Ina's Coconut Macaroons

"This recipe comes from one of my many Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. I've tried many coconut macaroon recipes and this one is by far the best. For an extra special treat I have been known to dip the bottoms in bittersweet chocolate."
photo by DeliciousAsItLooks photo by DeliciousAsItLooks
photo by DeliciousAsItLooks
photo by ANGELA C. photo by ANGELA C.
photo by ANGELA C. photo by ANGELA C.
photo by DeliciousAsItLooks photo by DeliciousAsItLooks
photo by LB in Middle Georgia photo by LB in Middle Georgia
Ready In:
20 cookies




  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  • Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks.
  • Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
  • Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Cool on wire racks.

Questions & Replies

  1. I have made this recipe for years but still have the same problem. While they are baking they tend to run a bit. It doesn't effect the taste or appearance, but I'd love to know how to prevent this.
  2. Can you freeze them after baking them?
  3. Can this recipe be made ahead of time and refrigerated over night before it is baked?
  4. Do you HAVE to use sweetened coconut? I hate all that sugar but love coconut. Has anyone tried it using less or a combo of 1/2 sweetened and 1/2 unsweetened?
  5. Has anyone tried using almond extract in place of vanilla, or 1/2 vanilla, 1/2 almond? Maybe add some finely chopped almonds to the mix, then drizzle with chocolate when cooled? I think it may work, thoughts anyone?


  1. We love love love this macaroon recipe. They are awesome and so easy to make. We've made them so many times that i have a few tips about the recipe. 1) To avoid puddling when baking (complaint of earlier reviews) the cookies must be baked as soon as they are combined with the egg whites. If you wait and they sit the egg whites will break down and cause them to be runny and they will puddle (still delicious that way.) 2) Do not try and over compensate for the extra large egg whites if you only have large eggs. Large egg whites work just fine. If you add extra whites to your recipe the cookies become too moist/runny and won't set up and bake properly. 3) These cookies freeze great. We baked them and put them in the freezer and ate them 3 months later and they were still great. Just not as crunchy as when they were originally baked. I've also dipped them in chocolate or drizzled them with chocolate. Just melt some chocolate chips in the microwave if you don't have dipping chocolate. Give them a try, they are great!
  2. These are irresistible! I have made them several times and in the beginning had problems with puddling - but whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks helps avoid that problem. Another tip I want to pass on-is to dust the parchment paper / cookie pan with a little cornstarch or flour so that the cookies release easier. In the past it was annoying when half the cookie remained on the pan. Enjoy!
  3. These were easy to make - people who had problems may have either 1) used evaporated milk (thinner and less sweet) instead of sweetened condensed milk, 2) not shipped the egg whites long enough - they actually need to be stiff peaks when you lift the beaters, or 3) mixed the beaten egg whites with the coconut mixture with the mixer instead of gently by hand, thereby breaking down the fluffiness. We found these took a little less time in the oven than stated here, and rotating the pans and alternating racks is important. But we found these too sweet overall - dipping them in very dark chocolate (70% cocoa or above) helps ( well, how could it not?). Next Passover, I will try a basic meringue recipe with vanilla and coconut instead.
  4. These are delicious. I sometimes make them with half sweetened and half unsweetened coconut. When I make them with all sweetened coconut I grate the zest of one lemon into the mixture and this is everyone’s favorite. I also always dip them in dark chocolate. How can you go wrong? Off to make another batch. Glad to hear they freeze well.
  5. I have made this recipe quite a few times and it turns out great. No substitutions or additions to this recipe. For those who say it is too runny. It is probably your condensed milk. Take a look at the back of the can. Some manufactures add oil to their condensed milk. That will cause the runny batter. Make sure your condensed milk is just milk and sugar.


  1. Add ONLY 7/8 of a cup of Sweetened condensed milk, not the entire can which is 14 oz. they come out too runny.
  2. I didn't tweak. horrible recipe.
  3. I had the problem of the cookies spreading out, so I added more coconut and made them smaller in size to bake. They came out perfectly.
  4. What is missing is 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tatar.
  5. I use organic unsweetened coconut flakes and push an almond in the middle of the mound--they are the perfect sweetness and the nut adds crunch:) I also melt dark choc in metal bowl over boiling water (free double-boiler) and dip the bottom of 1/2 of the batch for those who'd like them with "Almond Joy" candy bar kick.


I live in Sacramento,CA and have lived here all my life. I've been married to the same guy for 20+ years and I have 4 children, including a set of teenage girl twins. I love cats, cooking and collecting cookbooks. My favorite cookbooks are dessert books (I bet you could tell by my user name). I love books by Maida Heatter. She is the Queen of desserts! I do struggle with my weight because I bake nearly everyday,even during the hot Sacramento summers. Baking relaxes me. My friends and staff think the previous statement is crazy but I'll bet a few of you out there could agree. My birth father was a pastry chef and although he passed away before I was 2 years old, I believe baking is in the genes. I was very lucky to have a grandmother who always let me tear up her kitchen up experimenting. Even when I was 5 years old! Strong lady!
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