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Chocolate coconut macaroons

Many people tell me this is one of their favorite recipes from my cookbook, Ready For Dessert. In addition to these fantastic Coconut-Dipped Chocolate Macaroons in it, you’ll find the much-loved recipe for Fresh Ginger Cake, which makes a fantastic dessert served with sliced, juicy peaches or flavorful strawberries and raspberries in the summer, or tangy lemon cream in the winter, as well as my other most frequently requested recipes.

I’m often asked about the different between Parisian macarons and American-style macaroons, like these. Both are egg white-based, however the European version (which was invented in Italy) uses almonds whereas the American ones use coconut. There’s some dispute about how the American ones came to be made of coconut; one theory is that European immigrants who came to the United States couldn’t get almonds, or they were too expensive, so they used coconut.

Another theory is that European companies wanted to ship their macarons over longer distances, so swapped out coconut for the spoilage-prone nuts. Others credit Franklin Baker, an American flour miller, who found the then-exotic shredded coconut more interesting (and less-expensive) to use than nuts. Either way, I like all kinds of macaroons…or macarons.

Coconut macaroon recipe

The French do make coconut cookies, which are called Congolais or Rochers à la noix de coco, usually shortened to Rochers coco, or coconut “rocks.” I’ve not seen them dipped in chocolate in any French bakery – but why not?

Chocolate coconut macaroons

I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years and tested them with flour alternatives, which I’ve noted in the headnote in the recipe, and they come out great. You can even skip swiping the bottoms in bittersweet chocolate if you wish. No matter how you make them, I hope they become one of your favorite cookies, too.

Coconut and Chocolate Macaroons

From Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed) I invariably make these cookies when I have extra egg whites on hand. The dough freezes beautifully if I don't plan to make the macaroons right away. These coconut macaroons can be made without the flour by substituting 2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch or potato starch for the flour. Readers have told me the recipe works well with 1/4 cup matzoh meal substituted in place of the flour.
Servings 30 Cookies
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 1/2 cups (200g) unsweetened shredded coconut, (see note)
  • 1/4 cup (35g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 ounces (55g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • In a large skillet or wide saucepan, mix together the egg whites, sugar, salt, and honey.
  • Over low heat on the stovetop, stir the egg whites and sugar together until the mixture is tepid, but not warm or hot. You don't want to cook them; just warmed slightly so they are looser.
  • Add the coconut, flour, and vanilla. Continue to stir the mixture over medium heat for a few minutes until it thickens to a cohesive mass. (It'll be like very thick oatmeal and the bottom will very slightly start to scorch.) Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature.
  • When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and preheat the oven to 350º F (180ºC).
  • Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch (4cm) rounds in your hands, squeezing the dough to coax them into rough rounds (remember, the French call them "rocks," so they can be a uneven - for smoother rounds, dampen your hands), then place them evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Bake the macaroons until deep golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
  • To dip the macaroons in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a microwave.) Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Dip the bottoms of each cookie in the chocolate and set the cookies on the baking sheet. Refrigerate 5-10 minutes, until the chocolate is set.


Notes: Unsweetened shredded coconut is available in most natural food shops or you can purchase it online. Flaked coconut is larger and I haven't tried these macaroons with the flakes but if that's all you have, I would pulse the flakes in a food processor a few times until they're finely shredded.
Storage: The baked macaroons will keep for up to three or four days if stored in an airtight container. If dipped in chocolate, store the cookies in a cool place. The dough can be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for at least two months.


    • Alisa

    …..and just when I was wondering if it would be polite to ask for the recipe :)

    • Meg

    Ditto! I’ll probably end up getting the book anyway, though…!

    My stepdaughter loves coconut so we are definitely going to have to make these the next time she visits!

    • Susan

    Funny enough that you describe it as a summertime treat – in germany something very similar is traditionally served around christmas. :-)

    • Jilly

    Makes my mouth water! I have to eat gluten free and so these would be perfect.

    In what form is the coconut? I live in the UK and can get dessicated coconut, creamed coconut in a block and coconut oil.

    • David

    Hi Jilly: Any small-shred unsweetened coconut will work. It should be small flakes: the kind I use resembles coarsely-shredded Parmesan.

    The terminology can be confusing since in America, we have coconut powder, medium shredded coconut, and coconut flakes.

    Check and see if your coconut resembles one of those, as any will work for this recipe. I’ll add this to the recipe, above, in case others have the same question. Thanks!

    • Evie Krebs

    Hi David,

    I love these macaroons!! These are the ones that won that cookie contest for me after I went to your class at Ramikins in Sonoma several years ago. It is my most requested holiday cookie by far.

    I was wondering if I wanted to make all chocolate macaroons how much chocolate would I have to add and would I have to change the recipe any? I have tried other recipes and they just don’t taste as good as this recipe.

    By the way. In the States I am able to find unsweetened coconut at Whole Foods regularly.

    Thanks for a wonderful blog and site. Always fun to read.


    • ann

    i was thinking these might be french macaroons. do you have a recipe for french macaroons of any flavor that you like?
    also, do you have any recommendations for taking a pastry class in paris, i.e.
    a weekend class?
    thank you kindly,

    • David

    Hi Ann: If you use the search engine on the site, you’ll find links to my macaron recipe (and tips and techniques) plus a post I did listing many of the cooking and pastry classes in Paris.

    • kayenne

    This might be too late, but for Jilly’s question, the coconut called for here is dessicated or dried coconut. Coconut macaroons are widely popular here in the Philippines as well, considering the number of coconut trees we have. Usually baked on colorful 3/4-oz paper cups with a tiny piece of maraschino cherry on top. YUMMY!

    Be careful not to confuse coconut powder with coconut flour/fiber or powdered coconut milk/cream.

    • aireene

    good day. i just realized that i am starting to like baking. hehehe. i only have a microwave oven at home. is there any way where i could bake macaroons with my microwave oven? please help me with the procedures. thanks.

    • cheryl

    David, my friend Lara passed this recipe of yours on to me last year, and I finally made the macaroons last night for Passover. I subbed almond meal for the flour and added a bit of almond extract as well. They had a fantastic flavor… every single person at the Seder asked for the recipe. I didn’t even have time to dip them in chocolate (bringing the Passover story to life, I suppose). Many thanks!

    • cathy

    a few months ago, I visited an indian grocery store and got excited when i saw a bag of “coconut powder”, because all I had known before were those sweetened coconut shredded flakes.

    and they sat in my pantry, waiting, waiting, waiting, since I had no idea what to do with them. until i saw your recipe. perfect! and what was even better was that the bag equalled exactly 2.5 cups. so not a bit wasted!

    and they were absolutely delicious. thank you for the great recipe :)

    • Shaun McGowan

    Absolutely yummy!!! Thanks David.

    • Beverly Wright

    I made these last night. They were delicious. I didn’t dip in chocolate. They were a hit on my job. I will make these again. Thanks!!!

    • jamie

    Hi – I don’t understand how the macaroon mixture will scorch using low to medium heat. Is there something i can look for before taking it off the heat – I don’t want to cook it too long. thank.


      • Ed

      I think the online recipe has been improved to read “thickens to a cohesive mass” rather than scorched. We’ve made these at our B&B many times and they’re always popular.

    • Katie

    i haven’t even baked these yet.. it is all i can do to not to eat spoonfuls of the coconut mixture while it cools on my counter. i know these will be amazing! planning to dip half in a good quality dark chocolate and dip the other half in chilli dark chocolate. i think the bite of the chilli will add a great level of complexity and balance out some of the sweetness that make macaroons too intense sometimes. can’t wait to try them, thanks for posting!

    • Emm

    just delicious!!! thanks for the recipe.

    • hannah

    I (born & raised in New York State) live in Lima, Peru and have started making these macaroons here with one small adjustment: I replace the vanilla extract with fresh lime juice and a pinch of lime zest. Refreshing and delicious! These have the perfect texture and are a huge crowd pleaser. Here they go by the name “cocadas.” Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

      • Karen Brown

      Oh, I have lots of limes on my tree at the moment, so I think this variation of David’s recipe is going to be on my baking schedule today. Have made these from Ready for Dessert before, and they were fabulous.

    • Rachelino

    David- Thank you for this wonderful recipe. You have made me look brilliant again! I love how cooking the coconut mixture deepens the flavor, and the honey adds a mellow richness; I make this recipe all the time. I have a couple pounds of Valhrona milk chocolate and was wonderfing if you think it would go with milk as well? I usually dip them in bittersweet…

    • Amanda

    I love all of your recipes, especially the ice cream! For some reason I struggled to make my macaroons look as beautiful and plump as they’re supposed to be. Mine ended up being kind of runny and while the macaroons taste amazing, they don’t look very pretty. I can’t figure where I went wrong. Any suggestions? Thank you!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Sound like you didn’t cook the mixture enough, if it was runny. And make sure to measure ingredients carefully. Good luck!

    • Burning Water

    I am a terrible cook. And this month, I was a terrible cook in desperate need of fabulous Christmas-treat recipes. But despite my hapless kitchen skills and my complete inability to find UNsweetened coconut, these resulted in a beautiful and delicious dessert that was adored by all. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to find dessicated coconut (‘unsweetened coconut’ in ‘Strine), but all the same the result was golden and plump and oozing in sweet, rich flavour. Thank you so very much!

    • Linda

    Perfect timing! I was wondering what I wanted to do with all the egg whites left from my holiday eggnog. And this is one of my faves.

    • Angela

    I have made these quite a few times (from your book Ready for Dessert) and they really are very delicious!! And even though my husband tells me I shouldn’t use a double superlative……its justified here!

    • carla

    You don’t happen to know the weight of the egg whites? I keep a glob in my fridge and don’t always remember how many eggs I used :-(

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t know the weight but 1 large egg white is 2 tablespoons, so four would be 1/2 cup (125ml)

    • Denise

    Happy New Year David. I love your blog and pls post more videos in 2017. They are always very special.

    • jilly girl

    ditto ditto

    • Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands

    Happy New Year :)

    • Victoria

    Hi David,
    I made your chocolate almond butter crunch toffee for Christmas and gave away as little gifts. Everyone loved it and I couldn’t stop eating :) It was such an easy recipe to make and I especially appreciated it after I read other recipes online that were more complicated. Thanks so much and happy new year!

    • Audrey

    These look delicious. For very quick easy ones just mix the coconut with condensed milk till it will hold its shape and bake till golden. Useful for kids parties!

    • Miss Moore

    It might be a silly question but what is the difference between unsweetened coconut and desiccated coconut?

    • Natalie

    These cookies look absolutely delicious and so easy to make! Gonna try them soon :)

    • Lee

    Coconut and cashew macaroons are considered a local delicacy of a Southern coastal town of Mangalore in India. Nice to know it has international appeal!

    • Steve

    Hey David! I have owned a small cafe/deli for the last 14 years in Mississippi. We have a great reputation and have sustained a loyal clientele all this time but I have recently dealt with some personal dramas and just general burn-out. But your New Years Newsletter must have hit me just right! It, and watching many of the “live” videos on your Facebook page have been a fresh inspiration for me! Thanks for the encouragement to continue to pursue quality and passion.

    • Kathy

    I’m just back from a visit to Colmar, France where we had Manala (chocolate brioche rolls shaped like a man). Do you have any recommended recipes for this delicious treat? Or better yet, do you want to write a post about them? It seems like a very regional speciality and I would love to give them a try. I’ve been working through the Classic German Baking cookbook based on your recommendation and am enjoying it a great deal.

    • Annabel

    Until very recently, these were the only sort of macaroons known in the UK – the French “macarons” are a very recent import/invention (at that, I think they are fairly new in France, as they certainly didn’t exist in the early 1970s). And very nice they are, too…. both kinds!

      • Angèle

      Hi Annabel,
      As a lover of both macaroons and macarons, (and a bit of a food nerd), your comment inspired me to do some research into the origins. According to two different websites that I found, the macaron is of Italian origin, brought to France as early as 1533 by Catherine de Medici upon her marriage to the Duc d’Orleans. However, it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that Pierre Desfontaines of Parisian pastry shop, Ladurée, had the brilliant (in my opinion) idea to take two of the cookies and stick them together with ganache!
      I’ll share the websites if David says it’s okay :-)
      Happy New Year!

    • Emily | Shiny Happy Bright

    These are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing.

    • Tamar

    Any thoughts on whether it would work to substitute coconut flour for AP flour to make these GF for a guest? Thank you!

    • LKay

    these are cooling on the cookie sheet right now! they spread a little, will cook the first ingredients a little more as instructed. They seem a bit sticky, maybe my egg were too large (?)

    • sheen asgar

    Hi david!
    Thanks for sharing that wonderful and my favorite recipe of coconut but i want to ask something that whenever i made this recipe why my better gets little bit form of liquid and its difficult to make perfect shapes of round balls.
    Waiting for your prompt response so i am very oblige to you
    Sheen Asgar

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I’m unclear of the first part of your question but these aren’t meant to be in perfectly round balls, unless you want to shape them that way. (The French name “rocher” means rocks, so they can be a little uneven.) To make them perfectly even, you may want to dampen your hands while rolling them into rounds.

    • adrian

    Interesting! I have the book and must try them. My grandmother used to make them for Christmas here in Germany – with chocolate bottoms. They go by the name “Kokos-Makronen” here.

    • Laura Diaz

    When I left my finished macaroons in the fridge for the chocolate to set, the chocolate was still slightly gooey after 15 minutes so I pulled them out, gooey chocolate and all. Is it ok to leave them next time until the chocolate is totally set? Or will the texture of the macaroons suffer? Thanks!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I can’t imagine that happening with pure chocolate. If it’s not hardening in the refrigerator after 15 minutes, perhaps your refrigerator temperature is set too low? I would leave them in until the chocolate is set.

    • Courtney

    This post made my day! I left a comment in 2014 on your Hyères, Provence post about a large, dense coconut cake I encountered a decade ago while living in Aix. I have thought about this delicious treat so many times over the years but could never recall the name or describe it well enough to yield a revelatory Google result.

    Rochers à la noix de coco…THANK YOU!!

    • Emily

    Hello, I made these and the flattened while baking, instead of retaining the spherical shape. Do you know why?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve never had that happen and I’ve been making them for decades but perhaps you didn’t cook the mixture enough. I cook it until it barely starts to scorch on the bottom.

        • Emily

        that was it! I hadn’t cooked the dough enough. Thank you for your recipe and assistance!

    • Alison

    I have been making these since 2005. They are such a treat! For what it’s worth, I find that they’re great with either shredded or flaked coconut. Flaked coconut makes for a rougher texture, but in no way diminishes the deliciousness of the cookie. I did a head-to-head taste test with shredded vs. flaked a few years ago. Trusted tasters were split about evenly on which they preferred. Everyone agreed that, despite their preferences, either variety were delicious. So, you can’t go too wrong!


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