These gluten-free Cranberry White Chocolate Macaroons are crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. They're delicate pillowy mounds of lightly sweetened coconut cookies with hints of orange and dried cranberries. These cranberry coconut macaroons are made without condensed milk!
It's the season for cookie baking! These Cranberry White Chocolate Macaroons are a tradition in my home during the holidays. They're crispy on the outside and soft and chewy inside. They're pretty pillowy mounds with tiny morsels of festive cranberries and hints of orange.
Best of all? These cookies are gluten-free and made without condensed milk.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
They're festive! These cranberry coconut macaroons are delicately flavoured with either orange or lemon zest. Add some chopped dried cranberries for both festive colour and delicious flavour.
They're an option for your gluten-free friends! When you're planning your holiday baking, it's good to remind yourself to consider the needs of your friends who are gluten-intolerant or avoiding wheat in their diet. These cranberry macaroons (and these Crispy Salted Coconut Cookies) provide the perfect solution.
They're quick and easy to make! You can make them in about 25 minutes and have at least one sweet treat for those who don't eat wheat. For more ideas, see my collection of Gluten-free Holiday Cookies and Bars.
Let's make a batch of cranberry macaroons!
egg whites: at room temperature. Egg whites will whip faster and with more volume at room temperature than straight from the fridge. Plan ahead and let your eggs sit on the counter for a while. Egg whites are the key to binding the coconut together into sweet little coconut mounds.
sugar: granulated sugar works best in this recipe. You'll only need ½ cup for the whole batch.
flavouring: pure vanilla or pure almond extract
salt: just a pinch
cranberries: dried, chopped. I made this recipe with dried cherries once, but I found it was much too sweet. I like the tart flavour of the cranberries.
orange zest: adds amazing flavour. You can also use lemon zest instead.
coconut: unsweetened, shredded coconut. While a traditional recipe for coconut macaroons uses sweetened long-shred coconut, I find it to be much too sweet. I use organic unsweetened medium-shred coconut successfully. Macaroons made with long-shred coconut sometimes fall apart. If long-shred is what you have on hand, pulse it in a food processor a few times to chop it a little.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats to prevent the cookies from sticking to the pan. If not, the cookies will stick to the pan.
- Beat egg whites until frothy, then add sugar, flavoring, and a pinch of salt and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Very gently fold in finely chopped dried cranberries, orange or lemon zest, and coconut.
- Use a cookie scoop, if you have one, to drop evenly-sized mounds onto a baking sheet. Press the coconut mixture firmly into the cookie scoop so the macaroons keep their shape. Alternatively, you can roll them into balls with your hands, flattening the bottom slightly when you place it on a baking sheet.
- Bake, let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle these coconut cookies with tempered white chocolate. See the note below for how to temper chocolate.
- Store in an airtight container or freeze these delicious little morsels!
🥶 Storage and Freezing Instructions
Once the macaroons are completely cool, store them in an airtight container. They will be fine for a few days at room temperature, or you can store them in the fridge.
These white chocolate coconut macaroons freeze well, so you can make them well ahead of time. Wait until the white chocolate has set before packaging. Store them carefully in an airtight container with a sheet of parchment paper in between layers.
👍🏼 Tip: How to Temper Chocolate
Step-by-step instructions to temper chocolate. This technique works with both dark chocolate or white chocolate. Use a double boiler, if you have one, to melt squares of chocolate over, not in, boiling water. Or simply suspend a glass bowl over a saucepan if you don't.
- Add water to a depth of about ¾ to 1 inch to a saucepan.
- Place a glass bowl over the saucepan so the lip of the bowl fits over the rim of the saucepan and the bowl is suspended.
- Melt ¾ of your squares of chocolate over, not in, boiling water.
- Once they are almost melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining ¼ of the squares. These squares will melt in the existing heat of the chocolate.
I use a decorating bag fitted with a standard #10 round tip to drizzle white chocolate on these macaroons.
A Note about White Chocolate
Drizzling white chocolate over the cooled cookies makes them exceptional, but is of course, optional. Note that not all brands of white chocolate will melt. Check the label. It must contain cocoa butter or it won't melt. Baker's White Chocolate squares will work; Ghiardelli White Chocolate Chips will not.
❓Macarons vs Macaroons
Both are cookies. A macaroon is made with coconut and sugar and held together with egg whites. A French macaron is made with almond meal. Macarons are like small sandwich cookies. They come in a variety of colours and flavours.
Enjoy every last little bite!
🗒More recipes for holiday cookies and bars
- Zebra Cookies and Holiday Cookie Roundup
- Traditional and Reliable Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
- Gluten-Free Almond Shortbread Cookie Balls
- Gluten-Free Crispy Salted Coconut Cookies
- Gluten-Free Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
- Orange-Cardamom Almond Flour Shortbread
Looking for new ideas for holiday cookies all in one collection? See 20 Gluten-free Holiday Cookies and Bars.
When you make these white chocolate coconut macaroons, please leave a comment and a star rating below. I love hearing how my recipes turned out for you or what adaptations you made. Thanks in advance! Subscribe to my newsletter and have new recipes delivered straight to your inbox once a week.
Cranberry White Chocolate Macaroons
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, or lemon zest, finely grated
- 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 4 oz pure white chocolate, melted, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325°F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
- Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until frothy, then add sugar, extract, and salt and beat for about 2-3 minutes.
- Gently fold in finely chopped cranberries, orange or lemon zest and coconut.
- Using a cookie scoop, press firmly into the scoop and carefully drop mounds onto aking sheets about 2 inches apart, making sure you have them nicely mounded.
- Bake at 325°F for 12- 15 minutes until golden, watching carefully as they brown quickly.
- Let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Melt 3 oz of the white chocolate over, not in, boiling water. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 oz of chocolate.
- Drizzle over cooled macaroons, using a decorating piping bag or a spoon.