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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!

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. 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 Rawat

Amrita Rawat

Amrita Rawat is the author of the blog The Sweet Art. 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.

More Posts - Website

Originally Published: May 11, 2014

55 Responses to Top Ten Tips For Making Macarons

  1. Tamara Novakoviç

    Tamara Novakoviç Reply

    April 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for these tips! I’ve never made macarons but I have been preparing. I am a bit afraid though, but, then again, what’s the worst thing that can happen? :)

  2. Gregoire Reply

    April 1, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    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!

  3. xx Reply

    April 3, 2011 at 2:14 am

    wow! thanks for the tips. i’ll be sure to try them next time i bake macarons

  4. Christine Curran

    Christine Curran Reply

    April 3, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    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!

  5. Annapet Reply

    April 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Good to “meet” another macaron baker.

  6. Sara Clevering

    Sara Clevering Reply

    May 9, 2011 at 11:32 am

    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.

    • Amrita Rawat

      Amrita Rawat Reply

      May 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      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 :)

      • rabab Reply

        December 15, 2014 at 9:29 am

        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

  7. Danielle Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 5:51 am

    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

    • Amrita Rawat

      Amrita Reply

      August 24, 2011 at 8:55 am

      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!

  8. thetravelingheart Reply

    January 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks for this article ^^ I am bracing myself for my first ever macaron bake. I appreciate anything I can know beforehand so thanks again!

  9. Anonymous Reply

    July 27, 2012 at 10:43 am

    are they ment to be grainy brfore cooking

  10. Scarlet Alice Reply

    September 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

    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

  11. Bernice Reply

    April 10, 2013 at 4:51 am

    My Macaroons are dry and hollow . What am I doing WRONG :( ??

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  14. rukan Reply

    May 13, 2013 at 7:36 am

    how can i save a too much bitten macaroon batter?
    or just start from scratch again

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  16. Kristen Reply

    May 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

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

  17. Olivia Reply

    May 26, 2013 at 5:51 am

    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 ????????

  18. Claude Heston Reply

    June 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Macarons in Japan are a popular confection known as “makaron”.There is also a version of the same name which substitutes peanut flour for almond and is flavored in wagashi style, widely available in Japan.:.”..

    Have fun
    <http://www.caramoantourpackage.com

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  20. Fanny Reply

    July 1, 2013 at 6:10 am

    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

  21. Kirsten Reply

    July 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    So if I use liquid food coloring, it will basically ruin everything?

  22. hyacinth Reply

    July 18, 2013 at 7:41 am

    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

    • Amrita Rawat

      Amrita Reply

      August 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      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! :)

  23. Josie Reply

    August 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    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

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  25. Corinna Reply

    August 22, 2013 at 5:10 am

    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.

  26. Rein Reply

    August 22, 2013 at 8:15 am

    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 :)

  27. Amrita Rawat

    Amrita Reply

    August 23, 2013 at 8:36 am

    @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 :)

  28. Timotheos Reply

    September 7, 2013 at 2:29 am

    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. :)

  29. Sonny Reply

    September 16, 2013 at 2:45 am

    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?

  30. Amrita Rawat

    Amrita Reply

    September 16, 2013 at 8:50 am

    @Sonny,

    Just wait them out!

  31. Carly Reply

    September 21, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    You should also add the top to use room temperature eggs.

  32. Amrita Rawat

    Amrita Reply

    September 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    @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!

  33. Eugenia Reply

    September 23, 2013 at 1:04 am

    In rainy weather, I use a dehydrator in the room where makarons dries before baking

  34. Eugenia Reply

    September 23, 2013 at 1:05 am

    In rainy weather, I use a dehydrator in the room where macarons dries before baking

  35. Anonymous Reply

    October 31, 2013 at 2:42 am

    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 :)

  36. Andrea Reply

    November 10, 2013 at 7:30 am

    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.

  37. Sasha Reply

    December 5, 2013 at 1:42 am

    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..

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  39. Ann flores Reply

    June 23, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    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

  40. Amrita Rawat

    Amrita Reply

    June 24, 2014 at 8:29 am

    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!

  41. Amrita Rawat

    Amrita Reply

    June 24, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Sasha – I like this recipe best, except that my base is all almond flour and I add different fillings http://www.thesweetart.com/2012/05/bourbon-pecan-macarons.html

  42. Jay Reply

    June 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    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?

  43. Farida Reply

    July 23, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    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.

  44. Matt Allan Reply

    August 31, 2014 at 10:26 am

    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

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  46. Olivia Reply

    October 27, 2014 at 12:30 am

    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?

  47. judi Reply

    November 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    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

  48. rohan ambetkar Reply

    November 12, 2014 at 8:44 am

    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

  49. Sarah Reply

    November 14, 2014 at 3:17 am

    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?

  50. Vilma Reply

    December 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    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

  51. Suraya Reply

    December 16, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    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.

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