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Kalyn's Kitchen

Low-Sugar Gluten-Free Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies

Low-Sugar Gluten-Free Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies are low-carb, low-glycemic, and gluten-free and although there’s a little natural sugar in the unsweetened coconut, this is a cookie recipe that’s almost sugar-free! Use Desserts to find more recipes like this one.

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Low-Sugar Gluten-Free Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies found on KalynsKitchen.com

I see a lot of food blog posts about desserts, but although I indulge a bit when I’m traveling I don’t make desserts at home all that often. However a lot of people love sweet treats, and when I mentioned on the Kalyn’s Kitchen Facebook Page that I was experimenting with a Phase One cookie recipe from The South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook, it generated a lot of excitement. And of course a cookies that’s Phase One is also going to be low in carbs.

Desserts are a challenge on Phase One, and before this the Jelled Ricotta Pudding recipe I got from a reader was the only Phase One dessert on my blog. I experimented with a couple of versions until I got a version of these Low-Sugar Gluten-Free Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies that I thought was just right, and I’m excited to share the recipe. Even though I’m not a big sweets person, I liked these cookies so much that I had to remind myself about portion control, so if you’re trying to lose weight, keep that in mind!

Really I think these Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies are a pretty classic macaroon (not to be confused with macarons, which are a whole different baking experience!) The recipe uses ground almonds, and I was actually surprised that an official South Beach Diet Cookbook had these labeled as phase one, since one of the other cookbooks says no nut flours are allowed in Phase One. I don’t know if grinding the almonds yourself makes a difference, but I did follow the recipe for that part.

Coconut is definitely a fruit, but unsweetened coconut has only 1 gram of sugar in 3 tablespoons, which does a lot to explain why it’s permitted.  Anyway I’m trusting the book on this, and I did eat *quite a few* cookies when I was testing the recipe without gaining any weight!  (Check the South Beach suggestions after the recipe for portion size if you’re a South Beach dieter.) And cookies with coconut can’t ever be called sugar-free, but these cookies are pretty low in sugar.

Low-Sugar Gluten-Free Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies found on KalynsKitchen.com

Put a generous 2/3 cup slivered almonds into a small food processor or the bowl attachment of an immersion blender and process until just ground.  (I ground mine until it was just slightly more chunky than almond meal.  I’d guess you could use almond meal in this recipe in a pinch, but I haven’t tried it.  I would not use the more finely-ground almond flour though.) Put the ground almonds into a bowl and add the shredded unsweetened coconut, sweetener of your choice, and a generous pinch of salt.

I love using an egg separator to separate the egg white from the yolk, but you can also do it by hand using the shell.  You need two egg whites.  (The original recipe used one, but I found the cookies were crisper and the dough was much easier to handle with two.) Mix in the egg whites, nonfat Greek yogurt and vanilla until all the ingredients are moistened.

Low-Sugar Gluten-Free Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies found on KalynsKitchen.com

The recipe called for macaroons made into balls, but I wanted a flatter cookie.  (Anna from Poland followed the recipe in the book and made Coconut Almond Macaroon Balls if you want to see how they look.)  Thanks Anna for sharing that on Facebook!

I used a fork to smash mine down into cookies not quite 1/2 inch thick.  The batter is a bit crumbly so I pushed the edges together with the fork too. Bake for 30-32 minutes (or slightly less if you don’t want the edges quite so golden brown.

Low-Sugar Gluten-Free Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Tasty Ideas for Low-Sugar Cookies:

Delicious Sugar-Free (or Low-Sugar) Cookies for the Holidays ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Low-Sugar Gluten-Free Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies

These tasty Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies can be a treat when you want a cookie that’s low in sugar!


  • generous 2/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened coconut, which I found at a health foods store, see notes.)
  • 1/3 cup Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener or sweetener of your choice (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons Golden Monkfruit sweetener (see notes)
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (Use low-fat or full-fat, whichever you prefer)
  • 2 egg whites (I used extra-large eggs)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 325F/170C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat.
  3. Use a small food processor or the bowl attachment for an immersion blender to chop the almonds, just until they are ground but still a little chunky.
  4. Put the ground almonds, shredded coconut, Splenda or Stevia, and salt into a medium-sized bowl and mix together with a spoon.
  5. Separate 2 eggs to get 2 egg whites.  (Save the yolks for something else or discard.)
  6. Add egg whites, fat-free Greek yogurt, and vanilla to the dry mixture and blend together with a spoon until the ingredients are well-combined.
  7. Scoop out dough one tablespoon at a time and form into a round ball, then place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  (I used a metal tablespoon, which worked well.)
  8. Use a fork to press each ball down into a cookie slightly less than 1/2 inch thick.  (The cookies don’t spread out much, so don’t worry about that.)  I also used the fork to press the edges together because the batter is rather crumbly.
  9. Bake cookies until they are well set and starting to get nicely brown on the edges, about 30-32 minutes.  (This was quite a bit longer than the cooking time in the original recipe, but I liked the brown edges.  If you want a lighter cookie, take them out sooner.)


(Edited 2018) I like the cookies best with a blend of Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener and Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener, but you can make them with only one type of sweetener if you prefer.

I loved the crisp cookies when they were fresh from the oven and barely cooled.  After they had been stored overnight in a plastic container they were much less crisp.  I might consider only baking a few at a time (or even putting leftover cookies back into a hot toaster oven for a few minutes to crisp them.)

For these cookies I used Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened coconutStevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener, and Fage Total Greek yogurt.

This recipe adapted from  The South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook.

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
The low-glycemic ingredients in these cookies make them approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet. If you’re eating them for South Beach Phase One I would limit myself to 2 cookies per day and don’t have nuts as a snack on that day, since nuts are so calorie dense and the macaroons contain almonds. This recipe is also gluten-free and should be good for other low-carb eating plans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

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60 comments on “Low-Sugar Gluten-Free Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies”

  1. This was a great recipe, but when I used egg whites from eggbeaters, the cookies were too wet. I'd recommend only using 3 Tablespoons of egg whites from eggbeaters if you're going with this recipe. Still great cookies! Nice treat for phase 1.

  2. Just made these and now my kitchen smells amazing! Thanks for this great recipe!

  3. Hi, fun to hear from you Chocolate Lady! Hope you enjoy!

  4. Will try these for Passover. Actually, I am always ending up with two extra whites. Maybe I will try them sooner.

  5. I think the sweetener is necessary to give bulk to the dough, so I would check a health foods store for the unsweetened coconut next time.

  6. I must have done something wrong. I wasn't able to find unsweetened coconut, so I used sweetened, but reduced my "sugar" to 1/2 cup.
    However, my "dough" was runny, not crumbly, as you indicated.
    They still tasted YUMMY!

    Any suggestions?

  7. made these this afternoon while my bebes took a nap.
    they were delish!!
    thank you for the recipe. i love them. 🙂

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