Simplest Coconut Macaroons

I love giving presents. I love seeing a person light up when you give them a pretty package bound together with a gorgeous ribbon, and find something special inside. Lately, I’ve found that people get even more excited when that ‘something special’ is food or baked goods. Usually I’m a fan of cookies or brownie bites since they have a longer shelf life, can fit into a tin so well, and are pretty easy to bake up… but this time I thought I’d give coconut macaroons a try. Good decision.

I used to swear by the Cook’s Illustrated / America’s Test Kitchen. That is until I tried these simple coconut macaroons by Culinary Institute of America (CIA). No condensed milk or sweetened shredded coconut or cream of coconut (yes that’s a real product). Just a few simple ingredients – egg whites, sugar, a bit of flour, vanilla extract, and the true star, unsweetened shredded coconut.

A batch comes together easily enough for a present, a hostess gift, or just for yourself paired with a cup of tea. I’m serious. Try them out and let me know what you think. Another thing that’s great is that this is just the base. They are just barely sweet, and have a warm hearty sort of feeling. You can add chocolate chips, nuts, cranberries… whatever your little heart desires. Hah, I know I sound like a sales(wo)man right now, but this is by far one of the easiest things to make that will wow just about anyone.

Coconut Macaroons from Culinary Institute of America

1 cup sugar (divided use 1/3 + 2/3)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (either one package of Red Mill or you can use the open bins at Whole Foods)
6 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 – 8 ounces of melted chocolate (optional – for dipping)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine 1/3 cup of the sugar with the flour and set aside.
  3. Combine the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, the coconut, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Heat over simmering water, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and holds together, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Fold in the flour mixture and vanilla extract.
  5. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart and shaping into neat mounds as needed. The mixture is sticky so wet your fingertips before doing this.
  6. Bake until the macaroons are a light golden brown on the outside but still soft enough to give slightly when you press them lightly with your fingertip, 22 to 25 minutes.
  7. Transfer the macaroons, still on the parchment paper, to a wire rack to cool completely. When cool, they will lift off easily.
  8. Dip in or drizzle on chocolate if you’d like. Personally it’s my favorite combo 🙂
For more behind the scenes photos, stories and discussions:

18 thoughts on “Simplest Coconut Macaroons

  1. OMG! These look so yummy. Can’t wait to try them. I once had macarons with papaya, banana, carnished with mint and lime juice. Try it the combination is mind blowing!

    1. Thanks Helene. I think all the time I’ve spent perusing other food blogs has rubbed off on me. Still have a long way to go but thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  2. I have tried coconut macaroons but I have never imagined them with chocolate dip. Now I understand why there is less sugar in your recipe…I use condensed milk in my version, but I guess if I will be using the choco dip I’d have to refrain from using sweetened milk. Thanks for sharing this sweet treat!

    1. Thanks Anna! When I first tried this recipe I had to double check that there were only 5-6 ingredients. But the results are amazing. Let me know how they turn out for you. I want to add berries or nuts to them next time I bake up a batch.

    1. Thank you so much! Isn’t it incredible how much some places charge for such simple snacks? I’m still surprised that cupcakes are $3 a pop (at the lower end!) and that 2 slices of pizza and a coke is nearly $5! I remember when it was $1.50 after school. Hah, I feel old.

    1. Thanks Christine! I love playing the food games on Knapkins… and it’s so great that now my recipe is featured! Woot woot!

  3. Hi there,

    I’d like to introduce to you a new website that we have
    just recently launched. Foodepix is a photo gallery of delicious and mouth
    watering food.

    We’ve seen your blog and we love your pictures and recipes. We would love
    to invite you to register with and upload your images.

    Hope to see you there. 🙂


    1. Yeay! Yes you totally should. I love that these can hold up just as well as cookies and are so pretty when they are packed up 🙂 Let me know how it turns out.

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