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.