Bolinhos de côco

Hi everyone!

For today’s post I wanted to share with you this simple, 3 ingredient, gluten-free, Portuguese macaroon recipe.

During my college years I lived in Portugal. In a small town (Samel), in the district of Aveiro. I was fortunate to experience our Portuguese traditions first hand especially during Easter time and during the summer when each little town celebrated their patron saint. Something I noticed early on was that these macaroons, called bolinhos de côco or simply côcos, were always present at the dining table during these festivities. (Just as a side note- although Portugal is small in size, its customs and recipes vary widely from region to region and therefore what I experienced might not be familiar to someone from a different region). They were addicting and I could never just have one. Little did I know at the time was how easy they were to make.

For anyone out there that has searched Portuguese websites for recipes you might notice two things: the same dessert will have multiple variations (for example, one recipe will take 5 eggs another 9 but the volume is supposedly the same!) and many times there are no quantities listed. Portuguese don’t usually use recipes (and I, on the other hand, can’t make anything without one!). Try asking a Portuguese mother, or even more so, a grandmother, a certain recipe and she’ll just list the ingredients and when you ask how much, they’ll just say you can see when it’s enough… It might work with cooking but when it comes to baking, I have no ‘eye’ for what ‘enough’ means :/

While still in Portugal, a friend did teach me this recipe. She actually just said, ‘Mix 250 grams of shredded coconut with 250 grams of sugar and 3 eggs and put in the oven’.  No oven temperature and time given but that would be asking for too much 😉 And the only reason I was informed of the 250 grams was because the shredded coconut came in packages of 250 grams 😉  (and lucky for us, the shredded coconut packages in the US also comes in 250 grams 🙂
(You’ll find that when Portuguese recipes have measurements, they are almost always in weight rather than volume).


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Shredded coconut, sugar and eggs

Makes about 45 bolinhos de côco.
Baking time: 15-18 minutes

250 grams shredded coconut
250 grams of sugar
3 eggs


1. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Place the mini baking cups on a baking sheet.

3. Mix together the 250 grams shredded coconut, 250 grams of sugar, and 3 eggs. (Easiest to mix with your hands).

4. Form small balls of mixture (about a quarter size) and place on the baking cups.

5. Place in oven for about 15-18 minutes. They are ready when the peaks have a golden color.


To note:
– Be sure to check that the shredded coconut has no added sugar. (There is already enough sugar in the recipe 😉
– The egg is a binder. The mix won’t be runny. If you find that the three eggs aren’t enough to hold the coconut and sugar into a ball shape, add one more egg.
– These don’t grow in volume.
– Yes, they will stick a bit to the baking cups but that is normal.
– If you find the côcos to be a bit drier than you would like, give the recipe one more try and simply add one more egg to the mixture.


This recipe has been approved by my toughest critics, my nephews 😀 Unlike their Madrinha, they don’t simply devour something because it is sweet 😉 So when they do like a dessert that I’ve made, I’m delighted 🙂




This is a simple recipe for a delicious treat. And although in Portugal these are usually made during festivities, there is no reason to wait for a special occasion, every day is a blessing in itself.



Thank you for stopping by and hope you enjoy this recipe!

Best wishes,


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