Easy Macaron Recipe for Beginners
If you think macarons are too hard to make at home, try this Easy Macaron Recipe! This is the perfect, easy recipe for beginners to begin to understand how these delicious treats come together.
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French macarons are a tricky little treat and there are SO MANY different recipes and tips out there. I’ve read quite a few and after the first disaster, I tried another version with quite a bit of success. It also impressed my friends and family so hey, I’ll take it! The macarons in the photo above are not perfect, BUT….they were delicious and not too bad for the third time I made them (ok, four, but the first attempt was such a disaster I don’t count it. I’ll share that story at the end).
How Can a Macaron Recipe be “Easy”?
Good question. I use the word “easy” because they really are not hard to make. However, you do have to follow the steps and be very particular about your ingredients and environment to get a good macaron. This recipe will take you step-by-step on how to do exactly that. I thought I would share my journey and process so others will at least give it a try. I promise, it’s not hard, but you do have to FOLLOW THE STEPS.
Macaron vs. Macaroon?
It’s easy to confuse these two little treats because their spelling and pronunciation are so close. However, one extra vowel and an extremely different appearance and taste set these two treats apart.
Macarons are made with almond flour and macaroons are made with shredded coconut. Both confections are small, use egg whites, and do not have a leveling agent, but that’s about the only similarities.
Macarons are sandwich cookies that have a layer of frosting, jam or ganache, etc. in the middle. They also come in different colors and flavors. Macaroons are coconut flavored and usually dipped in chocolate.
Where To Start? The Egg Whites.
The most important thing for the egg whites is that they are room temperature. No, not “I pulled them out and waited 10 minutes”. Room temperature. That means out of the fridge for at least an hour. Some recipes call for “aging” the egg whites. This is essentially separating them from the yolks and storing the egg whites in a loosely covered container in a cool dry place for 24 – 48 hours. Some people say on the counter, some say in the fridge. I have found that this isn’t a necessary step for me, but you can try it if you would like to.
Macaron TIP #1
If I know I am going to be making macarons, I leave myself a reminder to pull out the eggs and butter for the filling first thing that morning. Then, I know they will be room temp by the time I am ready to bake. I would also suggest separating the whites at this time so that if you have any yolk mistakes, you can fix it right away and still have room temp eggs.
The Next Step is to Prepare your Ingredients and Equipment.
Measure out all of the ingredients and have them ready to go in separate bowls/containers. This will help make the process move along at a nice pace. You also want to make sure there is no residue on the bowl or whisk when you are whipping up the egg whites so wipe down the bowl and whisk attachment with a little vinegar before starting.
Macaron TIP #2
Have your piping pot or piping bag and pans ready to go before you start as well. Below is the piping pot I use. I like it because it’s reusable and the grip is easier than a bag in my opinion. You want the least amount of time between folding and piping. If you are using a piping bag, try the cup trick and have your piping bag tip down in a cup with the sides of the bag folded over the top of the cup for easy filling.
Now it’s time to whip up some egg whites!
Don’t rush this step or you will probably get hollow macarons. Start out slow until the egg whites are foamy THEN add the cream of tartar. Once you have soft peaks, add the superfine sugar. Continue to mix on med-high speed until you have stiff peaks. It will also look like the egg whites are balled up inside the whisk.
Now you can add the food coloring and vanilla.
After you achieve stiff peaks, add the gel color if desired, as well as the vanilla and mix in completely. Remember once the shells bake, the color will lighten up a bit so if you are looking for a dark-colored shell, add a little extra color.
Macaron TIP #3
SIFTING IS YOUR FRIEND! When in doubt, sift again. Make sure you sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together AT LEAST twice, if not three times. The final sift will be right into the bowl of whipped egg whites. Any chinks left behind need to go bye-bye.
And now, the macaronage stage!
Macaronage sounds so fancy and guess what?? You are going to do it! Macaronage means the process of knocking out air and folding the egg whites and the almond flour mixture. This is how you get glossy shells and the cute little “feet”. Here is where most people may go wrong. This step is a delicate balance between getting air out but not over mixing. I know, I know, how is that a thing?? But, practice makes perfect and I still run into issues sometimes. A silicone spatula is the best tool for this process, in my opinion. Get ready to use some elbow grease and make some magic! ✨
Macaron TIP #4
Fold the macaron batter just until you have a “lava-like” consistency. What the heck is that, you ask? It means when you pour the batter back onto itself self it sinks back into the batter in the bowl and there are no lines after about a minute or less. So yes, actually count and see how long it takes for the lines to disappear. Once they go away within that time frame, STOP mixing!
Macaron TIP #5
Don’t be intimidated and don’t quit! If your first batch doesn’t work, I hope you try again. There’s a reason French Macarons are sold for a hefty price and not everyone makes them. But I promise you will get results. And even if they aren’t “perfect”, they will probably still taste good. I have had no issue eating my mistakes.
My inspiration is from a pin from PattyCakeBaker as well as many other videos and posts out there. I’ve changed steps as I’ve practiced and become better at macarons.
Macaron Tip #6
Remember, everyone’s oven is different. The pan is different, the climate is different, the ingredients are different brands. Because of this, you may have to adjust as needed. Practice makes perfect, right? I stil have issues every now and again when making these treats, but I never stop making them!
Tools for Macaron Success
Basic Macaron Recipe
- stand mixer with whisk attachment
- sifter/fine mesh strainer
- silicone or rubber spatula
- piping bag with round tip
- baking sheets
- parchment paper or silicone mat
- mixing bowls
- 1 cup powdered confectioners sugar
- ¾ cup almond flour (see notes on how to make your own)
- 2 large egg whites, room temp
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ cup superfine sugar (see notes on how to make your own)
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- gel food coloring
- Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Make sure ALL of the ingredients are at room temp.
- SIFT together the almond flour and powdered sugar. Discard any lumps in the sifter, do not force through, and set the bowl aside. (tip: your almond flour should be as dry as possible, you may need to spread it out on a baking sheet and allow it to dry for 1-2 hours).
- Put the room temperature egg whites in the mixer bowl with a whisk attachment. Start at low speed and move to medium speed until foamy (see pic). And add the cream of tartar.
- Once you have soft peaks, add the superfine sugar. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and food coloring and continue to mix until all of the color is mixed in.
- SIFT the flour and sugar mix once again into the egg whites and discard any lumps in the sifter.
- Fold until everything is combined. I use a silicone spatula and that works very well. Press the batter into the sides of the bowl to get out some of the air to avoid hollow macarons. The mixture will be sticky and should have a lava-like consistency, meaning when you pour it onto itself self it sinks back into the batter with no lines after about a minute or less.
- Put the batter in a pastry bag or macaron dispenser (see photo below, Amazon has a bunch to choose from). Try to get all the air out of the bag before you start. Pipe circles with the bag/tip straight up, you'll figure out what works best for you. I don't use a stencil which is why my macarons are not all the exact same size, but you can if you want to.
- Tap the pans on the countertop…A LOT, you might see bubbles come up and that's what you want. You can also carefully poke any other bubbles with a toothpick before you let the macarons rest. Let the pans sit for 30 minutes and do not touch or tap anymore or you will get cracks or holes. This allows the macarons to create a crust and helps with the feet. You know they are ready when you lightly place your fingertip on the outside and nothing comes off on your finger.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. TIP: While the macarons are baking and cooling, you can make the filling if you have not already (recipe below). Bake for 10 minutes, one pan at a time and rotate once after the first 5 minutes. Let the macarons rest on the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, make your favorite filling and place it in a pastry bag with a round tip. Fill a circle around the edge of one half of a cookie and place the second half gently on top. Be careful not to push too hard or you will smash your beautiful creation. Enjoy!
HOW TO MAKE ALMOND FLOUR
- add 1/4 cup raw, blanched (no skin) almonds and 1 teaspoon powdered confectioner sugar to a small coffee/spice grinder or food processor (if you are using a food processor, double the amount).
- Pulse until you have a nice, dry flour-like consistency. Do not over process or you will end up with almond paste!
- You can also buy almond flour, just make sure it’s all white (no skins).
HOW TO MAKE SUPERFINE SUGAR
- Add 1/4 cup sugar to a small coffee/spice grinder and grind until you have a powdered-sugar-like consistency.
- Some silicone mats have a stencil on them and many people swear by these. I like parchment better and you can make your own cirlce on the parchment if you want to (just remember to flip the paper over so no pencil or ink gets on your batter!).
Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Fillings for French Macarons
Another wonderful thing about macarons is that there are so many filling options which also means there are so many flavor options. A lot of the time flavored macarons have the flavor added to the filling. My favorite filling, and probably one of the most common, is a swiss meringue buttercream filling (recipe below). If you don’t want a buttercream filling you could also try a curd or a jam or something else completely different!
- 1 large egg white, room temp
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp and cubed
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup powdered confectioner sugar (optional)
- gel food coloring
- Make a double boiler and whisk sugar and egg white in a heat-safe mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk by hand until the sugar is melted and when you rub the mixture between your fingers and you can’t feel any granules.
- Place in a mixer and whisk at low speed first, then medium until it's a stiff, shiny ribbon-like consistency. Touch the bottom of the pan to make sure it's cool, then you know it's ready. If it's not cool, your butter will melt and the filling will be runny. Be Patient ?
- Switch to low speed again and add cubes of butter a little at a time making sure it is combined after each addition.
- Add food coloring and salt and vanilla or almond extract. Increase speed until everything is combined.
- Add powdered sugar if you would like, I found it added a little more substance and made the butter flavor more subtle.
Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
My first attempt story…UGH.
When I decided to make macarons, I asked my mom to buy me a macaron baking set for Christmas. Ha! If I had the right tools I was halfway there, right?? So the kit arrived via Amazon and I looked on Pinterest for a recipe, picked one at random, and went for it. I don’t remember what recipe I tried, I thought they were all the same. And I thought, “I make pretty good desserts, how hard can it be?” Boy was I wrong! My first mistake was the almond flour. I went to my local fancy grocery store, saw almond flour, and bought it. I think it was like $15 but I was so sure I was going to make amazing macarons I bought it. This is what I bought:
The problem was, it was almond flour from whole almonds with the skin still on. So not only was it heavier, but it had a mixed color, brown and white. I just added it, and it was the beginning of the end. The batter was so lumpy and heavy, it didn’t even form a circle, I just had globs of gunk on the pan. You could see the pieces of almond skin and it wasn’t pretty. I wish I had taken a picture of the disaster because, in hindsight, it’s pretty funny. I still have most of the $15 bag of almond flour in the cupboard, destined to collect dust because I have no idea what to do with it. Maybe I’ll think of something…
Another update 3/7/19, see my post Instant Pot Lavender Cheesecake for what I did with this flour, it’s a good one! After that, I gave up for a while, but finally decided I love macarons so much that I had to try again. Thank goodness I didn’t give up, I’m really enjoying trying to get it close to perfect.
Check out my recipe for Pistachio Macarons, it’s just as easy but with added ground pistachios!
More Delicious Desserts Recipes:
- Fresh Cherry Tart Recipe
- Instant Pot Strawberry Cheesecake
- Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats
- Gluten-Free Coconut Madeleines