Easy Homemade Raffaello Coconut Balls! No-Bake, Gluten-Free, and Delicious

February 6, 2021
Raffaello balls on brown coaster, apple and white mug with coffee, pen and blue notebook, pinecones and white flowers

We all adore Raffaello, right? That creamy texture combined together with a crispy wafer and almond in the middle.

Why not try the homemade version? It’s healthier, you can add or remove anything you like, and the best part? It is so easy to make, you will never go back to the store-bought version again!

Easy Homemade Coconut Balls That Look Fancy

One of your friends is coming around for coffee and you know they have a sweet tooth? These homemade Raffaello coconut balls will be the perfect dessert.

They only require 4 ingredients and 10 minutes of your time! Heck, they will probably be ready faster than your coffee. And they look so fancy, even the pickiest eaters will want to try them. I mean, just look at them:

Homemade Raffaello Coconut balls on wooden coaster on blue and white notebook. Apple in the background.
Delicious No Bake Gluten-Free Dessert That Only Requires 10 min to Make

Coconut, Gluten-free, and No Bake

At home, we adore shredded coconut. It’s the most common ingredient we use in cakes and cookies. We even sprinkle it on top of our oatmeal.

I prefer to use organic, unsweetened shredded coconut because the condensed milk is quite sweet on its own, but if you prefer a more sugary taste, this sweetened version works great as well. When I have the opportunity and access to real coconut, I shred it in the food processor, and it’s yummy. Let it dry out a bit, otherwise, the mixture will be hard to use for decorating.

Both my partner and I have a high sensitivity to gluten (that we foolishly ignore for the sake of desserts) so this easy recipe is one of our staple sweets.

There are vegan versions available, though I haven’t tried it (yet!). Be sure to check in again, I promise to try it out soon and update this recipe. Or post a comment if you prepared it yourself and want to share the knowledge.

As I always say, we are all here to learn and support each other.

Homemade coconut balls with almond center and scredded coconut on black serving plate

I LOVE no-bake recipes. Even when I have the time to pull up my sleeves and bake all day, I end up making these Raffaello copycats on the side, just in case we eat the other desserts too quickly. They are so easy to prepare that my 2-year-old niece helped me last time. Don’t fret, if Mia can do it and have fun, you can too!

Almonds, Hazelnuts or Cashew?

While I am all for organic almonds (that I roast myself), my partner chooses hazelnuts. He’s more on the traditional side and sticks to tastes he loves, while I try to experiment.

This recipe was tried out with all three types of nuts and we agreed almonds work the best.

Maybe it’s because this is the taste one thinks of when eating Raffaello, or maybe we just love almonds. Who can tell? But one thing is for sure, whichever type of nuts you end up going for, it will taste great.

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How To Roast Almonds

To emphasize, this is not mandatory, at all.

Any type of almonds: raw, natural, pre-roasted with skin or without, work just fine. Stay away from pre-salted ones 🙂

This is an additional step you can take on days you feel a bit extra.

In case you want to roast the almonds yourself , follow this simple method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 350℉)
  2. Place natural skinless almonds on a rimmed baking tray (lined with a baking sheet for easy cleanup)
  3. Roast for 15 min until lightly browned
Roasted natural almonds on baking sheet
Roasted Natural Almonds

Hint: roasted almonds are a great snack. Preparing them yourself is not only cheaper but also healthier. After roasting, season them with a mixture of olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika and store them in an airtight container. They will stay crispy for weeks!

Wafers and Other Substitutes

There is no wafer substitute that can replace the original Raffaello shell. Don’t worry, there is a simple and crunchy way to work around this. You can skip this step completely, or add it, up to you.

In this version of the Raffaello coconut balls, I didn’t include this step. However, the solution is simple.

Use store-bought wafers and grind them in a food processor. Or add a few in a plastic bag and grind them with a rolling pin. Be sure not to grind too long, as we want to keep them crunchy. Add two to three tablespoons to the wet mixture in step 1 of the instructions and continue with the rest of the steps as usual.

In case you want to tweak the recipe, instead of decorating your Raffaello balls with shredded coconut, try roughly ground hazelnuts.

Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor for a few seconds and roll the coconut mixture in the same way as you would in step 2 of the decorating process. Congratulations, you just made a completely new dessert!

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How To Store Homemade Raffaello Coconut Balls

Even though these never last more than two days around my family, I’ve tested them for a week. I prefer to eat them a bit cold, so I store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Sometimes I even leave them on a plate!

They are crispy and delicious straight out of the freezer for up to one week.

Homemade Raffaello Coconut Balls

Surprise everyone with this delicious yet easy recipe!
Prep Time 10 mins
Resting time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 16 balls
Calories 100 kcal


Raffaello mixture

  • 370 g condensed milk
  • 170 g shredded coconut (+extra for decoration) (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50 g almonds or other nuts (about 20 pieces) roasted or natural


  • 25 g shredded coconut (unsweetened)



  • Combine the shredded coconut and condensed milk in a bowl and let it sit for about 5 min so the coconut can absorb the milk
  • Take a bit of the coconut and condensed milk mixture and try to roll in a ball shape. If the mixture is still too wet to shape, add some coconut. The mixture will naturally be sticky, so don't add too much, just enough to be able to shape it
  • Take a tablespoon of mixture (or desired amount depending on the ball size you prefer) and add one almond in the middle
  • Place the mixture in your hand and shape it into a ball.
    (Add mixture if necessary to cover the almond)


  • Take a plate and add a few tablespoons of coconut for decoration
  • Place the shaped ball on the plate of coconut for decoration and roll the ball until all is covered. Repeat until you run out of the mixture
  • Place all the coconut covered balls onto a plate or inside an airtight container
  • Place plate or container in the freezer for at least 45 min. Keep in the freezer until you want to consume it
  • Enjoy!


  • It’s easier to shape the balls if the mixture was refrigerated for about 30 min, but it’s also possible to shape them straight away.
  • You can refrigerate the mixture instead of freezing it, but it will take about 2h. I prefer them to be more firm and cool when eating, but you decide which method you like best.
  • You can keep them in an airtight container for a week in the freezer and they still taste great right out of the box or left outside for a few minutes to reach room temperature.
  • P.S. calories are calculated per serving.
Keyword almond, coconut, gluten free, hazelnut, homemade, no bake, raffaello, recipe

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