Macaron Making for Beginners or Expert Bakers
I’m happy to share this updated version of my best macaron recipe with you all. I first learned to make macarons from a French pastry chef and after a lot of trial and error in my home kitchen and a lengthy recipe development process in my home kitchen, I created this user-friendly macaron recipe. This post was originally published in 2014 (27.09.2014) after a lengthy recipe development process in my own home kitchen. Since then, countless home bakers have used it to successfully make macarons at home. Some have even went on to use this recipe to make them commercially to sell in their local communities. I’m so elated to hear from all of you about the successes you’ve had with my recipe.
Many of you have told me that this recipe is easy for beginners to understand and execute. In addition, the how-to posts I’ve written all about macarons seemed to be especially useful for those who were already making them but seem to run into problems here and there with these finicky treats. I have now updated this post with some new photos and reformatted it into a convenient printable format. I hope you continue to enjoy it as much as you had before.
Please note this post contains affiliate links from Amazon. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What is the Difference Between a Macaron and a Macaroon?
A macaron and macaroon are two totally different pastries. Because of the similar spelling, the two have been mistakenly used interchangeably in the last few years. A macaron is a French pastry that is composed of 2 airy meringue cookies containing egg whites and almonds, and then sandwiched with a softer flavored filling in between. Macaron cookies come in a variety of colors and shapes. A macaroon, on the other hand, is made with egg whites and coconuts. It looks more like a melted snowball.
How Do Your Pronounce Macaron?
The pronunciation between macaron and macaroon is quite different as well. The ‘on’ in macaron is pronounced more like ‘aw’ as in lawn. Whereas, macaroon is pronounced exactly as it’s written, the ‘oon’ is pronounced the same as in the word moon.
What is the Difference Between French and Italian Macarons?
The French meringue method for making macarons is different from the Italian method due to how the meringue is prepared. In the French method, the meringue is made by pouring sugar into egg whites that are being whipped, creating a French meringue. In the Italian method, sugar is heated with water to create a hot syrup first and then simultaneously poured into egg whites that are being beaten. If you have no previous experience making an Italian meringue for other pastries, this French method is the easier one to start with.
Some bakers swear by the Italian method while some, the French, but both would yield the same type of magical chewy and flavorful cookies that most people would know to be a macaron. (Click here to read more about the textural differences between a French and Italian macaron).
Why are Macarons So Hard to Bake?
Macarons can be very finicky to bake. Any one of these factors can affect how the macarons will turn out: proper measurement of ingredients, ingredient freshness and temperature, baker’s skill level, use of proper kitchen tools, resting the macaron shells, baking time and temperature, and more. Most home bakers often lament on how there must be something wrong with the recipe they are using and are forever in search of a magical recipe that will yield perfect macarons.
To be honest, most of the items on the ingredient lists for the macaron shells are very similar to one another because a certain ratio of each (but few) ingredient is needed for their composition. Where you really have to pay attention is whether you are mastering the important techniques at every step of baking these little treats. This includes the proper folding of the macaron batter and even how to use your home oven to bake macarons amongst others.
How Can I Make Perfect Macarons?
The recipe I’m giving you below includes all the techniques you will need to master at each step. I have also included links to several other posts I’ve written which will help you further pinpoint areas which you may need to tweak in order to bake a successful batch.
In my recipe are all the things I’ve learned from my own macaron baking adventures in my home kitchen. I can tell you that, without a doubt, you will also yield wonderful macarons if you practice a lot – with the right techniques of course. I don’t believe that there is one magical recipe out there – including mine!
What’s important is that you learn the proper techniques and then tweak them with what works best in your kitchen and in your oven. Below are all the foundation techniques you will need. Start by following each step carefully and practice, practice, practice! Good luck my dears!
Prep Work & Tips for Macaron Success:
Prepare everything that you will need in advance for piping your macarons because once the macaron batter is ready, it must be used right away.
♥ Wipe down mixing bowls with some vinegar to remove leftover oils. Then use bowls to store egg white for “aging”. The meringue will be prepared in this bowl and it does not whip well in the presence of oil or water. It’s best to use non-porous bowls like stainless steel or glass as opposed to plastic.
♥ Age the egg whites 24 hours in advance. Separate the egg whites with an egg separator while the egg is still cold, making sure that no traces of egg yolks remain. Water and yolks inside egg whites will make it very difficult to beat the egg whites into stiff peaks. Place egg whites in a very clean, dry, oil-free bowl. Wrap with plastic wrap and poke a few holes into it. Place it in the fridge to “dehydrate” until ready to use. Read this post for detailed instructions on how to age egg whites.
♥ About 30 minutes before baking, take out the aged egg whites and place them on the counter. Let it come to room temperature before using. To speed up the process, soak the vessel holding the egg whites in warm water. Be very careful not to let any water get into the egg whites.
♥ If your parchment paper comes on a roll, flatten it out by laying heaving objects on top. Providing a smooth flat surface for piping your shells will prevent them from spreading into odd shapes.
♥ Print out macaron template and place it underneath the parchment paper on a baking tray. My free macaron templates are available to newsletter subscribers. Please sign up for the newsletter and you will be sent a password to access the members only area. Please remember to confirm your subscription since it is a Double Opt-in process. You’ll get various sizes of macaron templates in the Newsletter Subscriber’s Only Template area:
♥ Measure out all your ingredients with a kitchen scale like this one. It’s important that you only use a scale to measure the ingredients instead of using volume measurements. Ingredients can weigh differently depending on the way it is packed into a cup. Sometimes it’s this difference that can make or break your macarons.
♥ Set up piping bag. Push the piping tip firmly into the bag to ensure that it doesn’t move around when you start piping. Twist the bag and push it into the piping tip. It will act as a seal and stop any batter from leaking out of the tip when you begin to fill it. Set this bag inside a tall glass. Open up the top so that you can have both hands free to fill up the bag later. I like these piping bags, they are very thick and sturdy, especially good for piping thick buttercreams without breaking.
♥ Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together, mix well. Sifting will allow your macarons to develop smooth shiny shells. Throw away course almond or sugar bits as they can cause the egg whites to deflate and you will end up with a collapsed or uneven macaron. Remember to add back sifted amounts to compensate for the discarded amounts. I prefer using a strainer like this one as opposed to a sifter with lever. The almond bits are usually not fine enough to fit through the latter and ends up clogging.
If you can’t find almond flour, you can easily make your own almond flour.
♥ Set dehumidifier to bring humidity level in the room below 50. Alternatively, if the kitchen is humid after a look of water use, open the windows and turn on the range hood fan. A dryer environment will allow the macaron shells to “rest” and develop a skin after piping. This resting period will help the macarons develop feet during baking.
Step-By-Step Guide to Baking Macarons
1. Beat egg whites with a handheld mixer until foamy, add cream of tartar (1/8 tsp).
2. Once the beater starts leaving tracks in the egg whites and the foam bubbles have tightened up in size, add granulated sugar 1/3 at a time.
3. Once all the sugar has been fully incorporated and before reaching stiff peaks, add 1-3 drops of gel colour to your liking. Beat until Stiff Peaks. The term “Stiff peaks” is derived from how the egg whites appear when you pull the whisk out of it. It should be so firm that it literally stand up vertically and point upwards without falling back into itself. Also, test it by flipping your bowl COMPLETELY upside down. The whites should not slip or fall, instead it stays firm inside the bowl.
4. Test meringue stiffness. Once it has reached “Stiff Peaks” stop and do not beat any more. The meringue should also start clumping up inside the whisk like this:
5. Pour a third of the almond mixture into the egg whites. Gently fold the egg whites into the almond flour and sugar mixture. Then add the rest of the almond mixture. DO NOT NEED TO MIX or STIR. Folding properly will ensure that the air bubbles that you beat into your egg whites do not all deflate when incorporated with the heavier dry ingredients. You want to beat out some of the air that was created in the whipping of the egg whites, but not so much that its fully deflated and prevents feet from developing.
How to Fold Macaron Batter: This is a very critical step in the macaron making process called “macaronage”. Take the spatula and gently go under the mixture, use a sweep down-across-up-and-over motion (like you’re scraping around the bowl towards the middle) while turning the bowl at the same time. Occasionally, cut down through the center of the mixture to incorporate the ingredients in the center. As well, very gently take your spatula and sweep against the top of the batter to properly deflate some of the air in the mixture. Do not “dump” the mixture back into itself. If you fold gently, it will eventually incorporate into one mixture even though it may not look like it will at first.
6. Stop folding once your batter has reached a “lava” like or honey consistency. Occasionally check the consistency to test doneness. The success of your macarons will depend largely on your ability to gauge when to stop folding your batter.
How Long Should I Fold My Macaron Batter?
As soon as the batter begins to look homogenous, start testing the consistency. With your spatula, pick up the batter and drop it back into the bowl. It should not “plop” down into the bowl but flow very slowly like thick molten lava. It should fold into itself just a few times like a ribbon but no more than that. Pick up the batter and let it flow down while drawing the figure “8”. If it can do that, immediately stop folding when you see that you have reached this stage. If it looks like a runny pancake batter, then you’ve gone too far! Watch my YouTube video as a visual guide.
It’s always better to under mix than to over mix. When you under mix, your macaron shells will still form albeit, they’ll be bumpy. But if you over mix, you will deflate the air in your egg whites and your macaron shells will spread like crazy when you try to pipe it.
7. If using parchment paper, dab a little bit of batter on the bottom of all four corners of the parchment paper. Use it as a “glue” to keep the paper attached to the tray while piping. Or use magnets to secure the paper onto the tray. Using the spatula, gently transfer the batter into the piping bag. Pipe the batter to the size of the circle on the template.
Start from the center while holding the piping bag vertically and squeeze while applying even pressure to all sides until the batter has nearly reached the size of the template, swing the tip around back towards the center and pull away, that’s where you want your batter to end. Ideally, if your batter has been mixed properly and is at the correct consistency, any “nipples” or “tails” should sink back into itself. Also, remember to squeeze out the batter from the top of the bag without handling it excessively since you don’t want the structure of the batter near the end to be compromised. Here’s a post showing you the proper consistency of a macaron batter after piping.
8. Remove the paper template from underneath the parchment paper.
9. Rap the tray several times on the counter. This will allow any air bubbles to escape and prevents your macarons from cracking during the baking process. Rap it once or twice, rotate the pan and repeat. If the points do not smooth out after rapping, then the batter is too thick. Next time, try to fold the batter just a bit more before piping.
10. Before the batter dries, pop any remaining bubbles with a toothpick.
11. Let it rest on the counter for 30 min. AND until a “skin” has developed. Let the piped shells rest under the range hood fan. It will help dry them out. Do not use a fan which blows on an angle since it will cause your macarons to become lopsided. Once the shell looks dull and matte as opposed to glossy like when it was first piped, test on a sacrificial shell. Lightly touch the surface of the shell and if no batter sticks to your fingers, a “skin” has developed. It will be very clear when a skin has developed, you will be able to touch it without the batter transferring to your fingers. It will also not indent easily as well.
Is it necessary to rest the macaron batter?
Resting the macaron is a crucial step that allows your shells to harden up and thereby, allowing it to be strong enough to develop feet during its time in the oven. Many recipes do not clearly explain the purpose of this rest period and it has become quite a controversial topic. Some bakers say they never rest their macarons and some swear by it. For me, I find it depends on whether or not a “skin” has developed. The timing is not as important as the presence of a skin and a matte dull finish. Sometimes in a humid environment (or your batter is bad – too runny) you can rest your macarons for 30 minutes and a skin may still not develop while on other days, a skin can quickly develop without this rest period. That is probably the reason why some bakers claim that they never rest their macarons. I’ve tested this many times in my kitchen and I have found that I will get great feet once a skin has developed, regardless of the resting time. You DON’T have to do it but it is extra insurance for those who are new to macaron baking. Click here for a full post on this topic.
12. Preheat your oven to 320 F. 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 the temperature has increased or decreased during the baking process without their knowledge. A steady and consistent temperature is needed for macarons to bake without deflating, resulting in hollow macarons. Click here to read how to prevent hollow macarons.
13. Place the tray on the middle shelf and bake for 12-14 minutes. Bake only one tray at a time. Every oven is different so I suggest using this temperature and rack position as a baseline if it’s your first time making macarons, then make any adjustments you need to perfect them.
Click here to read about the different ways to set your oven for baking perfect macarons.
Click here to read about how to control the oven temperature for baking macarons.
14. Take them out and test to see doneness. Use a spatula to lightly tap the feet, it should be firm and not push back. Wiggle the top of the shell from left to right, it should not be wobbly. Lightly peel back the parchment paper and the macaron should peel off easily without sticking. (This does not work well on silpats though.) If it doesn’t pass the tests above, put them back in the oven and bake an extra 1 min. at a time.
15. Keep on pan to cool off or take them off. If the bottoms are just a tiny bit sticky (just a little bit though), keep them on the tray to cool off for about 15 min. If however, the bottoms are already brown, they peel off cleanly or appear over-baked, take them off the hot tray to cool down. Break one open and check the inside, it should be fully set and not overly moist. If it is too moist the cookies will collapse when they cool. Err on the side of over baking rather than under baking as the maturation process will be able to salvage over baked macarons. See step 15
16. Fill with your favorite filling. Place the filling in a pastry bag and squeeze a dollop of it in the center. You don’t need too much, you don’t want it to squish out past the shell once you assemble the other macaron shell. Click here to get some yummy filling ideas.
17. Leave them in the fridge in an airtight container and let them mature for 24 hours. They are best eaten after 24 hours since the flavors will be absorbed into the shell. If your shell is hard/crunchy/over baked, letting them develop will also allow the shells to absorb the moisture from the filling and it will develop that distinctive soft and chewy texture. The maturation process can also be sped up by lightly brushing the bottom of the shells with a syrup that is the same flavour as the filling. Milk works too!
18. After 24 hours of maturation in the fridge, bring them back to room temperature 30 min. before serving. ENJOY!
Macaron Ingredients - recipe can be doubled, tripled and so forth
- 65 grams – almond flour*
- 65 grams – powdered sugar
- 45 grams – castor sugar (a.k.a “berry” sugar or extra fine granulated sugar)**
- 50 grams – egg whites aged***
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- GEL color of your choice****
- Electronic scale
- 2 very clean and dry mixing bowls absolutely free of oil or water – preferably NOT plastic.
- Hand mixer
- Flexible spatula
- Piping bag
- Round piping tip*****
- Good quality baking pan
- Template with macaron outline
- Oven thermometer
- Parchment paper or Silpat mat******
- Dehumidifier or make in a dry environment with low humidity
- Complete all the PREP WORK as listed in post. These include: aging egg whites (done 24 hours in advance), wiping down the bowls with lemon juice, smoothing out parchment paper, printing out templates, setting out the piping bag, sifting the almond flour/sugar mixture and setting the humidifier.
- Set aged egg whites out on counter until it reaches room temperature.
- Whip egg whites with a handheld mixer until foamy, add cream of tartar. (Further reading: How to make perfect meringue for macarons.)
- Once the beater starts leaving tracks in the egg whites and the bubbles have tightened up in size, add granulated sugar 1/3 at a time.
- Once all the sugar has been fully incorporated and before reaching stiff peaks, add 1-3 drops of gel colour to your liking. Whip until Stiff Peaks.
- Test meringue stiffness. It should have pointed peaks when the whisk is pulled out.
- Pour a third of the almond/powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites. Gently fold it into the egg whites. Then add the rest of the mixture and fold.
- Stop folding once the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated and the batter has reached a “lava” like or honey consistency. The batter should pass the figure-8 test. (Watch video: How to Macaronage for No Hollows)
- On parchment paper or silicone mats, pipe the batter to the size of the circle on the template. You can sign up to my newsletter to get free templates of various sizes. (Further reading: Proper macaron batter consistency while piping.)
- Remove the paper template from underneath the parchment paper or mat.
- Rap the tray several times on the counter to rid of excess bubbles.
- Before the batter dries, pop any remaining bubbles with a toothpick.
- Let it rest on the counter for 30 min. AND until a “skin” has developed. This will prevent the shells from cracking during baking. (Further reading: Resting the macaron shell.)
- Preheat oven to 320 F. (Further reading: How to use your home oven for baking macarons.)
- Place the tray on the middle shelf and bake for 12-14 minutes. Bake only one tray at a time.
- Take them out and test doneness. The feet should not push back and the shell should not be wobbly.
- Let them cool off on the pan (or off if they are overdone).
- Fill with your favorite filling. (Further reading: Yummy Macaron Filling Ideas)
- Leave them in the fridge in an airtight container and let them mature for 24 hours. (Further reading: Can macaron shells be frozen?)
- After 24 hours of maturation in the fridge, bring them back to room temperature 30 min. before serving. ENJOY!
* Read this post on How to Make Your Own Almond Flour
** Regular granulated sugar can be used by castor sugar is preferable.
*** Measure out 50 grams of fresh egg whites and then age it before using. Read this post on how to age egg whites. Do NOT use meringue powder
**** DO NOT use liquid color.
*****Wilton #12 or Wilton #1A. I prefer Wilton #1A or Ateco #805 Plain Seamless Tip for regular round macarons or Wilton #12 for more control with character macarons.
****** I prefer the Macaron Silpat mat with macaron outline. DO NOT use wax paper
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Cuisinart CTG-00-3MS Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers
Round Piping Tip #10
Regular Sized Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
Cuisinart CTG-00-SMB Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids, Set of 3
Toaster Oven Size Silpat Non-stick Silicone Baking Mat
PaperChef Culinary Parchment Multipurpose Non-Stick Paper, 205 sq ft
USA Pan Rimless Baking Sheet for Better Airflow to Macaron Shells
Gel Food Coloring AmeriColor Junior Kit, 8 Colors.75 Ounce Bottles
Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Gluten Free Almond Flour, 3 Pound
Batter Piping Tool
Ateco Disposable Piping Bags, 12-Inch, Pack of 100
Kitchenaid Handheld Mixer
RYBACK Stainless Steel Egg White Yolk Filter Separator Cooking Tool Dishwasher Safe Chef Kitchen Gadget
Nutrition InformationYield 12 macarons Serving Size 12
Amount Per Serving Calories 403Total Fat 40gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 36gCholesterol 0mgSodium 10mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 1gSugar 10gProtein 2g
Can I Make Macarons Without Cream of Tartar?
Yes, definitely, macarons can be made without it. Cream of tartar is an acid that is added to the meringue to make it more stable. If you do not have cream of tartar, you can substitute it with another acid like lemon or vinegar in double the amount. You can skip this ingredient if you can’t find it. Make sure your bowls are clean and dry and whip carefully with room temperature egg whites until it reaches still peaks. If your egg whites take too long to whip or breaks apart, reconsider using cream of tartar. It can be purchased online from Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Do I Need to Rest The Macaron Shells?
Yes and no. First of all, I should make clear that there is absolutely nothing special about a recipe that says no resting is required. It is simply the author telling you not to do so. They are not guaranteeing that your macarons will not crack in the oven. This part is all up to you. I have a whole post on whether resting the macaron shell is necessary. If your batter is prepared correctly, it can go right into the oven without resting. Resting the macaron shell is great for those times the batter is a bit thin and needs some time to develop a skin so it doesn’t crack in the oven.
Do I Need a Silicone Mat to Bake Macarons?
No, you can bake them just as easily on parchment paper. Silicone mats are better for keeping the shapes perfectly round, however, they are a bit trickier to use because they don’t conduct heat as well. I prefer using the official Silpat brand silicone mat because it is made with food grade silicone and conducts heat well.
Can You Give the Measurements in Cups?
A multitude of different factors can cause macarons to not develop properly including improper measurements. It’s too hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong so try to eliminate at least one factor that you can easily control – proper measurements. A kitchen scale is a very small investment in the kitchen that will help give you consistent baking results.
This Macaron Recipe Works!
Take a look at the awesome reader work using my macaron recipe. OMG! They all did such a lovely job and I am so pleased to see their results. If you want to share with me, please tag me on IG, Facebook or send photo via email. Love you all, XOXO Mimi
See more beautiful work from bakers using my recipe by clicking any of the images below:
Macaron Problems and Troubleshooting
So how did yours turn out? I hope you enjoyed the process and the recipe worked out well for you. If you didn’t quite achieve the results you’re looking for this time, try using some of the tips I’ve provided in these other posts I’ve written below – all experiences from my home kitchen. And don’t forget to share all your beautiful babies with me on Instagram. Let’s talk baking! Until next time.