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Tembleque

Tembleque de Coco – coconut pudding dusted with cinnamon. This traditional Puerto Rican dessert is easy to make with only 5 ingredients!

Tembleque dusted with cinnamon

The name comes from the Spanish word “to tremble” like the delightful wiggle, jiggle and shake of this dessert.

Technically it’s a pudding since it’s made with cornstarch to thicken.

But it reminds me of cream custard since it’s so beautifully silky and sets so perfectly in whatever mold you use!

This is the standard tembleque recipe and it is perfect.

I consulted my favorite Puerto Rican cookbooks (Puerto Rican Cuisine in America and Cocina Criolla) to see if they had any tips to make it better.

Individual tembleque serving on plate with a bite missing

The only difference they offer is using fresh coconut milk from scratch.

I bet that ramps up the flavor, but not everyone has access to fresh coconuts, or the time and tools needed to shred, soak, etc!

But please check the ingredients on your canned coconut because some have all sorts of additives and thickeners.

I prefer Goya brand. “Si es Goya tiene que ser bueno!” [not sponsored 😀]

Tembleque is delicious all year long, but it is a must-make dessert for the holidays!

Some of our other favorite Puerto Rican desserts include Pumpkin Flan, Mantecaditos, and Quesitos.

Overhead shot of two tembleque de coco dusted with cinnamon

How to Make Tembleque:

  • Coconut milk – You will need 2 cans of coconut milk. You could also use 3 can and it will have a looser, pudding texture. 
  • Cornstarch – This is the ingredient that will thicken the tembleque. This is a pretty firm tembleque. If you would like it creamier use half the amount.
  • Sugar – I recommend 2/3 cup, but you can always use more or less to adjust the sweetness to your liking.
  • Salt – Not enough to make it salty, just to enhance all the other flavors.
  • Cinnamon – There’s no cinnamon actually in the tembleque, but it’s dusted over top before serving.

Bonus: tembleque is naturally gluten-free (double check ingredients) and dairy-free (vegan).

Tembleque dusted with cinnamon

Some people like to add a little extra sabor. This can include 1 of the following:

  • Orange blossom water (1 tablespoon)
  • Rose water (1 tablespoon)
  • Vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
  • Lime zest (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Tembleque Steps

  1. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold or room temperature coconut milk. If you add it to warm liquid it will be a lumpy mess. No bueno.
  2. Bring the dissolved cornstarch, coconut milk, sugar and salt to a boil, then lower the heat and cook until the tembleque has thickened.
  3. Pour into molds and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  4. After chilling, run a knife around the mold to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Dust liberally with cinnamon and enjoy!

Pink silicone molds filled with tembleque

Note about molds:

Tembleque can be prepared in fancy molds or simple pans.

It can be prepared in personal pans or a large dish that’s cut into individual servings.

My grandmother has beautiful vintage copper molds like this one: Copper Heart Mold.

You could also use a square pan (cut into squares for serving) or a pie pan (cut into wedges).

Disposable aluminum pans are also handy if taking to an event. Don’t unmold or it may have a strange pattern on the top! 😂

You can find the beautiful flower silicone molds I used on Amazon!

Tembleque dusted with cinnamon

Tembleque

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Tembleque de Coco – silky smooth coconut pudding dusted with cinnamon. This traditional Puerto Rican dessert is easy to make with only 5 ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (13.5 oz each) coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2/3 or 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground cinnamon, for dusting
  • Cinnamon sticks, coconut shreds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Set out molds for tembleque (square pan, individual ramekins,
    etc. See post for more details about molds).
  2. Whisk the cornstarch with 1 can of coconut milk until completely dissolved and smooth.
  3. Pour into saucepan along with remaining can of coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until thick, about 1-3 minutes.
  5. Pour mixture into mold(s) and let cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight, but may take only a few hours depending on the size of molds.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving and garnish with cinnamon sticks and shredded coconut (optional).



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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 195mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 3g

Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below! Or tag @kitchengidget on Instagram with the hashtag #kitchengidget

Rosie

Tuesday 28th of September 2021

Can I use something other than cornstarch I’m having trouble finding it?

Rebekah

Tuesday 28th of September 2021

Hi Rosie, there are some corn starch substitutes like arrowroot, but I've never tried them. Are you outside of the U.S.? Sometimes it's called cornflour.

Ana

Thursday 8th of July 2021

Far from the original recipe of the true Puerto Rican tembleque

Mari

Sunday 2nd of May 2021

I LOVE the flower molds— beautiful idea! Is it ok to use Thai Kitchen organic coconut milk!?

Rebekah

Monday 3rd of May 2021

Yes, Thai Kitchen is great!

Veronica

Thursday 21st of May 2020

Could coconut flakes be added to the mixture? My boyfriend loves anything and everything coconut, and prefers when there’s an exaggerated amount of coconut in desserts.

Rebekah

Friday 22nd of May 2020

Yes you can!

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