Step-by-Step Guide to French Macarons

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 a few 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!

Today I’m teaching you exactly how to make French macarons at home. Consider this post your French Macarons: Decoded class.

French macaron cookies

French macarons are delicate cookies with a crunchy exterior and weightless interior. They have a nougat-like, chewy texture and can be filled with anything from frosting and salted caramel to lemon curd and chocolate 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. I’m not saying this to intimidate you! I’m saying this to prepare you for a French macaron journey. Let’s get started. You can do it.

2 images of weighing a measuring cup on a food scale and 100 grams of almond flour on a food scale

A kitchen scale is required for the best results. You know I’m a stickler for using a scale! 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, either!

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

The base ingredients for these 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 find this in my regular grocery store in the baking aisle.

almond meal and a copper measuring cup

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

Almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor

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!!

2 images of egg whites with stiff peaks in a yellow bowl and sifted granulated sugar in a glass bowl

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.

macaron batter in a yellow bowl

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

spoon full of macaron batter

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.

macaron shells on a silpat baking mat

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.

Before baking, 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!

2 images of macaron shells on a silpat baking mat

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.

frosting for macarons in a glass bowl with a spatula

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, so there’s plenty to choose from. Have fun with those fillings!

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! Read my recipe note about that.

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 for Success below. You’re guaranteed better success doing both.

French macaron cookies

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overhead image of macarons

Basic French Macarons

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 40 shells / 20 filled macarons
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French


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


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


  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. Fill* 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.


  1. Special Tools: Kitchen scale (great options herehere, and here), food processor or blender, piping bag, 1/2 inch tip (I use Ateco 806 (size 6) tip)
  2. Egg Whites: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Adapted from Les Petits Macarons and Mad About Macarons

Quick Tips for Success

  • If your macarons aren’t perfect, 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.

French macaron cookies


Comments are closed.

  1. Stef and Ava says:

    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!.)

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

  2. 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! 

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

  3.  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

  4. 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?

    1. I actually have a recipe for that! Chocolate macarons recipe.

  5. ‘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? 

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

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

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

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

  8. 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 🙁

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

      1. 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!

  9. 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

    1. Sorry this was already answered.

      1. I have actually tried baking macarons on the silicone mat and on parchment, and the parchment was WAY easier for me. Maybe it’s contingent on the humidity where you live or something like that, but the silicone batch stuck- I couldn’t get one off unscathed. Parchment was easy peasy. 

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

    1. It says 20

  11. 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. 

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

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

    1. 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!


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

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

  14. 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!

    1. 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)

  15. 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! 🙂

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

  17. 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!

  18. Thank you so much, what a great recipe. I have been wanting to try macaroons but always intimidated. My first batch came out pretty good. I am trying round 2 today. 

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