Go-To Gluten-Free Macarons

Macarons

Maria Kallin / Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 14 mins
Rest: 30 mins
Total: 74 mins
Servings: 16 servings

Macarons are a favorite gluten-free dessert. Elegant, beautiful, delicious, and always a crowd-pleaser.

Macarons are light and airy meringue-based sandwich cookies made with almond flour, egg whites, granulated sugar, and confectioners' sugar. Once the macaron "cookie" is baked and cooled, they are filled with ganache, buttercream, or fruit curd for an endless array of flavor combinations.

Macarons, while delicious, can be finicky and delicate to prepare. Do not be daunted by the list of steps, which are detailed to help you successfully prepare these beautiful and festive gluten-free cookies at home. 

Treat this recipe as your foundation and blueprint for all the macarons you create. You can color them any color you desire and fill them with your favorite flavors. Try filling them with vanilla buttercream, lemon curd, or chocolate ganache.

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

  3. Add the confectioner's sugar and almond meal to a food processor fixed with a metal blade. Run until a fine powder forms. Sift four times, discarding any tiny lumps or almond meal “pebbles” between sifting. Set aside.

  4. Using a stand mixer fixed with the whisk attachment, whip the room temperature egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time. Once the mixture thickens and all of the sugar is added, stop the mixer.

  5. Add cream of tartar, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then turn the mixer back on, increasing the speed to high.

  6. Whip the mixture for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until a peak at the end of the whisk attachment holds its form. (You can test this by turning off the mixer and checking to see if the mixture at the tip of the whisk attachment doesn’t drip).

  7. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and set it on a counter or table. Add a third of the almond meal-confectioner's sugar mixture and fold gently to combine. Add another third of the almond meal-confectioner's sugar mixture, then fold again.

  8. Once incorporated, add the final third as well as the gel food coloring. Fold one final time. The batter that forms after three rounds of folding should be firm with a glossy shine. Test the batter by lifting the spatula; if the batter drips very slowly from the spatula like lava, it’s ready. If not, continue to fold the batter for another 30 seconds. Be careful not to overmix. 

  9. Affix a pastry bag with a #12 plain round tip. Fill the bag 3/4-full with batter. Pipe into 1.5-inch rounds on the lined baking sheets at least an inch apart. You want to pipe so that the bag is perpendicular to the baking sheet, not at an angle. After piping a circle of batter, flick your wrist quickly to the side so that a point doesn’t form at the top of the macaron. (If a tip does form, no worries, you can smooth it out with a small spatula later).

  10. Firmly tap the baking sheet on your work surface to get rid of any air bubbles potentially stuck in the batter. Let the prepared baking sheets sit at room temperature until a dry shell forms on the macarons. Test by touching the batter with your fingertip. If your fingertip doesn’t stick to the batter, the macarons are ready for the oven. The “resting” phase can take 20 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on the humidity in the room.

  11. Bake the macarons, one baking sheet at a time, in the lower third of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. When done, the tops will be firm to the touch and the center won't jiggle like jelly. 

  12. Remove the macarons from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Gently peel the macarons off the parchment paper and transfer to a wire rack. (If you try to do this while the macarons are still hot, they'll come apart). Repeat with the remaining macarons and allow them to cool completely before filling.

  13. Arrange the macarons by two’s, top side down, making sure to match sizes best you can. Depending on the size of the macaron, squeeze a nickel to quarter size amount of filling onto the bottom of the macaron. Lay the second macaron on top, and very gently press together so that the filling expands but doesn’t come out the sides.

Tips

  • Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels to confirm the product is gluten-free. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.
  • The more you sift the almond meal and sugar, the smoother the tops will be.
  • Use gel food coloring since it won't dilute the mixture like liquid food coloring will.
  • It's important to let the tops of the macarons dry out before baking, otherwise, they'll crack as they cook.