Making macarons in advance for a special event or special order can save time and eliminate stress. Learn the different ways to prepare macarons ahead of time.
Can I Make Macarons Ahead of Time?
Yes! You can definitely freeze macarons and making them in advance. This is a very valid question because macarons can be so finicky that it's safer to make them ahead of time for a special event, saving time and lowering anxiety. This is especially important if you are making macarons in your home baking business. READ: How to Price Homemade Macarons. Although many home bakers would agree that it's probably easier to prepare a cake for a special event, macarons have their own special advantage too. They don't need to be made on the same day as they are served.
Macarons can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen in advance of an event without compromising its freshness or quality. In fact, many of the big names in the industry freeze macarons and transport them around the world for sale at a later date. For the home baker, freezing macarons in advance can provide more time to focus on other aspects of party planning and a sense of peace knowing that the macarons are all prepped and ready to go.
How to Refrigerate Macarons in the Fridge or Freeze in the Freezer
There are several different ways to make and store macarons in advance:
- Refrigerate the fully assembled macaron: Fully assembled macarons usually stay fresh 2-4 days after it's made depending on the moisture level in the filling. Decorate and serve before this date is up.
- Refrigerate the shells only: Macaron shells usually stay fresh 4-6 days after it's made. Decorate, assemble and serve before this date is up. After filling, it can stay fresh for a further 2-4 days depending on the filling.
- Freeze the fully assembled macaron: After filling the macaron, let it mature for 12-24 hours (depending on the filling) and then freeze. This method is great for macarons with fillings that can be successfully thawed without releasing too much moisture. Stack them in an air-tight container to prevent breakage. On the day before serving, thaw macarons a few hours in advance. Allow extra time to decorate macarons if needed. From this point on, they will stay fresh for a further 2-4 days depending on the filling.
- Freeze the shells only: After baking and cooling off, the shells can be frozen in an air-tight container. This method is great for macarons that need to be assembled on the same day they are served (e.g. macaron cakes etc.) or for macarons with fillings that don't freeze well (e.g.jellies). Stack them in an air-tight container to prevent breakage. On the day of assembly, transfer them from the freezer to the fridge a few hours in advance. Once thawed, they can be assembled and decorated as usual. From this point on, they will stay fresh for a further 2-4 days depending on the filling.
How Long Can Macarons Stay Frozen in the Freezer?
Macaron shells can stay frozen for up to one month without affecting the freshness or quality. The quality starts to decline a bit after that with reduction in flavor intensity, slight changes in flavor profile and freezer burn etc. The one month mark is a good place to start for a best before date and some sources vouch for storing macarons in the freezer for up to 3 months. For fully assembled macarons, the length of time will fall within these parameters depending on the filling that is used. How the macaron is stored will also affect its longevity.
Which Containers to Use for Freezing Macarons?
Macarons stay nice and fresh in the fridge or in the freezer when stored in air-tight containers. They can usually be stacked one on top of another in the container. If the bottom of your macarons are a bit gummy or sticky, I recommend placing a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper in between each layer. Better yet, I recommend putting one single layer by itself in a shallow BPA-free tupperware container. These containers are usually made for storing pasta sheets or sandwiches. And because they are shallow, they are also great for storing decorated macarons face up without compromising the design. I purchased mine from a Japanese home goods store but I was able to find comparable ones here, I like that these are even bigger at 12X8.5 so it can fit even more macarons.
Taking Macarons Out of the Freezer
Once the macarons are ready to be assembled, decorated or served, take them out of the freezer and place them in the fridge to thaw for a few hours. (My readers mentioned in the comments below to keep them in the original container.) Once they are completely thawed, they will last 2-4 days more depending on the filling used. (This is assuming that they were frozen immediately after baking/cooling or assembly.)
Decorate Macarons Before or After Freezing?
Most decorations that have been applied onto a macaron can be frozen and thawed with no problems. When in doubt, always test run one decorated macaron by freezing and thawing it and see how it holds up. Below are some decorations and how they hold up after freezing:
- Edible marker: good, try to keep them face up in shallow containers, one level per tray as they do get smudged when rubbed.
- Buttercream flowers: good
- Sprinkles baked in or glued on with edible glue: good
- Royal icing decorations: fair - icing might run after thawing if the consistency is runny. If this happens, it can usually be cleaned off with a wet paper tower if the color is light enough. Avoid using black royal icing to decorate macarons if the consistency is too runny.
- Fondant glued on with edible glue: good
- Shimmer powder brushed onto macaron: good
- Sugar flowers: good
Which Macaron Fillings Freeze Well in the Freezer?
Basic Chocolate ganache and buttercream are the best fillings to use when freezing macarons. They both thaw very well without adding moisture back into the macaron shell when taken out of the freezer. These fillings can be used to fully assemble a macaron for freezing.
Jelly, jams and curds should be used with caution. Jelly and jams tend to release moisture back into the shells when thawed while curds might start to separate. If you'd like to make a lemon curd for freezing, try this macaron-friendly lemon curd recipe which can be frozen. If using jelly, jams and curds in advance, try the method of baking and freezing the shells ahead of time. Jelly and jams are best served on the day of serving so thaw the macaron shells a few hours on the day of, assemble and then allow a few hours for maturation. Curds should be matured for 12-24 hours in advance so thaw the shells a few hours before assembly and then let it mature.
Whipped cream should never be used for macarons with or without freezing because it's too high in moisture content. If you want to know more about the different types of macaron fillings, here's a guide on yummy macaron fillings.
Hi Mimi, why are my Macarons still hard even after maturing for a couple of days?
It sounds like the macarons may have been overbaked. In this case, brush some milk or syrup on the bottom of the shells and then fill them. It will help soften them up 🙂
How well do macarons filled with cream cheese defrost? Thank you so much!
Depending on what other elements there are inside. A simple one with just butter and sugar will defrost well. I also have another version here called pumpkin spice cheesecake macarons and this one also defrosts very well.
very informative site.
I need to keep ready 300 wafers (150 pairs) of 4 flavours on 5 Dec, the consumption will be in the week that follows, how early can I start making the wafers? after baking can I keep in the normal fridge in closed container? I'm planning to fill on 4th & 5th Dec, Pistachio & cream cheese, Chocolate butter cream with butterscotch sauce, strawberry butter cream with strawberry sauce & lemon butter cream with lemon curd.
Also is it required to slam the tray very hard after piping the batter? Because it spreads and doesn't rise much. I would appreciate your reply as it will help me a lot.
If they are for consumption on Dec 12th, then you can make them up to 1 month in advance of that. After baking, freeze the shells for maximum freshness, it will help extend the shelf life of the macarons to a later date. It's not required to slam the tray very hard. As long as most of the bubbles are released. If you don't see that many stray bubbles, just use a toothpick to pop those ones.
Ashley M says
Hi there! Tomorrow (Friday 11/13) I plan on making macarons and serving them the day after (Saturday 11/14). I'm making two kinds of macarons: strawberry with white chocolate buttercream and a strawberry filling center, and vanilla with vanilla butter cream and a white chocolate filling. To decorate I plan on half dipping the macarons in white chocolate and using edible dust. I live in Coastal Georgia where the humidity is never lower than 70%. I am torn on how to store them. Do I fill and refrigerate the vanilla macarons with the vanilla and white chocolate filling and then just refrigerate the shells of the strawberriy macarons? Or do I fill both? Or do I just refrigerate the shells and fill neither until the day I serve them? Or do I fill and decorate them and let them sit in a cool cupboard?Also, if you suggest filling and refrigerating can I half dip them before I refrigerate them or do I wait to decorate until the day of? These are for a very close family friend and I'm so conflicted!! THANK YOU!
All your macarons will need maturation so they should ideally be made and filled on Friday for consumption on Saturday. Don't wait until the day of to fill them as the shells might still be too stiff and hard. Once they are assembled, put them back into the fridge to set before you dip them, otherwise, it's easy for them to fall apart while you're dipping. You can dip them on either day. Just make sure you give them plenty of time to set/dry, this will depend on the type of chocolate/melting wafers you are using. Good luck!
Sadie Beattie says
I froze my macarons with chocolate ganache and took one out of the freezer, let it sit for 20 mins and found that the macaron became almost "wet". Did I place them into the freezer too soon after baking? they were not warm when I assembled them.
Did you bring them out into the fridge first to help acclimatize them? Keep them in the original box as well during this time.
Mimi, I’ve frozen my filled macarons. I’m planning on a 4 hour trip and am taking the macarons. Do I take out of freezer and place in fridge the day before leaving or can I just take out of freezer and let them thaw on the drive?
Depending on how hot it will be on the drive, yes, you can definitely let them thaw them in the car if you are planning on serving it the day of the drive. If your car will become very hot after only an hour, that might cause the macarons to rest at an unsafe temperature for too long. In that case, just pack a small ice pack and freezer bag and place the macarons there. It should start thawing a bit, then check on it along the drive if you need to present it right away.
Do you have a link to the flat tupperware you use? Thanks so much!!
I bought my flat tupperware at a Japanese home goods store. There is a link in the post for a similar product that is 2" inch high but larger than mine which can hold even more macarons.
I froze my shells and took them out and put in the fridge a couple of days ago..if i fill tomorrow, can i refreeze or just refrigerate? They are for events on sept 8, 10, and 12. Thank you so much! 🙂
I think you will be okay to keep them in the fridge for the even on the 8th... If you do fill them all at the same time, you might need to stop the maturation process by freezing the ones for the 10th and 12th, otherwise, they might get overly soft. Make sure your filling is freezer friendly though, otherwise, I will fill those closer to the day.
sumaira Siddique says
I usually put my frozen Macarons on a wire rack and put them in warm oven for few minutes, this is a great hack to get rid of any moisture in the Macarons shell. Always works for me.
thanks for sharing your experience
I have tried to store macaron shells in the freezer by putting them in an air-tight container. When I took them out, they got soggy/wet. I really don’t know why. I have tried it several times. I did layer some parchment papers and also put some foils on top in the container just for additional protection as well. Have you experienced this before?
Thank you for your help.
I'm sorry to hear that. I haven't actually. They always defrost to be just like after baking. Did you let them gradually change in temperature by placing in the fridge first? Also, make sure the filling doesn't have too much moisture, once thawed, these types of moisture will release the liquid into the macaron.
First don’t oven the container. From the freezer to refrigerator for 2hour. Take it out from the refrigerator to 18 degrees room temperatures let sit for another two our . Now you can open the container . You will haveYour macarons as fresh as you have them from the oven
i suggest that u defrost the macarons in the container that you stored them. Do not take them out because if it stays in the box, the condensation will take place outside the box instead of on the macarons. I tried defrosting/thawing them by taking it out of the box and lay them on a parchment paper and I can tell you that it was a total disaster! the macs got really soggy due to the condensation. 😉
Hi! How long does assembled macarons with ganache/ butter cream last for in the freezer??
They are best consumed within 2 months, after that, you might lose a bit of freshness and flavour. It's still edible though.
I made a fresh batch of shells and froze them immediately one week ago. I want to thaw the shells to assemble with butter cream to serve half the day after tomorrow and half in another week.
If I refreeze half the assembled batch to serve in one week, how long will they keep once thawed?
Thanks so much!
They should last as long as the filling will allow. The shells themselves usually last longer than the filling so if it's not a high moisture filling, just follow the above guidelines.
Your information is very helpful. I really like your blog.
I do have some questions here. I’m just wondering if I can freeze assembled macarons that have cream cheese filling? Also can I freeze just the cream cheese filling itself and assemble it with shells later? If we can, how should we thaw the cream cheese filling?
Thank you so much.
Yes you can freeze it depending on what is in the cream cheese filling. I have a cream cheese filling that is strong enough for freezing and thawing. Yes, if your filling is one that is freezable, you can freeze it, then use it for assembly later. Just put the filling in the fridge the night before to thaw. Depending on what type of filling it is, it might need to be rewhipped. XOXO Mimi
i've made a lemon curd filling and left the macarons in the refrigerator for 24 hours. the macarons sort of melted and"swallowed the buttercream. the macarons shells were whole and not hollowed. could it be that the filling was to moist? and can i fix it by adding butter to the filling or by freezing the filled macarons before serving?
Yes... most lemon curd fillings contain too much moisture for use in macarons. I'm not sure which recipe you used but here is a lemon macaron that is macaron-friendly and won't eat away at the shells like you described. It's drier for use in macarons and can be frozen. XOXO Mimi
Hi! Will freezing dry out the shells and make them dry at all? Or will it in any other way affect the quality of the cookie? I am making a large number for my sister-in-law's wedding but I have never freezed the shells before and want to make sure that they will still be the quality and texture that she is used to. Thanks!
Yes, the shells are very resilient to freezing and will be of the same quality as before freezing. Many stores freeze them for future use or during shipping.