Macaron Troubleshooting Guide

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A comprehensive macaron troubleshooting guide with photos, possible causes and how to avoid the most common macaron issues!

Since 2012, I’ve made thousands of macarons in my home kitchen with many trials and errors, as well as picture-perfect macarons! And yes, I’ve had pretty much every problem imaginable!!

In the process, I’ve gained lots of tips and tricks to solve those frustrating issues and, most importantly, how to avoid them in the first place.

Remember, sometimes, macarons fail for no apparent reason and leave us scratching our heads.

But I encourage you to never give up on macarons. The joy of watching your macarons grow those ruffled feet and pulling out perfectly round macarons with shiny smooth tops is simply priceless.

I swear, every single time, when I see my macarons through the oven door puffing up and baking perfectly, I can’t help but do a little happy dance in my kitchen! Pure joy, I’m telling ya!

What’s a perfect macaron?

Perfect macaron is very subjective. To me, a perfect macaron has the following characteristics:

  • Smooth shells
  • Ruffles feet
  • Full inside

Macaron Troubleshooting Video

Watch How to Make This Below!

Visual Macaron Troubleshooting Guide

Ok, let’s discuss each of the most common macaron issues, their causes and how to fix or prevent them!

Visual Macaron Troubleshooting Guide with Images and Possible Causes and Fixes, Part 1
Visual Macaron Troubleshooting Guide with Images and Possible Causes and Fixes, Part 2

Uneven, grainy macarons with nipples

Possible causes:

  • Too coarse almond flour
  • Dry ingredients weren’t sifted
  • Batter was under-mixed

how to fix grainy shells with nipples:

  1. Make sure to use fine ground almond flour.
  2. Don’t skip sifting the dry ingredients! Toss large almond pieces left in the sifter. You shouldn’t have more than 1/2 tablespoon of almond bits.
  3. Under-mixed batter also causes grainy shells with nipples. When mixed right, the nipples should melt back into the batter after tapping the piped shells on the counter.


Never use wet fingers to push the nipples down. Instead, use a toothpick to encourage the batter even out.

Cracked shells

Possible causes:

  • Too much air in the shell
  • High humidity
  • Shells weren’t rested
  • Weak meringue
  • High oven temperature, or hot spots in the oven

HOW TO FIX cracked macarons:

  1. Be sure to tap the baking sheet right after piping macaron shells. And use a toothpick to pop large air pockets visible on the surface.
  2. When it’s too humid, the shells don’t develop good skin, which leads to the next point.
  3. When the shells haven’t rested long enough to develop skin on top, steam releases from anywhere cause macarons to crack on top.
  4. Take your time to make nice and sturdy meringue, especially when you’re making French meringue. Watch my video on French Meringue 101 to learn all the tips to make the most stable French meringue.
  5. Too hot oven can also cause cracks in macaron shells. Make sure to get an oven thermometer to double check the temperature inside the oven without relying on what oven says.

Erupted shells

Possible cause:

  • Touched the shells with wet finger to push down a pointy nipple

How to prevent erupted volcano macarons:

Never touch your unbaked macaron shells with wet fingers to push down pointy end. Instead tap the baking sheet well. And if the pointy end doesn’t melt into the batter, you can either baking them as is, or scrape the batter back into a bowl and mix for a little more until the batter is at correct consistency.

Too crispy interior

Possible cause:

  • Shells were over-baked

How to fix too crispy shells:

If you over-baked your macaron shells and now they’re super crispy throughout, don’t fret! 2 easy fixes:

  1. Use wet fillings, like jams, caramel sauce, or lemon curd in the center.
  2. Simply brush on milk on the bottom of the shells before piping a filling of choice.


Mature filled macarons for 24 hours. The shells will absorb the moisture from filling and macarons should soften nicely.

Flat shells, spread out too much

Possible cause:

  • Batter was over-mixed

Over-mixed batter is too loose and the shells don’t hold its shape well, instead it spreads out too much.

How to prevent flat, spread out macarons:

Once macaron batter is over-mixed and it’s too runny, there’s no way to salvage it. So it’s important to prevent this from happening.

Make sure to check the batter often for the correct consistency. It should slowly run off the spatula into a ribbon, and the edges should melt back into the batter within about 10 seconds.

Hollow shells

Possible cause:

  • Issue with meringue
  • Over-mixed batter
  • Improper piping technique
  • Too high oven temperature
  • Under-baked macaron shells

How to fix hollow macaron shells:

Hollow macarons are so common, and I personally battled with this issue for a long time. Now, I consistently get full, meaty macarons straight from the oven.

Since it’s a complex issue, I dedicated a separate post on how to fix hollow macarons.

Watch How to Make This Below!

No feet

Potential causes:

  • Batter is too wet
  • Humid weather
  • Weak meringue
  • Batter was over-mixed
  • Shells weren’t rested before baking
  • Shells were rested for too long, weakening the meringue structure
  • Too low oven temperature

How to prevent no feet macarons:

  1. When the batter is too wet, macarons don’t develop those ruffled feet. The most common causes for wet batter: excess liquids, like extracts, lemon/lime juice, liquid food coloring, too much gel food coloring, etc.
  2. In some cases, especially in humid climates, aging egg whites might be beneficial. During aging, egg whites loose some of its moisture.
  3. When the meringue isn’t whipped to stiff peaks, it doesn’t have strong enough structure to lift macarons. Watch my French Meringue 101 video for visual cues for proper meringue.
  4. When macaron batter is over-mixed, there’s not much air bubbles left to give the shells lift during baking. Therefore, they come out flat without feet.
  5. Also, if macarons weren’t rested to form a skin before baking, it could cause no feet macarons. And if the shells were rested for too long, it can also negatively affect the batter, because meringue loses its stability when sat for too long. Keep checking the shells every 15 minutes and put them in the oven as soon as they don’t stick to your fingers.
  6. If the oven is not hot enough, macarons won’t rise as air bubbles in the meringue need heat to expand to lift the shells, creating that pretty feet at the base.


Make sure to get an oven thermometer to double check the temperature inside the oven without relying on what oven says.

Bulging feet

Potential causes:

  • Too high oven temperature
  • Silicone mat

how to prevent bulging feet:

Some may find it ugly when the ruffled feet extends out of the macaron shells. I’m not a huge fan, but it’s not the worst!

  • This happens when the oven is a bit too hot, causing the macarons to rise too high and then collapse slightly, making the feet bulge out.
  • And another reason is silicone mat might be the culprit. I certainly happens to me with thick silicone mats, but I know some people have gorgeous macarons with silicone mats.

Soft, wrinkly shells

Possible causes:

  • Too much liquid (moisture) in the batter
  • Meringue is under-beaten
  • Oily almond flour

How to prevent soft, wrinkly shells:

Excess moisture and/or fat is the #1 cause for soft, wrinkly shells. And there’re number of culprits for excess moisture/fat in the batter:

  1. Adding liquid extracts, juices or liquid food coloring
  2. Adding cocoa powder, freeze-dried fruits, etc.
  3. Under-mixed meringue also contains too much moisture
  4. Oily almond flour, or almond flour that has been opened for too long

Cocoa powder contains fat which could potentially cause soft, brownie-like macaron shells. And freeze-dried fruits absorb moisture from the air fast and could cause soft, wrinkly shells as well.


Store opened almond flour in an airtight container in a cool place.

Too Thick batter

Typically, when you add dry ingredients into meringue, it starts out pretty thick and that’s totally normal. As you fold the batter, it thins out and gets runnier.

In rare occasions, the batter never loosens and it stays thick.

Possible causes:

  • Improper ratio of dry and wet ingredients
  • Oily almond flour
  • Too much cocoa powder or freeze-dried fruits
  • Overbeaten meringue

how to fix and prevent thick batter issue:

  1. Be sure to weigh the ingredients carefully. I strongly recommend weighing all the ingredients, including egg whites, with a kitchen scale.
  2. Oily almond flour could cause thick batter. Make sure to use fresh almond flour and avoid processing it in a food processor.
  3. Too much cocoa powder or freeze-dried fruits can throw the ratio of dry and wet ingredients.
  4. When meringue is over-beaten, it gets dry, throwing off the ratio as well.

Blotchy shells

I don’t have a photo of this issue, but basically it looks like greasy stains on the shells.

Possible causes:

  • Oily almond flour
  • Batter sat out for too long before piping

how to prevent blotchy macarons:

  1. Use fresh almond flour that’s not oily. To test, squeeze some almond flour in your hand and see if it holds its shape. If it holds its shape like wet sand, then it’s too oily.
  2. Make sure to pipe the shells right away, especially with French meringue batter.

Lopsided shells

Possible causes:

  • Uneven air circulation in the oven/ Hot spots
  • Convection setting (fan forced) may have too strong fan
  • Improper piping technique
  • Shells were dried for too long

how to prevent lopsided macarons:

Main culprit for lopsided shells is poor air circulation. This could be due to uneven heat distribution and hot spots in the oven, convection settings with too strong fan. Here’re a few things you can do in this case:

  1. Flip the baking sheet upside down before piping macarons, so that there’s no edges around the sheet to block any heat circulation.
  2. Bake macarons one sheet at a time.
  3. Turn the baking sheet around half way through baking.
  4. If possible, bake on conventional setting, heat coming from top and bottom.

The next reason for lopsided macarons is improper piping technique. Pay close attention to following:

  1. Hold the piping bag with macaron batter straight at 90° and squeeze the batter from the top to one spot until the desired size reaches. Watch my macaron video for better illustration.
  2. Pipe the shells at least half an inch apart to give the shells enough room for air circulation.

And lastly, don’t dry your macarons for too long. Too thick skin may cause lopsided macarons.

Concaved (Inverted) shells or Stuck To Parchment

Possible causes:

  • Low oven temp/ low heat from bottom
  • Under-baked shells
  • Not cooling the macarons before removing from parchment paper

How to prevent concaved, or stuck macarons:

  1. Make sure your oven is hot enough. Most of the time, ovens need good 30-45 minutes to preheat properly. Even if it beeps when it’s preheated, I highly recommend double checking with an oven thermometer.
  2. Be sure to check the macarons for doneness before taking them out. To test for doneness, gently touch the top of one macaron with your index finger and try wiggle it. If it wobbles side to side, they’re not ready. keep baking for another minute or so. The cooked shells should wiggle ever so slightly and firm to touch. When in doubt, cook a bit longer. In my opinion, it’s better to over-bake them than under-bake them.
  3. Make sure to cool the macarons on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before removing from parchment paper/silicone mat.
Yellow and pink macarons filled with white chocolate ganache arranged on a dark surface

Whew, are you still with me? Thank you!!! I hope this macaron troubleshooting guide answers your questions and helps you to perfect your macaron skills.

And if there is anything I haven’t covered, please leave me a comment below. I’d like us, macaron-lovers, connect and discuss various problems we face baking macarons. Let’s get the discussion started.

More Favorites from Sweet & Savory

This post was originally published on December 21st, 2015, and last updated on February 16th, 2021.

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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  1. Hello, hoping you can help. I can get my macarons, baked beautiful. Smooth, round, with nice ruffle feet. When they first come out of the oven, they don’t wiggle when you touch them, and they lift nicely off the silpat and or parchment. If i break one open fresh out of the oven, the inside is filled with cooked fluffy macaron, with crunchy shell. I let them cool on the pan, and they hollow out and become chewy. If I cool them off the cookie sheet, same thing happens. What is happening, why is this happening. I never even get to buttercream fillings, cuz my cookies fail!

    What tips can you give me. I am following the recipe, I bake at 320 for about 13 minutes. I use heavy duty commercial cookie sheets. My oven temp is perfect when I test the temp.

    Please Help!


    1. I also want to add, that I dont think I am overbeating the eggs. I beat till they just reach peak, or just get to that point where they wont slide out of the bowl. I thought maybe I should try to do more of a soft peak, but worried the batter will be too runny.

      1. Hi, Cindy! It sounds like your macarons are being underbaked. It’s basically the same as with cake, when the cake doesn’t bake all the way, they collapse. The same thing is happening with macarons. I’d suggest lowering your oven temp to 300°F and increasing the baking time to 15-16 minutes. Hope this will help. Let me know.

      2. Hi, I would try lowering your temp as suggested by Shinee, 300 , start looking at hem at 13 mins and go from there but , 13-18 minutes ish . Happy baking . 

  2. So I’ve become obsessed with making french macarons!! I don’t know why they’re so much fun but they are!!!! I’ve done a lot of troubleshooting on my own but I couldn’t keep the tops from getting a little brown!!! Duh on putting a pan in the oven on a rack above them. Eye roll to myself. Sometimes you hear things and are like “how in the world could I not have thought of that?!?!” So glad you said that!! Sooooo question time. For the first time I made peppermint macarons. Color was great. Consistency was great. But I put crushed peppermint on top after piping them, then banged them on the counter and let them sit. When I baked them there was tiny holes in the top. I’ve never had it happen so I’m thinking it was either putting the peppermint too soon or maybe I should have gotten the air holes out before putting on the peppermint OR maybe I should have put on the peppermint after the shell had formed on top before going in the oven. So the question is when is the appropriate time to add something to the top of the macaron? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks!!! 

    1. Hi, Katie. I’m so sorry for getting back to you after a whole month!!! So I also have trouble with similar issue, but with salt. If you wait for too long and sprinkle things on already formed shells, they won’t stick. So here’s what I do. Definitely sprinkle the topping after removing the air bubbles and wait for like 5 minutes or so. You want the shells to be still slightly sticky and not completely dried out.

  3. Hi Shinee,
    This is a wonderful resource. Thank you for all the time and effort. I recently have moved to 4900 ft and am struggling to get my macarons working up here. I have been playing with sugar and flour adjustments and finally have feet!  But I still have hollow shells. Help!  I had no problems when I was in Atlanta but does the meringue have to be softer at altitude than “normal”?

  4. Hi Shinee,
    I’ve tried making them using all the mentioned  techniques. My macarons turned out pretty and with feet. However, they tasted kinda crunchy instead of the usual outside crispy and chewy interior. Any idea why is that so? Thanks for helping!

      1. Did you let them “mature”? Freshly baked macarons will always be a little too crisp, it’s once they are filled and left in the fridge for 24 hours that they get the chewiness! 🙂

  5. is there a way to tell if macrons are done before taking them out of the oven. I more often than not have sticky insides and the bottom is not firm. I am afraid of over baking

    1. Hi, Jean. Yes, kind of. It may be a little tricky to explain, but I’ll try my best. If you touch one shell, while macarons are still in the oven, and try to slide it. It should have a little bit of wiggle, but shouldn’t slide back and forth too much. If it does, then bake for another 30sec or so and check again. If the shells are not moving at all and pretty hard, then they’re over-baked. But I say over-baked macaron shells are better then under-baked. Hope this helps.

  6. So me and my wife were trying to make macarons and while we beat the eggs to a soft peak everything is good, but when we added the sugar and kept meeting to get the firm peaks the mixture turns to liquid like everything just deflated. What did I do wrong and how do I fix it?

    1. Hi, Josh. That’s really weird. Egg whites don’t like even the tiniest trace of fat. I wonder if the bowl had a smear of fat up the walls, and when whipped egg white rose, it got in contact with fat and deflated. I’d try again with super clean bowl and whisk.

    2. Hi I have actually encountered this making foam cakes! It’s more than likely due to your sugar being to gritty or being added in too quickly. Perhaps try adding it slower or using a caster sugar instead of granulated.

  7. Hi! So I tried this basic macaron recipe tonight and it totally flopped! It was my first time ever trying to make macarons so I expected it wouldn’t turn out perfect. The taste was very good, but they didn’t look good. The batter was too thick, it never loosened up. I weighed all the ingredients prior to making the recipe using a food scale. I counted my folds and it was never getting to the ribbon stage, so I knew from the beginning something was wrong. I baked them anyways and they came out with no feet and almost like crinkled paper on top. There were no big defined cracks in them and they were not hollow. I made the white chocolate buttercream because we ate them anyways and everyone still loved them. I followed the instructions, so i don’t know where I could have went wrong? Please advise! 

    1. Hi, Brittany. Thank you for reaching out! And I’m sorry your first try didn’t turn out. You said you weighed the ingredients, but I wanted to double check if you had weighed the egg whites as well? It sounds like your wet and dry ingredients ratio was off. And that could easily happen if you didn’t weigh the egg whites as well. Let me know.

      1. I have a question. My macarons came out chewy and were cracked on the tops. I did get rid of the air bubbles by tapping my baking sheet, so I don’t know what went wrong. And I used the proper amount of flour + sugar etc. so I REALLY don’t know what happened. I baked them for a total of 19 minutes at 300 degrees. I live in New York City. It’s freezing. Please help me I really don’t know what I did.

        1. Hi, Lina. What macaron recipe did you make? Did you dry your macaron before baking? If so, for how long? I recently learned that cracked macarons maybe caused by not drying them long enough.

  8. Hiiiiii! My Macaroons have feet but I notice they shrink after a while while baking. Why is this? Please and thank you!!

    1. Hi, Gee. So your macarons rise and then drop while in the oven? Did you by chance opened the door to check? The sudden temperature drop may cause that.

      1. Hiii! So i’ve been baking many, maaaanyy maaaannny batches of Macaroons but I just cant seem to find the perfect temp to bake. They always seems to be undercooked. I even bought a big countertop oven to try it out but its the same thing. The macaroon top is supposed to be hard right out of the oven right? Or do they harden later on? My macaroons are pretty but just.. chewy. Sad life. I’m about to give up. Any tips helps!

        1. Yes, macaron shells are hard right out of the oven. By chewy, do you mean they’re kind of sticky chewy? It does sound like your macarons are being under-baked. In order to troubleshoot your issue, I have a few questions. How humid is it where you are? How long are you drying the macarons before baking? What temperature are you baking? Which rack are you baking the macarons on? How long are you baking your macarons? And finally what happens when you bake them longer?

      2. Not humid at all, I wait about 30 minutes to put them in the oven and they do form a shell. I’ve tried about every baking time and they just dont cook. Recently I tried baking them longer but they get so overcooked on the bottom and on the edges but the center is still a little wet. 
        275, 285, 300, for about 18-25 minutes. 
        I do bake them on the bottom rack cause my shells turn brown. I also notice that my feet rise too high and outward when I bake at 285-300. I even bought an oven thermometer. The little tiny Breville countertop oven I bought has a fan feature and ive been playing with that too and its pretty much the same. 

        1. Thanks so much for more details. I suggest baking your macarons at 325F for 13-14 minutes without a fan. Try that and see if it helps.

  9. Hi! Love your recipie and have made these three times with great success. today was the first time I tried to make them with lemon juice in the meringue and it could be coincidental, but it’s also the first time they didn’t set prior to my putting them in the oven. I had them out for an hour but no change. Any advice, or idea why they wouldn’t set? Thanks! 

  10. Hi Shinee,
    Thanks for a great post! I read almost everyone’s comment about the “hollow” issue. I am having the exact same issue, the macarons come out great and taste really good, but super brittle shells and hollow. With that said. I know I am not over beating the meringue. Or so I think!! I beat the egg whites with a hand mixer and test frequently for soft peak, I then turn the bowl upside down making sure the meringue doesn’t fall out. 
    I am very frustrated because I have been making these temperamental cookies for almost 6 years and just recently in the past few months, they stopped being perfect!!! Could it be my oven??? Thank you. 

    1. Hi, Nazy! Yes, the oven could definitely be a culprit. Did you change your oven in the last few months? Check if your oven is accurate with an oven thermometer. And also try varying the temp by 15 degrees higher or lower. Hope this helps, and I really hope you’ll get back to your perfect macarons.

      1. Hi Shinee, No my oven is the same. I do have a thermometer in there and it has always been 10 degrees off. But, I JUST finished making a batch of Banana shells with Nutella filling. Guess what? They came out PERFECT. 🙂
        I did do couple of things differently this time. After reading all your comments to others, I made the meringue soft peak, and when I turned the bowl, it was softly sliding off the bowl, normally if I turned the bowl around, it would not fall out. This time it would, but super softly. Then I followed your temperature 300 for 20 minutes. (I put mine at 310 since my oven isn’t accurate). Normally my temperature is at 290 and I think they were under cooked!?
        Thank you so much for such a great website. I am also following you on Pinterest, I LOVE LOVE LOVE all your macarons … 

        1. Hi, Nazy. Yeah, your macarons may have been slightly undercooked, which also could cause hollow macarons, because it rises, but it doesn’t cook all the way and therefore collapses inside. I’m so glad your last batch came out perfect! It’s a wonderful feeling! I got your e-mail with the photo, and they look PERFECT!! Thank you!

        2. Shinee,

          I have been making more batches and they look great but, they are bit too chewy on the shell. Anything else I am doing wrong??

        3. Hey, Nazy. When you say chewy, you mean they’re stick to your teeth kind of chewy, right? My first thought was it’s due to under-mixed meringue. And then I realized you did it on purpose last time. So I’m curious, did your previous batches come out chewy? Or did they just came out chewy when you beat the meringue till soft peaks?

        4. Hi Shinee,
          I purposely did it both ways, soft peak and stiff peak, they both came out chewy as in sticking to your teeth. 
          Last night I made another batch and they came out hollow!!! 🙁
          I am just lost …. I don’t want to give up because sometimes I make them and they come out so awesome and then this happens and is just so exhausting that I can’t just make them perfect!!!

        5. Ah, I understand your pain, Nazy. Try my new directions I sent you via e-mail, and hope that will improve the situation. Keep me posted.