Using your home oven properly for baking macarons can help to avoid hollow, lopsided, browned or cracked shells. This post will go over different ways to set your home oven for baking colorful macarons.
I wrote this post on correctly using your home oven for baking macarons because I found that there wasn't much information about how to use your home oven properly when baking macarons. Unlike spacious and sturdy commercial grade ovens with even heat distribution, home ovens can be temperamental and seem to need a lot of coddling.
For any home baker, it's very important to know their own oven well in order to achieve success with any recipe, even my Best Macaron Recipe will only get you so far in achieving perfect macarons if you don't know how to adjust your oven properly for baking macarons. You will need to experiment under different baking conditions like rack position, temperature and bake time to find the optimal conditions for successful baking. When you learn to trust your oven, it will love you back ♥
When I started making macarons, I was more concerned about feet development and just making sure that the macarons actually looked like macarons. Needless to say, I was not too picky back then. But as I baked more of them, I realized that all the faults like hollow shells, crispy over baked bodies etc. would actually manifest itself in its outer appearance. In other words, you are essentially showing the world all your macaron's faults just by its visual presentation. I started to demand more perfection from these little sweet treats.
Even when you follow a macaron recipe religiously, you can still end up with ugly or underdeveloped macarons simply because you used your oven incorrectly (READ: Macaron Troubleshooting Guide). Almost all the recipes I've come across only instructs to bake at a certain time and temperature on the middle rack. It drove me crazy when I ended up with overly brown or under cooked macarons. It led me to experiment with my oven in order to get my macarons just right.
Average Baking Time & Temperature for Macarons
I'm not claiming to have the exact solution for you because all ovens are different. Every baker should know their own oven well. This post highlights the different ways to adjust your own oven to perfect the baking process. You may need to use a combination of these adjustments to achieve the results you want depending on your own situation.
All of the scenarios below are in reference to the average baking time, temperature and rack position of the two methods below:
♥ FRENCH Method: 320 F for 12-14 minutes on the middle rack ♥
♥ ITALIAN Method: 260 F for 20-22 minutes on the middle rack ♥
Oven Adjustment Methods
Baking Time and Temperature
Macarons can be over baked/under baked and feet development can be overdeveloped/underdeveloped if the baking time or temperature is not well aligned. For over baked shells or over developed feet, the temperature is probably too high causing it to bake too quickly. You will also find that feet which develop quickly and outwards are also victims of over folding and overly hot oven temperatures. The high heat forces the feet to develop much too quickly and it has nowhere to go except up and out. On the other hand, under baked shells and under developed feet (not a lack of feet due to wrong folding techniques, just underdeveloped), cannot fully reach their full potential when the oven temperature is not high enough.
Learn to adjust the temperatures in your oven. To compensate for adjusted temperatures, you will also need to readjust the baking time and vice versa. For temperature increases, baking time should be decreased. For temperature decreases, baking time should be increased. However, baking at lower temperatures may sometimes result in an undercooked shell and baking at higher temperatures may cause shells to brown. If that is the case, try adjusting the rack position as outlined in the next section.
Baking Time and Temperature Relationship
Macaron Baking Time and Temperature Relationship
↑ Increase temperature - ↓ decrease time
↓ Decrease temperature - ↑ increase time
As a starting point, for every 25 F increase or decrease, compensate with a 2-3 minutes change in baking time in the inverse direction.
Some Recommended Baking Temperature and Times
350 F for 10 minutes - suitable for spacious large ovens
325 F for 12-14 minutes - standard starting point for my recipe
300 F for 16-18 minutes
275 F for 18-20 minutes - suitable for smaller ovens with small compartments
These temperatures are for conventional ovens without convection setting. Usually, it is recommended to decrease the temperature by 25 F when using the convection setting.
The middle rack is often the "default" position in any oven. It's ideal for most foods since it allows the hot air to circulate evenly around the food, resulting in balanced heat distribution. Most recipes recommend that you bake your macarons on the middle shelf. However, you may need to adjust this depending on where your heat source is coming from and your own individual problems.
Browning of shell top due to broiler's heat source from the TOP of the oven without convection fan: If the tops of your macarons are browning too fast before the centre is fully cooked, try moving your macarons to a lower rack until the feets develop. Then, place an empty tray on the rack above the shells to shield them from the heat.
Shells browning on bottom due to heat source from the exposed bake element at the BOTTOM of the oven without convection fan: If your macarons are browning on the bottom before the centre is fully cooked, try moving the macarons to a higher rack. If that alone doesn't help, you can try adding an extra tray immediately below the current tray to prevent it from heating up too quickly.
Convection vs. True Convection
A regular convection oven features a fan which helps to distributes the air around the oven. A "true convection" (a.k.a European convection or third-element convection) utilizes an additional heating element behind the fan to blow heated air to your dish. This method produces more even heat distribution and better baking results.
Using the convection fan
I have become a recent convert to the convection fan since I have found that the temperature remains consistent throughout the baking process with only a 5 degree variance. The fan helps to distribute heat more evenly throughout the oven cavity so you may even be able to bake several trays at once. The heat reaching your macarons may be increased and you may need to decrease the temperature or baking time. As a starting point, it is usually recommended to decrease the temperature by 25 F when using the convection setting.
On the flip side, some bakers may find that their convection fan is a little too strong and causes the macaron shells to become lopsided. You can consider turning on convection cooking during the latter part of the baking period since your shells will already be stronger at that point than when they were wet. If that doesn't help, you may need to skip using the fan altogether.
Having said all that, a convection fan is not necessary when using your home oven for baking macarons. It is a nice added bonus to keep the heat distributing evenly and consistently. You can still achieve this by using other baking tweaks and the proper heat conducting kitchen tools which will be outlined below.
If you're still having trouble using a slow and consistent temperature method, try the hot-preheat method. Increase the oven temperature 50 degrees more than the usual baking temperature during the preheat. Once it has reached that temperature and you're ready to bake, turn it down to the regular baking temperature once you place your trays inside. You will need to compensate for this increase in temperature by baking it a shorter amount of time.
This method allows your shells to develop feet from the exposure to the initial high heat but lets them finish off at a lower temperature to avoid browning and over baking. You'll need to be careful of this though as home ovens can cycle hot and cold before it ever reaches your desired temperature so adjusting the temperature mid-way in the baking process may not really change the temperature as you'd hope it would. Read this post on finding a consistent oven temperature.
Reduce Oven Moisture
In Pierre Herme's Macarons book, he advises to open the oven door near the end of the baking time after the feet have developed to let out the steam. Personally, I have never had to do this. I rarely open the oven or turn my trays because I prefer to keep the oven door closed so the heat remains consistent but if this is an area of concern for you, you can also keep the oven door ajar for the whole or for a duration of the baking time by propping a wooden spoon in between the door. You will need to compensate for the loss in heat by increasing the oven temperature.
Good Oven Practices for Baking Macarons
Always Pre-Heat Oven and Use an Oven Thermometer
Always Pre-heat your oven to the correct temperature before placing your trays inside. Place an external oven thermometer inside the oven to ensure that the temperature is correct. Many bakers assume that their ovens are at the correct temperature when in fact, it has increased or decreased during the baking process without their knowledge.
You don't need a fancy thermometer, just a simple hanging one like this one will do. I like that it is small and saves space because it can be hooked on the upper tray. Did you know that the temperature during the initial period of pre-heating is the most unstable? Read my other post on Maintaining a Consistent Oven Temperature.
Identify Hot Spots in Your Oven:
If you are getting uneven results from the same tray of macarons - some are browner than others or some are under baked - you may be facing an issue of hot spots in your oven. You'll need to avoid placing macarons in those areas and rotate your tray throughout the baking time to achieve more even heat distribution.
A great way to identify the hot spots in your oven is to bake several slices of white bread on a tray until it turns brown. You can then see if they have all browned at the same pace or if some are browner than the others.
Bake One Batch at a Time:
I do not recommend baking several trays at once until you have already found the optimal conditions in your oven to bake a perfect batch. Until then, it would be difficult for you to determine why your macarons did not bake successfully. When you bake several batches at once in a small home oven, sometimes heat cannot be evenly distributed to all the shells at the same time. Also, if you are baking on different racks, you would be forcing your macarons to be closer to or further away from a heat source than you'd like. Although not advised for new macaron bakers, if baking several batches at once, try to: alternate the trays midway into the baking time or bake 2 trays on the same rack instead of on different racks. If you have a true convection oven, baking several trays may be easier with the convection setting.
Hollow macaron shells are a result of a combination of poor batter preparation and not enough heat distribution during baking. To combat the latter, use good heat conducting equipment and increase the temperature or baking time.
Check that your baking pan is conducting enough heat to your macaron shells to help it rise. I like using these rimless aluminized steel ones because it conducts heat evenly and allows for good airflow. It is also very sturdy and doesn't buckle easily, preventing lopsided macarons.
A way to encourage heat transfer from the pan to the macarons is to use parchment paper or Teflon sheets instead of silicone mats. I like silicone mats because they keep the macaron shapes from spreading. I only use Silpat branded ones because they are guaranteed to be made from food-grade materials and they conduct heat well.
Lastly, to maintain a consistent temperature inside the oven, try keeping a pizza stone inside the oven on a lower rack from the macarons. I wrote a whole guide on How to Prevent Hollow Macarons if you're interested in reading more about this.
Summary of Macaron Troubleshoots Due to Oven Conditions
(Complete macaron troubleshooting here):
• Shell top is browning:
- move further away from heat source
- decrease temperature, increase time
- shield macarons with empty tray on rack above
• Shell bottom is browning:
- move further away from heat source
- decrease temperature, increase time
- add double pan on bottom
• Shell is undercooked or feet is under-developed:
- move closer to heat source
- increase baking time
- increase temperature
• Shell is overcooked/dry or feet is over-developed:
- let macaron mature 24 hours or more after filling
- brush same flavoured syrup or milk on bottom of shells
- next time, turn down heat or move away from heat source
- stop whipping egg whites once it reaches stiff peaks
• Shell is lopsided:
- avoid using convection fan if thats the culprit
- avoid using fans the blow directly onto macarons while waiting for skin to develop
-use the range hood fan instead to dry out piped macarons
- consider using a silpat mat instead of parchment paper
- incorrect piping techniques
• Inconsistency in the same batch:
- identify hot spots in your oven
- bake only one tray at a time until you find the optimal baking time/temperature
- for trays baked on different racks, alternate the trays midway into the baking time
- ensure batter is fully incorporated before piping
I hope this post on how to correctly use your home oven for baking macarons. Let me know how yours went.
Happy Baking to You!
Note: This post was originally published on October 1st, 2014.
Fascinating, you're the first person I've found that has documented the "hot pre-heat" method! I did the same thing when trying to deal with my very old electric oven. It's a great workaround for ppl with ovens that kick off a hot cycle, causing their macarons to rise too fast then collapse.
On a separate note, I've had poor luck using silpats for my bakes -- there's just not enough heat underneath the macarons to crisp up the bottom. Maybe I'll give them another try.
I'm happy to hear it was useful for you! Let me know how it goes with the Silpats 🙂
Hi, thanks for the useful information, can I use any type of home oven to bake a perfect macaroons or it is a very hard approach?
Which home oven brands do you prefer to bake perfect macaroons?
Any type of home oven is fine as long as it has a consistent temperature (doesn't rise and drop dramatically). I had the opportunity to bake in several different ovens and they all had their own quirks which I had to adjust my temp and time, rack position etc. It's doable though! I don't know much about the different brands since there are so many different types of ovens out there (and some are essentially the same thing made in the same factories but branded differently). I can tell you that I've worked with a non-convect Whirlpool, a convection Frigidaire and a convection Kitchenaid. They are worked just fine after some tinkering 🙂 Good Luck!
Thank you, this website has awesome information!
I hope it was useful.
Thanks for the much informative site. I have an issue with the feet while baking. Not all but some of the feet on certain corners lift off the mat while baking. Everything rises fine up till about the 4-5 min mark and then it starts lifting off. I use Silicon mats by the way I have cleaned the mat with vinegar before piping because this sometimes causes this lift. Not the whole circle of the feet about 1-2cm on different sides.have any ideas? Thank you
I think it would help to read about "lopsided macarons" in my macaron troubleshooting guide. If this is not a consistent thing across the board on the entire tray, you may have some hot spots in your oven.
Do you adjust your baking time depending on the size? I like to make small macarons (1 inch) versus most make medium (2 inch) and I see some bake cake sized macarons.... different times for each?
Yes, baking time depends on the size. For example, a larger macaron cake sized shell might take up to 20-30 minutes to bake fully. Always gauge the doneness by the appearance rather than following a strict time because all ovens and baking conditions differ.
Hii Mimi ,
Iam using an OTG OVEN WITH CONVECTION
SO DO WE HAVE TO BAKE THE MACARONS ON BOTH HEATING RODS ON I.E BOTH TOP & BOTTOM ON
ONLY TOP / BOTTOM ROD ?
I think it's most preferable to use bottom heat only to help them rise and prevent browning of the top. Of course, you'll need to play with this as all ovens are different and it depends how much heat you're getting from both. XOXO, Mimi
Hi Mimi, awesome site. So informative! One question, when you’re letting your Macs cool, do you pull the silpat mat off the hot sheet or let it cool right on the baking sheet? Lately some of my shells are coming off the feet after cooling, not quite sure why. Thanks!!
Thank you very much! I usually let them cool right on the hot pan to allow the bottom to cook a bit further. If they look way too cooked already (browned etc).., I will pull the mats off the hot pan and let it sit directly on the counter.
I've tried making macarons 9 times now but my macarons haven't developed feet. Where am i going wrong?
is it enough to beat egg whites for as long as meringue sticks to the bowl? and doesn't fall from the bowl?
Have you had a chance to see my troubleshooting guide? It will outline a few ways to fix macarons with no feet. Usually, beating the meringue until it doesn't slip from the bowl and the points are pointing upwards instead of drooping, then it's a good time to move forward to the next step.
I have inconsistent results from my macarons, and I suspect its due to my oven temperature. But I am really lost on how to test it...my macarons always turn out lopsided and I had baked many many times. Sometimes it turns out well, most times...it turn you all lopsided. If temperature goes to 140-150 deg, it rise nicely only to fall spread later on. If i turn it to 130 deg, it rise slightly but takes an hour to totally dry out in my oven. I am almost in tears but I do not want to give up. Can you give me some advise?
It sounds like you tried a few different temps already. Sometimes the lopsidedness can come from problems with the meringue. Make sure you're helping it stabilize by using some acid like lemon/cream of tartar and whipping at a slow speed then working your way up until just stiff. I have a post on how to whip perfect meringue for macarons, take a look when you can.
I became obsessed with macaron making when I lived in Europe for several years with nothing to do lol. I’ve used countless recipes but always come back to yours! Hollows have always been an issue & for the first time today, they were nearly perfect. Hooray! They were a bit too tall however, so will lower the oven temp a bit next time & see if that’s a fix. Would love to see you create an Italian method!
I'm jealous of your European adventure! What a beautiful experience. One day, I want to work on one. Unfortunately, I am always so busy! hehe, hopefully oneday. I use the Pierre Herme one, it's pretty standard but I guess with macarons, it's really the technique that is most important, isn't it. Happy new year!
I m so much confused that in which mode I bake my macarons because I have a convection oven in which two options are there I.e.. first bake - in which bottom rod with no fan and the second is toast/ convection- in which top and bottom rod with fan.
Second my point is my recipe is vegan with aquafaba so on which temp I bake my macarons in my oven
Third problem is on which rack of the oven I placed the tray
Thanku so much if you prompt reply on my queries because my husband bday is coming soon and I want to give him a surprise decoration of macaron on his bday cake.
Hi, I think you are better off with bottom rod no fan. We are constantly trying to shield our macarons from excessive heat from the top so that they don't brown. If you use the other setting, the macarons may brown too easily and wont' look as appealing. As for your vegan recipe, it's better to refer to the writer of that recipe and follow directions in that recipe for the temp. Depending on how much heat you're getting from the top, that will determine where to put your tray. I would start with the middle rack with a test macaron first and then go from there. If it's browning too quickly, try to lower temp and move it down a tray. I hope that helps. XOXO, Mimi
Hi, is there a way to adjust the recipe itself to make the batter less moist? I aged the whites, beat to stiff peaks (upside down test, pointy tip, still glossy) and macaronage until the ribbons sort of disappear in 30secs, and dry until matt and I can lightly swipe it. Silpats make all of them crack and ruffle at the cracks (different type of crack from the pic in your troubleshooting page), and parchment makes about half of them crack the same way and half look beautiful with no hollows and straight feet. I tried baking them at 285 so oven too hot isn't the issue like people suggest (with oven thermometer). I assume its because the parchment absorbs some moisture. My oven is top heated only. Should I adjust the rack position/temperature as well?
There is no need to make the batter less moist, the recipe works well on silpats and parchment paper. I think a matter of technique needs to be adjusted for. I think your results with the parchment paper sounds promising so that's a good sign. I don't quite understand "make all of them crack and ruffle at the cracks" and without being there to see your process, it is hard to see what is wrong but if it were me at this point, I would move the tray to a lower rack away from the heat source from the top. Then work on making sure the technique is correct at every step. If you have more information you'd like to provide, then please let me know and I'll suggest what else you can do.