Cocada: a popular Ecuadorian dessert

Cocada: a popular Ecuadorian dessert

The meaning of cocada translates as sweet dessert made of coconut and sugar. Cocadas are commonly made in the province of Esmeraldas in the Coastal region of Ecuador, and are either white or black, depending on the kind of sugar added in the recipe.

This is a traditional dessert from the Coastal region of Ecuador and one that we enjoy eating getting during our trips to the beach.

cocada Ecuador (2)

About cocada

Although the history of cocada can be traced back to Spain and back to the XIX century and nowadays this tasty treat can be found in some provinces in the Coastal region of the country.

We would like to focus this blog post solely on the cocadas from Ecuador.



instagramIf you are in South America I would love to see your pictures.


After so many years living in Ecuador and visiting as a tourist while living abroad, this year after my mom suggested visiting the cocada factories along the highway on our way to Tonsupa beach in Esmeraldas, I agreed and I was glad to be able to see how they are made.

I have made a video and some pics to show you a bit more about this tasty sweet from the Coastal region of the country.

cocada Ecuador (2)

How are cocadas made?

This traditional sweet or dessert is made in a paila or big rounded pot like the one shown in the video below. The shredded coconut is placed inside this pot, together with coconut water, sugar, milk, and then this mixture continues to cook until it simmers, with constant stirring.

I will not go so much into detail as I have been able to make a short video of the process. I believe that the mixing and final part of the process are probably the ones that take more effort. You might agree with that, after looking at the video.




How do they taste

If I can use one adjective to describe the taste of cocadas, it is: mouth-watering. They are sweet and have a special texture, from the coconut and sugar.

Dark cocadas are made with panela or brown sugar, white cocadas are made with white sugar, and we recently discovered that there are also some cocadas that have added flavor to them.

So we have included a couple of pictures of cocadas with maracuya taste (yellow) and pineapple taste (darker yellow or orange)

cocada Ecuador (1)


cocada Ecuador (1)


How do you eat them

You can eat your cocadas anywhere, as they are ready to eat, straight from the box or bag.


cocada Ecuador (4)


We highly recommend you add cocada to your list of traditional food to taste during your visit to the Coastal region of Ecuador!




Ecuador is a small country with four very different regions, offering a wide range of snacks and food that you can enjoy. We have gathered  Some of the best snack souvenirs to get on your visit to Ecuador – South America, with 5 of the tastiest snacks you can easily buy and taste while visiting the country.

Have you tried cocada before?

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cocada ecuador


Want to learn to make some of these dishes and many more? This book: Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, comprises 500 well-written recipes from all Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, providing great information and recipes of the exciting food you can prepare at home while you plan your visit to South America.


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Cocada: a popular Ecuadorian dessert

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