Foolproof Macarons: The How-to Guide

Ever since I did a project on French cuisine, I’ve been obsessed with certain little almond meringue cookies called macarons. Now, I use the term “cookie” loosely because I really have no idea how to categorize these finicky little things. And this obsession was reignited with a fiery passion after trying macarons made by Pierre Herme.

After that moment, I proceeded to waste an obscene amount of egg whites, almonds, and sugar. It wasn’t like I was planning on eating all those calories, so in the trash went each cracked and misshapen batch. 

However, after testing various ratios and temperatures, I’ve finally come up with what I’ve deemed as the perfect macaron recipe, which also happens to be very simple.

Basic Macarons (French Meringue) 

Makes 32 shells (16 macarons)

50 g ground almonds, blanched

50 g confectioners sugar

40 g room-temperature egg whites (around one large egg)

40 g white sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F (This is the ideal temperature for my oven. Because each oven is different, you may want to start at 325 F. I know that my oven is on the cooler side, which is why my temperature is higher than normal, so make adjustments according to your oven.)

1. Sift the almond meal and confectioners sugar together. Set aside.

2. In a pristine mixing bowl, start whisking the egg whites at a high speed.

3. Once it begins foaming, start slowly pouring in the sugar. Continue whisking the egg whites until glossy and medium-stiff peaks appear.

4. Pour in 1/3 of the almond meal/confectioners sugar mixture in and fold it in    thoroughly using a spatula. There’s no need to be extremely gentle at this stage. This step is called the macronnage and it is key to the success of the macarons.

5. Pour the rest of the almond/confectioners sugar mixture into the egg whites and fold it so that everything is incorporated thoroughly. The mixture should become more glossy and it should be able to form ribbons when lifting the spatula. However, there is still more folding to be done. Be more gentle at this stage. The egg whites should not be able to hold their form, and they should slowly sink down until somewhat flattened. When making a ribbon on the surface, the ribbon should sink in and disappear at around 20 seconds.

   

6. Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe onto parchment paper or a silpat mat. When piping the macarons, keep the piping tip still while piping to get a round macaron. Swirl the tip on the top to finish piping. If you’re like me and you can’t pipe evenly spaced or sized macarons for your life, a handy-dandy template will do the trick. I used this one from yumarama.com and I’ll never go back again. Print two to fit on either half of the baking pan and lay your parchment on top. Make sure to slide out the paper before baking it! The batter should perfectly fit one pan.

By the time you finish piping a row of macarons, the first macaron you piped in the row should already be almost perfectly settled.

7. Tap the pan to get rid of the air bubbles within the batter. Sometimes, using a toothpick to burst the bubbles at the surface can really help. Let your macarons rest until a skin forms on top. The macarons will become less glossy as the skin forms.

8. Put the macarons in a preheated oven, with an empty pan on the rack below it. Having the double pans lets the macarons rise more evenly, especially if you have an oven with uneven temperatures. If you started at 350 F, turn the temperature down to 325 F at around the 5-6  minute mark. Rotate the pan when you decrease the temperature.

9. The macarons should be done at 12-13 minutes. If the tops don’t move from the feet when nudged, they are done. The macarons should not brown, but slightly overcooking is better than undercooking. The macarons will stick and the feet will shrink if they are undercooked. Once you add the filling and refrigerate it overnight, slightly crunchy macarons as a result from overcooking won’t be a problem. Gently remove the macarons from the parchment and let it cool on a wire rack.

– If your macarons are cracked on top and/or there are no feet, it is probably a mixing problem. You might have over or undermixed during the macaronnage step. Letting it rest (if you haven’t already done so) may also help.

– If the macarons don’t smooth out on their own after you’ve piped them, you’ve undermixed.

– If your feet look like they exploded and have overgrown, decrease your oven temperature. However, if your feet look very small and minimal, increase the temperature. The feet should start to form at around the 4-5 minute mark.

– If the macarons have crooked feet, use the double pan method as the temperature in your oven isn’t equal. Often, the macarons around the edges of each batch come out crooked due to my terribly uneven oven, despite using a double pan.

– Aging your egg whites isn’t really necessary, but having them at room temperature helps a lot. They whip up much faster and easier. Separate your egg whites straight out of the fridge then let the egg whites come to room temperature.

– If your macarons stick to the baking sheet or the feet shrink after coming out of the oven, bake them for a little longer. Each oven is different so baking times and temperatures will differ as well.

– You technically should blanch your almonds but I’m just lazy. The little specks you see are the skin – I call them specks of lazy. Quite fitting, I think. However, if you decided to blanch them, make sure to dry them!

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65 thoughts on “Foolproof Macarons: The How-to Guide

  1. Pingback: Macaroon Mishaps |

  2. I tried making this today and ran into a few problems. First, the feet expanded, so next time I’ll turn down the heat. Second, my shells were hollow. And third, they were really hard and crunchy. Do you have any tips to avoid these problems? I’ve tried over 20 recipes and I keep running into the same problems! Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Jamie! I’m sorry yours didn’t turn out as you hoped. I agree that your oven is too hot if your feet have expanded too much. Once you see that all your macarons have already developed feet (probably 4-5 minutes into the baking) make sure to turn down the heat (if you started at 350 F, turn down to ~325 F). If you have a hot oven, you may want to consider just starting at 325 F, instead of 350 F. For the crunchy shells, try reducing the baking time. You should bake them just until the upper portion doesn’t move from the feet when nudged. However, don’t forget that if you fill the macarons and let it sit in the fridge overnight, the macaron shells will soften! For the hollow shells, I used to have the problem as well, but somehow it just disappeared over time. I didn’t actually change anything specific, so I think that it was a culmination of correct baking time/temperature and proper folding. I always used the same recipe, so I think it’s more of a technique, and not a recipe issue. Good luck! 🙂

      • Thank you so much! I tried it again and it turned out so much better! Do you have any recommendations for fillings?

      • Glad to hear it! It really all depends on your tastes, but I love to use a dark chocolate ganache as the bitterness of the chocolate balances out the sweetness nicely. Something sour, like a lemon cream, also works wonderfully.

  3. Success, finally! Thank you for posting these extremely thorough instructions. I’ve tried my hand twice before using a different recipe (Brave….) and I ended up with really sugary blobs (albeit some with feet and no cracks at all). I think my problem before was overmixing (consistency of magma???! Sheesh 🙂 and overbeating the egg whites- not to the point of being grainy but a couple of minutes after reaching stiff peak. Lessons learned: ALWAYS sift and process flour, let egg whites come to room temp, dont overbeat, mix correctly, and use an oven thermometer. This time I followed your instructions and ended up with round beauties with perfect feet and no cracks. Thank you so much, Ill be passing on this link to friends and family.

  4. Yeah hey Emily I tried this and my macarons are cracked on top and have no feet. My macaron mixture was too thick despite mixing in the rigth amounts of ingredients and i didn’t overmix. They were not glossy on top either. I let them rest for them to form a skin.

    • It actually sounds like you’re undermixing! As you keep folding the the almonds with the meringue, it will slowly become glossier and smoother. The meringue will also thin out the more you mix, as the air escapes. Remember, as you pipe the macarons, if the first macaron you piped still hasn’t settled into a smooth, glossy surface by the time you’ve finished piping that row, you need to mix it some more.

      Hopefully that helps!

  5. I really need some help with macarons. I have made them so many times, Every time I make them the mixture is always too thick even though i add in the right anount of eggwhites and other ingredients.

  6. BEautiful!!! I will try your tips next time I make them with the French method! I was forced to make them with the Italian Method in school and find it to be less scary than I remember when in my home kitchen. Where did you get the cute box? I hope to ship them to family and friends for Christmas and maybe sell a few but Im worried about their safety. thanks! Z

      • I used to do it with the italian method, but then I got lazy since that required an extra step 😉 The box in the photo was from La Grande Epicerie in Paris (I know, not very helpful haha). I’m not sure about your area, but I’ve found macaron boxes similar to that in specialty baking stores and some online! I’ve never shipped or ordered macaroons online so I can’t speak for how they will turn out.

  7. Your recipe is awesome!!! I’m so happy that I have found it hehe. I had a little problem with my macarons though (but not because of the recipe hahaha) hope you can give me some advice, my macarons look like they are somewhat deflated, like if they rised and then deflated, their feet was a little bit small also, I think that it is a temperature problem but don’t know if it is because of high or low temp. And another question, in wich rack is better to place the macarons? I placed them in the middle rack.

      • Thanks Antonio! 🙂 It’s interesting that the macarons deflated in the oven, because for me, my macarons are often still rising at the 6 minute mark. I also put my macarons in the middle rack, with an empty pan on the lower one. If your oven were too hot, the macarons would look overgrown and if it was too cold (or you didn’t put them in for long enough), the feet look minimal and would possibly shrink coming out of the oven. When you piped the macarons did you find that they were a little flat? It sounds like you might have over mixed a little bit.

  8. Hi, really love your recipe! I succeeded using this recipe. ^^ But may I know if I want to add cocoa powder, do I need to substitute anything for the cocoa powder or do I just add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder into the ground almond and confectionery sugar mixture? Thank you! 🙂

  9. Hi, I have tried your recipe recently and I succeeded!! Thanks for your recipe, I love it!! ^^ But may I know if I want to add cocoa powder, do I need to substitute anything for the cocoa powder or do I just add a few tablespoon of cocoa powder into the ground almond and confectionery sugar mixture? Thank you!! 🙂

  10. Hi.. Your macarons look amazing!!
    I had my first try of making macarons the other day and failed miserably!! I thought everything looked perfect until I put them in the oven.

    I have a gas oven and the heat comes from the botton so I put them in the middle rack.. My first tray all cracked and the rest all had feet but were all hollow inside.. I preheated my oven at gas mark 2-3..

    Please help, what am I doing wrong!!

    • Hey Sabina!
      The middle rack sounds fine, but since I don’t have a gas oven, I’m not sure what gasmark 2-3 translates to temperature wise. I have to say that, especially since it’s your first try, you most likely made a mistake in the mixing step and not the baking. During the macaronnage stage, did it take around 20 seconds for the ribbons to dissolve back into the mixture? By the time you finished piping a row, did the first macaron you pipe settle yet? These are good things to consider first.

  11. Hi, This is my 4th attempt ( as I type) they are on the counter and ready for the oven in about 30 mins…or at least until they are dry to touch…I am deathly scared ( LOL) of these little fellas…and I REALLY need to get this perfected, as they are my daughters fav and she is getting married in March 2014…and would like to incorporate into the wedding ( as you know they are pricey)…this tips MAY save my failed attempts…Thank you soo much

  12. Hi! I’m thinking of making chocolate macarons. Found another recipe that uses 100ml thickened cream and
    100g dark cooking chocolate to make fillings. Any suggestions on how to alter this recipe to include cocoa powder in, e.g. reducing almond/sugar? (:

    • I’m not sure the exact measurements, but I would keep the total amount of dry ingredients the same by taking out the same amount of almond/sugar as cocoa you add.

  13. Hi,
    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’ve gone back and forth between the Italian and French method and still can’t get it right. I noticed in your photos of the meringue there are sugar crystals, similar to what happens in the Italian method. We don’t heat the sugar for this recipe, do we? Thanks so much!

    • Good catch! I used to switch back and forth between French and Italian, and I didn’t notice that I pulled the picture from an Italian meringue.
      This recipe requires no heating since its the French method – you just add the sugar straight into the meringue.

      • Is that what the meringue should look like though? That consistency, so I know when to stop whipping. Thank you so much for your fast response.

  14. Hi Emily – I used your templates and came out with 18 shells in total = 9 macarons. I’m not sure how this recipe yielded 32 macaron shells? Did you double the recipe? I followed it to a T.

    • The template comes to around 32 shells and the recipe should be able to fill it. This can slightly differ based on the size of your egg whites as well as the amount of air left in your mixture. Maybe next time mix it a little less to keep more air in it (and increase your volume)?

  15. Hi i tried these. Are the measurements correct for the ingredients? 40g of sugar seems like too much for just 1 egg white. My egg whites wouldnt whip up right because of the excess sugar. and once i folded everything together it would stay thick no matter how many times i folded it. Could you please include cup/tablespoon measurements too?

    • Do your egg whites come to around 40 g? They should be able to hold quite a bit of sugar, and 40 g should be very easily beaten into it. I’ve never used cups/tablespoons, and it’s not as accurate as grams.

  16. Hey! Just wondering, I know you make your own almond meal so you use 50grams of blanched almonds. However, I brought my almond meal from the store so I’m just wondering how many grams of almond meal do I need for this recipe? Thanks!

  17. Hi there, wondering if i should measure first before sifting or sift first before measuring, or does it matter? I noticed there’s a bunch of almond bits left after sifting. It’s not exactly 50g of almond flour anymore. Any tip on this is greatly appreciated!

  18. Thanks Emily, It still turned out perfect! But i will keep your suggestion in mind. Thanks for sharing this recipe, it really is foolproof!

  19. Hi Emily. Do you ever double your batches? I’ve been having hollow issues lately and it’s so frustrating. I’ve messed around with my oven temp and I tap my trays and let them rest. I don’t know what else to do. Can you help me please?

    Thank you

    • Hi Karen,
      I don’t usually double my batches, but I don’t think the oven temperature would be the issue (if your macarons weren’t hollow when you made a single batch at the same temperature). If I had to guess, it would be that there may be some differences during the macaronage step when you double the batch. I’ve noticed that undermixing it or underbaking it sometimes results in hollow shells. Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for your reponse!

        So, I forgot to mention that I haven’t tried doubling my batches but I was curious.

        The hollows are during single batches and when I watch all these youtube vids on macronnage etc, i dont know what im doing wrong. I feel like i’m doing what their doing. Do you use convection?

        Thank you!

      • Oh, ok. Well, in regards to the doubling, I think you’ll be fine 🙂

        Yes, I have a convection oven! I used to have gas though, and I noticed that my convection oven is hotter than my gas. You may want to consider baking them at 325 F instead of 350 F with convection. Also, maybe try folding the batter just a little more (just a few more strokes!), to knock a little more air out. Let me know if it works out!

      • Hi Emily,

        325 is too hot. It already starts to brown at 295. My oven is off by 7 degrees and it changes also.

        Right now, i’ve been using 250 degrees and bake until 5 mins and rotate.

        What speed do you mix your sugar, what speed are you on after sugars been added? What speed are you on until you get stiff peaks? And to check for stiff peaks, Do you take the whisk off and mix in the bowl and lift? If so, does it wilt a little bit at the ends?

        Thank you,
        Karen

  20. Thank you for this recipe! My macarons (mostly) came out very nicely and it wasn’t excessively sweet like most recipes out there. I had my oven temperature to 300 degrees F since my oven gets pretty hot. Will be making more of these in the future!

  21. Hi Emily, the egg whites i use weigh around 44 – 46g. It seems fine (with feets and all) but I feel that I would like the shell to be crispier. Any idea what should I do?

  22. Hi,
    I have been struggling with these finicky little cookies for a while. Already 3 batches gone wrong somehow and then I bumped in to your recipe and finally they turned out beautiful!! Thank you so much for the recipe!!!
    Cheers!
    Thoiba

  23. Hi, can the mixture be doubled with still working. This is my favourite macaron recipe but it only makes 9 filled macarons when i do it, and because i need to make around 40, i was wondering if doubling the mixture would affect anything?

  24. Thank you for this easy recipe. My macarons are close to being perfect! I just need a finer sieve for sifting. 🙂 I’ve tried a batch of 90g almond meal/icing sugar and 75g egg whites/caster sugar closely following the 5:4 ratio of your recipe and it worked out beautifully.

  25. thank you for this recipe!!! i made two batches of perfect macarons from it (:
    do you know if I can add cocoa powder to this recipe for a brown shell?

  26. Hi I tried making these macaroon but the batter became so runny , I think while sieving the walnuts and sugar the walnut powder might have been mixed with the meringue ,so the meringue did not peak. However the batter ran into each other and became one big sheet of macaroon , can I use it for any other dessert? As it’s crunchy and not bad to taste.

  27. I have been doing the italian macroons … And bake them at 140c for 16-18 min, but now when I am doing it at the same temp the macroons r lopsided and the feet is hardly to be seen.. Where can I be going wrong?? Please help!

  28. I love this recipe as it only makes enough to fit on one tray but it always comes out hollow. It’s driving me crazy! Do you have any suggestions? I’ve shortened the whipping time, increased and decreased oven temperature and tried different mixing methods but it always comes out hollow. Can you help?

  29. Hi Emily. Thank you for your recipe and tips. Should i add cream of tartar or egg white powder to the recipe since i am in a humid climate country?

  30. I actually make macarons for living and regularly switch between Italian and French method depending on the volume I have to make. I am always testing different recipes for French method and your one I will stick to from now on. I didn’t read the instructions just the ingredients and their ratio is spot on. Perfect macarons! Thanks!

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