Chewy, flavorful, and easy coconut macaroon cookies are made with sweetened condensed milk and coconut and are naturally gluten-free. Add tasty ingredients to make variations like chocolate chip macaroons, chocolate-dipped, cherry, apricot with almond, and more.
I love shredded coconut so much that I even add it to my classic Carrot Cake and Pecan Pie. Those recipes will surely bring the amazing taste of coconut to your kitchen.
It’s hard to find a more glorious combination than toasted coconut and the creamy sweetness of sweetened condensed milk. I combined these two favorite ingredients to make these coconut macaroon cookies.
This is a 4-ingredient cookie recipe that you can dip in chocolate or add mix-ins to.
Done well, these cookies taste like the delicious filling of an Almond Joy candy bar! My recipe makes soft, chewy macaroon cookies with little bits of crispy coconut caramelized on the outside.
These simple flourless cookies are perfect for Passover or Purim, but also make a great Hanukkah dessert, tasty Christmas cookies, Easter treats, and are generally just awesome for any celebration in between!
These are easy, flourless, gluten-free coconut macaroon cookies using sweetened shredded coconut.
What's Needed for Coconut Macaroon Cookies?
As mentioned above, these easy macaroons are made with just four ingredients: egg whites, salt, sweetened shredded coconut, and sweetened condensed milk.
Sweetened condensed milk has been around for many years and is a staple in many desserts, beverages, candies and cookies. Where would Tres Leches cake be without the most important leche, sweetened condensed milk?
Not to forget the other side of the spectrum — it can even be found in savories such as Asian-inspired marinades and curries. It stores well and will keep in the refrigerator after opening for up to 3 weeks.
If you have leftover sweetened condensed milk from a recipe, you can always find many places to drizzle it. Try it in hot chocolate, on hot cereal, or over cake.
In this recipe, the milk solids add a wonderful nutty flavor as the chewy coconut macaroons brown in the oven.
Condensed milk macaroons don’t need extra ingredients to help with binding. The thick and sweet milk does the trick.
Can You Make Coconut Macaroons Without Condensed Milk?
Coconut macaroons don’t need sweetened condensed milk to be great. However, if you omit the condensed milk you will need to add flour and sugar.
The condensed milk acts as both a sweetener and a binder. Without it, the egg whites couldn’t do the job of building these cookies on their own!
Recipes without condensed milk have a little all-purpose flour and some granulated sugar.
How to Make Coconut Macaroon Cookies
There are just a few steps to making easy coconut macaroons with condensed milk. With only 4 ingredients, it won’t take you long to put them together.
- First, whisk 2 egg whites with salt in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.
- Then, gently fold in coconut and sweetened condensed milk.
- Next, you can add mix-ins if you’d like: stir in chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit.
- Now scoop 2-inch balls about 1 inch apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. I use a cookie scoop.
- Bake at the low temperature of 300°F until golden, about 25 minutes
A Few Notes About the Egg Whites in This Recipe
Whisking the egg whites in this recipe helps these macaroons stay less compact as the tiny air bubbles expand the volume.
Here are a few things to remember when working with the egg whites:
- When beating egg whites, remember that their volume increases six to nine times in size so use a large enough stainless steel or glass bowl for best results.
- Plastic bowls inevitably retain grease no matter how clean they are, and the tiniest bit of fat will prevent the peaks we want to achieve.
- Start with egg whites at room temperature to ensure fullest volume.
- These macaroons call for sweetened condensed milk to be folded in gently to maintain that volume of the egg whites.
Recipe Variations to Try
Macaroon cookies are typically just coconut. Sometimes they are dipped in or drizzled with melted chocolate.
I couldn't resist a few little additions that I think make them truly special.
Adding dried cherries and mini chocolate chips is my favorite combo. Feel free to experiment and find your favorite combination. I also recommend toasted almonds and dried apricots - delicious!
Add up to 1½ cups of your mix-in ingredients to this recipe. Use any combination below or make up your own.
Here are some ingredients you could add to classic coconut macaroons:
- Walnuts and orange zest
- Dark chocolate mini chips
- Dried apricots, cherries, or cranberries
- White chocolate chips
Are Coconut Macaroons Gluten-Free?
These easy cookies are naturally gluten free because there is no added flour. All the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten free.
How to Store Macaroon Cookies
Baked macaroons store well and last up to 5 days in an airtight container. The cookies will stay soft and tasty, although kept overnight the crisped exterior will become as soft as the inside.
Can You Freeze Coconut Macaroons?
The baked macaroon cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze them in layers of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container.
To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight, then bring to room temperature.
What Readers Are Saying
"We love Macaroons at our house and these are at the top of the list!" — Mary B.
"I made these today for my husband who is a huge coconut lover. I made them with the chocolate chips and he said they are the best coconut cookies he has ever had!" — Beth
"These macaroons are simply magnificent! I can’t wait to bake these again. My kids loved everything about these and they really took our holiday cookie platters to the next level. Thank you for sharing such an elegant, but simple macaroon recipe." — Jacque H.
Now that you know how to make the best coconut macaroons with condensed milk, I say get a batch going! You won’t regret dipping them in chocolate or adding sweet and tart mix-ins.
More Festive Cookie Recipes:
Blossom Cookies with Chai Spice
Classic Graham Cracker Cookies
Easy Coconut Macaroon Cookies
- 2 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 bag (14 oz) shredded sweetened coconut
- ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1½ cups mini chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit (optional)
- Heat oven to 300ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk egg whites with salt in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in coconut and sweetened condensed milk.
- Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and/or dried fruit; scoop 2-inch balls about 1 inch apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake at 300°F until golden, about 25 minutes.
Tasty cookie recipes!
About Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes & food-styling for magazines, books, television & advertising. Order my new cookbook & stick around for amazing things to eat.
Recipe by Tara Teaspoon.
Mary Bench says
We love Macaroons at our house and these are at the top of the list!
Brittany Smart says
Love the chocolate chips in these!
Theresa Mauriello says
You say add sugar a little at a time, then fold in condensed milk. There is no sugar listed in ingredients???
They're saying you usually use sugar in egg whites, but they are using sw cond milk, so add it gradually as you would the sugar.
Thanks! I think it will work either way. I gently fold my milk in as it says in the blog post here: Sugar is added as soft peaks form and it is crucial that it is added a little at a time so it will dissolve. These macaroons call for sweetened condensed milk to be folded in gently to maintain that volume.
Beth Crawford says
I made these today for my husband who is a huge coconut lover. I made them with the chocolate chips and he said they are the best coconut cookies he has ever had !
Jacque Hastert says
These macaroons are simply magnificent! I can't wait to bake these again. My kids loved everything about these and they really took our holiday cookie platters to the next level. Thank you for sharing such an elegant, but simple macaroon recipe.
Hands down, Macaroons are my FAVORITE cookie. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to my macaroons - plain. But my family prefers chocolate. This recipe is great because I can make everyone happy with so many variations. Thank you!
Megan Palmer says
I usually don't like coconut, but I sure loved baking these coconut macaroons! Usually, this recipe would be a bit more intimidating but this blog post was so helpful! Thanks Tara
Any suggestions; mine turned out to be a big runny mess. did not stay together and the milk separated from the rest of the ingredients while baking?
Hi Lori, if I were to trouble shoot I'd say the egg whites were either over or under whipped. If they are overwhipped they will separate and create extra liquid, and under they will be too runny. I'm so sorry these didn't turn out! I've made them numerous times with success. I hope that helped a bit.
The basic recipe here is not unlike most I've seen. Another way to punch up the flavor is to add a teaspoon of rum extract in addition to the vanilla. They smell and taste glorious!
I am wondering what type of chocolate chips to use. Semi-Sweet, Milk Chocolate or other?
Tara Teaspoon says
I use mini chocolate chips which only come in semi-sweet.
Carol G says
I am so glad I found your recipe for these Coconut Macaroon Cookies, they turned out perfectly. The recipes I have found always used the entire can of sweetened condensed milk and never turned out. This recipe had the macaroons stay shaped like a cookie and not spread.
Tara Teaspoon says
Great to hear Carol, so glad you gave these a try and you enjoyed them. Tara
Michelle D says
I love this recipe! When I was much younger a local bakery made the macaroons with chopped almonds and chopped dates and termed them "haystacks". They were my Dad's favorite cookies from a bakery. I was so glad to find this recipe with the add on ideas! Love the idea of chopped dried apricots in them!!! A divine combo.
I had a hard time getting them off parchment paper .
Tara Teaspoon says
So sorry you had that problem. You could always try a silicone baking mat and see if that works better for you.