Do coconut macaroons contain gluten?

Quick Answer

No, coconut macaroons do not contain gluten. Coconut macaroons are made with shredded coconut, egg whites, and sugar. None of these ingredients contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Since coconut macaroons do not contain any gluten-containing grains, they are naturally gluten-free.

What are coconut macaroons?

Coconut macaroons are small dome-shaped coconut cookies. The main ingredients are shredded coconut, egg whites, and sugar. Some recipes also include a small amount of flour, but this is usually almond flour or coconut flour, neither of which contains gluten.

The ingredients are combined, dropped into small mounds on a baking sheet, and baked until lightly golden brown. The high coconut content gives coconut macaroons their signature chewy, slightly crispy texture. They have a light sweet coconut flavor from the coconut and sugar.

Coconut macaroons have been popular cookies for decades. They are often included in holiday cookie trays and served at special events like weddings and baby showers. Their small bite size and lack of gluten make them a great option for people with dietary restrictions.

Do coconut macaroons contain gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. It acts as a glue to help baked goods maintain their shape and structure. However, gluten causes issues for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Coconut macaroons do not contain any gluten-containing ingredients, so they are considered gluten-free. Here’s a breakdown of the common ingredients:

Shredded Coconut – Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm tree and does not contain gluten. Shredded coconut gives coconut macaroons their signature texture.

Sugar – Table sugar and other sweeteners like brown sugar do not contain gluten. They are added to coconut macaroons to balance the coconut flavor.

Egg Whites – Eggs do not naturally contain gluten. Be sure to use plain egg whites without any additives.

Almond or Coconut flour – These specialty flours are used in some recipes instead of regular flour. Almond and coconut flour gives structure to gluten-free baked goods, but do not contain gluten themselves.

Flavorings – Common flavorings like vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt are gluten-free. Flavorings help add taste without gluten.

So the main ingredients in coconut macaroons – shredded coconut, sugar, egg whites, and almond or coconut flour – are all naturally gluten-free. This makes coconut macaroons a great gluten-free dessert option.

Are there any gluten ingredients in coconut macaroons?

Most traditional coconut macaroon recipes do not contain any sources of gluten. However, there are a few ingredients that may be added that do contain gluten:

Regular Flour – Some recipes use small amounts of regular, wheat-based flour. This helps bind the ingredients together but adds gluten to the cookies. Always opt for almond or coconut flour instead.

Oats – Old fashioned or rolled oats contain a protein similar to gluten and should be avoided on a gluten-free diet. Opt for certified gluten-free oats instead.

Malt Extract – This sweetener derived from barley contains gluten. Made from barley, malt extract should be avoided.

Wheat Germ or Bran – These nutritious wheat components contain gluten. Stick to shredded coconut for fiber in coconut macaroons.

Cereal or Cookies – Some recipes call for crushed cereal or cookies to add texture. Be sure to use a certified gluten-free brand to keep the macaroons gluten-free.

Flavored Chips – Mix-ins like chocolate chips or butterscotch chips may contain barley malt or wheat. Choose brands made in dedicated gluten-free facilities.

As long as your recipe doesn’t include any of these gluten-containing add-ins, the coconut macaroons will be gluten-free. Read ingredient labels carefully and contact manufacturers with any questions.

How to make gluten-free coconut macaroons

Making traditional gluten-free coconut macaroons only requires a few simple ingredients:


– 4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
– 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
– 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– Pinch of salt


1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, egg whites, vanilla, and salt until thoroughly combined.

3. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, drop mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart.

4. Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The macaroons are done when lightly golden around the edges.

5. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For added flavor, mix in a teaspoon of almond extract. Or top with a chocolate ganache glaze or shredded coconut once cooled.

This easy gluten-free recipe uses pantry staples to make about 36 bite-sized macaroons. The egg whites and condensed milk hold the coconut together. Be sure to use unsweetened shredded coconut for the best texture and coconut flavor.

Are store-bought coconut macaroons gluten-free?

Many brands of store-bought coconut macaroons are labeled as gluten-free. However, you should still read the label carefully since recipes can change. Here are some tips for finding gluten-free coconut macaroons at the store:

– Look for the gluten-free certification symbol – This shows an item has been tested to verify it meets gluten-free standards. Common symbols include the GFCO or Crossed Grain symbol.

– Read the ingredient list – Even if not labeled gluten-free, scan for any wheat, barley, rye or questionable ingredients. Call the manufacturer if unsure.

– Check for cross-contamination – The package should state if the product is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility or there is risk of gluten cross-contact.

– Look for trusted brands – Companies like Enjoy Life, Lucy’s, or Glutino focus on allergen-free foods and operate gluten-free facilities. Their products tend to be safest.

– Visit health food stores – Stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Natural Grocers have large selections of certified gluten-free products. More options than the regular grocery store.

With vigilance, you can find gluten-free coconut macaroons in the grocery store. But if unsure, making your own is a sure way to control for gluten.

What to look out for on coconut macaroon ingredients

When buying packaged coconut macaroons or reviewing recipes, look out for these ingredients that indicate the item contains gluten:

– Wheat flour
– Barley malt
– Rye
– Oats or oat fiber (unless certified gluten-free)
– Maltodextrin (sometimes derived from barley)
– Cookie crumbs or cereal (could contain glutenous grains)
– Wheat starch
– Wheat bran or germ
– Soy sauce or teriyaki sauce (contains wheat)
– Beer or malt vinegar
– Hydrolyzed wheat protein
– Wheat-based flavorings

Aside from ingredients, you also need to consider cross-contamination risks:

– Made in a shared facility that also processes wheat
– “May contain wheat” warning
– No dedicated equipment for gluten-free production
– Utensils shared with gluten products

If you see any questionable ingredients or warnings, contact the manufacturer. Or avoid that product and look for coconut macaroons made in a gluten-free facility instead.

Health benefits of coconut macaroons

Aside from being naturally gluten-free, coconut macaroons provide some health benefits:

High in Fiber – The shredded coconut provides a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and helps you feel full.

Low Glycemic Index – Coconut and almond flour have a low impact on blood sugar compared to wheat flour. This makes coconut macaroons a better choice for those with diabetes.

Contains Antioxidants – Coconuts contain antioxidants called flavonoids which may help reduce inflammation and protect cells.

No Artificial Ingredients – Homemade coconut macaroons contain just a few whole food ingredients, avoiding artificial additives.

Source of Manganese – Manganese is an essential mineral and coconut is one of the richest food sources. It boosts bone health and metabolism.

So in moderation, coconut macaroons can be part of a healthy diet. They provide important nutrients and fiber without gluten.

Delicious ways to use coconut macaroons

While coconut macaroons are perfect on their own, here are some tasty ways to use them:

– Break into pieces and use as an ice cream topping along with toasted nuts or fruit.
– Dip or drizzle in melted chocolate or caramel sauce.
– Use as a base for no-bake pizza bites with pizza sauce and toppings.
– Blend into crumbs and use as a crust for mini cheesecakes or fruit tarts.
– Layer with whipped cream and berries for a patriotic trifle.
– Crush and mix into cookie crusts for pies and dessert bars.
– Sprinkle over yogurt pots along with granola for added crunch.
– Use as croutons for tropical chicken salad with mango and coconut.
– Add to trail mix or granola for an energy boosting snack.
– Make into cookie sandwiches with jam or lemon curd filling.

Coconut macaroons are very versatile cookies. Let your creativity run wild with these delicious gluten-free treats!

Tips for Making Perfect Coconut Macaroons

Follow these pro tips for making the best gluten-free coconut macaroons every time:

– Use unsweetened shredded coconut for the strongest coconut flavor. Avoid sweetened flake coconut.

– Let the egg whites come to room temperature before mixing – this helps them whip up better.

– Add a pinch of cream of tartar to the egg whites to help stabilize them.

– Use thick, full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream for more moisture and richness.

– Fold the wet and dry ingredients together gently to avoid deflating the egg whites.

– Portion cookies using a tablespoon cookie scoop for uniform size and shape.

– Bake in a low, slow oven (325°F) to fully dry out the cookies while avoiding burning.

– Let cookies cool completely on the baking sheet before removing. This prevents crumbling.

– Store coconut macaroons in an airtight container at room temperature to maintain texture.

– Substitute almond flour for up to 1/4 of the shredded coconut if you want a less dense, cake-like texture.

Perfectly chewy, gluten-free coconut macaroons take some finesse. But follow these tips and you’ll have pro-quality results right from your home kitchen.

Common Questions about Coconut Macaroons

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about coconut macaroons:

Are coconut macaroons keto?
Yes, coconut macaroons can fit into a keto eating plan since they are low in carbs and sugar. Substitute a keto-friendly sweetener if needed.

Why are my macaroons mushy?
Overmixing, adding too much liquid, or underbaking can lead to mushy macaroons. Gently fold wet and dry ingredients, reduce milk or cream, and bake for the full recommended time.

Can I make coconut macaroons without condensed milk?
Yes, you can substitute an equal amount of full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream mixed with powdered sugar or maple syrup. The texture may be slightly less firm.

How long do baked coconut macaroons last?
Properly stored in an airtight container, coconut macaroons will stay fresh for 1-2 weeks at room temperature or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Why are my coconut macaroons hard?
Overbaking is the most common reason for hard, crunchy macaroons. Reduce oven temperature and bake just until set and starting to brown around the edges.


Coconut macaroons are a delicious classic gluten-free cookie. They are naturally free of gluten since they are made with coconut, egg whites, and sugar without any grains. Be sure to use certified gluten-free ingredients and avoid cross-contamination for gluten-free results. With a few simple ingredients and pro tips, you can easily bake perfect coconut macaroons to enjoy without gluten. Creative ways to eat these bite-sized coconut cookies include using as an ice cream topping, blending into cheesecake crusts, or dipping in chocolate. Coconut macaroons provide important nutrients like manganese and fiber too. The next time you need a gluten-free cookie, coconut macaroons are sure to satisfy your craving.

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