Easy Macarons

For Delicious Macarons Every Time

Macarons

The Spruce / Clarice Lam

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Rest: 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 40 macarons
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
364 Calories
24g Fat
36g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 364
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 86mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 33g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 38mg 3%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 117mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Macarons are lauded as a French delicacy, but are actually of Italian origin as Venetian monasteries have made them for centuries. Most trace the cookies back to the Renaissance period when Queen Catherine de Medici brought her Italian pastry chefs along with the treat to France. Unlike American macaroons, French macarons are two crunchy-on-the-outside and chewy-on-the-inside meringue discs traditionally filled with ganache, buttercream, or jam.

There are varying methods of making a macaron, but this method using an Italian meringue as the base creates the most stable version. Macarons can be tricky to make, but practice and patience makes perfect!

"French macarons are one of my absolute favorite treats. Once I had my first bite, I knew I had to learn how to make them. This recipe is a great starting point to help you master these tricky but delicious cookies. Feel free to change the flavors and colors to put your own spin on these." —Tracy Wilk

macarons
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Macarons:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 7 medium egg whites, room temperature, divided

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2/3 cup water

  • Food coloring paste (white or your choice)

For the Filling:

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 cup water

  • 5 medium egg whites

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed

  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps, this macaron recipe is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Macarons

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine.

  3. Make a well in the center of the almond flour mixture and pour in 3 egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, fold and stir to make a paste. Set aside.

  4. Place the granulated sugar and water in a small pot and stir to combine. Wet your fingertips and wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pot.

  5. Heat on medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 238 F on a candy thermometer.

  6. While you are waiting for the syrup to reach temperature, place the remaining 4 egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high speed until it reaches medium peaks. Turn off the mixer and wait for the sugar syrup to reach temperature.

  7. Once the sugar syrup has reached 238 F, turn the mixer back on medium speed to bring the egg whites back together and slowly drizzle the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl until fully incorporated in the egg whites.

  8. Turn the mixer on medium-high and continue whisking until the egg whites are inflated, smooth, shiny, flexible, and still a little warm, about 1 minute.

  9. If using food coloring, squeeze a few drops to reach your desired color into the meringue and whisk for another 5 seconds or until completely incorporated.

  10. Take a small amount of the meringue and fold it into the almond flour mixture to lighten it up.

  11. Fold about half of the remaining meringue into the almond mixture using broad strokes until few streaks are left.

  12. Fold the rest of the meringue into the batter until no streaks are left. Use as few strokes as possible to incorporate everything as overmixing can lead to flat macarons.

  13. The consistency is correct when the batter slowly drips off the spatula like lava and slowly settles flat, not leaving any peaks.

  14. Prepare a piping bag with a 1/3-inch circle piping tip and pour some of the macaron batter into the bag.

  15. Pipe 4 small dots of batter directly onto each corner of a 12 x 17-inch sheet tray, then place a piece of parchment on top. This will prevent the paper from lifting up in the oven.

  16. Hold the piping bag vertically (perpendicular to the work surface) about a half-inch from the parchment and gently squeeze to pipe a 1 1/2-inch circle without moving the piping bag. Repeat, making sure to leave space in between each macaron, until all the batter is gone.

  17. Gently tap the tray on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Let sit for about 30 minutes until the surface of the macaron is dry to the touch. Preheat the oven to 300 F.

  18. Bake the macarons for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the shell is hard and the center is still chewy. Let cool completely.

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small pot, add 1 1/2 cups sugar and the water and stir to combine. Wet your fingers to wipe any sugar crystals off the sides of the pot.

  3. Place over medium-high heat until the sugar syrup reaches 238 F. Do not stir the syrup while it is cooking—this will cause the sugar to crystalize.

  4. In the meantime, place the egg whites and salt into a stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until the whites become frothy.

  5. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until fully combined. Turn the speed up to high and continue to whisk until medium-stiff peaks. Turn off the mixer and wait for the sugar syrup to reach temperature.

  6. When the sugar syrup reaches 238 F, remove the pot from the heat and turn the mixer back on low speed. Slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl until fully incorporated.

  7. Turn the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until it has doubled in size and the bowl is no longer warm.

  8. Turn the speed back down to medium and slowly add the butter chunks until smooth and fluffy.

  9. Lower the speed and add the vanilla. Continue to mix until everything comes together into a beautiful silky smooth buttercream.

Assemble the Macarons

  1. Prepare a piping bag with 1/4-inch circle piping tip.

  2. Fill the piping bag with the buttercream.

  3. Flip half of the macaron shells upside down and pipe a circle of buttercream onto each shell.

  4. Place the other half of the macaron shells on top of the buttercream. Make sure to pair similar-sized discs together for more consistent macarons.

  5. The macarons can be served immediately, but many say they are actually better after freezing overnight.

Recipe Tips

  • Store almond flour in the freezer to keep it fresh for longer. Old almond flour will make oily-looking macarons.
  • Use day old, room temperature egg whites. This increases the elasticity of the whites and creates a better meringue.
  • Place the piping bag with tip inside a large cup or pitcher, folding the edges of the bag around the opening of the vessel to help hold it open and still while you fill.
  • After assembling the macarons, store them in an airtight container in the freezer overnight. Many chefs swear by this method to allow them to “mature,” but make sure to bring them back to room temperature before serving.

Troubleshooting Macarons

  • Lopsided macarons: The macarons rested too long, the oven heat was uneven, or they were improperly piped.
  • Hollow shells: Either under whipping or over whipping the egg whites, under baking, or improper folding of the batter.
  • Flat shells: This is usually due to overmixing the batter.
  • Wrinkly or blotchy shells: Oily/old almond flour, over-beaten meringue, or overmixed batter can cause this issue.
  • Buttercream looks like soup: Either the meringue was too warm before adding in the butter or you just need to whip it longer. If whipping it longer is not working, try putting the whole bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill, then scrape down the sides and whip again.
  • Buttercream is chunky: The ingredients were too cold. Let it come to room temp and try whipping again.

Recipe Variations

Macarons can also be filled with other flavors of buttercream as well as ganache, jam, and pastry cream.

How to Store and Freeze

Macarons can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for three days or in the freezer for up to three months.

Why Are There No "Feet" on the Macarons?

The small, fluffy ruffles on a macaron shell are called "feet." It's a trademark feature of well-made macarons. There are a few reasons why feet don't form during baking. The batter was too wet, high humidity, not enough resting time to let the skin develop, or the baking temperature was too low; an oven thermometer can help with accuracy.

Why Do Macarons Crack?

Ideally, macaron shells should have a smooth surface. If you pull them out of the oven and notice cracks instead, it's likely that there's too much air in the batter. Overbeating and not letting the shells dry well enough before baking are two factors that may cause a hollow, cracked shell. Additionally, pay close attention to the batter texture during the macaronage stage. It takes some practice to know when it's perfect.

What's the Difference Between Macarons and Macaroons?

The names are similar and easily confused for one another, but macarons and macaroons are distinctly different cookies. Both use a meringue of beaten egg whites and traditionally do not include wheat flour (some macaroon recipes do), so they're gluten free. Macarons are sandwich cookies that are often brightly colored and available in a variety of flavors. Coconut macaroons are drop cookies baked to a golden brown and far easier to make.

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Article Sources
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  1. Garber, M. (2014, October 28). The dessert we deserve: How the french macaron became american. The Atlantic.