Beginner's guide to French macarons
We’ve boiled it down to the simplest and easiest method for preparing these gorgeous, customizable and easy to make treats.
There are only 4 ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, but if not, all of them are easy to find and affordable too! Prepare them for a birthday party or a date night from home. Baking these cookies is easy, fun and you’ll feel incredibly fulfilled when you take that first, sweet bite.
Total time + preparation time + cook time
- Total time: 42 minutes
- Prep time: 30 minutes
- Cook time: 12 minutes
A step-by-step guide to making macarons for beginners:
- Egg whites (76g)
- White sugar (100g)
- Powdered sugar (100g)
- Almond flour (100g)
- Optional: food coloring
Kitchen tools needed
- Stand mixer (with whip attachment)
- Medium saucepan
- Mixing bowls
- Immersion blender
- Silicone mat
- Rubber spatula
- Piping bag with round 8-10cm piping tip
Step-by-step instructions to make macaron:
Step 1: create the meringue
- We will be using the Swiss method as it results in the most reliable and stable meringue
- Add the egg whites and sugar to your mixing bowl and begin by stirring them together with a spatula
- Boil some water in a pot. When the water begins to boil, lower the heat and place your mixing bowl on top (double boiler method)
- On low heat, mix the ingredients together to ensure that the sugar crystals dissolve. Be careful about the mixture heating, use a thermometer if necessary and make sure the temperature does not surpass 35°C
- Stir together for about 20-30 seconds, the sugar should dissolve quickly, and then remove your bowl from the heat and put it on your stand mixer
- Lock in the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until the mixture forms stiff peaks (5-7 minutes). This means that the mixture is opaque and when you pull out the whisk attachment the concoction forms a peak that doesn’t droop. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down at this point and everything should stay in the bowl
- Optional: If you want to go above and beyond the natural color of the cookie, you can color your meringue. Since colors fade in the heat of the oven, make the mixture darker than you would normally. Only use powder or gel food coloring and don’t overdo it as that can disturb the integrity of the meringue. Mix with the stand mixer briefly until all color is incorporated
Step 2: prepare the dry ingredients
- To ensure the smoothest mixture possible, combine the almond flour and powdered sugar, mix and then pour into the sieve over a clean bowl
- Use the rubber spatula to push the mixture through the sieve and watch as a soft homogenous mountain of your ingredients takes shape
Step 3: combine, combine, combine
- Gently pour all of your dry mixture into your wet meringue and use the whisk attachment in your hand to mix the ingredients until the two become one and form a thick uniform mixture
- At this point, it is too thick to put in your piping bag so it’s time to reattach your whisk and mix the ingredients in the stand mixer. Do it on high speed for 1-2 second bursts to create a more cohesive and slightly thinner mixture, don’t overdo it. Use the rubber spatula if need be to gently mix it and reduce the amount of air bubbles
- You know it’s ready when you pull your mixing tool out of it and your batter falls off the tool easily and levels in your bowl, but isn’t too liquidy. It should be the consistency of a thick milkshake.
Step 4: prepare to pipe
- Place your round tip in one of the corners of your bag and snip the excess plastic to reveal the tip and allow it to be pushed through to lock in place
- Place the bag tip first in a large glass and spread the bag over the edges of the glass to create a space to pour your mixture into. Preheat your oven at this time to 150°C or 300°F
Step 5: piping time
- Using your dominant hand, gather the ends of the bag and twist them to create a typical piping set up
- Place your dominant hand on the end of the bag to squeeze and use your other hand to guide the bag to the silicone mat
- Gently and slowly squeeze the mixture onto the mat at a 90* angle from about 1.5cm away, creating a cookie that is about 3.5 cm wide. It should level itself smoothly. Repeat as many times until the bag is empty
- After 20 seconds, lift your tray and lightly tap the bottom to remove any air bubbles that have formed in your macarons. If you see any more air bubbles after placing it back down, simply use a toothpick to pop them
Step 6: oven
- Convection Oven: Put in as many trays as you want (preferred)
- Standard Oven: Only bake 1 tray at a time
- Once your oven reaches 150°C or 300°F, it’s time to bake! In total you will bake the cookies for 12 minutes, but you will open the oven and rotate the pan at the 6 minute mark to ensure even baking, no matter your type of oven
- After 12 minutes total, remove the tray and allow to cool completely before tasting your perfect pastry
White chocolate ganache filling
No macaron is complete without the element that makes it a sandwich, the filling! This delicate and complimentary ganache will pair incredibly well with the light and sweet almond taste of the cookie and can be customized beyond belief! Add raspberries, lemon zest, sprinkles, the world is your oyster.
- White Chocolate (250g)
- Heavy Whipping Cream (100g)
Step #1: melt ’n mix
- Add your chocolate to a heat resistant bowl and set aside
- Bring your heavy whipping cream to a rolling boil and then cut the heat, pour it all over the chocolate
- Use either an immersion blender or rubber spatula to combine the two ingredients into a smooth consistency
Step #2: sandwich time
- You’re almost ready! Once your filling has cooled a bit, pour your mixture into a piping bag in the same way you poured the macaron batter
- Place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour to thicken and you’re ready to go! Turn one of the cookies gently on its top and pipe a small amount in the center of your pastry. Gently press another cookie on top and voila, you are a pastry chef!
Frequently asked questions
What is a French macaron?
A delicate pastry with incredible depth, flavor and texture! It is a small cookie with a shell and a chewy inside. It typically has an almond flour base and the filling is always up to the chef (that’s you). Typical fillings are buttercream, ganaches, and jams! They are somewhat of a delicacy and can be expensive if bought in stores, so this is the perfect time to make them from home.
What's the difference between a macaroon and a macaron?
One letter can make a big difference. Although both sweet treats are originally from Italy, the macaroon is a coconut-based bite, whereas the macaron is almond-based. Aside from ingredient differences, their forms are completely different! The macaroon is very dense, whereas the macaron is light, crunchy and chewy. Although both macaroons and macarons are delicious, we prefer the latter.
How do macarons taste?
The base of the cookie should always taste the same. Light, but full of flavor, sweet and almondy of course, thanks to almond flour being the main ingredient. Despite the flavor consistency in the cookie sandwich halves, the filling is where macaron flavor really tends to shine, because it’s up to you! You can make floral infused buttercreams, homemade berry jams, fresh chocolate ganaches and more to compliment the light almond taste of the cookie.
Are macarons hard to make?
Although macarons have a notorious reputation for being difficult to make and easy to mess up, it is actually easier done than said! If you follow our step-by-step directions to a T, you will end up with the perfect macaron and zero patisserie fails. We worked with the best of the best macaron chef, Alon Shabo, to distill his years of knowledge into the most simple and easy method for making mouth-watering macarons from home.
How long does it take to make macarons?
Your prep time is going to be about 30 minutes to make the meringue, combine the dry ingredients, and color and pipe your batter for baking. Once they’re in the oven it will take 12 minutes to bake, simply rotating the pan at the halfway mark. In total this will take you less than 45 minutes to make and is a super fun activity as well, so time will fly naturally!
How do you make a macaron tower for parties or events?
You will need a styrofoam cone, left plain or wrapped in colorful paper if you so desire, and fondant to attach the macarons. Melt the fondant, put a small dollop on one side of the cookie and stick it to the tower, pressing gently for a few seconds. For more detailed instructions and ideas, check out our course!
Can you tell me how to make macarons without almond flour?
Macarons can be made without almond flour for those with a nut allergy or simply an aversion to the tree nut. Almond flour can be subbed for a variety of flours from all-purpose to pumpkin seed flour, the choice is up to you!
Can you tell me how to make macarons vegan?
Yes and it’s so easy. Simply sub the egg whites for aquafaba. Aquafaba is the liquid left in a can of chickpeas and is the water that the beans were cooked in. The ratio is the same as the egg whites, so with our recipe, just swap the 76g of egg whites for 76g of aquafaba and you’re well on your way to delicious, vegan macarons.
The Macaron Academy video course by Now You Know
So you’ve made your first perfect macaron and congratulations are definitely in order! We know that you’re ready to take it to the next level and build on your skills to take this delectable dessert to the top.
Join the thousands of students who have already enrolled in The Macaron Academy and learn about the history of the crown jewel pastry of France, how to make heart-shaped macarons and sweet, spiced, and classic fillings, and more! Learn to make perfect and professional-looking macarons from a renowned pastry chef who has taught thousands of students in workshops already and gain insider tips through his careful instruction. By the end of the course you will know how to make perfect macarons at home, formulate any filling you desire and mix ‘n match different flavor profiles to really add that extra je ne sais quoi.
What are you waiting for?
It’s time to enroll and get those hands messy!