Coconut Macaroons (5 Ingredients) – Sally’s Baking Addiction

These naturally gluten free homemade coconut macaroons are sweet, moist, and chewy on the inside with a delightfully crisp exterior. They’re quick and easy (no dough chilling required!), and come together with just 5 simple ingredients. I originally published this recipe in 2013, and included a variation in my cookbook Sally’s Cookie Addiction.

red plate with chocolate dipped coconut macaroons.

When done right, coconut macaroons taste like the irresistible coconut center of an Almond Joy or Mounds bar. Chewy, moist, and sweet! When done wrong, they’re dry and fall apart easily.

The recipe below is my all-time favorite, and its perfect combination of ingredients produces oh-so-moist and tender macaroons with delightfully crisp exteriors. They’re a favorite in my collection of naturally gluten free dessert recipes. You can leave them plain (with just 5 ingredients), or add a dunk in chocolate and/or almond on top.

Coconut Macaroons Details

  • Just 5 ingredients in the base recipe
  • Can leave plain or add toppings/add-ins
  • Dough comes together in 1 bowl
  • No cookie dough chilling required
  • Naturally gluten free and dairy free

And remember, these are coconut macaroons, not macarons. If you want to learn how to make those delicate sandwich cookies, I have an in-depth French macarons tutorial.

Coconut macaroon dipped in dark chocolate

3 Notes About The Coconut:

  1. Use Sweetened Coconut: Sweetened coconut is extremely moist and a little sticky, which is exactly what you want for these cookies. Unsweetened coconut can work instead, but you may need to increase the egg whites and add more sugar. For best results, use sweetened.
  2. Measure Accurately: You need 4 and 3/4 cups (about 385g) of sweetened shredded coconut, which is a little less than a standard 14-ounce package.
  3. Chop It/Pulse It: Pulse the coconut shreds in the food processor a few times to chop up the pieces. Why? Smaller pieces of coconut help the cookies hold their shape better—the cookies will be more compact this way. If you don’t have a food processor, spread the coconut onto a cutting board and give it all a rough chop.

Here are the ingredients you need:

bowls in ingredients including egg whites, chocolate bar, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

Finer pieces of coconut help the macaroons hold shape better; I pulse it with a food processor a few times to break down the shreds:

pulsed coconut in red food processor bowl.pulsed coconut in red food processor bowl.

Make the Coconut Macaroons Dough

Even though the process is really easy, I want to walk you through a few steps so you can have success on the first try. This has been my favorite recipe for decades, and I’ve picked up on several tricks (learn from my mistakes!).

In addition to coconut, egg whites are a main ingredient in this dough. More specifically, beaten egg whites. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer, you’ll beat the egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract together on medium-high speed until foamy and the sugar is mostly dissolved. The trick here is to not over-beat the egg whites—this should really only take 1 minute.

If you over-beat the eggs, you’ll end up with a stiff meringue-like mixture, and the baked macaroons will be very dry.

Here’s what you’re looking for (on the left):

beaten egg whites in one photo and another photo showing dough mixture.beaten egg whites in one photo and another photo showing dough mixture.

Fold the chopped coconut shreds into the egg white mixture. After that, use a medium cookie scoop to shape 1.5 Tablespoon portions of dough onto a lined baking sheet. I usually fit 12 on a standard 12×17-inch half baking sheet.

coconut macaroons scooped onto Silpat-lined baking sheet.coconut macaroons scooped onto Silpat-lined baking sheet.

Coconut macaroons do not spread much while baking. Sometimes they can leak a little sugar/egg white liquid, but if you chopped the coconut up enough, this shouldn’t really happen.

Bake until a little toasty on top, about 20 minutes at 325°F (163°C).

Avoid Over-Baking

Bake for only a precise 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Over-baking will dry out your coconut macaroons.

baked coconut macaroons on Silpat-lined baking sheet.baked coconut macaroons on Silpat-lined baking sheet.

Can I Add Add-Ins or Toppings?

Yes, absolutely! Macaroons can be dressed up in so many different ways. While they’re absolutely incredible plain, I love dipping the bottoms in melted dark chocolate. Other varieties:

  • Chocolate almond macaroons: Pictured below! These remind me of an Almond Joy candy bar. Instructions in the recipe notes.
  • Sprinkle loaded macaroons: Carefully fold 1/3 cup (about 57g) sprinkles in the coconut macaroon dough before scooping and baking. Avoid nonpareils (the little balls).
  • White chocolate cranberry macaroons: Add 3/4 cup (about 100g) of dried cranberries to the dough when you add the shredded coconut. Melt 4 ounces of pure white chocolate and drizzle over cooled macaroons.
  • Strawberry macaroons: Here’s my strawberry coconut macaroons recipe.
  • Almond butter macaroons: Here’s my almond butter coconut macaroons recipe.
Coconut macaroons drizzled with dark chocolate and topped with an almondCoconut macaroons drizzled with dark chocolate and topped with an almond
coconut macaroon with bite taken out.coconut macaroon with bite taken out.

If you’re looking for a moist and chewy coconut macaroon with a toasty exterior, you’ve come to the right place. When you’re feeling fancy, dress the simple recipe up with any of my suggested varieties in the recipe notes. Be sure to try my almond butter coconut macaroons, too!

More Coconut Recipes