coats the ball evenly. This must be done quickly and try to avoid the coconut ball from touching the side or the bottom of the pan otherwise it will stick and come apart.
  7. Place the sugar coated balls on parchment paper until the outside hardens and sets.
  8. Once cooled completely they can be enjoyed and eaten.

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