This easy French macaron recipe makes a batch of the most dainty, delicate, and delicious cookies that will float right into your mouth and disappear. Mix and match colors and flavors to create treats to best suit the occasion.
These French macarons make a very special treat to give your friends and family. They also look pretty on a plate for guests to indulge in when they come over. They can definitely be finicky but once you learn how to make macarons you’ll be hooked!
Even if your cookies come out of the oven looking totally wrong they’ll still be delicious if not picture perfect.
While macarons are heavily associated with France, they are actually thought to have been brought over from Italy to France by the chef of Catherine de Medici, queen of France in the 16th century.
WHAT IS A FRENCH MACARON?
A macaron is a delicate meringue-based cookie sandwich made primarily from egg whites, almond four, and sugar. The outside is crisp but inside they’re more moist and chewy. They can be filled with a ganache, buttercream or anything desired!
CAN YOU MAKE THEM ON PARCHMENT PAPER?
Parchment paper is actually the best surface to piping macaron shells. You can still use a silicone mat for the macarons, but the silicone is a bit sticky for the batter. Don’t use wax paper or a buttered/greased surface.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MACAROON AND A MACARON?
A macaroon is basically a mound of sweetened coconut flakes, egg, and sugar. Delicious but not very light!
A macaron is a light meringue-based cookie with a layer of piped buttercream or ganache in the middle.
The two names are spelled and sound similar but the treats are quite different!
WHAT IS THE CORRECT TEXTURE?
A French macaron should have a delicate light texture. On the outside it’s crisp and airy, on the inside ever so slightly chewy.
DO THEY NEED CREAM OF TARTAR?
Cream of tartar helps to stabilize the egg whites when you whip them up. It’s not necessary but can help you on a humid day.
Nice Basic Macaron Recipe
For the Cookie
- 140 g almond flour 1 1/2 cups
- 100 g egg whites room temperature 3 large eggs
- 130 g powdered sugar 1 cup
- 90 g granulated sugar just under 1/2 cup
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar 800mg
- 1 tsp vanilla 5mL
For the Buttercream
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened 226g
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100g
- 3 tbsp water 30mL
For the Macarons:
- Sift the confectioners sugar and almond flour into a bowl.
- Add the room temperature egg whites into a very clean bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites. Once they begin to foam add the cream of tartar and then SLOWLY add the granulated sugar.
- Add the food coloring (if desired) and vanilla then mix in. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- Begin folding in the 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
- Be careful to add the remaining dry ingredients and fold gently.
- The final mixture should look like flowing lava, and be able to fall into a figure eight without breaking. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium round piping tip and you’re ready to start piping.
- Pipe one inch dollops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this should be glued down with dabs of batter). Tap on counter several times to release air bubbles. Allow to sit for about 40 minutes before placing in oven.
- Bake at 300F for 12-15 minutes, rotate tray after 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking sheet.
For the French Buttercream Filling:
- Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Heat over low heat while stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium- high and bring to a boil
- Put egg yolks in a stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until thick and foamy.
- Cook the sugar and water syrup until it reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat. With mixer running, SLOWLY drizzle hot syrup into bowl with yolks.
- Continue mixing until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the yolk mixture has cooled to room temperature.
- Add in butter one cube at a time allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next. Add vanilla and salt. Continue mixing until buttercream is smooth and creamy. (About 5-6 minutes.) Add food coloring if desired.
- Pipe your filling onto the back of half the shells. Form a sandwich and repeat. Macarons should be aged in the fridge for 1-3 days for best results. This allows the filling to soften the shells inside.
PRO TIPS FOR THIS RECIPE
- THE MERINGUE!!!! That meringue HAS TO BE STIFF! I had no idea French meringue could be whipped to such a thick marshmallowy consistency but all it takes is a bit of extra whisking. You’ll notice the meringue start to fill the whisk when you’re getting close to the right stage.
- Age your egg whites! Separate the eggs, place the whites in a clean glass, cover with plastic wrap and let them hang out in the fridge for a few days before using. This will dehydrate them and make them perfect for macarons.
- Sift, Sift, SIFT! Those larger pieces of almond flour will mar the surface of your macarons. Best practice is to sift then whiz in the food processor and repeat two more times. Discard the larger particles, don’t try to press them through the sieve.
- The mixing will take some practice, you will fold and fold the batter and then use the spatula to GENTLY press the batter against the bowl. You want to remove some of the bubbles but not to many… Continue this until it reaches a thick “lava” consistency. It should slowly fall off the spatula in ribbons and be able to form a figure eight without breaking.
- Pipe the macarons perpendicular to the surface. If your tip is pointing a bit in any particular direction when you pipe the macarons might be oblong or malformed.
- Add your coloring to the meringue after it reaches the soft peak stage.
- When you are finishing the piping motion stop squeezing the bag and pull up with a circular motion.
- The macarons will be best after 2-3 days resting in the fridge.
- If you over-bake the shells and they’re too crisp, brush the bottom with some milk before assembly to soften them up.