Lemon Macarons

4.41 from 37 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.


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.


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.


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!


Watch How to Make This Below!
Lemon macarons arranged on a white serving platter.
4.41 from 37 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


For macaron shells:

  • 100 g super fine almond flour Note 1
  • 75 g powdered sugar Note 2
  • 70 g (1/3 cup) egg whites at room temperature Note 3
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar optional Note 4
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 75 g super fine granulated sugar Note 5
  • 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:


To make macaron shells:

  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or teflon sheet, or silicone mat. (TIP 1: For even air circulation, flip the baking sheets upside down.)
  • 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, beat the egg whites on medium low speed until foamy. (I set it to speed 2 or 4 on my KitchenAid stand mixer.)
  • When egg whites are foamy, add cream of tartar and salt and continue to whisk.
  • Then slowly add sugar one tablespoon at a time, while mixer is still running. Allow the sugar to dissolve after each addition.
  • 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. (See pictures above or watch this meringue video for more information.)
  • 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 sit out on the counter for at least 15-30 minutes, maybe up to couple hours, depending on humidity. When you lightly touch the macarons and the batter does not stick to your finger, then it’s ready to go into the oven.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Note: I don't use convection settings. I set my oven to heat from top and bottom.
  • 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: 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 5: 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 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.


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.

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. I’ve used a few macaroon recipes from different websites and it was succeed but I tried your recipe. My macarons turn out cracks on every single one. I always weight everything for my baking but I noticed that when you add lemon juice and Vanilla extra that will add extra moistures with the amount of flour and the amount of the powered sugar from your recipe. Your recipe may need some adjustments.

    1. Vickie, extra moisture isn’t the main reason macarons crack. If your macarons has thin wrinkly skin with cracks then it’s probably due to excess moisture. If you’ve looked at my Visual Macaron Troubleshooting guide, you can tell the difference of crack on those. I can’t tell much specifics in your case without actually seeing it. If you want, feel free to send me a photo.

      As for the quality of the recipe, it’s the most made recipe on my site and many people have made it with success. You can check out my community page where you’ll see ton of them from my readers. That being said, as you may know, macarons are finicky. Absolutely anything could go wrong, and they can be a flop. It certainly happens to me more times than I’d like to admit. 🙂 Sounds like you’ve got some trusted recipe in the past, hold onto them. It might be the best one for your climate.

  2. HI Shinee, I just tried your recipe but it was unsuccessful. I used the Digital Kitchen scale to measure the almonds flour, the powdered sugar and the egg white. I notice that your recipe use more almonds flour than powdered sugar. I compared to some other macarons recipe sites that I always use and it looks like they seem to have more powdered sugar than almond flour. Is there a reason why your recipe use more almond flour than powdered sugar? Do you know why my macarons cracks?

    1. Hi, Vickie! Sorry to hear your didn’t turn out. My recipe calls for equal amount of almond flour and powdered sugar (weight-wise). When I developed this recipe, I didn’t based off of other recipes, so I can’t tell you why. This proportion works best in my opinion. There’re number of reasons macarons can crack. Have you seen my Macaron 101 post? I’ve included visual troubleshooting guide, which may help you find the culprit to your issue. But let me know if you need further assistance.

  3. Hi Shinee! I’ve made this recipe tons of times with success flavor-wise. However, my macarons sometimes end up being a lot less yellow then when i put them in the oven. They turn out either dark yellow or even light brown. I’ve tried your trick with the tray on top but i normally give up because when I make macarons i normally make them in big batches so i normally put 2-3 trays in at once so the empty tray tends to slow down the process. Any other tips?

    1. Hi, Lauren! Sorry for delayed response. I’m taking some time off and hasn’t been here for a few days. I have no tips other than rotate the trays in the last 5 minutes or so? But personally I bake one tray at a time. Hope this helps.

    2. Hi Lauren – I’ve read that most colorings that we get here in the states is not heat proof, so they will either fade a lot or if something is supposed to be pink for example, it will actually turn brown due to the temperature [i’ve piped beautifully pink macarons, only to pull out icky brown ones from the oven]. I’ve had success with Americolor gel paste just recently, with yellows and greens. Do a google search on ‘bravetart & avoiding brown macarons’ for a thorough explanation.

      1. Hey, Gigi, thanks so much for your input! I didn’t know about it. I’ve always used Wilton’s gel food coloring, which worked great, but lately I switched to McCormick’s powder food colorings. The yellow one worked beautifully!

  4. Lemon curd is awesome in lemon macarons too and it isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds. One you make a lemon curd, you can then make any type of curd, such a passionfruit curd, blackberry curd, etc. I like them much better as a filling than any type of butter cream but my I have to perfect my hollow shells before I can be really impressed by any of my fillings. Also, HUGE fan of white chcolate ganache and just recenty use crème de banane white chocolate ganache for some minion macarons I made for my daughter’s teacher. That ganache was to die for!! 

    1. I love homemade lemon curd, Dani. In fact, I have a recipe on my blog too (right here). I’m not a huge buttercream fan, but this lemon buttercream is honestly the best! I’ll have to add a little bit of lemon curd into the mix though. It’d be just so good! Great idea, Dani! And what? Crème de banana white chocolate ganache? That sounds insanely good!!

  5. Just made these, they never got runnier? In the video you mention you might have 2-3Tbsp extra of almond flour/powdered sugar mixture after sifting, so are you to re measure it then? Or did I beat the egg whites too much or…. The batter still taste good but they never smoothed out.

    1. Hi, Yvette. I don’t re-measure the dry ingredients after sifting. When you measured almond flour and powdered sugar, did you go by cups or weigh them on a scale? If you had measured by cup, it’s possible you added a tad bit more dry ingredients. If the batter is still too thick, you can add a little bit of egg white (no need to whip it) to thin it out. But add a little bit a time. Hope this helps. Let me know how they turn out.

  6. There are some recipe use 1 cup of power sugar and 3/4 cup of almond flour. What is the different? BTW, it looks really good and I’m gonna try it this week.

    1. Hi, Abby. I can’t say for sure what’d be the difference. People develop recipes with different ratios, and the only way to find out is to try them. Sorry for not being able to provide much more help on this. Let me know you try it.

  7. Thank you for posting. My first try failed and your 101 article explained I over mixed. My second try turned out perfectly!  But I now know how much sugar I am eating.  Wishing for a ‘diet’ version…

    1. Hey, Albert! So glad my 101 guide helped you with your issues. And congrats on your macaron success!! I know if you find a ‘diet’ version let me know, because I’d love to know too. 🙂 In all seriousness though, I’ve received comments from other readers that my recipe has less sugar than most macaron recipe out there. Thanks for coming back and leaving your feedback!

  8. Hi Shinee,
    I love the tray that you display the lemon macarons on in the first photo, where they are displayed in rows. Was wondering where you got it from.? I live in Australia so I may not be able to get it but just curious. Thanks for the tips on macarons., I have made some but there is room for improvement.!
    Cheers Nichola 

    1. Hi, Nichola! I found that tray at a local thrift store, it was a great find for sure. Hope you keep making those macarons, practice makes it better. 🙂