Easy Macaron Recipe for Beginners

4.65 from 215 votes

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Master classic French macarons with my time-tested easy macaron recipe complete with my in-depth explanation of key techniques, step-by-step photos and a video to achieve perfectly full macaron shells with pretty feet and smooth tops.

Pink and white french macarons.


 

Are you ready to finally master the art of French macarons? Yay, I’m so excited to help you.

Consider this as your ultimate resource for perfecting these dainty little cookies. I’m not holding anything back!!

Macarons vs Macaroons

Did you know macarons and macaroons aren’t the same? In fact, they’re are completely different cookies!

  • Macaroons [mak-a-roon] are little coconut cookies, often dipped in chocolate.
  • French macarons [mak-a-ron], on other hand, are meringue-based almond cookies filled with different fillings, such as buttercream, ganache, etc.

Why you’ll love this macaron recipe

I don’t believe in foolproof macaron recipe. Making these finicky cookies is all about the technique!

In this post, you’re going to learn all the nitty-gritty details to make perfect macarons with confidence.

My basic macaron recipe has been first published in 2013 and has been made by hundreds of my readers with great success. And I know you can too!

Here’s why you’ll love my french macarons recipe:

  • French meringue method: There are three ways to make meringue: Italian, French and Swiss. French meringue is the easiest for a home-baker, and it’s my go-to method.
  • Reduced sugar amount: I’ve tested and re-tested my macaron recipe to use the least amount of sugar without compromising the texture!
  • Tried and tested by not only me, but also hundreds of my readers.

Key Ingredient Notes

French macaron shells require only 5 ingredients, one of which is optional. Therefore, each ingredient plays an important role.

  • Egg whites – Quality egg whites lead to stable meringue, which is the foundation of perfect macarons. Choose fresh eggs, carefully separate the whites and yolk, and weigh the amount precisely. I’ve also had success with carton egg whites. Be sure to check the labels and avoid the ones that’s says “not for meringue”.
  • Almond flour – Choose super-fine almond flour to with light beige color and fluffy texture. Avoid oily, yellow and/or coarse almond flour.
  • Powdered sugar – I don’t recommend making your own powder sugar, because commercial powdered sugar has cornstarch in it. And it helps with texture of the cookies.
  • Granulated sugar – It’s important to use fine granulated sugar for meringue, as it dissolves quicker. You can also use caster sugar, aka baker’s sugar.
  • Cream of tartar is optional and can be omitted. However, it helps to stabilize egg whites and create sturdier meringue. It’s just an extra insurance!
French macaron ingredients in individual bowls.

Essential Tools:

I have an in-depth post about 9 essential tools to make macarons. But in a nutshell:

  • Kitchen scale is one of the most important tools you need to master macarons. Inaccuracy in measuring the ingredients could lead to major frustrations.
  • Sifter – You can use either sifter or fine mesh strainer for sifting the dry ingredients.
  • Mixer – Both stand or electric hand mixer works for making macarons. It’ll be hard (not impossible) to whip the egg whites without an electric mixer!
  • Heavy duty baking sheet is sturdy and heats evenly. Stay away from dark sheets to prevent browning.
  • And here’re other misc tools that come in handy: 16-inch piping bag, Wilton 2A round tip, parchment paper, large silicone spatula and oven thermometer.

How to Make French Macarons

1. Sift the dry ingredients

Sift almond flour and powdered sugar twice. Yes, two times. Not only are we combining the two ingredients, we’re also aerating the dry ingredients to get that beautiful full interior.

Powdered sugar and almond flour in a hand-crank sifter.
  • NOTE: Unless your almond flour is chunky, I don’t recommend processing the dry ingredients in the food processor, because you may over-process the almond flour, which would lead to blotchy shells from oily almond flour.
Side by side images of sifted almond flour and powdered sugar mixture after 1st and 2nd sift.

Toss chunky almond bits

If you have up to 2 tablespoons of chunky dry ingredients left in the sifter, you don’t have to replace it. Simply discard those chunky bits.

Little chunks of almond flour in a small bowl.

2. Make the French meringue

Combine egg whites, granulated sugar, salt and cream of tartar, if using, in a large bowl.

That’s right, no need to add sugar in small additions. It turns out whipping everything together from the get-go works better for macarons!

Egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt in a glass bowl and hand mixer.

Beat the egg whites on a consistent medium speed until soft peaks form. (On KitchenAid stand mixer, I beat the meringue on speed 4.)

At this point, you can add gel food coloring, if desired.

Side by side images of whipped soft peak meringue with a drop of food coloring.

Continue whipping the meringue on medium speed until stiff peaks form.

Visual Cues: Your meringue should be super thick and ball up inside the whisk. When you lift the whisk, the meringue should hold a pointy end and have sharp ribs.

Pink meringue with stiff peaks.

One the left image above, while the meringue has stiff peaks, it is not quite stiff enough. You want to see those well defined ridges as shown on the right image.

Technique #1: Master The meringue

  • Room temperature egg whites whip better and get more volume, but cold eggs separate better. Separate the egg whites right out of the fridge, and allow the egg whites come to room temperature on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  • Make sure the mixing bowl and whisk are completely grease-free and egg whites have no yolks in it. Any trace of fat may ruin your meringue and it won’t allow your meringue reach hard peaks. Glass, stainless steel or copper bowls are the best!
  • Use super-fine granulated sugar, or caster sugar for meringue, as it dissolves easily.
  • Don’t rush it! Beat the meringue on medium low and consistent speed for the most stable meringue. I continuously whisk the egg whites on speed 4 on my KitchenAid stand mixer or medium speed on hand mixer the entire time. It takes a longer this way (30-40 minutes!), but it’s well worth it!

3. Macaronage

Sift in almond flour mixture into the meringue.

Dry ingredients being sifted into the pink meringue.

Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue with a large silicone spatula. Then fold the batter until lava-like consistency, which means the batter is thick, yet runny enough to slowly flow off the spatula.

WATCH MY REAL TIME MACARONAGE VIDEO

Side by side images of mixing in the dry ingredients into the meringue with a spatula.

Technique #2: Macaronage

The proper consistency of macaron batter will make or break your final cookies. Over-mixed batter will be runny and spread too much. Under-mixed batter also leads to numerous other issues.

Start checking the consistency of the batter after 50 folds. (Yes, I used to count each fold when I was learning the technique! You won’t need to count the folds once you get to know the proper consistency.)

To test the consistency of the batter: Scoop the batter with the spatula and drop it back into the bowl. Then tilt the bowl slightly and count to 10. If the edges of the ribbon are dissolved back into the batter in 10 seconds, the batter is ready!

Pink macaron batter in a bowl.

4. Pipe the macaron shells

Transfer the batter into a piping bag, fitted with a round tip (I use Wilton 2A tip). And pipe 1.5-inch rounds on two baking sheets, lined with teflon sheets or parchment paper.

Shinee’s Tip: For even air circulation, flip the baking sheets upside down.

Side by side images of macaron batter in a piping bag set in a glass and macaron is being piped on a baking sheet lined with teflon.

free Macaron template

I made a perfect template for you. Subscribe to my e-mail list and download this custom macaron template for FREE. (This template is perfect for my recipe and super easy to use!)

Tap the baking sheet from the bottom a few times to smooth out the shells and pop any air bubbles trapped in the shells. If needed, use a toothpick to pop stubborn bubbles.

WATCH MY PIPING TECHNIQUE VIDEO

A toothpick bursting an air bubble in an unbaked macaron shell.

Technique #3: Piping macaron Shells

The proper piping technique ensures nice round macaron shells with full meaty interior.

  • Hold the pastry bag at straight 90° angle about ½-inch above the baking surface.
  • Squeeze the batter from the top of the piping bag to fill 1½-inch circle without moving the piping bag up and down.
  • Pipe the macarons about an inch apart for good air circulation.

5. Rest and bake

Preheat the oven to 300°F for at least 30 minutes. Check the accuracy of oven temperature with an oven thermometer for best result.

Rest macaron shells before baking for 15 minutes.

Bake, one baking sheet at a time, for 15-18 minutes. I don’t use convection settings for baking macarons. My oven is set to heat from top and bottom.

Shinee’s Tip: To prevent browning, place an empty baking sheet on top rack to shield the heat.

2 images of macarons shells before and after baking.

Check the doneness

Touch a macaron lightly and try to move it. If it slides and wobbles, bake a minute or so longer. The cooked macarons should be firm to touch and the base shouldn’t move. It’s always better to slightly over-bake macarons than under-bake them!

Pink macaron shells on a white surface.

6. Assemble the macarons

Once the macaron shells are cooled completely, remove them from the baking surface. If the shells are stuck to the baking surface, the shells are either underbaked, or you need to let them cool completely.

Now, pair the shells by size and arrange them on a baking sheet, or wire rack, placing one shell bottom side up.

Pipe a dollop of filling on bottom shells and place the top shell over the filling and press lightly so the filling spreads till the edges.

You can fill the macarons with any kind of filling. My favorite go-to’s are ganache and French buttercream. In the picture below, macarons are filled with white chocolate ganache and pineapple curd.

7. Mature the macarons

Place the filled macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or preferably for 24 hours. This process is called maturing, which allows the filling to soften and flavor the shells.

Bring the macarons to room temperature (about 30 minutes on the counter) before serving.

White and pink macarons with one macaron has a bite out.

French Macaron Tips for Success

As I mentioned above, macaron success is a combination of a good technique, understanding of your oven and quality of your ingredients.

Once you understand the technique and reasons behind certain steps, you’ll be well on your way to perfect macarons.

  1. Weighing the ingredients on a scale is crucial for setting yourself up for success. It’s so easy, and often unreliable, to measure the ingredients by volume. That’s why I provide only the metric measurements in my ingredients list. I really want you to have the best chance to succeed!!
  2. Stable meringue is the foundation of perfect macarons! If your meringue is weak, you’ll run into so many issues, like hollow macarons, no feet, etc. And I share my technique to achieve the most stable French meringue below.
  3. Macaronage is a step when we mix dry ingredients with meringue and fold the batter until perfect consistency!
  4. So, you can have the most reliable macaron recipe, measure the ingredients just right and fold the batter until the perfect consistency, and unfortunately, you can still FAIL, if your oven temperature is off. No matter how good your oven is, it’s important to find the sweet spot for YOUR oven. Every oven is different, and it’s totally normal for the oven temperature to vary 50°F up or down, which could make or break your macarons. That’s why I recommend getting an oven thermometer to double check the accuracy.

Check out visual Macaron Troubleshooting Guide for tips and tricks to fix or prevent common macaron issues!

Macaron Storing Tips:

Unfilled macaron shells:

  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Filled macarons:

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, depending on the filling.
  • Freeze the assembled macarons in an airtight container for up to 1 month. To thaw, place the frozen macarons in the fridge and let them thaw slowly for at least 1 hour.

Macaron FAQs

Why are macarons so difficult to make?

There are many different factors are involved in making perfect macarons. For example, the following should be done just right to achieve the desired macarons: stable meringue, proper mixing technique, low humidity, accurate oven temperature, just to name a few. That’s why it’s important to experiment and improve your technique to make perfect macarons.

What is macaron filling made of?

Macarons can be filling with various fillings. The most common fillings are buttercream and ganache. Sometimes these fillings are paired with fruit curds and confitures. My favorite macaron fillings are chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, easy French buttercream, peanut butter buttercream, dark chocolate ganache (1:1 ratio) and white chocolate ganache (2:1 ratio chocolate to cream).

Do macarons need to be refrigerated?

It depends on the filling. If macarons are filled with shelf-stable filling, they don’t need to be refrigerated. However, most macarons are filled with perishable fillings, like ganache, and need to be refrigerated.

Is it cheaper to make your own macarons?

Yes, it’s cheaper to make macarons at home.

Why do macarons cost so much?

Macarons require advanced baking skills. Plus, ingredients aren’t cheap.

More Macaron Recipes:

I’ve shared so many macaron recipes on my blog, but here are my top favorites.

Watch How to Make This Below!
3 pink macarons stacked on top of each other.
4.65 from 215 votes

Easy Macaron Recipe

A comprehensive macaron recipe with lots of tips and tricks for perfectly full french macarons. Plus, a full video tutorial to walk you through entire process.
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 20 filled macarons

Ingredients

For macaron shells:

  • 100 g super-fine almond flour Note 1
  • 65 g powdered sugar Note 2
  • 70 g egg whites at room temperature Note 3
  • 75 g fine granulated sugar Note 4
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar optional Note 5
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • Gel food coloring if desired

For buttercream filling:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 ½ tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions 

To make macaron shells:

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or teflon sheet, or silicone mat.
  • To prepare dry ingredients, sift together almond flour and powdered sugar twice. (Note: If you have up to 2 tablespoons of chunky dry ingredients left in the sifter, you don't have to replace it. Simply discard those chunky bits.)
  • To make meringue, in a clean mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, combine egg whites, granulated sugar, cream of tartar and salt and beat the mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form. (I set it to speed 4 on my KitchenAid stand mixer. It takes 30-40 minutes to whip the meringue, but it's well worth it for nice and full shells.)
  • If you’re making colored shells, add gel food coloring at soft peak stage.
  • Continue beating the meringue at the same medium speed until hard peaks form. Visual cues: Meringue should ball up inside the whisk, and when you lift the whisk, the meringue should hold a pointy end and have sharp ribs.
  • To make batter, sift almond flour mixture into the meringue. Using a silicone spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue until fully incorporated. Then continue to fold the batter until it’s runny enough to draw a figure eight. To test, take a small amount of batter and drop it into the bowl. If the small peaks dissolve into the batter on its own in about 10 seconds, the batter is ready. If not, fold couple more times and test again. Be careful not to over-fold the batter. (TIP: Making french macarons is all about the technique. This is one of the most crucial step. Let me try to describe the folding motion as best as I can: run the spatula clockwise from the bottom, up around the sides and cut the batter in half. If you’re beginner macaron-baker, I suggest to count every fold. It takes roughly about 50 folds to reach the proper consistency. After 50 folds, start testing the batter, and continue testing after every couple folds.)
  • To pipe macaron shells, transfer the batter into a pastry bag, fitted with a round tip. (I use this Wilton 2A tip.)
  • Hold the pastry bag at straight 90° angle and pipe about 1.5-inch rounds about an inch apart on prepared baking sheets. (TIP 2: Download my free macaron template. Simply pipe the batter to fill inner circle.)
  • Tap the baking sheets firmly on the counter (or slap the bottom of the baking sheet with one of your hands) a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. You can also use a toothpick to burst some large air bubbles. This step ensures smooth tops.
  • Let the macarons rest on the counter for 15 minutes before baking.
  • To bake, bake the macarons for 15-18 minutes, one baking sheet at a time, on the middle rack. It’ll take longer for larger macarons. To test for doneness, touch a macaron lightly and try to move it. If it slides and wobbles, bake a minute or so longer. The cooked macarons should be firm to touch and the base shouldn’t move.
  • Cool the macarons complete and then remove the shells from the baking surface. (TIP: Don't remove the shells while warm, you may risk breaking the shells, or the bottom might get stuck to the baking surface.)

To make the buttercream filling

  • In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks slightly with a whisk and add sugar. Continue to whisk until the mixture is pale and sugar is mostly dissolved. Stir in the milk. 
  • Transfer the egg yolk mixture into a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring frequently. Continue to cook until it’s thick like pudding, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the mixture back to a bowl and cool it to room temperature. 
  • Then stir in the softened butter in three batches. Add vanilla extract and continue to mix until smooth. Transfer the buttercream into a pastry bag with round tip.

To assemble macarons

  • Pair the macaron shells by size and arrange them on a wire rack.  Line them up so that bottom shells are upside down.
  • Pipe a dollop of filling on bottom shells. Place the top shell over the filling and press lightly so the filling spreads till the edges.
  • Refrigerate the filled macarons in an airtight container for at least 24 hours to mature, which allows the filling to soften and flavor the shells.
  • To serve, bring the macarons out about 30 minutes prior to serving.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: It’s best to use super fine almond flour to ensure smooth tops. Weigh the ingredients before sifting.
Note 2: I don’t recommend making your own powder sugar, because commercial powdered sugar has cornstarch in it. And it helps with texture of the cookies.
Note 3: I’ve had success with carton egg whites (Bob Evans brand, #notsponsored). You’ll need 1/3 cup of egg whites.
Note 4: It’s important to use fine granulated sugar for meringue, as it dissolves quicker. You can also use caster sugar, aka baker’s sugar.
Note 5: Cream of tartar is optional and can be omitted. However, it helps to stabilize egg whites and create sturdier meringue. It’s just an extra insurance!
Note 6: You can easily double this macaron recipe.
GOT MACARON TROUBLE? Check out my macaron troubleshooting guide.

Nutrition

Serving: 1filled macaron, Calories: 118kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 38mg, Potassium: 19mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 172IU, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Basic French Macarons -perfect for beginners.

Excerpt from my original post from January 13, 2013:

Just a few months ago, these pretty little cookies popped on the screens everywhere I went. So dainty, colorful and tempting! Everyone was all ohs and ahs about how wonderful these treats are.

I’m curious person by nature. And since I could not find anything like this where I live (I live in the middle nowhere!), I googled the recipe for these beautiful treats. Found ton of recipes, read countless tips and tricks (apparently they are quite finicky!), drooled over many, many gorgeous photos, and I finally made them!

Oh, sweet little macarons, where have you been all my life? They were so absolutely delicious.

To make up for all the lost time without these gems, I was on the roll making them day and night. Ok, maybe a little exaggeration, but you got the idea, I was obsessed!

I can’t say I’ve perfected these delicate little cookies yet. But as you can see they’re not that bad.

Now, that I had made these gems more than handful of times and I’m pretty confident with the technique, and I thought I would share my process.

This recipe was originally published on January 13, 2013.

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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694 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have made your French Macarons several times now and they have come out perfect most times. I have made them for my daughter and daughter in laws baby showers and I have had several comments on making them. I have also people come up and asked me if I could make them for their occasions.
    I have tried other recipes and they have not turned out at all. Your recipe has been the best and I have stayed with it as it is successful. I am no pro by no means but they come out nice. I get a lot of accompaniments and that is what counts. Both girls were very pleased on how they came out and how they taste so I was happy.
    Thank you for the recipe and the know how.
    Diane

    1. Diane, I’m so happy my macaron recipe has been working for you!! You’re such a wonderful mother and mother-in-law. Your daughters are lucky to have you!! Thank you so much for your feedback!

  2. 5 stars
    Never made a macaron and after doing extensive research on how to do it, Shinee’s explanation, photos and videos were clear and concise. This is my go to recipe and being a newbie I’ve had some that didn’t work out and used her troubleshooting guide put me back on track. I plan on trying the Swiss method soon. I’ve had great success with all of Shinee’s recipes I’ve tried. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise!!

    1. Hi, Cyndi!! I’m so glad you trusted my recipe and made it!! So glad my videos and troubleshooting guide is helping you along. Thank you for your feedback!

  3. Made my first ever attempt. Used your Lemon French Macaron recipe. Failed at a couple of levels.

    1. I used too much egg white. 2 eggs were not quite 70g and it’s hard to divide an egg white, so I added a third. They came out wrinkly on top. This video suggests that too many egg whites were the problem.
    2. I overmixed. The batter was running out of the piping bag before I even squeezed. They ended up very flat and no feet.
    3. Red food color + blue food color = brown! Who knew? If I want purple I need to buy some purple color. They looked like chocolate even though they tasted like lemon. Confused my husband!
    4. The were full, a bit chewy on the inside with a nice bite, and they tasted awesome!

    I love your videos, especially that you tell us why things need to be done the way they are. I wouldn’t have a clue without them.

    1. Hi, Abigail. Yeah, it’s all about the precision when making macarons. With excess egg whites, your whole ratio is off which cause your batter to be runny and spread out cookies. Hope you’ll give it another try. Let us know.

  4. Hi, was this recipe revised? I took a break from making macarons, but I used to always use this recipe in particular and the steps don’t seem to be what I remember. Thank you in advance

    1. Hi, Wendy! Thanks for reaching out. Yes, I updated the recipe recently to reflect a small change I’ve made in making the meringue. Instead of adding salt and cream of tartar, and then sugar in small amounts, I now advise to combine all the meringue ingredients and start beating all at once until stiff peaks form. I’ve been making macarons this way for over a year now and I find it works better. Hope you’ll give it a try. Please let me know how it works if you do.