You’re going to love these coconut macaroons. I just know it. These chocolate-dipped macaroons are my favorite holiday cookie, ten years in the running!
Coconut macaroons (two o’s) are often confused with macarons (one o), the colorful and delicate layered French cookies. Both call for egg whites, but that’s about where their similarities end.
These macaroons feature rich coconut flavor and texture with subtle hints of honey (or maple syrup) and cinnamon. While you don’t have to dip them in chocolate, I strongly suggest that you do. They are the perfect little treat—satisfying and sweet, but not cloying.
These coconut beauties have a lot going for them in the preparation department. They look impressive with their high-contrast exteriors, but they’re easy to whip together. You can cram them all on one cookie sheet without consequence. Plus, they don’t require any artistic skills to decorate. Just dunk them in chocolate and be done. Can I get an amen?
These flourless cookies are naturally gluten free. They both freeze well and ship well, if you’re interested in mailing some homemade goodies to your loved ones. You’ll find the full recipe, plus step-by-step photos and a video below.
Coconut Macaroon Ingredients
Note that this recipe doesn’t call for sweetened condensed milk. You just might have all of the ingredients in your pantry already!
Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Unlike most macaroon recipes, this one calls for unsweetened shredded coconut. This gives us full control over the level of sweetness and spares us from some unnecessary preservatives.
For this recipe to work, you must choose your coconut carefully. Do not make this recipe with sweetened shredded coconut; it will introduce a lot of excess moisture and the recipe will not turn out well. Do not make this recipe with reduced-fat shredded coconut; the mixture will be too dry. Do not try to make your own shredded coconut from fresh coconut; it simply will not work. Only regular unsweetened coconut will do! I typically use the Let’s Do Organic brand.
Fine cane sugar is the way to go here. You know that I try to use natural sweeteners when I can, but sweetening these cookies entirely with honey or maple syrup would overwhelm the flavor, tint the cookies brown and impart too much moisture.
Cinnamon offers a subtle warming flavor that plays nicely with the coconut and chocolate. Cinnamon is technically optional, so skip it if you’d rather.
Egg whites are absolutely essential. They provide structure and loft to these cookies. Save the yolks and add them to your scrambled eggs or omelets in the morning.
Honey or maple syrup
Choose your favorite! Either one offers some lovely flavor that you don’t usually find in macaroons, making this recipe extra irresistible.
Vanilla is a natural fit with coconut and chocolate.
As always, salt enhances all of the other flavors. These macaroons wouldn’t taste quite as exciting without it.
Semisweet or dark chocolate chips
While you don’t have to dip these macaroons in chocolate, they are truly next level if you do. Chocolate and coconut were meant for each other.
Watch How to Make Macaroons
Macaroon Notes & Tips
This recipe is a revised and improved variation of my ten-year-old Dark-Chocolate Dipped Macaroons recipe. Here’s what has changed and why:
How you combine the ingredients matters. Combining the egg whites with the honey, vanilla and salt is key. Otherwise, the honey clumps up in the coconut. While this is less of a problem with maple syrup, which is more runny, this method also ensures even distribution of those key flavorings.
Whip the egg whites for superior results. Whip the egg whites (with the honey, vanilla and salt) until they reach stiff peaks. This step infuses the egg whites with teeny-tiny air bubbles that provide extra loft to the cookies.
But if you don’t have a mixer, don’t worry. I’ve been very pleased by these macaroons even when I mixed the ingredients together by hand without vigorous mixing. The end result looks more rustic (slightly less domed, with craggier edges) but still tastes fantastic.
Stand mixers whip faster than hand mixers, but they’re both relatively quick. My hand mixer took eight minutes to yield stiff peaks, while my stand mixer (affiliate links) took just a few minutes. I still prefer my hand mixer because it’s easier to pull out of the cabinet.
Use a cookie scoop for professional-looking results. If you have a one-tablespoon cookie scoop, use it! It’s the perfect vessel for producing evenly-sized mounds of macaroons. You can lightly compress the mixture in the process, but don’t intentionally pack it down or your cookies will be dense.
To harden the chocolate in a hurry: Simply place the chocolate-dipped cookies on a tray that will fit into your fridge, and let the cookies chill for about ten minutes. Don’t leave the cookies in the refrigerator indefinitely; they can develop tiny condensation droplets that will leave marks as they evaporate.
More Cookies to Enjoy
Here are a few more holiday-worthy cookie recipes to try:
- Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Healthier Gingerbread Cookies
- Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Shortbread
- Monster Cookies
- Peanut Butter Oat Cookies
- Spiced Oatmeal Cookies
Please let me know how your macaroons turn out in the comments. I love hearing from you.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 34 cookies 1x
- Category: Cookie
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
These coconut macaroons are the perfect sweet treat. They’re gluten free and subtly flavored with honey or maple syrup. Dip them in chocolate if you wish (I recommend it)! Recipe yields nearly 3 dozen small cookies (34 cookies, by my count).
- 8 ounces (3 cups) unsweetened shredded coconut*
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 large egg whites
- 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet or dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the macaroons from sticking to the pan.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Combine the egg whites, honey, vanilla and salt in a separate mixing bowl (if you intend to use a hand mixer) or in the bowl of your stand mixer using the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form (if baking at an altitude above 3,000 feet, whip only until soft peaks form).
- Using a silicone spatula, transfer the egg whites to the bowl of coconut. Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture until combined (don’t overdo it or the egg whites will deflate).
- Using a cookie dough scoop or your hands, scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the coconut mix at a time and gently scrunch it into a round-ish shape (try not to pack the mixture down much if you can help it). Place each macaroon onto the prepared baking sheet. These cookies don’t expand much, so you can arrange them pretty closely together. Clean up any ragged edges by gently pushing stray bits of coconut back into the mounds.
- Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 14 to 15 minutes, until they are turning lightly golden brown on top. Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies have cooled completely, melt the chocolate chips. I find it’s easiest to melt the chocolate in the microwave at 20 to 30 second intervals, stirring between each. You can also melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in a glass bowl over gently simmering water. Stir the chocolate chips until they have completely melted, and remove from heat.
- Lay out a new piece of parchment paper. Dip each macaroon sideways into the melted chocolate, about half way. Lay on the parchment for chocolate to harden. You can speed up the process by placing the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 10 minutes; don’t leave the cookies in there for much longer, or the chocolate may develop some condensation.
- Leftover cookies keep well, covered at room temperature, for up to 4 days, or freeze for several months.
Recipe adapted from these Dark Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons.
Make it gluten free: This recipe is naturally gluten free as written. Be sure that your ingredients are certified gluten-free if need be.
*Shredded coconut note: Please double-check that you are using unsweetened shredded coconut, not the more common sweetened shredded coconut. This recipe only works with unsweetened. I have successfully used the Enjoy Life brand of unsweetened shredded coconut.