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madeleines on a white plate

2018 baking goal = let’s step outside our comfort zone.

Equipped with determination, I studied and tested and retested and retested some more until I figured out the big question that is madeleines. While their fancy appearance and classy name can be intimidating, these airy teacakes require the most basic ingredients. They aren’t difficult, but they do demand your attention, patience, and precision. And a solid (very detailed) recipe to produce the light texture doesn’t hurt either!


Let’s figure this out first: are madeleines cookies or itsy bitsy cakes? A big debate! They’re a delicate little butter cake that most people refer to as cookies. However you categorize them, madeleines are known for their beautiful and distinct scalloped shell shape and need nothing more than a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar on top. Though a dunk in dark chocolate is nice too!!

Let’s dive in. This is a lengthy post, but I think it’s important to discuss what works and what doesn’t work so you can truly understand what you’re doing in the kitchen. We’re going to walk through the process together with step-by-step photos, detailed instructions, and then the madeleine recipe is at the bottom of this post. Break out your madeleine pan. We’re doing this!

hand dunking a madeleine into a cup of coffee

Basic Process

In this great big world, there are MANY ways to make madeleines. This is how we’re doing it today, a recipe based off of Julia Child’s. Madeleines start with a sponge-like batter, called a genoise in European baking, and get most of their lift and volume from beaten eggs. The base of our desserts is usually creamed butter and sugar. With madeleines, however, beating the eggs and sugar together is the most crucial and particular step. We’ll beat them for 8 minutes to really whip in enough air. We’ll add a little flavoring to the madeleine batter: lemon zest and a little vanilla extract, both optional. Then in a separate bowl, we’ll toss a little flour, baking powder, and salt together. We will delicately fold the flour mixture into the beaten egg mixture. Why emphasis on the delicate? We don’t want to deflate the eggs we just beat, do we?? Finally, we’ll mix in some melted butter. So as not to deflate the airy batter with a whole mess of heavy melted butter, mix *some* of the madeleine batter into the melted butter, then add it all into the madeleine batter for final mixing. If that confused you, step pictures are coming. The melted butter gives mads their classic taste, as well as a lovely shiny appearance when they finish up in the oven. If you’re feeling confident, go ahead and brown the butter. Yum!

We’ll spoon the batter into a madeleine pan. And that’s the catch! You need a specific pan. I know what you’re thinking. Is it really worth buying a new pan for just 1 type of recipe? Yes. If you’re into mads, it’s worth the $12. Here’s the pan I own and highly recommend along with the 1000+ other people on Amazon!!

Can I bake madeleines in another pan? Sure! A mini muffin pan works, but the texture of the little cakes will be different, they will be similar to brown butter berry tea cakes. I found that you really need the scallop pan to produce the iconic crisp edges.

ingredients for madeleines

The Batter

You see the photo above? It shows that there are 3 components to the recipe. The flour mixture, beaten egg mixture, and melted butter. Tip: when you’re ready to begin, melt the butter first so it has at least 8 minutes to slightly cool before using. Remember, we are whipping the eggs for 8 minutes.

Like I mentioned, the most particular step in madeleine baking is whipping the eggs long enough. You’ll need room temperature eggs. Cold eggs won’t reach the volume we need for madeleines. You’ll know you whipped the eggs long enough when the mixture is thick and pale. And this might be the most helpful clue– when the beater is raised, a ribbon of batter will fall back into the bowl. Aka the ribbon stage!

So now that the eggs (+ sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla) are beaten… let’s continue.

collage of 4 images showing various stages of madeleine batter in glass bowls

In the photo above, we are (1) folding the dry ingredients into the beaten egg mixture, making sure we aren’t deflating the eggs. When we’re all done, our batter will look like photo (2). Then (3) we’ll take some of that batter and mix it into the melted butter. Then (4) we’ll mix that into the rest of the batter.

We’re doing everything slowly and delicately.

Chilling the Batter

Just like most of the cookie doughs in our repertoires, madeleine batter needs to chill out before baking. Letting the batter rest in the refrigerator ultimately helps the mads rise up taller in the oven. Taller usually means fluffier, which is exactly what we’re shooting for. But don’t chill the batter for too long and here’s why: the butter will solidify again. And when baked, the madeleines won’t rise up as tall which negates the whole point of chilling the batter! Good thing madeleines are delicious because they sure do have lots of rules.

I find 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator is the sweet spot.

Preparing the Pan

Many madeleine recipes call for greasing the madeleine pan regardless if you’re using a nonstick madeleine pan or not. I tested a few ways: nonstick spray, buttering and flouring, and just buttering. Honestly, nonstick spray worked absolutely fine but brushing the pan with melted butter gave the mads a lovely crisp and buttery crust. I wasn’t fond of the butter + flour preparation because the flour either burned or left a residue on the baked cookies. Just my opinion.

A pastry brush comes in handy!

brushing madeleine pan with melted butter

madeleine batter in madeleine pan before baking

How much batter per cookie? I found 1 heaping Tbsp was plenty. Use a basic spoon and just plop it right into the center of the scallop shell, just like this:

madeleine batter in madeleine pan before baking

I tested madeleines at varying oven temperatures and settled on 350°F (177°C). Anything higher than that burned the edges without properly cooking the centers.

madeleines in madeleine pan after baking

Look at that rise! This is called the belly, hump, or bump of a madeleine.

Madeleines are best right out of the oven. They’ll lose a lot of moisture overtime, so I suggest baking and enjoying them fresh. I had lots of madeleine rocks on my hands after a day or 2. (Dunk them in coffee… still good!)


So Are They Worth the Fuss?

Yes, I definitely think so! Laced with fresh lemon zest and finished with confectioners’ sugar, their texture is undoubtedly unique. Delightfully crisp edges, buttery scallops, and a subtly sweet airy teacake inside. To say they’re delicious is an understatement. They’re remarkable. A French pastry I never thought I could recreate in my own kitchen. They always on my list of Mother’s Day recipes and great for any type of shower, celebration or event. Invite some friends over, brew some coffee, pour some tea, and bake them together. It’s a fun baking experience!

If you read the recipe and use these pictures as your guide, you’ll be gifted with these fancy treats too. If, somewhere along the way, your batter gets a little too heavy– no fret. Your mads will taste more like poundcake, but they’ll still be worth it.

Do you have a favorite madeleine recipe? Or any other tips and tricks? I’m pretty happy with these, but would love learning from any madeleine experts!

madeleines on a white plate

By the way, I can’t finish this post without two more things:

  1. The history of madeleines. 🙂
  2. Ross: Oh really? Did she tell you he plays the recorder, recites poetry, and bakes madeleines? Monica: Ohhhh how are they? Ross: Lighter than air… but that’s not the point!
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  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1820 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French


Light & airy homemade madeleines with delicious buttery lemon flavor.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter (plus another 2 Tbsp for the pan)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (115g) sifted all-purpose flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional: confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling on top

Special Tools


  1. Read the post above for explanations and step-by-step pictures. It will help you!
  2. Melt the butter and set aside to slightly cool as you prepare the rest of the batter. You can melt it in the microwave or melt it/brown it on the stovetop.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (didn’t notice a difference using either one), beat the eggs and sugar together on high speed for at least 8 minutes. The mixture will be thick, pale, and form ribbons when you lift the beater(s). Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract until combined. (The remaining ingredients are mixed together by hand;  you no longer need the mixer.)
  4. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold into egg mixture. I suggest carefully folding in half of the flour mixture, then folding in the other half. (Instead of dumping it all in at once.) Make sure you’re handling this batter with care. It’s very delicate.
  5. Stir 1/4 cup of the batter into the melted butter. It will take a minute to fully incorporate. Then stir it all into the rest of the batter. The batter will be thick, silky, and shiny.
  6. Cover the batter and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Try not to chill any longer than this as the butter in the batter will begin to solidify.
  7. During the last few minutes of chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  8. Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the pan with melted butter. I find that greasing the pan is necessary even if you’re using a nonstick pan. We want to avoid any chance of sticking.
  9. The batter will be quite airy and spongey after resting. This is good! Do not try to deflate it. Spoon 1 generous Tablespoon of batter into the center of each scalloped well. No need to spread it to the edges. Just plop it in the center. (Cover and refrigerate remaining batter if you do not have 2 madeleine pans to bake the batter all at once.)
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The madeleines are done when the tops spring back after lightly pressed with your finger. Invert the pan onto the counter. Transfer the warm madeleines to a wire rack to lightly cool.
  11. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, before serving. Madeleines are best enjoyed right after baking, so I don’t have any make-ahead tips. They dry out very quickly; I find baked and covered madeleines lose their texture even after 1 day! For this reason, I don’t recommend freezing them either. You’ll lose a lot of texture.


  1. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Zester | Spatula | Pastry Brush | Madeleine Pan | Sifter | Glass Mugs
  2. Flour: Sift flour before measuring.
  3. Adapted from From Julia Child’s Kitchen (I reduced the sugar, oven temperature, sifted the flour, added baking powder, and did not flour the pan)

Keywords: Madeleines

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. This was my first time making madeleines. The whole post and pictures were very helpful and these were much easier than I expected. They turned out perfectly & were light and airy. I added a vanilla bean because I wanted more vanilla flavor.

  2. Hi! Just took these out of the oven. Delicious!! Perfect bumps. My problem was that I didn’t get defined ridges. What did I do wrong? I used spray butter, could that have done it?
    But they are ridiculously delicious light and airy with crisp edges. Thanks Sally. I had a choice of two recipes – yours and ATK, I chose yours of course and I am not sorry!

    1. Hi Mary Jo, We are so glad you enjoyed this recipe! It could simply be the shape of your pan. If you want to try again you can try brushing the pan with melted butter and see if that makes any difference.

  3. I have to say this is a bit complicated – I used the BBC recipe which is really simple and they turned out perfectly on my first ever attempt

  4. I just made these for the first time and used a mini muffin non-stick pan greased with butter. Perfect!!! I only reduced the baking time for the second batch to 10 minutes.

  5. I used orange zest and added a TBS of orange marmalade (no vanilla). We all loved the orange flavor! Silly Question: Everyone makes a fuss about the bump, yet all of your pictures show the pretty shell side. I’m kind of confused as to how to serve them? shell side up? Why the fuss about the bump? do you cool them on a rack? If so, which side gets the rack lines?

  6. Just made these and now I feel like a Rockstar baker, lol. They came out perfectly! May add just a tad more sugar next time as I don’t like the confectioners sugar on top (sticky little fingers). Do you think I could pull this recipe off with the King Arthur’s gluten free flour?

    1. Hi Bonny, I’m so happy you enjoyed these! We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour. If you try anything let us know how it goes!

  7. Hi Sally, welcome back!
    I tried this receip many times, the only way I get the bump at the top is to bake immediately the madeleines without chill the batter, problem is that doing that the top cracks and they don’t look as nice as yours, did you ever experience something similar? If I chill the batter the humps is not coming out and the top is just bit round ( I tried chill 30min 1h and 24h, same results). Thanks and stay safe!

  8. Thank you for this great recipe! They came out perfect. I only have one pan and I was worried that my second batch would not be as good, but they were even better! Have you ever tried a small amount of almond extract?

  9. Quite easy with delicious results. I don’t like many sweets and these are just right with tea & coffee. Appreciate all the detailed information about why certain techniques are important.

  10. I followed the recipe exactly, and I’m confident that I did everything as written and intended, but I found these to be very mediocre. Madeleines are a favorite of mine, and I’ve eaten maaaaannny in my life. Unfortunately, these missed the mark and weren’t like proper madeleines I’ve had from bakeries. They were a bit tough and dry. The outside is too crispy (mine looked the same as the ones pictured here), like they’d been fried in the pan. And the flavor wasn’t very good. They need more lemon and more sugar. I only have one madeleine pan so I experimented on my second batch. I left the batter in the refrigerator to chill overnight. It stayed in there for about 20 hours. I buttered my pan with cold butter and popped it in the freezer while the oven preheated. I changed the heat to 375° since most of the recipes I’ve seen have all been higher than 350°. While they still weren’t quite right, they were much better than the first batch. More tender, less dry, and more flavorful. I’ll try another recipe next time and keep experimenting with technique. I’m not trying to be mean or harsh with my review, but I wanted to be honest because I know how frustrating it is to use time and ingredients on recipes from blogs only to have them disappoint.

  11. An excellent recipe that is easy to follow and certainly results in madeleines as good as an upmarket local baker sells for £8 for a half a dozen! Also so rewarding to make something as yummy as these.
    Thank you.

  12. I made this recipe yesterday! Loved the flavor! But I think it could be softer. What could I have done wrong? Old baking powder?

    1. Hi Cassandra, it could be the baking powder. We find it can lose strength after just 3-4 months. Make sure you’re spoon and leveling your flour as well.

  13. Is it possible to freeze the madeleines after they have been baked to use for a later date?

    1. Hi Annabelle, Madeleines are best enjoyed right after baking. We don’t recommend freezing them, you’ll lose a lot of texture.

  14. These madeleines are delicious! They are super easy to make and tasted great ! They have a wonderful, slight taste of lemon, and are super soft and pillowy. They are best eaten straight out of the oven dusted with powdered sugar!

  15. Oh my goodness.. your Madeleine recipe absolutely the BEST!! followed exactly and came out perfect.. ordered the pan you recommended and it was great .. got creative on my second batch and dipped in chocolate and chopped pecans … AMAZING!

  16. Hi what speed # on a kitchenaid mixer is considered high speed when beating the eggs/sugar? Once that is done, I will add vanilla & lemon zest, would I use the same high speed to beat it?

    1. Hi Lynnet, If you have a 10 speed mixer, speeds 8-10 would be high speed. You will add the vanilla and lemon just until they are combined, the speed for that quick step doesn’t matter quite as much!

  17. Wow, honestly the best recipe I have found for madeleines. I put the zest of 2 whole lemons as I like the lemon flavor and they are absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing it.

  18. My first attempt at Madeleines. Yummy.!! I used 2tsp orange rind instead of lemon rind which I loved.
    I buttered and floured my pans (shaking out the excess flour very well) and they popped out very easily. Will make these again.

  19. The madeleines turned out great! It had just the right texture and sweetness. Thanks for the handy tips too, they really helped!

  20. Another delicious recipe from Sally!! I really appreciate the detailed instructions as well as the photos! I chilled my batter & my pan 30 mins. I did butter & flour my pan. The Madeleines came out bakery perfect! Thank you Sally!

  21. The best madeleines I have ever tried. all my friends and family think the same. Thank you sally! I have made the recipe around eight times, once I doubled the batch for my birthday, I always chill around forty minutes, but if it over-chills I rest the batter at room temp then whisk for around half a minute. I usually just brush the pan with melted butter, no flour. Try it with hot cocoa, coffee, or tea! I made a chocolate ganache once though.

  22. the madeleines stuck to the pan and had a weird texture. not as airy as other recipes

  23. Came out absolutely perfectly. For those saying the madeleines stuck to their tin, grease the tin with butter or marge first and then sprinkle flour over the top and tap any excess off into the bin. Worked perfectly for me and the madeleines slid right out of the tin.

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