A Macaron recipe that makes delightfully crisp cookies that are soft and chewy in the center
This is an easy french macaron recipe (pronounced mac-ah-rohn). I make a big batch of these and then freeze them so I have some on hand for these trendy cream tarts!
What’s the difference between a macaron and a macaroon?
A macaron (mack-a-rohn) is a french cookie made from almond flour, sugar and egg whites. It has a delicate crispy shell and a soft and chewy center. A macaron is not very sweet and is often varied in flavors and colors.
A macaroon (mack-a-roon) is a cookie made from shredded coconut, egg whites and powdered sugar. It is usually scooped or piped into small balls and baked until the edges are golden brown. The texture is chewy and the flavor is very sweet. Pairs very well with chocolate and almonds (think almond joy candy bar). You can also try putting some macraoons on top of a vanilla cake with fresh buttercream for a showstopper at a party or get-together.
I actually love coconut macaroons more than french macaron. Makes me feel very nostalgic and I now I kinda need to make some.
Why are French macarons so hard to make?
I’m sure you’ve heard that macarons are very finicky, and it’s true, they can be! Especially if you’ve never made them before. I always struggle with making a new recipe if I don’t know what I’m looking for in each step. Is the batter right? Is it too runny? Are they too flat? I don’t know! The unknown can be very stressful amirite?
I actually learned how to make these in pastry school and nailed it on the first try. I’m not bragging, I was just incredibly lucky to have a french pastry chef standing right there showing me how to make them. I got to see exactly how he mixed the batter, how the batter fell in ribbons back into the bowl, how smooth the cookie was when it was piped and what it felt like when the skin had formed and they were ready to bake.
I know I’m not there with you right now to hold your hand but I hope this step by step photo tutorial will help you with getting the macaron recipe just right.
Macaron Recipe Step By Step
- Sift together the powdered sugar and almond flour
This is important so you can remove any hard lumps that might be in the mixture which will ruin the shiny surface of your cookie later.
- Whip your egg whites until frothy with the whisk attachment Slowly add in your sugar. Once you can. see some lines forming in the meringue, add in your cream of tartar.
- Whip until soft glossy peaks form. This can take 5-10 minutes. *pro-tip – leave your egg whites uncovered in the fridge overnight before you whip them to dry out. A lot of pros do this and it’s called aging the egg whites.
- Add the vanilla (or another flavoring) to your meringue and your food coloring. Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Add in 1/3 of your almond mixture and fold by taking your spatula and going around the edge of the bowl just under the batter, then cut through the center. Repeat this until you don’t see any dry spots.
- Add in the rest of your dry ingredients and continue folding
- Test the macaron batter to see if it flows off the spatula. If it falls in clumps it’s too thick. Keep folding.
- Once your batter falls from the spatula in a ribbon, try and draw a figure 8. If the batter doesn’t break, it’s ready. You will also notice the edges of the batter begin to turn glossy and the mixture oozes very slowly. The ribbon should dissolve back into the batter after about 20 seconds.
- Now you can pipe your macarons onto your parchment paper and bake! I use a #14 round piping tip and a template. Hold your tip straight up in the center of the circle, about 1/4″ away from the paper and squeeze until the batter fills the circle 3/4 of the way then lift straight up.
- Lift your tray up about 5 inches and drop onto the table to pop any bubbles that are under the surface of your macaron and the batter should spread to the edge of the circle.
- Let your macaron sit at room temperature until a crust forms over the surface. Depending on your room, it can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours. You should be able to touch the top lightly and it doesn’t feel sticky.
Tips for success:
- Use room temperature egg whites (if you forget to bring them to room temp, put your eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes)
- Sift your ingredients
- Weigh all your ingredients in grams for the best and most accurate results
- Make sure you use fresh egg whites
- Wipe the inside of your bowl and attachments well to make sure they are grease-free
- Don’t over-whip your egg whites, make sure they are at the firm peak stage but still glossy and moist
Troubleshooting macaron problems
Perfecting your macaron recipe will take time. After your first try you might notice some problems. These are the most common and how you can fix them.
- Over-mixing your batter will produce very flat macarons that will be hollow in the center and won’t have any feet
- Oily blotches on the surface of your macaron is from over-mixing and causing the oil from the almond flour to release into the batter. Try folding more gently.
- Macarons that have a raised nipple in the center after baking. This is caused by under-mixing and the batter is still too stiff.
- Under-mixing your batter or not using super fine almond flour will make lumpy/rough textured macarons.
- Cracked macarons are from not letting them sit at room temp for long enough so they haven’t had time to develop a shell or they were not mixed enough.
- Macarons won’t be round when you don’t hold your piping tip directly in the center of the template or your parchment isn’t flat.
- If your environment is very humid, use a space heater next to your macarons to help them dry out.
Make Download the template to make perfectly-sized macarons
French Macaron Template
Macaron filling recipe
Traditional french macaron recipe uses flavored buttercream as a filling but you can use jams, curds or even ganache. The flavor possibilities are endless!
Here are some popular flavor combinations for a macaron recipe
- Pink macarons flavored with freeze-dried strawberries and strawberry jam buttercream
- Yellow macarons flavored with lemon extract and lemon curd
- Pink macaron with passionfruit filling
- Green macaron with pistachio filling
- Beige macaron with salted caramel buttercream
- Chocolate macaron with espresso infused ganache
- Lemon macaron with raspberry jam filling
Can you make a macaron recipe without almond flour?
I have read that you can replace almonds in macaron with pumpkin seeds! Who knew? Seems easy enough. Replace the almond flour with equal weight of pumpkin seeds. Grind up your pumpkin seeds finely before you use them and make sure you sift them so that any large bits get removed. These large bits will make your macaron lumpy.
Can you make your own almond flour?
You can grind up your own blanched almonds (I buy mine from the bulk section at Winco). Place a cup of almonds in your food processor and pulse until finely ground. Don’t blend for too long or you’ll end up with almond butter!
Push the almonds through a strainer to remove any big pieces of almond. Repeat the process until you have enough almond flour for your recipe.
French Macaron Recipe
- 2 oz (57 g) almond flour
- 4 oz (113 g) powdered sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 oz (57 g) egg whites aged overnight in the fridge and brought to room temperature
- 1/4 tsp (1/4 tsp) cream of tartar
- 1 oz (28 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
- 1 drop gel food coloring
- 1 ounce (28 g) pasteurized egg whites
- 2.5 ounces (71 g) powdered sugar sifted
- 2.5 ounces (71 g) unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pinch salt
- Food Scale
- Stand Mixer
- Parchment Paper
- Piping Bag
- 802 Round Piping Tip
- Food processor
- Preheat oven to 300ºF and line a 1/2 baking sheet with the macaron template and parchment paper or use a silicone macaron mat with built in template
- Sift together the powdered sugar, salt, and almond flour, twice if not blended.
- Pulse the mixture in a food processor 8-10 times to make the almond flour mixture even finer and texture and to blend the ingredients together.
- Whip the egg whites on low to frothy consistency and slowly add the sugar in thirds while mixing on low.
- Once the egg whites turn white and you can see some lines forming in the surface from the whisk, add cream of tartar, whipping on medium until soft glossy peaks form.
- Add the vanilla (and food coloring if desired) to the meringue during the soft peak stage. Then continue whipping on medium-high until you get stiff but shiny peaks that start gathering and bunching on the inside of the whisk.
- Add 1/3 of your almond mixture to the meringue. Fold your spatula under the batter and around the edges and then cut through the center until almond flour is mixed in. Continue with the rest of the almond flour and folding until homogenous. (see video)
- Gently press the spatula on top of the batter while you turn the bowl to take out some fo the air from the meringue. Continue folding around the outside edge until the batter forms a ribbon and moves like lava.
- Your meringue is ready when it forms a ribbon off the spatula and the batter that settles almost dissolves all the way back into the rest of the batter but still leave a bit of a line.
- Place parchment paper onto your sheet pan. Pipe small rounds about 1" in diameter.
- Drop the pan onto the table 5-6 times from about 5" above the table to release bubbles. Use a toothpick to remove big pockets of air trapped under the surface. Use a very small amount of water on your fingertip to smooth any rough spots.
- Allow them to dry, uncovered until a crust forms on the surface. About 15-60 minutes or until a dry film develops over the surface of the cookie. For humid areas put a space heater nearby to help dry the cookies faster.
- Bake at 300ºF for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Smaller cookies will bake in 10 minutes, larger cookies will need to bake longer. If not quite baked, bake for an additional 1 minute. Cooled cookies should pull away from the parchment paper without sticking. If they do stick, they were not baked enough.
- Let cool fully before removing from the parchment and filling with buttercream. Cookies can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Shells can be frozen for 6 months in an airtight container.
For the buttercream
- Place egg white, powdered sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high for 5 minutes. Then add in softened butter and vanilla and whip until light and creamy.