You can make these perfectly chewy Coconut Macaroons with only FIVE ingredients! This classic recipe makes almost three dozen cookies in just 35 minutes. Be sure to check out the how-to video for important tips!
Easy, Perfect Coconut Macaroons
Not to be confused with their fancy French cousin, the macaron, today’s coconut macaroons are a relatively simple and straightforward cookie. They use only a few ingredients, come together quickly, and, as a bonus, are relatively low in calories (but really, who’s counting?).
Made with sweetened condensed milk and no flour, coconut macaroons are actually closer to being a candy than coconut cookies. To up their candy-like flavor, you can even dip them in chocolate–this is my favorite way to eat them!
Perhaps the most complicated parts of this recipe are 1) following it carefully and 2) whipping your egg whites. Like meringue cookies, coconut macaroons need egg whites whipped to stiff peaks. If this makes you nervous, don’t worry–I’ve got plenty of tips to help you along the way!
Let’s get started!
Ingredients for Coconut Macaroons
Here are some of the key ingredients you’ll need to make my coconut macaroons:
- Sweetened shredded coconut. Use sweetened shredded coconut. Unsweetened coconut doesn’t have the same texture or flavor and is more prone to falling apart. I now recommend pulverizing the coconut briefly in the food processor, which I didn’t do when I first shared this macaroon recipe. This makes the texture of the macaroon softer, more even, and less stringy. You can skip this step if you want to; however, all of my taste testers preferred the pulverized coconut texture.
- Sweetened condensed milk. Make sure you use sweetened condensed milk and NOT evaporated milk (a common mistake that leaves you with runny coconut macaroons). My original recipe called for slightly more milk, but I’ve reduced it to make sure you don’t experience “puddles” beneath your coconut macaroons. Note: you will NOT use a full 14oz can of condensed milk.
- Vanilla and coconut extracts. For flavor, I recommend adding both vanilla and coconut extract. My original recipe only called for vanilla, but I find adding the coconut extract really brings out the coconut flavor of the macaroons. If you don’t have coconut extract or don’t want to use it, they’ll still taste great without it!
- Egg whites. You’ll need only egg whites for this recipe–no yolks! I recommend using fresh eggs and not the whites from a carton, as those tend to have a hard time reaching stiff peaks. Under-beating the eggs (or over-mixing when you’re stirring them into the coconut/condensed milk) can also cause puddles to form under your coconut macaroons.
- Chocolate. This is optional, but if you’re a fan of chocolate and coconut like me, you can dip your macaroons in melted chocolate. I suggest using a semisweet or dark baking bar (chopped), melting wafers, or chocolate chips.
SAM’S TIP: Room temperature eggs whip best! If your eggs are not at room temperature, you can place them in a bowl of warm (not hot!) water and allow them to sit and warm up for 15 minutes. When they’re ready, you’ll just need to dry your eggs, crack them, and separate the yolks from the whites.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
- Pulse the coconut flakes in a food processor until you have fine, snowy flakes. While this step is optional, it gives the macaroons a finer, less stringy texture that I think is worth the extra effort.
- Stir together coconut, condensed milk, extracts, and salt until completely combined.
- In a separate, clean and dry bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until you have thick, glossy peaks. You must beat the egg whites all the way to stiff peaks or the macaroons will spread all over the baking sheet.
- Gently fold the egg whites into your other ingredients until completely combined. Use a spatula for this step, being too aggressive with the mixing will deflate the egg whites you just worked so hard to whip!
SAM’S TIP: Egg whites will not whip to stiff peaks if the bowl or beaters have any grease or moisture on them. Avoid allowing even a small bit of yolk in with the eggs, as this will also keep the egg whites from reaching stiff peaks.
- Drop coconut macaroons by rounded scoops onto baking sheet (use your fingers to tuck in any stray coconut flakes!) and bake until the edges are just beginning to turn light golden.
- Let cookies cool completely, then dunk the bottoms in melted chocolate (or drizzle them with chocolate instead!).
Frequently Asked Questions
What you see here today is a coconut macaroon (double “o”). Macaroons are made with coconut. They are usually shaped in little mounds and have a chewy texture. Generally speaking, macaroons are not terribly difficult or time consuming to make.
Macarons (single “o”),on the other hand, are not made with coconut. They are a delicate French sandwich cookie made primarily of almond flour and egg whites. Macarons are usually colorful and are sandwiched around a filling (usually jam, ganache, or buttercream). They are time consuming and difficult to make. Fortunately, we’re focusing on the easy recipe today 😉. And for those of you asking, yes, I do have a macaron recipe in the works!
Not properly whipping egg whites to stiff peaks, using the entire can of condensed milk, accidentally using evaporated milk, mis-measuring an ingredient, or over-mixing once you add the egg whites… any single one of these errors can lead to macaroons that flatten (or puddle at the bottom) while portioning or baking. Make sure you follow the recipe carefully (do not make substitutions), pay attention to your egg whites, and take care/be gentle with them once they’ve been whipped!
While it would not hurt to do so, I have never needed to refrigerate my macaroons before baking and so do not recommend it. Since this is a popular technique in many macaroon recipes I wanted to address it here. If you are experiencing any issues with spreading, you can certainly try it to see if it helps, but most likely the spreading is due to a different issue (see above).
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- 14 oz (397 g) sweetened shredded coconut
- ¾ cup (175 ml) sweetened condensed milk (please note that you will not use the whole can of condensed milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon coconut extract optional
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg whites room temperature preferred
- 4 oz (113 g) chocolate optional, semisweet or dark baking bar (chopped, melting wafers, or chocolate chips will work here)
- Preheat oven to 325F (160C)
- Pour coconut in the basin of a food processor (see note if you do not have a food processor) and pulse until finely shredded (I do 15 one-second pulses).14 oz (397 g) sweetened shredded coconut
- Pour coconut into a large mixing bowl and add condensed milk, extracts, and salt and stir until well-combined,¾ cup (175 ml) sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon coconut extract, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Place egg whites in a separate clean, dry, grease-free bowl and beat with an electric mixer, starting on low-speed and gradually increasing to high-speed until stiff peaks form, meaning the mixture is thick and voluminous and if you lift the beaters out of the mixture the peak that forms on the beater and in the bowl holds its shape firmly and does not fold over or dissolve in on itself (this method is shown in the photos in the post and demonstrated in the video, if you’re a visual learner).2 large egg whites
- Use a spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture until completely combined.
- Drop by 1 ½ Tablespoon-sized mounds onto prepared baking sheet (if any shreds of coconut are poking out I like to use my fingers to gently press them back into the mound), spacing cookies 1” apart.
- Transfer to 325F (160C) preheated oven and bake for 20-23 minutes or until edges are just beginning to turn light golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely on baking sheet before enjoying or dipping in chocolate (if using).
- Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second intervals (stirring in between) until completely smooth and melted. Drizzle melted chocolate over cooled macaroons or dip the bottoms in chocolate and transfer to a wax paper lined baking sheet to allow chocolate to solidify before enjoying.4 oz (113 g) chocolate
Food processorBriefly processing the coconut in the food processor yields a better, finer texture for the macaroons, but this step is not necessary. If you do not have a food processor, you can skip this step and use the shredded coconut directly from the bag.
Egg whitesBe sure to break your eggs into a completely clean, dry, and grease-free bowl and make sure not even a drop of egg yolk gets in with the whites! Any of these things can keep your eggs from properly whipping to stiff peaks. I recommend using fresh egg whites and not egg whites from a carton, which do not always whip properly.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. Macaroons may also be tightly wrapped and frozen, they will keep for several months this way.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.