What Fillings are Best for Macarons?
Different types of macaron fillings include buttercreams, curds, chocolate, jam, cream cheese, jelly and more. With macaron fillings, the yummy possibilities are absolutely endless. After baking the macaron shells, you are probably excited to find a delicious macaron filling to assemble your macarons with. There are so many different combinations you can create by pairing up different textures and flavours. Here is a list of ideas for all the different flavours and fillings which you can combine together to create your own unique macaron filling.
What is Macaron Filling Made Of?
There are many different types of macaron fillings as mentioned above (buttercreams, curds, chocolate, jam, cream cheese, jelly). Depending on the filling, macaron fillings are usually made from sugar, eggs, chocolate, egg whites, real fruit, extracts, cream cheese and more.
What Fillings are Too Runny or Moist for Macarons?
When I started making macarons, it really bothered me that some of the macaron recipes featured fillings that were, although unique, just not viable for use as macaron fillings. They were either too moist or too soft which can be a real problem for use in macarons.
Moist wet fillings quickly eat away at macaron shells making them soggy while soft fillings easily squish out of the macaron, creating a big goopy mess. The bases below won't be new to any seasoned baker but I wanted to discuss them in context of using them as macaron fillings. I'll list the different type of fillings and the best ways to utilize each one.
I hope you are able to get some ideas to help you start making different macaron fillings. What are some of your favorite flavors? Did I include your favorite filling?
Different Categories of Macaron Flavours
Sweet Macaron Flavor Ideas
Chocolate, gingerbread, vanilla, caramel, red velvet, neopolitan, cheesecake, nutella, tiramisu, boston creme pie, fruity pebbles, creamsicle, frosted flakes, cookies and cream, nainamo bar, cinnamon toast crunch, hot chocolate, oreo, creme brulee, kit kat, double chocolate etc.
Savory Macaron Flavor Ideas
Fois gras, pate, white truffle, pate, ketchup, raisin, hazlenut, peanut, walnut, pistachio, salted butter caramel, carrot, rice, olive oil, smoked salmon, sesame, peanut buttery & jelly, pumpkin, fig, popcorn, pink peppercorn, maple bacon, avocado etc.
Fruity Macaron Flavor Ideas
Raspberries, strawberries, passion fruit, lavender, orange, mandarin, apricot, black current, pear, banana, lime, yuzu, coconut, green apple, guava, mango, lemon, melon, pineapple, grapefruit, cassis, peach, blueberry, lychee, rhubarb, orange, cherry, black current, green apple, pomegranate, pink lemonade, watermelon, sour cherry, kiwi, apricot etc.
Floral and Tea Macaron Flavor Ideas
Rose, lavender, bergamot, basil, jasmine, hibiscus, cherry blossom, geranium etc.
Tea and Coffee Flavor Ideas
Earl grey, espresso, coffee, matcha, chai latte, vietnamese coffee, thai iced tea etc.
Exotic Macaron Flavor Ideas
Caviar, wasabi, chilli, mint, jasmine, cherry blossom, ginger, marmite, cinnamon, taro, goats milk, rosemary, pandan, durian, tom yam, samoa, liquorice, cayenne pepper, pandan, strawberry balsamic vinegar, etc.
Candy Macaron Flavor Ideas
Salted caramel, toffee, cotton candy, candy cane, bubble gum, marshmallow, biscoff, butterscotch, s'mores, mint, caramel apple, candy cane, snickerdoodle, rocky road, dulce de leche, raffaello, coffee crisp, snickers etc.
Liqueur Macaron Flavour Ideas
Cognac, grenadine, champagne, rum, vodka, baileys, bourbon, amaretto, eggnog, mimosa, baileys, mocha, irish cream, brandy, campari etc.
Nut Macaron Flavors:
Hazelnut, pistachio, chestnut, pecan etc.
Combination Macaron Flavors
lemon lavender, rose lychee, basil strawberry, tamarind pineapple, pumpkin spice, peanut butter jelly, pistachio & raspberry, paprika strawberry, strawberry shortcake, vanilla cardamom, carrot & orange, coconut rose, daiquiri, peaches cream, raspberry rose, rosemary olive oil, basil strawberry, pistchio & cinnamon, raspberry & matcha, strawberry & passion fruit, mango & jasmine, lavender & jasmine, vanilla & almond, chocolate & espresso, salted caramel & apple, pineapple & coconut, milk & honey, rosemary & lemon, pear & elderflower, strawberry balsamic, salted caramel chocolate, raspberry rose, strawberry rose, caviar marscapone, salted caramel lavender, lemon & avocado, earl grey & lemon, strawberry & vanilla, strawberry & passion fruit, chestnuts & matcha, orange campari, mint & raspberry etc.
Different Categories of Macaron Fillings Include (from strongest/least moist to softest/most moist):
- Ganache (strongest/least moist)
- Cream Cheese
- Jelly (softest/most moist)
- Whipped Cream - (NOT RECOMMENDED FOR MACARONS)
Ganache fillings are made from pouring heated cream over chopped chocolate and blending. Butter is added to give it a shiny and smooth texture.
- Strongest amongst the four fillings
- Withstands heat better than all the other fillings. Perfect for travelling
- No eggs are used so it can last longer than the other fillings.
- Super easy to make
- Compliments a wide variety of flavours
- Freezes well
- Some find that chocolate combined with other sweet flavourings make the macaron "too sweet"
- It's relatively drier so harder/crispier shells take longer to mature with this filling
- Using quality chocolates can make it more expensive than other fillings
- Basic Chocolate Filling for Macarons - Only 3 Ingredients
- Basic White Chocolate Macaron Filling - Easy & Adaptable
- Easy Gingerbread Macarons with Chocolate Spice Filling
- Spicy Cinnamon Heart Candy Macarons
- Double Chocolate Macarons
- Chocolate Peppermint Macarons with Christmas Bear Template
- Baileys Chocolate Ganache Filled Gingerbread Dachshund Puppy Dog Macarons (Template)
- "Matcha" Green Tea Macaron Recipe
- "Ispahan" Inspired Macaron Cake with Fresh Lychees & Raspberries
- Lavender Macarons Made with Real Lavender Buds
- Lavender Earl Grey Easter Bunny Macarons (Template)
- Delicate Lychee Rose Macarons in a Heart Shape (Template)
Cream cheese frosting is made by mixing cream cheese and powdered sugar together along with flavoring and a little bit of milk.
- Dry and firm filling
- Very easy to make
- Tangy cheesy taste helps cut down the sweetness of macarons
- Natural cheesy flavour doesn't complement many different types of flavourings
- Some people do not like this cheesy taste
- May not be suitable for those who are lactose intolerant
Buttercream (four main types from strongest to weakest: American, Italian, Swiss and French)
All buttercreams consist mainly of sugar and fat (butter or shortening). The American one is the simplest one using only sugar and fat. The other three types are meringue-based buttercreams which include the use of eggs.
• American Buttercream •
American buttercream is made from beating butter and icing sugar together optionally along with salt, extract and a bit of milk. It's not considered a true buttercream because it uses powdered sugar. There is a small amount of cornstarch in powdered sugar, which prevents the proteins in the eggs from forming tiny air bubbles that hold the moisture in place. Simply put, the meringue will not form properly if powdered sugar is used.
- Strongest of all the Buttercreams
- Withstands heat better than all the other meringue-based buttercream fillings.
- Does not contain eggs so it can last longer than the other buttercream fillings.
- Does not contain eggs. Safer for pregnant women and children
- Super sweet. Coupled with a sweet macaron shell, some might find it overwhelming.
- Some find American Buttercream bad tasting in general. ("grocery store" baked goods taste)
• Italian Buttercream •
Italian Buttercream is made from fat, sugar and eggs. Granulated sugar is heated with water to produce a syrup that is poured into egg whites that are beaten simultaneously. Butter is then whipped into it.
- Second strongest amongst the four buttercreams
- Use of only egg whites allows for it to be snowy white and can be coloured nicely
- Texture is not as smooth as Swiss buttercream
- Heating the sugar while beating egg whites can be tricky
- Some find this buttercream too "buttery"
• Swiss Buttercream •
Swiss Buttercream is made from fat, sugar and egg whites. Granulated sugar and egg whites are beaten in a bowl over hot water, butter is then whipped into it.
- Super smooth silky texture
- Easier to make than the Italian buttercream
- Not as strong as the Italian buttercream
- The Best Swiss Meringue Buttercream for Macarons, Cakes and More
- Earl Grey Macarons with Mouth-watering Lemon Swiss Buttercream (Heart Template)
- Magical Tri-Colored Unicorn Macarons with Green Tea Swiss Buttercream
- Matcha Green Tea Macarons with Strawberry Buttercream - Naturally Coloured and Flavoured
- 3D Rainbow & Cloud Macarons with Vanilla Filling
- Lemon Macarons Made with a Sturdy "Macaron-Friendly" Lemon Curd Center
- Strawberry Basil Macarons made with Real Strawberries (Template)
• French Buttercream •
French Buttercream is made similarly to the Italian method except egg yolks are used instead of egg whites. Sugar and water is heated to create a syrup that is poured into egg yolks that are beaten simultaneously.
- Amazing taste, like whipped custard and less buttery
- Helps use up egg yolks that are left over from the macaron making process
- Fastest to melt due to high fat content, can be a goopy mess on hotter days
- Uses a lot more butter than the other buttercreams, may be too "fattening" for some
- Use of egg yolks makes this cream yellowy and harder to color
- Very yummy buttery, eggy taste
- Tangy fruit curds helps cut down the sweetness of macarons
- Too soft to use by itself. It is usually added as a dollop in the center with a stronger filling piped on the outside to support it.
- Can be moist so it may start eating away at the shell sooner than the other fillings.
- Very refreshing texture and can act to "cut down" the sweetness.
- Too soft to use by itself. It is usually added as a dallop in the center with a stronger filling piped on the outside to support it.
- Can be very moist so it may start eating away at the shell sooner than the other fillings.
Whipped cream is not recommended as a filling for macarons. It is very high in moisture and will eat away at the macaron shells in a very short amount of time. It's essentially what you see in the box - liquid. Light and airy, great for cakes but not sturdy for use as a macaron gilling.
What is the Best Macaron Filling to Use at Room Temperature or Travelling?
It is important for the filling inside of the macaron to remain stable so that it doesn't become difficult to handle when it starts getting soft. Fillings that contain white chocolate as a base are especially good at remaining stable at room temperature or in humid environments so macarons with this filling is well suited for use on a sweets table or for travel.
What is the Best Macaron Filling for Freezing?
The best filling to use for macarons that will be frozen are ones that are low in moisture and doesn't separate easily when defrosted, these are usually chocolate and meringue buttercream. Depending on how it was made, curds, jams and especially jellies don't do particularly well once frozen and defrosted. I do have one low-moisture lemon curd macaron recipe which freezes beautifully. Please take a look at it if you are interested in using a curd that needs to be frozen.
Which Macaron Fillings are Not Too Sweet?
Sugar is one of the main ingredients in a macaron shell so it may be a little bit too sweet for some people when it is paired with a sweet filling as well. One great way to reduce the sweet taste is to choose a macaron filling that is more tart. This will cut down on the perception of the sweet taste (ex. citrus flavours like lemon or yuzu). Another way is to use contrasting tastes like bitter or salty. For example, the slightly bitter taste of matcha macaron shells is a heavenly pairing with white chocolate while duck pate compliments the sweetness of a macaron shell. Alternatively, a little bit of salt can be added to most macaron fillings to help balance out the sweetness. Lastly, try to avoid using American buttercream (made with butter and powdered sugar) in macaron shells. This filling is much too sweet to be used in combination with a macaron shell.
Best Tools for Filling Macarons
- Good quality piping bags like these ones are my favorite. Macaron batter is relatively easy to pipe with any bag but fillings are firmer and are best piped in a sturdy bag to prevent leakage and even explosions of macaron filling onto your finished macaron shells.
- Piping tips in a variety of sizes. Round 1A is good for piping regular sized rounds. Round 10 is a bit smaller and it's good for piping the outer ring when creating a dam for a softer filling to be piped in the center.
- Couplers are very useful for changing the piping tip while still using the same piping bag midway during piping. This will help cut down on piping bags.
- To keep the piping bags securely sealed while piping there are these piping bag twist ties.
Aileen Nickel says
This is an amazing site. So many great lessons and tips. I Haven’t made macarons for awhile but I look forward to trying your recipes and starting again. Thanks so much.
Thanks for your feedback! Let me know how your baking goes!
Holy cow! What a great article! This is exactly what I needed to widen my aperture for a little, very specific macaron business venture that I'm researching! I would have never thought to use a white-chocolate base for a filling (I've been all about buttercreams to this point...). But I'm going to give it a try in my next batch and see how they turn out. It could be the best solution!
And truly...thanks for such a great, thorough article. Based on this first example of yours that I've seen, I promise to go explore all your offerings!
Thanks so much for your feedback. It means a lot. I hope you'll get a chance to make many more yummy macarons.
Hi, Mimi. I recently started getting more into baking, and I'm interested in using wasabi. for the macarons. Do you have any ideas about how to do so? I'm not sure whether it would be better to use it for filling or the shells, and how'd I'd go about it lol
I hope you are enjoying macaron baking. I prefer to manipulate the filling instead of the shells. More could go wrong when baking the shells, it's easier to experiment with the filling first. A strong enough flavored filling will transfer the flavor to the shells through maturation.
Your post is so professional and you covered everything about macaron filling, I enjoyed reading all the pros and cons, because I tested few on my own and I absolutely agree with you that some filing are extremely sweet especially when you paired them with the sweet macaroons. And my less favorite filling is American buttercream. I want to comment about a question that one of your followers asked, how to make ganache without dairy, sometimes I have to makes dessert that are parve, which mean dairy free, so I always use dairy free whipping cream to make ganache and you can’t feel the difference, it’s so delicious and more stable than a dairy whipping cream , it’s great for frosting cakes as well, there are bunch of brands and you can find it in a Jewish store In the frozen aisle, because they can’t have dairy desert after meat. They are all delicious, but my favorite one that is the closest taste to a real heavy cream is called rich, absolutely delicious.
I hope you will find my tip useful.
Thanks so much for your input. It is so interesting and I know many readers will find it useful. I will be on the lookout for this product and experiment with it. Thanks 🙂 I hope you enjoy making many more desserts.
I was wondering how you would make a dairy free filling. I want to be able to change up the flavors but i can't have butter like most of the fillings i find call for. Any ideas?
You can try making ganache with juice or water 🙂 Just google some recipes that don't use cream in the ganache.
I love every post of yours. I have been trying to perfect my macarons, however I had a question does crème pâtissière/custard work as a filling? Whipped maybe?
Most custards can still have too much moisture. You'll need to add butter to it and whip it together to make a sturdy filling for macarons.
I made macarons for the first time and now reading your tips I’m ready to try again. My question is how the heck do we cut the sweetness? I used American buttercream for mine and even though it tasted good, it was was too sweet. The ones I buy at a bakery are not that sweet.
Yes, American buttercream is the sweetest buttercream around since it's mainly butter and sugar! I hear you. Try using one of the other buttercreams, you will get a much smoother texture and way more delicious results without as much sweetness. I like Swiss meringue buttercream because it's the easiest to execute. Take a look at my macaron recipes archive, none of the fillings I've posted so far use American buttercream.
Hello Mimi, I'm an amateur who's been trying to get consistent with making the actual cookies. Now that I kind of accomplished that (still have to deal with hollow shells, though), I've been trying to expand my repertoire of fillings. Your recommendation of lemon curd is the reason it's my first choice for filling macarons, but I wanted to learn other fruity fillings, using things like jelly and jam. Do you have any recommendations for making sure the jam is firm enough to support the top cookie without spilling out and making a mess? This is my first time commenting even though I've been benefiting from your blog for years, so I wanted to say: thank you so much.
I'm happy to hear you've been reading for such a long time. I really appreciate it. For the jams, I would recommend reducing the moisture level and adding a starch like potato/tapioca starch to keep it firm enough to support without spilling out. If you really have to do it in a pinch, I would create a buttercream dam as support and then just add the jam/jelly in the center. Hope it helps.
I had macarons with French buttercream chilled in the fridge overnight. It was hard when my husband tried one. Any advise?
The macarons might be overbaked or the filling might not be providing enough moisture to the shells during maturation. If it's a matter of over baking, next time, just brush a bit of milk/syrup onto the bottom of the shells. That will help tremendously. Let me know how it goes.
I have tried so many batches 1 game out and some didn’t. I just bought a scale but can’t figure it out. I rather use cups. My are cracking. I get the figure 8 without breaking and my oven is 300 I have a oven oven temperature reading and I have to make 3 to 4 dozen for next Sunday a bridal shower please help
I would recommend making sure your meringue is nice and stiff and not to overfold. Then let them rest until a good strong skin develops. that will help to compensate any weaknesses in your batter. good luck!
I have found your site SO helpful! I took a macarons class at Sur La Table and thought I had a handle on them. I have been practicing for most of the year in preparation for our daughter’s wedding. I volunteered to make about 200 of these finicky things for the reception (seemed like a good idea at the time🙄). I was slowly going a little nuts, as I was having new problems with nearly every batch. Your recipe, troubleshooting guide, and especially your videos, are all really helpful, and helped me get consistent results. Now the wedding is next week, there’re 400 cookie shells in the freezer, and I’m kicked back. Thank you!!!
You rocked it! I am so amazed by your 400 shells. WOW! There's going to be a lot of happy ppl at that wedding for sure. Seriously. Thanks for coming by and sharing the happy news. Congrats to your daughter and your family.
I like macaron and sometimes buy it from cake shops. I found your web showing the way to make some fruity macarons and decided to make them ( orange, cherry and apple) my family. Wow, they were beyond my expectation, my family really enjoyed them. Thank you, Mimi.
That's awesome. I'm so happy to hear that. I wish I can try one!!
This recipe is awesome! I’m fairly new at making macarons and I can do these no problem. My family loves when I make them!
I'm happy to hear about your success! I bet they will be spoiled this holiday season!