No-Bake Recipe: Coconut Snowballs (Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, & Vegan!)

updated Feb 5, 2020
Coconut Snowballs

No-bake, gluten-free, vegan coconut snowball cookies that are quick to assemble.


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(Image credit: Yossy Arefi)

When it comes to cookies, deliciousness usually arrives in the form of ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, nuts, and chocolate. So what happens when you can’t eat any of these foods? In my case, you start playing with coconut.

(Image credit: Yossy Arefi)

Besides nut and chocolate allergies, I am currently on a restricted diet without gluten, soy, dairy, or refined sugar. I had resigned myself to a cookie-less holiday until my mother, ever hopeful, insisted that we find something sweet and celebratory to fill my corner of the cookie platter. Fortunately, coconut (not really a nut!) is one beloved food I can still eat.

For days, my kitchen was covered in all things coconut: shredded coconut, coconut butter, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut flour. I experimented with different combinations, measurements, cooking methods, and spices, and the result is the confection you see here. Sweet, yet not overwhelmingly so, these coconut snowballs have just the right balance of tender butteriness and textured coconut. They’re quick to assemble, require no baking, and are rich enough that one is plenty (maybe two, if you have an accompanying mug of coffee, tea, or cider).

If you’re a raw food person (or cooking for one), you can also use this recipe; substitute raw agave or yacon syrup for the maple syrup and make sure to use certified raw ingredients or process your own coconut milk, for example.

(Image credit: Yossy Arefi)

Coconut Snowballs

No-bake, gluten-free, vegan coconut snowball cookies that are quick to assemble.

Makes 12

Nutritional Info


  • 1 3/4 cups

    unsweetened shredded coconut, divided

  • 2 teaspoons

    melted coconut oil

  • 3 tablespoons

    maple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon



  1. Place 1 cup of shredded coconut and coconut oil in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process, scraping down the sides periodically, until it reaches a paste-like consistency. (It does not have to be completely smooth like butter; some coconut texture is good.)

  2. Add the maple syrup, coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and process until well combined. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut and pulse until just combined.

  3. Shape the mixture into 12 (1-inch) balls and coat with the remaining shredded coconut and place on a plate. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 5 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

(Images: Emily Ho)