Top Ten Tips For Making Macarons

The French knew what they were doing when they invented the Macaron. And Amrita Rawat knows how you can succeed with macarooning at home.
By Amrita Rawat

Top 10 Tips Making Macarons

Macarons are delicate and finicky French sandwich cookies made entirely of ground almonds, egg whites, and sugar. The possibilities for fillings are endless, but the most difficult feat is achieving the right consistency and presentation of the macaron shells. I had my first taste of one in Paris, at the original store that made them, Lauduree–they claim to sell 12,000 of them daily–and I was hooked.

It took me 7 attempts and countless hours of research before I was happy with my homemade macarons. They almost always tasted great, but the macaron is definitely 50% presentation (as many French desserts seem to be).

So what did I conclude from all those failed attempts? Firstly, macarons are not impossible and not every step has to be explicitly followed for them to turn out perfectly, despite some of the rules certain recipes may insist upon. Secondly, the success of a macaron depends almost entirely on the macronage–the process of folding the dry mixture into the egg whites–as well as the accuracy of the oven’s temperature.

There are many recipes for macarons online, with various methods and even various cooking times and temperatures. Ultimately, the only way to make these at home is by practicing. Everyone’s oven is different, and the climate also plays a part. Fortunately, macarons are well worth the effort. They are challenging and scrumptious and adorable to look at.

I can sometimes be impatient in the kitchen and am always experimenting and looking for shortcuts to make my macaron baking easier. I have made more than ten variations of macarons in the last year or so, hopefully my tips and tricks will make it easier for you to attempt these at home.

*Note: A kitchen scale is useful for macarons as proper measurement of the ingredients ensures the best results. They’re also relatively cheap and compact. That being said, I have made macarons with cup measurements and been successful on many occasions, so it is not an absolute necessity! But I would recommend buying a silicone baking mat, they’re amazingly useful, easy to clean, and last forever.

Here are my ten tips for making macarons at home:
1. Almond meal (finely ground almonds) will save you a lot of time, but you can also use regular almonds that you can grind yourself with a food processor. They do not have to be blanched! Other nuts also work… I’ve made successful macarons using pistachios or hazelnuts to replace almonds entirely.

2. You do not need to slowly add in granulated sugar to the egg white mixture when beating the egg whites. Many recipes insist you must add it in slowly, but I’ve always tossed it all in at once, which saves me the annoyance of having to turn off my hand mixer every minute to add a small amount in… it has never made a difference.

3. You don’t have to use aged egg whites (I’ve made macarons with egg whites at room temperature for about an hour or two and they’ve turned out just fine), but when the climate is humid or rainy, this tends to have an adverse effect on the macaron shells… I’m not sure why but I’ve learned my lesson and avoid baking them on a rainy day!

4. Buy a piping bag with a round tip. The bags are available in disposable and reusable versions; I find them handy not only for macarons but also decorating cakes and cupcakes, and there are a huge variety of tips to choose from. This allows better control when piping the circles onto the mat for baking!

5. Use gel food coloring instead of liquid. Liquids can alter the consistency of the macarons and ruin results.

6. I like to toss the gel food coloring into the egg white mixture while I’m beating it to properly distribute the color. This works better for me than folding it in, since the electric beater does a better job. I would not recommend trying this with liquid coloring as it would alter the egg whites consistency but with the gel or powdered colors, it does fine!

7. When you are beating the egg whites till glossy/stiff, beat them till they literally do not move when you turn your bowl this way and that. If you can hold the bowl above your head and nothing moves, (and you don’t have egg whites in your hair), it’s ready!

8. When folding the egg whites with the almonds and sugar, use a flexible spatula. Fold by repeatedly scraping around the bowl and moving towards the middle. Do it no more than 50 times so as not to overmix (Yes, I used to count them!). Many recipes say the consistency should be of molten lava (that comparison doesn’t help me) but if you make it to runny pancake batter, you’ve gone too far. When you lift it with the spatula, it should spread but not too much or too far.

9. After piping the macarons onto the baking mat, let the tray sit out for at least 15-25 minutes or until the tops of the macarons look dried out and are no longer spreading. Leave spaces between them when piping to allow them to spread!

10. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the pans in the oven in case you have an oven that heats one side more than the other.

The ideal macaron should be a perfect circle (achieved only with a piping bag with a round tip), and have solid smooth bases. They should have a ruffled “skirt” or “feet” along the edges where it has risen in the oven. They should comfortably slip off your baking mat, begging to be paired with a delicious filling and another shell. They should be very slightly chewy, yet crunchy and they certainly should not crumble easily.

I tried many online recipes for macarons before I found one that worked for me. When I first made them, I did not own a kitchen scale and used cup measurements. Thanks to David Lebovitz’s recipe, they turned out great. I’ve used that recipe as the basis for all my macarons so far. It can be found here.

I’ll be posting my own macaron recipes (and my slight but tasty variations on them) here soon enough, as well as more tips, so stay tuned.

Good luck and happy baking!

5.0 from 1 reviews
How to Make Macarons at Home
 
Amrita Rawat with her Top Ten Tips for Making Macarons
Author:
Recipe Type: Baking
Cuisine: French
Ingredients
  • Sugar
  • Almond Flour
  • Egg whites
Instructions
  1. Almond meal (finely ground almonds) will save you a lot of time, but you can also use regular almonds that you can grind yourself with a food processor. They do not have to be blanched! Other nuts also work... I've made successful macarons using pistachios or hazelnuts to replace almonds entirely.
  2. You do not need to slowly add in granulated sugar to the egg white mixture when beating the egg whites. Many recipes insist you must add it in slowly, but I've always tossed it all in at once, which saves me the annoyance of having to turn off my hand mixer every minute to add a small amount in... it has never made a difference.
  3. You don't have to use aged egg whites (I've made macarons with egg whites at room temperature for about an hour or two and they've turned out just fine), but when the climate is humid or rainy, this tends to have an adverse effect on the macaron shells... I'm not sure why but I've learned my lesson and avoid baking them on a rainy day!
  4. Buy a piping bag with a round tip. The bags are available in disposable and reusable versions; I find them handy not only for macarons but also decorating cakes and cupcakes, and there are a huge variety of tips to choose from. This allows better control when piping the circles onto the mat for baking!
  5. Use gel food coloring instead of liquid. Liquids can alter the consistency of the macarons and ruin results.
  6. I like to toss the gel food coloring into the egg white mixture while I'm beating it to properly distribute the color. This works better for me than folding it in, since the electric beater does a better job. I would not recommend trying this with liquid coloring as it would alter the egg whites consistency but with the gel or powdered colors, it does fine!
  7. When you are beating the egg whites till glossy/stiff, beat them till they literally do not move when you turn your bowl this way and that. If you can hold the bowl above your head and nothing moves, (and you don't have egg whites in your hair), it's ready!
  8. When folding the egg whites with the almonds and sugar, use a flexible spatula. Fold by repeatedly scraping around the bowl and moving towards the middle. Do it no more than 50 times so as not to overmix (Yes, I used to count them!). Many recipes say the consistency should be of molten lava (that comparison doesn't help me) but if you make it to runny pancake batter, you've gone too far. When you lift it with the spatula, it should spread but not too much or too far.
  9. After piping the macarons onto the baking mat, let the tray sit out for at least 15-25 minutes or until the tops of the macarons look dried out and are no longer spreading. Leave spaces between them when piping to allow them to spread!
  10. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the pans in the oven in case you have an oven that heats one side more than the other.

Amrita Song

Amrita Song

Amrita Rawat is the author of the blog Chai and Dumplings. Born in India and a lifelong resident of Atlanta, she recently moved to Saint Louis. Her love for food stems in part from its ability to bring cultures together and in part from how darn good it feels to eat a delicious meal. She loves traveling and has eaten her way through cities like Hong Kong, Paris, Budapest, Mumbai, and Shangri-la. Amrita is also a contributor to Sauce Magazine in St Louis.

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73 Comments
  1. Pretty good tips for home baking you’ve got there! :-)
    The way you add sugar to the egg white actually makes a difference, but you are right, it doesn’t have to be “slowly” – and it applies especially when you’re making large (like not at home kind of large) – And even so, we add the sugar in 3 times maximum…

    Very nice post!

  2. These are great Amrita! I have always admired macarons and loved the ones that I would find in the pastry shops of Paris. I never knew I could make them as pretty, but your tips give me confidence to try.

    Thanks!

  3. These are great tips. I just tried macarons again last Friday, and this was my best attempt yet–still haven’t mastered it, but encouraged that I am getting closer. As you say, getting the presentation perfect is the hard part, but at least they are delicious no matter what.

    1. I’m so glad it worked out! I often swap the almond and powdered sugar ratios for a nuttier and easier batter and they still turn out great, so that’s another suggestion that might help you. I posted my macaron recipe with the swapped ratio and will be posting many more in the future :)

      1. Dear Amrita please can u tell me something about the drying process,it just doesnt dry ,even though the weather is dry in our city at the moment ,its impossible to make 10 months of the year ,hav tried an airconditioned room too,please let me hav some tips on drying process of macroons before baking ,will appreciate if u reply ASAP,thanks

  4. I want to know if any macaron filling works, because i made a custard filling and after a day of being on the macaron the bottom macaron shell went soggy beacause the custard i think was to wet. do you have any advice?

    Thanks Danielle

    1. Yes! I’ve experienced this with certain fillings… I used a cream cheese filling in the black sesame and if they’re not refrigerated they will get soggy, although they’ve never lasted more than a day before being eaten…

      My favorite fillings are jams, jelly, a solid buttercream that holds at room temperature (the French style with yolks does well) or any chocolate ganache… Nutella works great too!

      1. Hi Amrita I have just made some reall awful macarons my first – not yours – they are completely hollow like shells. Anyway am I being stupid but you don’t seem to have put the quantaties of eggs, almonds and sugar.thanks

  5. TY! I’m gonna do my first macaroons VERY soon! It is veeerrrryyy important XD .
    I really appreciate ur tips. I hope my macaroon looks okay! :DDDDD

  6. Thankyou for your tips will definitely try them out. Although it is raining today so I had better wait for some sun. K.

  7. I am getting ready to try making them for the first time hopefully all is well. I’m only thirteen but have had great amazing success with cupcakes so wish me luck ????????

  8. Thanks for the tips. How your macaron feel like after baking? Mine was crunchy like you eat cookies. It doesnt soggy/chewy inside. Some people said we need to let it rest for 24hours after we put filling, so that the inside will be chewy. Is your like that? Sorry for my english. Hope you understand what im asking

  9. veru much thanks for the tip

    Thanks very much for the tips. I tried this several times but could not get it. I will follow your tips and try it again.Will let you know.

    s

    1. Hi Josie,

      If you pipe them on Silpat mats and rotate the trays halfway through baking time, that should help with the lopsided-ness.
      The hollowness is also due to the mixing stage and not rapping the sheets after piping. You have to mix carefully and a bit forcefully to get all the air out. I’ve noticed it helps a bit if the batter is a bit loose and not too stiff.
      Also, once you’ve piped them out, bang the sheets they’re on on your countertop a bit to “settle” them. This will help pop any air bubbles as well.
      I stopped doing this so much because my sheets would get twisted and messed up, but rather, I try to keep the batter a bit loose (by adding in a couple drops of extract or even a tsp of unwhipped egg white).
      Hope this helps! :)

  10. Hey! Great tips.
    Every time I try to bake the macarons, they end up lop-sided or they spew all the filling out (and the shell remains hollow). Would you happen to know what may be going on?

    When I made them the first time, they came out perfectly, now when I do them again (doing nothing differently) this happens. :(

    Let me know if you have a suggestion, or if anyone else has a tip.

    Thanks

  11. Does it matter if we let it sit for too long before baking it? Or is there any difference placing it on the upper shelf when baking?

    I used to pipe all out then take turns to bake them tray by tray. The outcome is lopsided, batter spurting out at one side & slightly wet inside even after 20 minutes in a 160 degree celcius oven.

  12. Hey,

    In Europe, we bake macarons all the time and i must say, the liquid food colour doesn’t ruin it so long as you don’t add any to get real dark colours. SO if you want them to be dark red, you’re better of to buy powder indeed. I was wondering however what was best, either the powder or the gel because i use both of them and i’m not quite sure. I read some people use rainbow dust as colouring, i have my own brand which is slightly pricy so i wonder if rainbow dust is good, do you have any idea? If anyone wants a tip for a marvelous macaron, you can make red macarons, put a mixture of crème patissière and whipped cream in the middle, some raspberry jam on top of that and right next to the edge, you put some macarons.Then put the seccond macaron on top and finish with some raftisnow. It looks like a tower of macarons and raspberry and when you cut it open, some delicious jam runs out! You can do the same with strawberry and pistache macarons, i swear, it’ll be the best macarons you’ve ever tasted :)

  13. @Corinna,
    You can even let it sit out overnight to great results, but a couple of hours should be more than enough (just until the tops are dry to your touch). I also recommend baking them on the middle shelf for even baking. When they’re on too high of a rack or too low, they turn out slightly wet and underbaked and stuck to the sheet.
    As for lopsidedness, that’s probably just your oven not heating one side properly. Just remember to rotate the sheets once in the middle of baking!

    @Rein,
    I’ve used powder and although the color is great, it adds a strange aftertaste if you add too much. If you can get your hands on ground up freeze dried fruit powder that’s best because at least it adds an extra flavor of the fruit.
    I don’t know much about rainbow dust but you should experiment and send links to pics here.
    Lastly, that sounds delicious! I’d like to see a photo if you have one :)

  14. Awesome! I gave them a shot two weeks ago and they were a complete failure. They stuck to the baking paper (I’m going to invest in a silicone mat for all my baking!) and were far too delicate and just a real goopy mess by the end of trying to scrape them off.

    I see a couple of places at least where I made mistakes that probably cost me the chance at success on my first attempt (one of which was that I rushed through everything). I intend to follow all of this and try again. If they aren’t perfect then, I’ll try again.

    Thanks for the great tips. :)

  15. Thanks for the great tips Amrita! I really wish though I came across these tips before I made my very first attempt to make macarons on this very rainy day… It’s been a couple of hours since I piped them, and they just won’t dry enough. Do you have any tips for saving this situation?

  16. @Carly,

    You actually don’t need to use room temperature egg whites. It increases volume by about 20% which is negligible and doesn’t affect how the macarons will turn out or taste, just barely increases the volume and makes beating it a little quicker. I promise it’ll still turn out great with cold egg whites!

    1. I make these in humid weather often. If raining or humid, try adding a little Just Whites powdered egg whites (about 1/4 tsp) it drys the egg whites a bit to compensate for the increased humidity in the air. I sometimes do this with very fresh or runny whites as well.

  17. Great tips! Wish I read this before I baked my first attempt of French macarons. They turned out flat with no feet. Thanks for sharing. I won’t stop til I’ve perfected them :)

  18. Hi there
    Just made my first attempt at Macarons, one of many I think!! Anyway I added pink gel colouring and when they baked, the tops are not pink, but have coloured a light brown. I had my oven at a slightly lower heat because it does get quite hot. Any ideas/tips on how to avoid this? Also they started developing feet whilst cooking but then didn’t stay. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I have some more egg whites I the fridge ready for another attempt.

  19. Ok, but which of the dozens of online recipes did you find success with? I don’t know which to choose – do you have a recommendation – I’m going to try making them for Holiday Christmas cookie exchange season..

  20. Hi!
    it was my first time doing these little macarons but i failed at my first attempt. I have so much problems with the weather that i live in and sometimes i have to add in or leave out one ingredient or two because of this same problem…i live in a country where it is hot and humid! And my question would be if this takes a toll on the macarons…anything to help with would be most appreciated

  21. Hi Ann,

    I would make the macarons as is, don’t alter any ingredients. Instead, leave them out to dry for several hours before baking. Then, while it’s baking, leave a wooden spoon in between the oven door to let some air escape.
    Try this recipe: http://www.thesweetart.com/2012/05/bourbon-pecan-macarons.html
    I have made macarons in terribly humid weather and still been okay as long as I leave them to dry extra long and keep the oven door slightly open!
    Hope that helps!

  22. Hi,
    I have tried making these few times already. The first time i made, it came out good with feet and everything. After that first time, it has been a nightmare. The first time i made, the shell dried within 15 minutes. For the other trials, it took forever to dry or it never dried completely and i baked them like that and it came out with no feet and some of them had cracks. What am i doing wrong?

  23. I went for one macaron class it came out perfect. I tried again what a mess I tried it again no feet it was chewy n nyc ive since tried 4 tyms no feet it cracks it’s runny I leave it 25-30 mins to get a skin I tried the sugar syrup on the stove I tried with cream of tarter n sugar in the meringue I folded it in gradually…helppp.

  24. Hi there, I have been making Macaroons for a while now and when making coloured ones, such as mint (Green), Strawberry (Pink) & other colours. When I back them the colour always turns from the original colour to brown.

    I have tried to add more colouring, reduce the cooking time, reduce the temperature etc. However I cant get the colour to stay to the end.

    They taste great but look a little disappointing.

    Any advice?

    Matt

  25. Wow this worked great! But the only thing was that they where kind of tasteless, almost like a plain, cookie with no seasonings or chocolate or eany thing I might have put to much or to litte of something in but I am not quite sure eany tips?

  26. Hi there

    This is a great tutorial. Can you tell me what kind of color gel you use? I made some using Wilton and there was much colour it all disappeared once baked. I read that Wilton is not a good one to use and that Americolor is better? Also I ground some almonds and the surface was splotchy. I read that the almonds need to go into a low oven for a while before grinding. Do you grind yours and do that?

    Making macarons are fun but I really would like them to be a pretty color.

    Thank you.
    Judi

  27. i have try macaroons around 9-10 times at my home. I have sunflame 40 lit. baking oven. please tell me the proper recipe.please i badly need the macaroons recipe. baking temp. and time

  28. Hi, I love your post it’s been really helpful. Whilst I’m pretty happy with my macarons the shell always detaches from the feet so the edges look dry and holey. I’ve tried every different oven temp, cooking times and resting time and they always come out the same. Do you know where I’m going wrong?

  29. Hi,

    I tried making this a few times. The first turned out like a flat chewy cookie, which I think was because I over-mixed the batter. The next 2 ones were another recipe which I like in terms of taste, but they were cracked and hollow at the top, with no feet so they looked like regular almond cookies. What could I be doing wrong? How dry should the egg whites be? Can I actually over-beat the egg whites?

    Cheers

  30. Hi! thanks for the recipe and tips. my first trial was a failure. just because i forgot to tapped the baking tray they came out CRACKING!!! but no worries i will try again.

  31. Hi, thank you so much for the tips, I am going to try Macaroons no matter for how long, until I get those pretty ruffles with chewy inside and crispy outside.
    I tried making Macaroons five times, each time they turn out crispy “delicious” but not to call Macaroons, I will follow your tips and wish I could make them look and taste exactly like Macaroons.
    Cheers

  32. can you please tell me on what temperature the oven must be and on what setting like the fan on or off, or just roof heating or both roof and floor? made it the first time and it was a success and then after, every time a flop.. please im desperate
    thank you

  33. Hi!
    Can I use cashew nut?
    And,can I use hand mixer to fold the egg whites with almond and sugar?

    Thanks!

  34. Hi Putri,

    You can swap some of the almonds for cashews, I wouldn’t do all of it since cashews may have more oil than almonds and it may not turn out like it should. But you can swap out up to half. I would also use a spatula to fold the egg whites in, just because you have to do it very gently. If you’re going to use a hand mixer, just try to be very gentle (but nothing beats doing it by hand)!

    Thanks
    Amrita

  35. Hey Amrita,

    I have been trying to get perfect macarons but this are not coming good when I add colors. I am using IBC powder colors. I am also controlling the humidity as humidity is much higher in Mumbai.

    What can be done ? Kindly, help me out. I will be grateful.

    Prangi jain

  36. i always add liquid gel colors, but small amts (less than a tsp) should not affect it. Humidity can really ruin them though, after piping I would leave them to dry for at least 3-4 hours, if not overnight. The tops should be perfectly dry before baking!

  37. Hi there, sounds great and I definitely will try it! Could you use honey or other alternative to granulated sugar perhaps?

  38. the sugars are not mentioned to the point as says powdered sugar here are 3 of them icing sugar, powdered sugar confectionary sugar, powdwered sugar(with out corn starch) i have tried all these sugars but they all melted away. to get that blob of macaroon batter to remain still when piped what is the correct ratio of dry ingredients to liquid. (almond flour to egg white) from according to your ration its seem like liquid is less than dry and can i bake them in an ordinary domestic oven which has a max 250c

  39. I cannot seem to make macarons that don’t brown in the cooking. I have a fan oven and heat it to 150C – having used hotter temperatures before which of course was even worse. How low a temperature can I use before it’s too low, giving other problems? I’m pretty sure the temperature is accurate.

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