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Macarons

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Learn to make classic French macarons with this easy recipe, complete with all the tips you need to create the most joyful cookies on the planet.

Pile of pink macarons.

Macarons (mah-kah-rons) are whimsical Parisian-style cookies, with two delicate almond meringue shells cradling a sweet filling. The shells have a light, crisp exterior and a chewy interior, and their vibrant colors make them as pretty to look at as they are delicious to eat. The cookies are not to be confused with American macaroons (mac-uh-roons), which are coconut-based meringue cookies, or Emmanuel Macron, the 25th president of France!

KNOW YOUR COOKIE: MACARONS VS MACAROONS

Graphic describing the difference between macaron (sandwich cookie), macaroon (chewy, rich cookie), and Macron (25th president of France.)

Making French Macarons

Given their temperamental nature, French macarons require precise measurements. This recipe provides metric measurements only because, to achieve success, you must weigh your ingredients using a digital scale. However, once you master the basics of making macaron shells, the creative options are endless. You can marble the color of the shells, vary the sweet fillings, roll the edges in nonpareils, or dip them in chocolate. This recipe guides you in creating classic vanilla-flavored macarons.

The cookies are best when they’ve had a few days to “age” in the fridge, which allows the shells and filling to meld together into one cohesive cookie. Place the assembled macarons inside an airtight container, refrigerate them for 1 to 2 days, and then let them to come to room temperature before serving.

What You’ll Need To Make Macaron Shells

Macaron shells are quite simple and made from just a few ingredients: almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar, and eggs. For this vanilla version, I add vanilla paste, which is available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets near the vanilla extract (do not use vanilla extract; it will add too much liquid). To color the shells, I use gel paste food color, which is thicker and more potent than normal food coloring (do not use normal food coloring, as it will also add too much liquid).

ingredients to make macarons

Macaron Fillings

You can fill macarons with anything, from cream cheese frosting and Swiss meringue buttercream to lemon curd, jam, and chocolate ganache. My favorite filling for vanilla macarons is Swiss meringue buttercream because it’s not too sweet — the macaron shells are plenty sweet on their own.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prep

Fill a small saucepan with about 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer on the stove over medium-low heat. Line two 13×18-inch baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats. Place the pastry bag fitted with the ½-inch tip in a wide glass with the tip at the bottom of the glass but facing up (this prevents the batter from spilling out when you fill the bag). Fold the bag over the rim of the glass to form a cuff.

Step 2: Weigh and Sift the Almond Flour and Confectioners Sugar

Add the almond flour and confectioners sugar to a sieve placed over a large bowl.

weighing almond flour and confectioners sugar in a fine sieve over a bowl

Sift the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar together through the sieve. Alternatively, if your almond flour is too coarse to go through the sieve, whisk the confectioners sugar and almond flour in a bowl, rubbing out any stubborn lumps with your fingers.

sifted almond flour and confectioners sugar

Step 3: Make the Meringue

Add the egg whites and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. weighing eggs and sugar

Whisk to combine. Place the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are very warm to the touch, about 2 minutes.

whisking eggs and sugar in a double boiler

To see if it’s ready, rub the mixture between your fingers — you shouldn’t be able to feel any sugar granules.

rubbing egg white mixture between fingers to see if it's ready

Remove the bowl from the heat and attach to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed (speed 8) until the meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks. For me, this takes 6 to 8 minutes, but the time will vary depending on the wattage and size of your mixer.

whipping the egg white and sugar mixture in heavy-duty mixer

You’ll know it’s ready when you lift the whisk out of the bowl and the peaks stand straight up.

stiff meringue peaks on the whisk attachment

Step 4: Mix the Macaron Batter

Pour the sifted almond flour and confectioners’ sugar mixture into the bowl with the meringue. Add the vanilla bean paste and food color. adding the almond flour and confectioners sugar mixture, food coloring, and vanilla paste to the meringue in the mixing bowl

Using a rubber spatula, fold until evenly incorporated. At this point, the batter will be very thick.

folding the ingredients together in the bowl

To achieve the right consistency, continue folding, occasionally smearing the batter against the bottom and sides of the bowl.

pressing the macaron batter against the sides and bottom of the bowl to release air bubbles (macronage)

This process is called “macronage.” The time it takes to reach the proper consistency varies, but usually takes me 5 to 8 minutes (it’s an arm workout!). You’ll know the batter is ready when it is glossy with a lava-like consistency, and you can lift up the spatula and slowly form several figure 8s with the batter without the ribbon breaking. Additionally, the batter from your figure 8s should dissolve into the batter that’s already in the bowl, just leaving a faint outline, in 10 to 15 seconds. Be careful not to overmix or you’ll end up with macaron puddles; it’s always best to undermix and test several times until the proper consistency has been achieved.

macaron batter with figure 8 ribbon in the bowl

Step 5: Pipe the Batter Onto Baking Sheets, Rest & Bake

Transfer the batter to the pastry bag. Hold the bag straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan, about ½ inch above it, and pipe out 1¼-inch diameter mounds onto the parchment paper. I eyeball it, but if you prefer a template, you can use macaron silpat baking mats, which have a template to guide you. (To avoid leaving a point on the mounds, finish piping by releasing pressure and pulling up as you quickly twist with a flick of your wrist.) Tap each tray several times on the countertop to pop any air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining air bubbles on the surface of the shells. Allow the trays to rest for about 20 minutes, or until the shells have dried out slightly.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.

piped macarons on baking sheet

Bake one pan at a time, for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pans on wire racks and let cool completely. Store the shells in a covered container in the refrigerator. (It’s fine to stack the shells; just be gentle with them.) You can also freeze the shells in a tightly sealed container for about two weeks. Make sure to thaw them in the refrigerator for a few hours before assembling.

baked macaron shells on baking sheet

Step 6: Fill the Cookies

Prepare your filling of choice. Remove the macarons from the parchment paper, and turn half of them over. Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of one upside-down macaron. Top with a second macaron and press gently to spread the filling to the edges. Repeat with the remaining macarons. Store the macarons in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.Pile of pink macarons.

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Macarons

Learn to make classic French macarons with this easy recipe, complete with all the tips you need to create the most joyful cookies on the planet.

Servings: 40 macaron shells (20 macarons)
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour, plus 20 minutes to dry the shells

Ingredients

Special Equipment

Instructions

  1. Fill a small saucepan with about 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer on the stove over medium-low heat. Line two 13x18-inch baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats. Place a pastry bag fitted with a ¼ or ½-inch tip in a wide glass with the tip at the bottom of the glass but facing up (this prevents the batter from spilling out when you fill the bag). Fold the bag over the rim of the glass to form a cuff.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the almond flour and confectioners' sugar together through a fine sieve. Alternatively, if your almond flour is too coarse to go through the sieve, whisk the confectioners sugar and almond flour in a bowl, rubbing out any stubborn lumps with your fingers.
  3. Add the egg whites and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer; whisk to combine. Place the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are very warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. (To see if it's ready, rub the mixture between your fingers; you shouldn't be able to feel any sugar granules.)
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat and attach to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed (speed 8) until the meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks. For me, this takes 6 to 8 minutes, but the time will vary depending on the wattage and size of your mixer. You'll know it's ready when you lift the whisk out of the bowl and the peaks stand straight up.
  5. Pour the sifted almond flour and confectioners' sugar mixture into the bowl with the meringue. Add the vanilla bean paste and food color. Using a rubber spatula, fold until evenly incorporated. At this point, the batter will be very thick. To achieve the right consistency, continue folding, occasionally smearing the batter against the bottom and sides of the bowl, until it is glossy with a lava-like consistency. This process is called "macronage." The time it takes to reach the proper consistency varies, but it usually takes me 5 to 8 minutes (it's an arm workout!). You'll know it's ready when you can lift up the spatula and slowly form several figure 8s with the batter without the ribbon breaking. Additionally, the batter from your figure 8s should dissolve into the batter that’s already in the bowl, just leaving a faint outline, in 10 to 15 seconds. Be careful not to overmix or you'll end up with macaron puddles; it's always best to undermix and test several times until the proper consistency has been achieved.
  6. Transfer the batter to the pastry bag. Hold the bag straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan, about ½ inch above it, and pipe out 1¼-inch diameter mounds onto the parchment paper. (To avoid leaving a point on the mounds, finish piping by releasing pressure and pulling up as you quickly twist with a flick of your wrist.) Tap each tray several times on the countertop to pop any air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining air bubbles on the surface of the shells. Allow the trays to rest for about 20 minutes, or until the shells have dried out slightly.
  7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  8. Bake one pan at a time, for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops are shiny and crisp. Set the pans on wire racks and let cool completely.
  9. Fill the macarons: Prepare your filling of choice. Remove the macarons from the parchment paper, and turn half of them over. Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of one upside-down macaron. Top with a second macaron and press gently to spread the filling to the edges. Repeat with the remaining macarons. Store the macarons in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.
  10. Make-Ahead/Freezing Instructions: You can make the shells up to a day ahead of making the final macarons; store in a covered container in the refrigerator. (It's fine to stack the shells; just be gentle with them.) You can also freeze the shells in a tightly sealed container for up to two weeks. Make sure to thaw them in the refrigerator for a few hours before assembling.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • hi jen, thank you for the beautiful recipes! how much buttercream do i need to fill these macarons? how would i go about making it raspberry flavored and coffee flavored buttercream? thankyou!

    • — amy guillemin on February 4, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Amy, If you’re referring to my Swiss buttercream recipe (and I’d use that instead of American buttercream), you’ll only need a very small amount; definitely no more than a quarter of the recipe if that much. And I’m not sure how you would need to tweak the frosting recipe to make it raspberry or coffee flavored so I think your best bet is to look for recipes specifically for those.

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2024
      • Reply
  • After trying several times with another recipe and mediocre results, nailed it on Take 1 with your recipe! Appreciate having ingredients measured by weight, and it’s helpful that the egg white quantity is exactly 100g, as 3 eggs is usually a little over that for me, and it’s a snap to scale other ingredients so nothing goes to waste. I filled with espresso buttercream – so tasty!

    I’ve got buttercream left over, and would love to try a chocolate version with it – do you think I could just add cocoa powder (say 20-25g) with the almond flour & sugar, and would I need to adjust other ingredients to compensate??

    • — Jennifer on January 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, So glad you enjoyed them! I actually have a chocolate version. If you’d like it, just email me at jennifer@onceuponachef.com; I’d be happy to share it with you.

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi! After a couple attempts I finally got beautiful macarons! I was hooting and hollering and my kids thought I was celebrating something more exciting than perfect macarons! 😝 Question: if I use your Swiss meringue recipe it seems like it makes a lot more than I’d need for a batch or two of macarons, true? Should I cut it in half or thirds?

    • — Cody on December 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • LOL…I get it – it’s a big accomplishment! Yes you’ll have a ton of frosting so I’d make a third.

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • Taste delicious but many of them cracked in the oven. Maybe I did something wrong?

    • — Nancy A. on December 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi! Which fillings do you recommend with less sweetness?

    • — chynna on October 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • I’d go with the Swiss meringue buttercream. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 27, 2023
      • Reply
  • Leave it to Jenn to come up with a macaron recipe that was well explained and easily to follow. The shells were really delicious. A few mistakes I made was when my batter got glossy, I think I should have continued folding the batter a bit longer because the shells were not very glossy after baking. I also didn’t use enough food coloring, the color was a pale lilac before baking which didn’t show up after baking. I’m happy to have this recipe to continue practicing making the macarons. Regardless of the lack of shine and color, the cookie was delicious. Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Jan on April 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I have two questions. 1. Did you use blanched almond flour or non-blanched? 2. Can these be stored at room temperature with the filling and everything? I love all of your recipes and your website is my go-to!

    • — Elijah F on April 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Elijah, I used blanched almond flour (this is the one I used) and once you’ve assembled the cookies with the filling, store them in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 days but bring to room temperature before serving. Hope you enjoy if you make them!

      • — Jenn on April 20, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn, I just realized that I forgot to add another question! Should I use the vanilla paste if I don’t want vanilla macarons, or will all macarons have it? If it can be skipped, what changes should I make?

        • — Elijah F. on April 20, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Elijah, Many flavors work beautifully with vanilla, so in many cases I would leave it in. If you don’t think the vanilla flavor would enhance the macarons, you can simply leave it out without any other changes.

          • — Jenn on April 21, 2023
          • Reply
  • These turned out PERFECT. I left the cookie white and then made your Swiss Meringue buttercream and added freeze dried strawberry powder for color and flavor. My whole family raved. Macarons are not easy to master but your directions were easy to follow. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Shami Coley on April 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • My neighbor makes these as a small business, and they are so stunningly beautiful to look at and so absolutely delicious. I am just totally blown away. I love them. It is my understanding that they are very difficult to make. Cheryl

    • — Cheryl on April 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    They absolutely look great. Should we measure flour and sugar before or after sifting?
    Barbara

    • — barbara on April 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, It won’t make any difference here since you’re measuring by weight, so either way. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • recipe is in grams. please convert measurements.
    thanks jenn

    • — Carol J Winkelman on April 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, macarons are so temperamental that exact measurements are important. That’s why I only provide metric/weight measurements (to be successful with these, you need to weigh your ingredients using a digital scale). Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on April 4, 2023
      • Reply
      • my scale has ou and kg. no gram…afraid I will have to pass this one

        • — Carol J Winkelman on April 6, 2023
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I love these little delights! Would love to try to make them. Can they only be made with almond flour? I know that’s the traditional recipe. Also, a video would be a great addition to the pictures. Just a thought.

    Thank you!

    • — Reem on April 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Reem, I’d recommend sticking with almond flour here. And I will add this to my list of videos to potentially develop. Hope you enjoy the macarons if you make them!

      • — Jenn on April 4, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hey Jenn, I love every thing of yours I have ever made, and I have done many. I want to try my hand at this for a French party I am having, but anxious to try such a delicate recipe. Have you by chance made a video of these yet?

        • — Melissa on August 11, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Melissa, Thanks for your nice words about the recipes — so glad you like them! You’re right, there is not video for these. I will add it to my list of videos to potentially develop. 🙂

          • — Jenn on August 14, 2023
          • Reply
  • Can’t wait to try this! If I don’t have a pastry bag is there an alternative at home solution like a ziplock bag I could use? Love your recipes Jen!

    • — Tara on April 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Tara, So glad you like the recipes! You could try using a Ziploc bag, but if you want them to look perfect, you really need a pastry tip.

      • — Jenn on April 4, 2023
      • Reply

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