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Gluten free and dairy free macaroons

Rhonda Albom

Gluten free and dairy free macaroons

Rhonda Albom, Owner, Kibitzspot.com

When I was growing up, macaroons were a Passover treat that I looked forward to all year. As a recently diagnosed gluten-and dairy-free adult, they are now an anytime delicious snack. The sweet toasted coconut produces a nutty flavor.

With some trial and error, we think we have mastered the perfect gluten-and dairy-free macaroon recipe.

While they will stay fresh for up to a week, they never last that long around our house. In fact, our recipe has a bit of built-in portion control in that it only produces nine coconut macaroons, so pigging out is limited.

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Macaroon vs macaron

Similar spelling and pronunciation, macaroons and macarons are actually quite different. The coconut macaroons we make have origins in 8th or 9th century Italy. At some point in time, they became a popular dessert for the Jewish Passover. In contrast, the colorful sandwich cookie known as a French macaron is most often almond-based.

Macaroon:  noun
A small cookie composed chiefly of egg whites, sugar, and ground almonds or coconut.

Macaron:  noun
A light, often brightly colored sandwich cookie consisting of two rounded disks made from a batter of egg whites, sugar, and almond flour surrounding a sweet filling.

Source: Merriam-Webster dictionary

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What you will need for these delicious macaroons

The good news is that this gluten-free macaroon recipe uses items that many already be in your pantry. All you need is:

  • An egg white
  • Shredded coconut
  • Sugar
  • Lemon zest
  • Vanilla essence
  • Salt

Gluten-free chocolate macaroon variety

Gluten-free chocolate macaroons are just as easy, with one additional step. After cooled, simply dip the bottom half of each cookie in melted chocolate and let dry on parchment paper. Important note: you must use gluten-and dairy-free dark chocolate if you are serving to people with these dietary restrictions.

result of our gluten-free macaroon recipe
The result of our gluten-free macaroon recipe.

Adjusting these gluten-free macaroons for Passover

Here is the good news; they don’t need much adjustment, just different baking and serving dishes, and kosher for Passover ingredients.

To be honest, they are one of my two favorite desserts at Passover. The other is our chocolate and toffee matzo, similar to a Matzo Crack. See all our Passover planning tips here.

A plate of gluten and dairy-free macaroons

Storing gluten-and dairy-free coconut macaroons

Store leftover macaroons in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for about a week at room temperature, or for a couple of months in the freezer. Frozen macaroons should be set at room temperature to defrost before eating.

Our gluten-free macaroon recipe


  • 1 cup (4 ounces) dried, finely shredded coconut
  • 1 egg white (large)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/8 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 320ºF (160ºC).
  2. Toast the coconut in a roasting pan in the oven, turning it once until it starts to turn a golden color. This should take only 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. While the coconut cools, zest the lemon and separate the egg white.
  4. Whisk the egg white, sugar, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest, until well-combined, frothy, and white.
  5. Gently mix the toasted coconut into the egg white mixture, stirring until the coconut is evenly moistened.
  6. Using wet fingers, form 1.5 inch (3.5cm) diameter balls from the mixture and place them on a baking paper-lined baking tray.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes (the batch photoed took 18 minutes) or until macaroons are a golden brown. Do not overcook.
  8. Allow to cool for five minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack.


Tips for better macaroons:

  • Toasting gives the coconut a deeper flavor.
  • Wetting your hands keeps the macaroon batter from sticking to your fingers.
  • It’s easier and quicker to beat the egg whites with an electric mixer than a fork, but we didn’t have a mixer that is gluten-free.

Nutrition Information: