Step-by-Step Guide to French Macarons.

Carefully explained and photographed tutorial for delicate French macaron cookies!

Carefully explained and photographed tutorial for delicate French macaron cookies!

It’s been a helluva long time coming.

Light, airy, meringue-like, beautiful French macarons have been on my baking bucket list for 2 years. I’ve been studying, testing, and driving myself crazy in the kitchen for months trying to get these things right. I’ve never been more determined.

And with perseverance comes success!

And I’m here to teach you exactly how to make them at home. Consider this post your French Macarons: Decoded class.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

French macarons are delicate cookies with a crunchy exterior and weightless interior. They have a nougat-like, chewy texture in your mouth and can be filled with anything from frosting and caramel to curd and ganache.

If there’s one thing to know before beginning French macarons at home, it’s this: these cookies are not simple. Impossible? Absolutely not. Requiring BOTH patience and practice? Yes.

That’s why they’re so expensive in bakeries and restaurants! These are quite particular little cookies, as I’m sure you already guessed.

Again, perfecting French macarons takes practice. I’m not saying this to intimidate you! I’m saying this to prepare you for a French macaron journey. Let’s get started.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

A kitchen scale is required to make my French macarons. You know I’m a stickler for using a scale, even though some may roll their eyes at using one. Whatever. Accurate measurements = accurate results. I’m actually encouraging you to NOT use US cup measurements for this recipe, as there is way too much room for error. Whenever I made macarons based off of cup measurements (2/3 cup this; 3/4 cup that), I messed up the cookies every single time. They tasted “fine” but not authentic. And they didn’t look very pretty.

Here is the kitchen scale I own. Less expensive options: here and here.

The base ingredients for my French macaron cookies are almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, and room temperature egg whites. You can make your own almond flour at home by pulsing blanched, skinless, unsalted, raw almonds until fine. However, buying a package is easier and you get the super-fine texture needed for macaron batter.

I like Bob’s Red Mill brand. I buy it at my regular grocery store.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Almond flour and confectioners’ sugar is blended together in a food processor or blender until thoroughly combined and fine in texture. Like this:

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Then, beat 3 room temperature egg whites until stiff peaks form. Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature. In fact, separate the egg whites in advance. Then, let them sit out for a few hours or even overnight. They need to “age.” That is SO important.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Left: Stiff peaks. Right: sifted granulated sugar. Sifted being the key word here! The last thing you want are coarse granules of sugar in your airy, light macaron cookies.

Lightly beat the sifted sugar into the egg whites then fold in the almond flour/confectioners’ sugar blend. Slow slow slow folds. This isn’t a race!

Always be gentle with macaron batter.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The batter will be thick, off-white, glossy, and sticky.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Now it’s time to pipe the batter onto baking sheets.

I tested macarons on parchment paper, bare non-stick sheets, and silicone baking mats. Silicone baking mats were BY FAR the easiest surface to work with. I found the macarons spread a little more on the bare non-stick sheet surface, as well as the parchment paper. Using either surface also made it a little more difficult to remove the delicate cookies. So, a silicone baking mat is best.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The macaron batter is piped onto baking sheets. It took me a lot of practice to get those perfect little circles and, trust me, each one still isn’t perfect. You will need a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip– I always use my Ateco 806 (size 6) 1/2″ Plain tip.

Pipe small rounds– the macaron batter will slightly spread, so start with only a little bit. You want the rounds to be around 2 inches in diameter.

Now, let the piped rounds sit. Just as you let the egg whites come to room temperature, the batter rounds need time to “age” as well. This is crucial to making macarons! Time is macaron batter’s best friend. During this time, the air will will help the rounds set and form a dry shell. Meaning, they will no longer be wet and sticky. I always let mine sit for at least 45 minutes.

Then, bake the cookies! Finally, right?

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The cookies take around 10 minutes in the oven. The tops will be crisp, the bottoms will develop their trademark crinkly “feet.”

Allow them to cool, then fill with your favorite fillings/frostings.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here I used my basic very vanilla frosting that I kept white for 1 batch macarons and tinted blue for another. You can tint the frosting any color you like OR you can use other fillings. I list several in the recipe notes below!

You see these peach-colored macarons? I added a drop of pink food coloring and a drop of yellow food coloring to the macaron batter to obtain this light color.

You can color the macaron batter any shade you desire! Make sure you read my recipe note about that.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Be sure to read through all of the recipe instructions before you begin so you know the what, when, where, and why’s of the recipe. Also, read my quick tips below! You’re guaranteed better success doing both.

Stay tuned for a fabulously flavored macaron recipe coming later this week!

Basic French Macarons

Yield: 40 shells / 20 filled macarons

Prep Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (includes cooling)

Print Recipe

For best results, use a scale to measure these ingredients in grams.

Ingredients:

  • 200g confectioners' sugar (close to 2 cups)
  • 100g almond flour (close to 1 cup)
  • 120g room temperature egg whites (around 3 large egg whites)1
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 40g sifted granulated sugar or caster sugar (3 Tablespoons)
  • flavoring or color2
  • your desired filling3
Special Equipment

Directions:

  1. Place the confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor or blender and pulse or blend for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and fine in texture. Set aside.
  2. In a completely dry and grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites and salt together on medium speed for 1 minute. Switch to high speed and beat *just* until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do NOT overbeat. Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  3. On low speed, beat in any flavor or color2 at this point. Do not overmix.
  4. Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the confectioners' sugar/almond flour mixture until combined. Be very gentle and light-handed while doing so. Once completely combined, the mixture will be smooth, sticky, and glossy.
  5. Let the batter sit uncovered at room temperature for 10-30 minutes. Meanwhile, fit your piping bag with the piping tip. Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone baking mats (read explanation in this post about why these mats are preferred).
  6. Fill the piping bag with the batter and pipe evenly sized rounds onto the baking sheets-- make sure you are holding the bag vertically and close to the baking sheet. While piping, the batter will slightly spread out, so keep that in mind. You want around 2-inch circles. Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheets on your counter to rid any large air bubbles. You can lightly sprinkle a few sprinkles, a dash of cinnamon, or any edible decorations onto the wet round shells at this point.
  7. Let the piped rounds sit for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour. This is crucial to making macarons! The air will will help the rounds set and form a dry shell. They should not be sticky going into the oven.
  8. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Bake the macarons for 10 minutes, one baking sheet at a time.  Rotate the pan at the 5 minute mark. The tops should be crisp and the macarons should have formed their signature crinkly "feet." Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling.
  9. Fill3 and sandwich two shells together to form an iconic French macaron cookie! Leftover macarons keep well covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Additional Notes:

  1. Age your egg whites. This is so important! Separate them first. Then, let them sit out at room temperature for a few hours; overnight preferred.
  2. When coloring or flavoring macaron batter, remember that less is more. Too much addition to the light batter equals a change in texture and appearance. I find a half teaspoon of any flavor extract is enough for the entire batter, as well as only 1-3 drops of liquid/gel food coloring. You can also use food coloring paste. I used 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in the pictured macarons. I also tinted one batch peach with 1 drop pink liquid food coloring and 1 drop yellow liquid food coloring.
  3. Filling ideas: I used very vanilla frosting in these photos. To get blue, I tinted with 1 drop blue liquid food coloring. You can also use regular vanilla frostingstrawberry frosting, raspberry frosting, jam, salted caramelmarshmallow frosting, lemon curdmilk chocolate frosting, dark chocolate frosting, coconut frostingbutterscotch sauce, apple butter, chocolate ganache, white chocolate frosting, whipped cream, strawberry whipped cream, etc.

Adapted from Les Petits Macarons and Mad About Macarons

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Quick Tips for Success

  • If your macarons aren’t perfect looking, that’s ok! Don’t give up just yet. Practice makes perfect. It took me awhile too.
  • Make sure you weigh all of your ingredients before beginning. You might think this is unnecessary but, if you read anything in today’s post, you know it’s crucial.
  • Overbeating the egg whites will introduce more air and create an airy, hollow cookie. Avoid overbeating. Only beat *just* until stiff peaks form. Here is a GREAT post from Ms. Humble on avoiding hollow centers.
  • Always handle macaron batter with finesse and care. Mixing and folding too much? All will be lost!
  • Avoid making your macarons on a particularly humid day. Right now in the summer, look for the day of the week with the least humidity. Cool, dry weather is best.
  • Macaron rounds should be dry going into the oven. That is why letting them sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes (the longer the better) is imperative.
  • Take notes as you go. I suggest this because if you run into any problems, you can refer to your notes to make adjustments such as, letting the egg whites age longer, turning up/down the oven temperature, using a different baking sheet, etc.

Here's exactly how to make French Macaron cookies-- everything explained on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make! 

Ever wondered how to make French macaron cookies? Here's how to do it!
   

232 Responses to “Step-by-Step Guide to French Macarons.”

  1. #
    121
    Stef and Avaposted April 14, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Ava (8 yrs) and I have been wanting to tackle these gems for a while. We saw your recipe and decided to make them as they are now drying for another 30 minutes. We’re eager to see the “feet” and can’t wait for the final product. Moreso, we had so much fun making these and watching her pipe them was the best. We follow you religiously and thanks for helping us create memories. (Your strawberry cupcakes with buttercream is truly the best!.)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 14th, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      The experience in the kitchen is what it’s all about. 🙂

      Reply

  2. #
    122
    Kadposted April 15, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Hey, Sally. I’ve been a little confused so I figured no place better than here to clear my queries!
    When making almond flour, do I simply blend the raw blanched almonds and use it? Don’t I have to add any kind of flour to it?
    That’s all that’s stopping me from trying out this recipe and I can’t wait any longer! 

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 17th, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Hi Kad! Do not add any flour. Just pure almonds ground up into flour. 🙂

      Reply

  3. #
    123
    Erinposted April 20, 2016 at 10:01 pm

     I used this recipe tonight for my daughters French project and it came out perfectly. The only thing I did different was I use my KitchenAid to blend the flour and sugar mix. I’m glad I weighed the eggs because I would’ve been one egg short had I use the measurement of three eggs instead of grams

    Reply

  4. #
    124
    Jaedonposted April 23, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Where did you buy your silicone mat and food processor?

    Reply

  5. #
    125
    Claireposted April 26, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Hi, I want to make chocolate macaroons. I was wondering how much cocoa powder should I put into the batter to make it chocolate instead of vanilla?

    Reply

  6. #
    126
    Carrieposted April 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    ‘m planning to make these and fill them with lemon curd but would love to have a lemony cookie as well. Could I add lemon zest and/or a little juice to the cookie batter without altering its structure? 

    Reply

  7. #
    127
    aliciaposted May 5, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    just wondering what you would do for freezing macarons? before filling with buttercream or after?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on May 7th, 2016 at 10:52 am

      I freeze them after filling. Then I let them thaw in the refrigerator before serving/eating.

      Reply

  8. #
    128
    Dana Koenposted May 10, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I am allergic to tree nuts. is there a flour alternative that is ok?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on May 15th, 2016 at 7:28 am

      I’m unsure if this will work, but what about a flour from peanuts instead?

      Reply

  9. #
    129
    Kerryposted May 14, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Sally– do you sift your almond flour before it goes in the food processor?  I thought I pulsed it long enough, but there ended up being lots of tiny little almond chunks in my batter that i couldn’t see until I folded everything together 🙁

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on May 15th, 2016 at 7:26 am

      I don’t, but you absolutely can if it is necessary. How did they turn out?

      Reply

      • Kerryreplied on May 15th, 2016 at 11:49 am

        They actually were still pretty good, although the texture of the almond chunks bothered me (not my taste tester boyfriend!) and they weren’t very pretty!!  Other than that they came out well– crisp tops and crinkly feet!!  I think I need to try a different brand of almond flour.  The grocery store I went to didn’t have Bob’s Red Mill.  So I decided to try sifting the flour/sugar mixture after pulsing it in the food processor.  There are still lots of very not pretty brown specks in the batter.  I also had a LOT of almond chunks in my sifter– I’m worried that will mess up my flour to sugar ratio.  Take 2 are drying now, I think I will hunt down some Bob’s flour and try again next weekend until I get them perfect!

  10. #
    130
    Thomposted May 20, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I’ve tried these a couple times and always have issues getting them off the baking mat. Do you have any tips? Thanks

    Reply

    • Thomreplied on May 21st, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Sorry this was already answered.

      Reply

  11. #
    131
    Donnaposted May 20, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Hi, I apologize if I missed it, but how many macarons does this recipe make?

    Reply

    • Valreplied on May 22nd, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      It says 20

      Reply

  12. #
    132
    Katherine @ Kate's Sweetsposted May 21, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Hi Sally! I’m making these now and I think I might need a little more practice to get them looking as perfect as yours. How did you get yours so round looking? I used a tip but still didn’t really succeed at perfectly round cookies. Also, when you say beat until *just* stiff peaks, can you explain what that looks like? Should it be glossy?

    Reply

  13. #
    133
    Kadposted May 25, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Hi, Sally! I have been thinking of making them, but I wanted to know, what is the difference between confectioner’s sugar and caster sugar? I’ve read that in some cases, confectioner’s sugar has constarch in it and caster sugar is basically superfine sugar, but I am not sure what kind of confectioner’s sugar is required here. 

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on May 26th, 2016 at 8:29 am

      Hi Kad– confectioners’ sugar aka powdered or icing sugar. Do not use caster sugar.

      Reply

  14. #
    134
    Daniellaposted June 2, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Hi – can i use ground almonds instead of almond flour! cant find it anywhere? 

    Reply

    • Camillereplied on June 3rd, 2016 at 2:25 am

      They are the same thing 🙂 
      If the ground almonds you buy have brown speckles, it means they have skin in them, which is fine (your macarons will just have some extra added color/flavor).
      If the ground almonds you buy are not a fine texture, you can always run it through a food processor for a few seconds to break it up further. 

      Hope this helped!

      -Camille

      Reply

  15. #
    135
    Caitlinposted June 14, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I put the almonds through a food processer and it wont turn to flour its still in tiny chunks

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 15th, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Eventually those chunks should grind up nice and fine, especially if you’re using a quality processor. Any luck?

      Reply

  16. #
    136
    Maryamposted June 14, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    I tried making macarons for the first time yesterday and they turned out nearly perfect! Your recipe, as always, was so easy to follow and led to great results. The only thing was that they stuck to the parchment paper and I could not scrape it off. Next time I’ll try adding a little non stick spray I think. Also, I’m finally going to buy your cookbook this month as a gift to myself for Eid! I love your blog and all of its recipes and am awaiting for the cookbook!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 15th, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks Maryam! I find a silicone baking mat is best for macaron baking.

      Send me an email and I can mail you a signed bookplate for your book if you’d like! info (at) sallysbakingaddiction.com

      Reply

  17. #
    137
    Moiraposted June 16, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Hi Sally,

    I’m going to try these this weekend. I saw a kit on sale (silicone mat with little circles, piping bag), but I didn’t trust the recipe it came with.

    How would you store these? How long would they last? (Can I do them Saturday for a bake sale on Monday?)

    Thanks,
    M

    Reply

    • Melodiereplied on July 7th, 2016 at 1:06 am

      Did a quick search and it says to keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 🙂

      Reply

  18. #
    138
    Benjaminposted June 24, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Sally,

    My batter ended up pretty runny. Any ideas on why that happened? I beat until stiff peaks for the eggs, then gently folded in the sugar and sugar-flour mix, so I’m not sure where I might have erred.

    Reply

  19. #
    139
    RBFposted June 27, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Hi Sally, I’ve never made macarons before and gave them a shot yesterday using your recipe. They came out PERFECT. I am in awe, and really credit you for creating the best step-by-step guide around!

    If I were to make these for a party, how long in advance could I make them? And what would be the best way to store them (i.e. freezer or room temperature)? Considering making them as favors for an upcoming baby shower – I was hoping to make them at least 3 days in advance and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge until the day of!

    Reply

  20. #
    140
    Robertposted July 4, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Question. I’m trying to develop a S’more macaron and am wondering if I can use ground grahm crackers instead of the almonds or do I have to use a nut flour? My idea is to use grahm crackers in the shell and spread them with ganache and add a toasted mini marshmallow in the center

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 4th, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      I wonder if you did a mix of graham cracker crumbs and the almond flour. I wouldn’t completely leave out the flour.

      Reply

  21. #
    141
    Aprilposted July 5, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Hello. I have been dying to make Macarons for years & never have b/c I have a severe nut allergy (to ALL nuts). I’ve heard that pumpkin seeds or coconut flour can be substituted for the almond flour, however most of these products are processed in plants that also work with nuts & makes them unsuitable for anyone with a nut allergy like mine (& I don’t really like the flavor of pumpkin/coconut). Are there any other substitutions I could use or do I just have to miss out on this culinary experience?? 

    Reply

  22. #
    142
    Melodieposted July 7, 2016 at 1:05 am

    Hi there!

    I’m getting a brand new KitchenAid Mixer tomorrow and want to break it in by following your recipe!
    I do have a question however

    We use a lot of egg whites from a box. Most often free range egg whites in a carton. The ingredients say 100% liquid egg whites.
    Do you think I can use this? I have no problem buying eggs and what not – but I’m totally curious because we always have egg whites available (we feed this to our dog – per vet’s order).
    Also – I see your recipe states liquid/gel food coloring. Is there one you’d personally select over the other?

    Thank you so much! I cannot wait to try it! Will let you know how it goes! 🙂

    Reply

  23. #
    143
    Kari Lieberposted July 9, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Hi Sally ~ Great blog! My teen daughter took a cooking class at Sur La Table, so we’ve been practicing the macaron recipe for a week (1 success, 1 almost success, 2 fails)…we’ll keep trying. Two questions: do you ever sift your almond power/confectioners before adding to the egg whites? It’s such a hassle and would love to skip that step if you’ve found it not to be necessary! How about wrapping your cookie sheet on the counter to release air bubbles? Our success involved NOT doing that, so maybe it’s just trial and error. Next purchase: a kitchen scale 🙂

    Reply

  24. #
    144
    Fatimaposted July 18, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Hi sally, i tried these macaroons today for the first time, i ws very reluctant to make macaroons as i always herd stories of failure, but incredibly they came out just perfect n i was super happy, thank u for sharing such a full proof recipe for a novice like me. Its great to be able to make crunchy delicious macaroons with no cracks and perfect feet. Thank you sooo much!

    Reply

  25. #
    145
    Fytoullaposted July 21, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Hello Sally,

    Do i beat the sifted granulated sugar in the egg whites mixture or i just
    fold it in?

    Thank you 

    Reply

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