Step-by-Step guide on how to make multiple colors from one batch of macaron batter. 3 main methods are introduced with pros and cons of each. Use this tutorial to make beautiful multi-colored or character macarons.
Methods for Preparing Different Colored Batters
There are 3 main ways to make multiple colors from one batch of macaron batter:
- Prepare separate macaron batters at the same time.
- Prepare macaron batter as usual according to my Best Macaron Recipe but fold it until just incorporated, split the batter up at this point, and then fold in color.
- Split the finished meringue, incorporate the color into the meringue by hand and then fold it into divided almond flour.
Prepare Separate Macaron Batters at the Same Time
Let's go over the first method to make multiple colors from one batch of macaron batter: preparing separate macaron batters at the same time. This is my number one preferred method for preparing macaron batter that yields different colors. I prefer it because it results in the most consistent results but it does require more equipment and time. I usually reserve this method for working with very important projects that require perfection. (Who am I kidding, us macaron bakers are all looking for perfection in every project :P)
This method requires that there be a dedicated counter mixer (or extra bowls) for every color of batter there is to be made. Take the ingredients in your usual macaron recipe and start making as many batches as you need for all the different colors. Whip the meringue at the same time and once it comes to stiff peaks, fold it into each respective almond flour/powdered sugar mixture.
If you don't have access to several counter top mixers, this method can still be implemented by making the meringue one at a time. You can buy several mixing bowls which can be immediately swapped into the machine once the meringue has come to stiff peaks. Take this time to fold the meringue into the almond/sugar mixture while the new meringue is being whipped. Once the first macaron batter is ready, transfer it into a piping bag, seal it to close and let it sit in the bag until your other macaron batters are completed. (Alternatively, if you don't have multiple bowls, you can still prepare the batter separately following the above steps but you won't have as much time to work with.)
Making a completely separate macaron batter for each color needed yields consistent results because it eliminates the mathematical mistakes that can happen with dividing out the macaron batter and the technical difficulties in gauging the readiness of a macaron batter that has been reduced to portions that are too small to fold properly. Most importantly, preparing the macaron batter separately allows you to add gel color in the meringue stage, allowing it to be fully incorporated into the meringue.
- Yields the most consistent results
- Color is added in the meringue stage for better color incorporation
- Less risk of over-folding
- Requires more time & equipment
Adding Color After Batter is Almost Completely Folded
The second method for making multiple colors from one batch of macaron batter is to prepare the macaron batter as usual according to my Best Macaron Recipe but fold it until just incorporated, split the batter up at this point, and then fold in the gel color. In my humble opinion, this is the least desirable method as it is easy to over-fold the batter when adding the color during the folding stage.
The goal of the folding stage is to focus on incorporating the meringue and almond/sugar mixture together. It's a very critical part of macaron making so it's better not to divert our focus at this point. The readiness of the batter should be dependent on the incorporation of these 2 element alone (meringue and almond/sugar) and not on how fully incorporated the color is. When using this method, you might end up over-folding just to get the color fully incorporated.
Another problem with this method is that it's harder to control the color vibrancy or create a very specific color that requires blending of various colors. When adding color in the meringue stage as in my regular recipe, there is more room for blending colors and adding more color until the desired color is achieved. For reference, in my recipe, the color is introduced after the sugar has been added and the meringue has come to volume but before stiff peaks.
Nevertheless, this method is perhaps the most straightforward and simplest way to get multiple colors in one batch. To use this method, just prepare a batch of macarons as usual. Fold the batter until it is almost fully incorporated then split it into separate bowls for each color required. Add color into each bowl and then fold until the color is fully incorporated into the batter.
- Easy to implement, requires no math skills
- High risk of over-folding
- More difficulties in achieving the correct vibrancy or exact color via blending
Adding Color into a Split Meringue
The last method covered here is to split the completed meringue, incorporate the color into the meringue by hand and then fold it into divided almond flour. This is a good compromise between the 2 methods outlined above and it's the one I recommend for most home bakers.
The color is added in the meringue stage to allow for blending and adding additional color to build vibrancy as in the first method. However, it doesn't require any additional costly equipment. Another pro of this method is that different colored batters will be ready to be piped at the same time, decreasing the likelihood of deflated or dried out batters for those who work at a slower pace.
This method does require some math skills though but don't worry, I have this chart here for you to help you calculate how to divide up the meringue and almond/sugar mixture properly. Just sign up for my newsletter to get the password to the subscriber's area to download the chart.
- Ability to add color in the meringue stage for color blending and layering of color
- Doesn't require extra mixer
- Different colored batters will be ready to pipe at the same time
- Requires planning and math calculations
- Requires more small mixing bowls
- Smaller amounts of batter might be harder to fold properly
Multiply my Best Macaron Recipe by at least 2 or 3 times.
To double the recipe:
65 grams almond flour X 2 = 130 grams,
65 grams powdered sugar X 2 = 130 grams ,
45 grams castor sugar X 2 = 90 grams,
50 grams egg whites aged X 2 = 100 grams,
1/8 tsp cream of tartar X 2 = 1/4 tsp
Determine in percentages how much batter of each color is required. For example:
Divide up the dry mix (sifted almond flour+powdered sugar) into separate bowls according to the same percentages for the corresponding color.
130 grams almond flour + 130 grams powdered sugar = 260 grams
260 grams dry mix X 50% pink = 130 grams
260 grams dry mix X 30% blue = 78 grams
260 grams dry mix X 20% yellow = 52 grams
Prepare the meringue in one batch. Once meringue is at stiff peaks, stop the mixer.
Weigh the meringue before dividing it up. Divide the meringue into separate bowls according to the same percentages for the corresponding color.
190 grams X 50% pink = 95 grams
190 grams X 30% blue = 57 grams
190 grams X 20% yellow = 38 grams
Add the gel color into the bowl filled with meringue, then gently incorporate the color with a whisk, making sure not to deflate the meringue.
Once the color is mostly incorporated, pour the almond flour into each respective bowl of meringue with the same corresponding percentage.
Macaronage/fold in the almond flour as usual.
Transfer batter into separate piping bags and pipe as usual.
Refer to post on how long to rest character macarons.
Tips for Preparing Different Colored Macaron Batters
- When using my macaron recipe, multiple it by at least 2 or 3 times depending on how much batter you need. Using the original amount of ingredients is not ideal as it can be hard to properly fold smaller amounts of meringue and dry mix together. There will be too little batter to gauge the readiness correctly. (Obviously, if the macaron recipe you are using is in a larger quantity, then you don't have to do this step.)
- Avoid dividing up the batter into a quantity that is too small to fold.
- Weigh the meringue before dividing it up. Technically, the meringue should weigh the same as the ingredients that were put inside (egg whites + sugar) but to err on the side of caution, weigh it to see if any of the ingredients got lost along the way (aged egg whites can weigh less after aging). Incorrect measurements is one of the biggest culprits of macarons that don't work out so it's worth it to be on the safe side.
- Accurate measurements is critical using this method for making multi-colored macaron batters in one batch. Always use a digital kitchen scale and write all measurements down or download the provided calculations chart I've provided for my newsletter subscribers.
Best Tools for Making Multi-colored Macarons
- Counter mixer - an ordinary handheld mixer will also work.
- Extra mixing bowl for mixer
- Mixing bowls - 2 bowls are needed for every color
- Piping bags - access to multiple clean piping bags is crucial. These ones from Atecco are very sturdy and doesn't warp during piping. Flimsy piping bags can flip flop during piping and cause special designs to pipe differently than anticipated.
- Piping bag tie - To prevent the batter from drying out, transfer the completed batter into a piping bag and seal it with bag ties so it doesn't start drying up during this time
- Gel food coloring - as always, use gel food coloring. I prefer Americolor, it resists fading from exposure to oven heat.
- Silicone baking mat - I prefer SILPAT silicone mats when working with character macarons. They prevent the unique shapes from spreading.
- Whisk - It helps to have one dedicated whisk for each color you're working with. Alternatively, you can wipe it down with a damp paper towel after whisking in each color. Make sure to dry it thoroughly afterwards.
- Spatula - same as above.
How to Make Small Quantity of Batter in a Different Color
Often times when we are making multiple colors in one batch of macaron batter, it's most likely for use with character macarons. If you want to add small details like eyes, a nose etc., you only need a small amount of a dark color like black. It wouldn't be an efficient use of time or ingredients to make a separate black batter for this use. For darker colors where only a very small amount is needed, take some of the batter from the color with largest portion and add some dark color to it and incorporate well. This batter may be structurally weak and should ideally be used for decorative purposes on top of the main body only.
How Long Can Macaron Batter Sit Out For?
After reading the different methods above for preparing different colored macaron batters in one batch, you can see that there are several stages where the batter needs to be set aside to wait for the other colors to be completed. You've probably wondered, how long can macaron batters sit our for? This all depends on the strength of your batter, particularly the meringue. Generally, a folded macaron batter can comfortably sit for at least 30 min. to one hour while you go about preparing the other colors. There are 2 issues which will cause the batter to degrade at this point: deflation and drying out.
To prevent the batter from drying out, it's important to transfer this completed batter into a piping bag and seal it with ties so it doesn't get dried up during this time. To stop the batter from flowing out of the tip end, I like to twist the smaller opening of the bag into the piping tip. Here's a video showing how to set up a piping bag for macaron batter. Keeping the batter in a covered bowl is not as ideal because it has more exposed surface area where it can start drying from. It's also better to transfer the delicate batter into the piping bag when it's strongest.
Does Each Color Need to be Tapped After Piping?
Whether or not a multi-colored macaron will require tapping after the introduction of each color will depend on the design. If the main body is piped first with only one color, of course, tap the tray as usual, then wait for it to develop a light skin before piping another color on top. Tapping the main body is usually sufficient in these type of designs as we are only concerned about the proper formation of the main body.
If the main body consists of several colors, personal judgement will be required as tapping the tray each time a new color is introduced may cause the batter to run into each other if there isn't enough drying time in between each color.
How Long to Rest Character Macarons?
Character macarons take so much time to prepare so it's a real shame when they crack after baking. Character macarons are weakest along the joints where the different colors meet. The best insurance against cracking is to let the trays rest until a very firm skin has developed. I prefer to rest mine - a bit beyond the stage where the batter doesn't come off onto my fingers - until it cannot indent when pressed.
I hope you found this new tutorial to make multiple colors from one batch of macaron batter useful. I know this has been a common topic of request and I have been a bit busy over at my family lifestyle blog IndulgeWithBibi. Please take a look and join me over there as well 🙂
Leave me a comment if you still have any further questions not addressed here.
- 130 grams almond flour
- 130 grams powdered sugar
- 90 grams castor sugar (Note 1)
- 100 grams egg whites, aged
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- Gel food coloring
- Determine in percentages how much batter of each color is required.
- Divide up the dry mix (sifted almond flour + powdered sugar) into separate bowls according to the same percentages for the corresponding color.
- Prepare the meringue in one batch. Once meringue is at stiff peaks, stop the mixer.
- Weigh the meringue, divide the meringue into separate bowls according to the same percentages for the corresponding color.
- Add the gel color into the bowl filled with meringue, then gently incorporate the color with a whisk, making sure not to deflate the meringue.
- Once the color is mostly incorporated, pour the almond flour into each respective bowl of meringue with the same corresponding percentage.
- Macaronage/fold in the almond flour as usual.
- Transfer batter into separate piping bags and pipe as usual. Refer to post on how long to rest character macarons.
1. Castor sugar is an extra fine granulated sugar also known as berry sugar. It can be substituted with regular granulated sugar.
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Cooptop Premium Silicone Spatula Set of 3 - Heat Resistant Baking Spoon & Spatulas - Pro Grade Non-stick Silicone with Steel Core (Dark Grey)
Gel Food Coloring AmeriColor Junior Kit, 8 Colors.75 Ounce Bottles
Regular Sized Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
Ateco Disposable Piping Bags, 12-Inch, Pack of 100
Ateco Disposable Piping Bags, 12-Inch, Pack of 100
Wilton Icing Bag Ties, 12-Count - Rubber Icing Bag Ties
KitchenAid KSM150PSBF Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer, Buttercup
KitchenAid K5THSBP Tilt-Head Mixer Bowl with Handle, Polished Stainless Steel, Polished Stainless Steel, 5-Quart
Cuisinart CTG-00-SMB Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids, Set of 3
Amount Per Serving Calories 69Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 7mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 9gProtein 2g
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although indulgewithmimi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.