Classic Coconut Macaroons
Classic coconut macaroons are chewy on the inside with a crunchy, golden exterior. They are a delicious, old-fashioned, naturally gluten free cookie!
- Skill Level: Beginner
Classic coconut macaroons are a traditional cookie made with shredded coconut, egg whites, and sweetened condensed milk. They’re festive enough for your holiday table and gift giving and also make a perfect springtime treat. There’s no wrong season for a coconut macaroon- great news for a coconut lover!
What I love about this recipe
- The best part of these coconut cookies is the texture. Coconut macaroons made with egg whites and sweetened condensed milk provide the perfect chewy texture on the inside and crunchiness on the outside.
- Classic coconut macaroons are naturally gluten-free. No weird substitutions required to make them gluten-free – they already are!
- This easy macaroon recipe only requires 5 simple ingredients and only 10 minutes to whip up!
Ingredients in Classic Coconut Macaroons
Shredded coconut is the star of this cookie! Not only does it provide delicious coconut flavor, but it provides a stable structure. The coconut on the inside stays soft and chewy while the coconut flakes on the outside gets toasty and a bit crunchy.
For this recipe, use sweetened not unsweetened coconut. Since we aren’t adding additional sugar, we rely on the sweetened coconut and sweetened condensed milk to provide enough sweetness to flavor the cookie.
Sweetened condensed milk is concentrated milk that has been sweetened with sugar. Do not mistake it with canned evaporated milk as they are not the same. If you can’t find the canned version, you can make your own homemade sweetened condensed milk.
Egg whites are essential in keeping these cookies together. Not only do they bind the ingredients, but they give the cookies a chewy, soft texture. Make sure to whip the egg whites all the way to stiff peaks otherwise the cookies will flatten out while baking.
Vanilla extract and salt give the cookies extra flavor and balance the sweetness.
- Almond Joy Coconut Macaroons: Reduce the vanilla extract to ½ teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon of almond extract. Add 67 grams (⅔ cup) sliced or chopped almonds to the batter. Dip or drizzle the cooled macaroons in melted milk or dark chocolate.
- Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons: Stir in 87 grams (½ cup) mini chocolate chips to the batter before scooping onto the baking sheets.
How to make classic coconut macaroons
In a large bowl, combine the sweetened shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Using a large spatula or wooden spoon, stir to completely saturate the coconut in the condensed milk. This will be a very thick, chunky mixture.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium mixing bowl. Using the whisk attachment (of the stand mixer or hand mixer), whip the egg whites until they are at stiff peaks.
Add half of the stiff egg whites into the bowl with the coconut mixture. Gently fold to combine. Repeat this step with the remaining egg whites. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, drop spoonfuls that are about 2 tablespoons each onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Coconut macaroons will not spread, so they can be closer together than traditional drop cookies. Scoop 12-15 cookies per sheet pan.
Bake for 25-28 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the batter is set. Let the macaroons cool for a few minutes on the sheet pan and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
Optional: To make Chocolate Coconut Macaroons, drizzle melted dark chocolate over the top of the cooled macaroons. Alternatively, dip the bottom of the macaroons directly into a bowl of melted chocolate.
What is the difference between macaroons and macarons?
Both macaroons and macarons are made with a similar whipped egg white + sugar base.
Macaroons (pronounced like “moons” with the double “oo”) include shredded coconut with the whipped egg whites. The cookies look like little mounds with a chewy, soft center and crunchy outside.
Macarons (pronounced like “rohns” with the single “o”) are sandwich cookies made from almond flour and meringue. In between the 2 cookies is a layer of filling like buttercream, jam, or ganache. The French macaron method is the most common.
How to Store Classic Coconut Macaroons
Room Temperature: Store coconut macaroons in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can refrigerate for a longer amount of time, however, they will become soft.
Freezer: Coconut macaroons can be frozen and still retain their soft, gooey texture, however, they will lose crispness after thawing. To freeze, place completely cooled cookies in an airtight container with a piece of parchment paper between each layer. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw at room temperature. Wait to dip in chocolate until after they’ve completely thawed.
- 396 grams (14 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut
- 396 grams (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 283 grams (10 ounces) dark chocolate, optional
- About 30 minutes before making the dough, separate the egg whites (2 large) and leave out at room temperature.
- Position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweetened shredded coconut (396 grams/ 14 ounces), sweetened condensed milk (396 grams/ 14 ounces), vanilla extract (1 ½ teaspoons), and salt (¼ teaspoon). Using a large spatula or wooden spoon, stir to completely saturate the coconut in the condensed milk. This will be a very thick, chunky mixture.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium mixing bowl. Using the whisk attachment (of the stand mixer or using a hand mixer) whip the egg whites until they are at stiff peaks.
- Add half of the stiff egg whites into the bowl with the coconut mixture. Gently fold to combine. Repeat this step with the remaining egg whites.
- Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, drop spoonfuls that are about 2 tablespoons each onto the prepared sheet pans. Macaroons will not spread so they can be closed together than traditional drop cookies. Scoop 12-15 cookies per sheet pan.
- Bake 25-28 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the batter set.
- Let the macaroons cool for a few minutes on the sheet pan and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
- OPTIONAL: If desired, dip or drizzle the macaroons in melted dark chocolate.