Lemon Macarons

4.44 from 39 votes

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These lemon macarons are perfect balance of sweet and sour. Bursting with zesty flavor, these macarons are incredibly fun to make!

Why you’ll love this recipe:

Master your basic macaron skills with my easy macaron recipe. Then experiment with this recipe for lemon macarons. It’s a perfect way to step into the world of flavored shells.

You’ll love these lemon macarons, because they are…

  • pleasantly chewy with a soft, creamy filling
  • beautiful and impressive treats for celebrations
  • way more affordable than store-bought
  • and perfect make-ahead treats!

All you need is a solid recipe and a bit of practice to master these dainty treats!

Lemon macarons filled with ruffled buttercream.

Key Ingredients:

Measure the macaron ingredients in grams with a kitchen scale. This intentional step leaves no wiggle room for error, maximizing your success!

Ingredients in individual bowls for macaron shells and buttercream.

For the macaron shells:

  • Almond flour – Use high-quality fine almond flour, preferably freshly opened package. Old almond flour tend to be oily, causing issues like, thin wrinkly shells. Also, if it smells rancid instead of nutty, toss it and buy a new bag.
  • Powdered sugar is another crucial ingredient. And I highly recommend store-bought one, as they have cornstarch mixed in.
  • Egg whites – You don’t need to age egg whites for making macarons. Both freshly cracked egg whites and carton egg whites work perfectly fine.
  • Cream of tartar – The dry acid is totally optional, but it helps to stabilize your meringue. Stable meringue is the foundation of beautiful macarons. If you don’t have cream of tartar, simply omit it.
  • Granulated sugar – Super fine sugar quickly dissolves into the egg whites to create a thick and silky foam. The sugar stabilizes the tiny air bubbles for a sturdy meringue.
  • Lemon zest & juice – I highly recommend using a whole lemon.

For the lemon buttercream:

  • Unsalted butter – Room temperature buttercream is crucial for fluffy texture!
  • Powdered sugar – Thickens and sweetens the buttercream! Powdered sugar is finer than white sugar for a smooth and silky frosting.
  • Salt is the secret to well balanced flavor!

How to make this recipe:

Follow this lemon macaron recipe exactly for perfect macarons! Resist the urge to skip steps or substitute ingredients.

1. Make the meringue

Beautiful macarons start with a sturdy meringue!

  1. Slowly whisk the egg whites until foamy and stir in salt and cream of tartar.
  2. Then slowly add granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time, while whisking the meringue until it reaches soft peaks.
  3. Add lemon juice and yellow food coloring and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  4. Check the meringue. You want to see a nice defined ridges as pictured below. Add lemon zest and beat for about 30 seconds to incorporate it.
Step by step photos of mixing meringue.

Tip

Adding lemon zest too early on may deflate your meringue due its oil content. Be sure to add it after the stiff peaks form!

2. Make the macaron batter

  1. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar 3 times. Third time, you may sift it directly into the meringue.
  2. Then using a large silicone spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. Run your spatula down the side of the bowl to the bottom, and then cut through the center of the batter. You don’t have to be too gently, but also don’t rush through the process.
  3. When the batter flows of the spatula, start testing the batter. Scoop some batter with your spatula and slowly drop it back into the bowl into a ribbon.
  4. Slightly tilt the bowl and observe the batter that you just dropped. If the edges of the ribbon dissolve into the rest of the batter within ten seconds, the batter is ready!
Step by step images of mixing yellow macaron batter.

Tip

My “10-Second Test” for macaron batter consistency:

  • Scoop some batter with your spatula.
  • Slowly drop it back into the bowl into a ribbon.
  • Then slightly tilt the bowl and observe the batter that you just dropped.
  • If the edges of the ribbon dissolve into the rest of the batter within ten seconds, the batter is ready!

3. Shape and bake the macarons

  1. Transfer the batter into a large piping bag with a round tip. ( I prefer Wilton 2A tip.)
  2. Pipe the macarons onto parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Hold the piping bag straight at 90°. Then gently squeeze the batter from the top until the batter spreads into a 1.5-inch circle. (TIP: Download my FREE macaron template.)
  3. Once all the batter is piped, tap the sheet pans onto the counter to remove any air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any bigger bubbles. This will give you beautiful, smooth tops! Let the macarons rest and form a thin skin on top.
  4. Bake the macarons at 300°F (conventional, top and bottom heat) for about 18 minutes, one sheet at a time.
  5. Let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet before peeling them off the parchment paper.
Step by step images of piping macaron shells.

4. Make lemon buttercream:

While the lemon French macarons bake and cool, make the lemon buttercream.

  1. In a bowl with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until well combined. Transfer the buttercream into a pastry bag.

5. Fill and mature the macarons:

  1. Once the macaron shells are completely cooled, carefully peel them off the parchment paper and pair the shells by size.
  2. Pipe a dollop of buttercream on one shell and place the second shell on top. Gently squeeze so the filling reaches the edges.
  3. Arrange the filled macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hour to mature.
  4. Once macarons are matured, bring it to room temperature for about 30 minutes and enjoy!
Piping a dollop of buttercream on macaron halves.

Macaron Tips for Success:

  • Be sure to use gel food coloring, excess liquid can mess up the meringue!
  • Don’t over-mix the macaron batter. Over-mixed batter is runny and shells won’t hold its shape. Check the consistency often!
  • French macarons taste the best 1-2 days after making them. This process is also called maturing.
  • For more macaron tips, check out my Macaron Masterclass page.
Yellow macaron shells on a white baking mat.

Make-Ahead Tips:

Since macarons taste better on day two, making them ahead is preferred. You can store them ready-to-eat or ready-to-fill.

  • Refrigerate the filled macarons for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • You can freeze filled macarons for up to 3-6 months. (3 months tops, if you’re selling macarons. And if you’re consuming yourself, you can freeze for up to 6 months.)
  • You can also freeze plain shells and fill them later, as needed. Lemon pairs well with vanilla, blueberry, and pistachio buttercream.

Storing Tips:

  • Store the filled macarons in a dry, airtight container. If there’s any moisture, it will transfer to the macarons and make them soggy.
  • Remove the macarons from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Macarons are best at room temperature!
  • Don’t store these delicate cookies in bags. They are more likely to crack or break this way.
Lemon macarons arranged on a white cake stand.

FAQs:

Why don’t my macarons have feet?

There are several potential causes for macarons not developing feet. For example, excess moisture in the batter, weak meringue, humid environment, shells weren’t rested long enough, or low oven temperature. Check out my macaron troubleshooting guide on how to fix this issue.

Why did my macarons crack?

If your lemon macarons crack on top, you may need to check your oven temperature. If your oven runs hot, or if it has hot spots, it could cause cracking. Read my troubleshooting steps for cracked macarons.

If you loved these lemon macarons, try these delicious pistachio, s’mores, red velvet, and cotton candy macarons!

Video:

Watch How to Make This Below!
Lemon macarons arranged on a white serving platter.
4.44 from 39 votes

Lemon French Macarons

These lemon macarons are perfect balance of sweet and sour. Bursting with zesty flavor, these macarons are incredibly fun to make!
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 20 servings

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 super fine granulated sugar Note 4
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar optional Note 5
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice Note 6
  • Yellow gel food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

For lemon buttercream:

  • 80 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 130 g powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Helpful Equipment:

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.)
  • When the meringue reaches soft peaks, add lemon juice and a few drops of yellow gel food coloring.
  • Continue beating the egg whites on the same medium low 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.
  • Once meringue reaches hard peaks, add lemon zest and whip for another 30 seconds or so.
  • 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 used 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 using your hand) 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, working one baking sheet at a time, place one tray with macarons on the middle rack. (TIP: To prevent browning, place an empty baking sheet on top rack to shield the heat.) Bake for about 15-18 minutes. 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. (TIP: It’s always better to slightly over-bake macarons than under-bake them!)
  • Cool macarons complete and then remove the shells from the parchment paper. (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 lemon buttercream:

  • In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Then add powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and beat until well combined.
  • Transfer the buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with either round tip (Wilton 10) or star tip (Ateco 869).

To assemble macarons:

  • Pair the cooled 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.
  • Store the filled macarons in an airtight container in the fridge 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.
  • Store the macarons in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 month.

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 powdered 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: I highly recommend freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Note 7: You can easily double this macaron recipe.
GOT MACARON TROUBLE? Check out my macaron troubleshooting guide.

Nutrition

Calories: 113kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 50mg, Potassium: 14mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 100IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French

This recipe was originally published on May 5th, 2014.

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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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303 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made the lemon buttercream filling for my macarons and these were so delicious! Made these for our family and friends and everyone loved it! They’ve said it’s their new favorite flavor! 🙂 Thank you so sharing your amazing recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    I tried the lemon macarons and I had cracks and no feet. I watched your troubleshooting video and decided my macaronage was too wet. I tried again today and made sure my merengue was very stiff and I squeezed the juice out of the lemon zest. I got big macarons with feet and no cracks. Thank you for all of your tips. I follow you faithfully for perfecting my macarons.

    1. Yay, so so happy you didn’t give up after the first try and found the fix for your issue, Dale. Thank you so much for your kind comment.

  3. 5 stars
    After a wonderful trip to Paris a week ago, I used this recipe today to make my very first macarons. They turned out almost perfect, i was afraid of over-mixing and stopped just a bit too soon. But they are beautiful and taste fantastic. I am so excited that my first attempt was so successful. Thank you so much for the amazing recipe and step-by-step directions. You’ve given me such confidence as I set out to make macarons!

  4. 5 stars
    Came out beautifully. Thank you for showing the weights in grams and not cups, especially for the eggs. I hate it when a macaron recipe states 3 eggs without mentioning the size or weight…..its so important in macaron making.
    Love this recipe.

  5. I’ve made many of your recipients with great success but today I made this one and your raspberry one and both failed for different reasons. These I used a gel food coloring I hadn’t used before…it’s was a “pastel yellow” and I had to use a bunch of it to get any color. Then when I baked them they browned. I baked four trays, one at a time, adjusting as I went…less time, with a silpat on a rack above to block the heat, with a baking sheet above and parchment paper over them, and then with just a baking tray above. Those turned out the best, but still a little brown for what I was after. Do you think that the oils in the zest caused my shells to brown or maybe was it the amount of dye I had to use? Sadly, they tasted amazing but were totally unusable. I saved them to crumble up and make something from.

      1. Hey Shinee!
        Usually I use Americolor but didn’t have the pale yellow I was looking for so I grabbed a cheap alternative at the store: Betty Crocker Gel Food Color, pastel yellow. I had to use the whole tube (19g)
        I actually think the problem was that my oven runs cool and I misremembered the correct setting so I baked these 10 degrees too warm without any baking sheet above to shield from the heat. I think I’ll try again today at the correct temperature and shield them from above. I must say though that these were the BEST tasting macaron shells I have made yet…fantastic recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    New to making macarons. I’ve used your plain macaron recipe with success but today I tried this recipe and they all cracked! However, the batter consistency seemed on point. Could I have baked them prematurely before that were ready? I’m in FL so I’m also wondering if humidity was the issue? Regardless, they tasted amazing! 😂

    1. Hi, Kyla. Bummer that they all cracked. Yeah, humidity definitely can cause cracking issue.

  7. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to try your recipe. I love the presentation. Where can I get the stand you display your macarons on?

  8. Love the buttercream recipe. Normally hate making it cuz it always turns out bad. But loved this, the heavy cream really made it better.

    1. Hi, Rebecca. So, couple of years ago I updated my base recipe and I simply haven’t updated this one. This lemon macaron recipe is my original recipe which calls for 100g powdered sugar for dry ingredients, and 50g granulated sugar for meringue. And this ratio works just fine. However, my updated recipe calls for 75g of powdered sugar for dry ingredients and 75g of granulated sugar for meringue. And the reason for this is that increasing sugar for meringue helps to create more stable meringue. Hope that makes sense. You can following this recipe as is, or use my updated base recipe and just add lemon juice and zest.

  9. I’ve made your recipe twice now with the second time much improved after making notes of where I went wrong. I too had to adjust mixer speeds due to my weaker Kitchenaid mixer. The shells came out smooth and with feet! My only issue is that they don’t seem to have height. Could this be my piping skills (which I’m new at) or is there something else I could do?