Perfect Coconut Macaroon Cookies - Naturally Sweetened, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Recipe

Perfect Coconut Macaroon Cookies - Naturally Sweetened, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Recipe  from FoyUpdate.blogspot.com

The ideal macaroon is a light ball of toasted coconut goodness with a slightly chewy center.  It took seven tries but I finally got a recipe and technique for the perfect  macaroon.

Macaroons are a great option for gifts because they fit into most diets.  This macaroon recipe is gluten free, grain free, vegetarian, naturally sweetened, and paleo!  If you are following along on my Wahls Diet journey these macaroons also follow her diet.  But are they delicious?  Yes, I wouldn't put them in my Christmas cookie tins if they weren't.

I started with the Cook's Illustrated Coconut Macaroon recipe and then made some upgrades to whole ingredients.  Cook's Illustrated's (CI) recipes are all about taste and ease so often they include things like corn syrup.  Why use corn syrup when an equal amount of raw honey would be so much better?

To get more coconut flavor CI uses coconut cream which is a processed product for making pinacoladas.  I opted for the equally coconut-y coconut butter which is just raw coconut pureed until smooth-ish.

Perfect Coconut Macaroon Cookies - Naturally Sweetened, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Recipe  from FoyUpdate.blogspot.com
Artisana Raw Coconut Butter

I bought the jar of the coconut butter above, but if you have access to fresh coconut you can also make you own DIY coconut butter.

I did like the suggestion from CI to use a combination of sweetened and unsweetened coconut.  Unsweetened coconut is rather dry where as sweetened has some moisture and flexibility.  Together they offer a nice blend of the two that allows the outside of the macaroon to brown up while the inside stays chewy.

Once I had the ingredients set my next hurdles were getting the right texture and size.

The first time I made the macaroons I rolled the dough into balls with a heavy hand and they were too dense.  A gentle scoop and shape with my fingers was all I needed to get the light texture I wanted.  Also all the little bits of coconut flakes that stuck out browned nicely adding that crusty exterior to the macaroon.

Perfect Coconut Macaroon Cookies - Naturally Sweetened, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Recipe  from FoyUpdate.blogspot.com
Macaroons of different sizes with a quarter for reference.

For a comparison the macaroons on the left were packed densely, the two on the right were packed lightly, all were baked for the same amount of time.  You can see the lightly packed on the right have better color.

Next I tried different amounts of dough.  I tried one teaspoon, two teaspoons and a tablespoon of dough.  However, using a measuring spoon packed the coconut too much.  So I switched to measuring by weight.

I tried one ounce and a half ounce of lightly packed dough; wetting my finger tips helped keep things from getting too sticky.  I preferred the half ounce because it had a better ratio of crusty outside to soft moist inside.  The best macaroon turned out to be a lightly packed half ounce of dough.

Perfect Coconut Macaroon Cookies - Naturally Sweetened, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Recipe  from FoyUpdate.blogspot.com

I also tried baking directly on the cookie sheet or on parchment paper and I found parchment better because the bottoms didn't get too dark.

Coconut Macaroons

yields 48 cookies

1 cup of coconut butter
2 tablespoons raw honey
4 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (gluten free if you are sensitive)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Perfect Coconut Macaroon Cookies - Naturally Sweetened, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Recipe  from FoyUpdate.blogspot.com

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Use a food processor, mixer or, if you want an arm work out, a whisk to combine the coconut butter, honey, egg whites, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth.  The mixture will be the texture of warm peanut butter.
  3. Next fold in the sweetened and unsweetened coconut so it is evenly moist. The goal is to mix everything together without compressing to keep the batter light.
  4. Using a scale measure out half ounce increments of dough and use wet fingertips to shape into loose balls.  If you don't have a scale you are aiming for about a tablespoon.
  5. Place each ball onto the parchment paper.  Macaroons don't rise, so you can place them close together.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown, rotating the cookie sheet at 8 minutes.  
  6. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet a couple minutes so they set before moving them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.  

Optional Dark Chocolate Dipped Macaroons 

10 ounces of Dark Chocolate Chips at least 60% cacao

Wait until the macaroons have cooled for at least a half hour.  Lay out a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Melt the dark chocolate in a Pyrex bowl in the microwave using 45 second bursts, stirring between each burst until the chocolate falls smoothly from the spoon. Do not over heat.  Holding the top of the macaroon dip half of it into the melted chocolate.  Allow the extra chocolate to stream off then place the cookie on the parchment.  Refrigerate the dipped macaroons for 15 minutes until the chocolate has set.

For more recipes and ideas visit my Wahls Paleo Pinterest Board.


  1. I just recently cut flour, sugar and soy from my diet....these look and sound amazing, can't wait to try them.

  2. Man! those look fabulous and I have some coconut shreds in the fridge! Oh, I love that stuff!

    BTW, while I am thinking of it, please take the time to link-up (I would love to see your food posts there!) on the "Encourage One Another' Wednesday link-up. You're posts are always great. And you are invited to share every week! Blessings!

  3. I *love* this recipe! I can't wait to try it! WE are wheat free at our house and I am always thrilled to find a recipe which is naturally without wheat. www.lacklusterparent.com

  4. This may be a really dumb question..but what is the "sweetened coconut" sweetened with?

    1. Good question! The coconut I buy at my local co-op is sweetened with cane sugar. Check the package before you buy so you're not getting high-fructose corn syrup or something.

  5. Thanks for the recipe, I've been looking all over the internet for a recipe that was close to the coconut macaroons my grandmother used to make. Yours has been almost spot-on!

  6. Hi Foy, how many grams/ounces is a cup of coconut butter, and how much is 5 cups of shredded coconut? (I am going to take only unsweetened coconut).


    1. Oh man, I wish I knew the answers to your questions! Next time I make these I'll get out the scale and update the recipe.

  7. In Ecuador where we live they don´t sell coconut butter, and my blender is not powerful enough to make it at home (I tried :/ ) ...and they don´t sell sweetened coconut either. With what could I substitute the coconut butter? I try to avoid sugar as much as possible, so I don´t want to put sugar, could I just put more honey? Thanks for your tips! :)

    1. It would change the flavor a bit, but another nut butter - if you can find it, would be my choice. I'd look for a cashew or sunflower (sunbutter) butter that was unsweetened. Peanutbutter would work in a pinch.

      Or if you can find unsweeted coconut milk in a can, use just the solid/fatty part and save the clear liquid coconut milk for another recipe. Good luck!

    2. Thanks a lot :), have been away from home so I haven´t had a chance to try to make them...can´t do nut butters, so I´ll try the coconut milk in a can, that´s something we can get here, they also sell coconut cream in a can, that might work also. I´ll let you know how they turned out :).

    3. I made them today with the solid part of the coconut milk in a can and I also added a little organic agave syrup as I used unsweetened shredded coconut. The mixture was more liquid than warm peanut butter, but they turned out fine anyways, just a little dark at the bottom (gas oven is quite tricky...). The taste is very good! :) Thanks for the awesome recipe!