20+ Tips for Making French Macarons At Home

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Caramel macarons, an example of what you can make with tips for making French macarons at home

20+ Tips for Making French Macarons At Home

Get 20+ tips for making French macarons at home, all tested by me, Molly Wilkinson, a pastry chef trained and living in France.

Blueberry Cheesecake Macarons

When many home bakers think about French pastry, they think about macarons. They are always a popular topic with my social media audience and are typically on the baking bucket lists of many of my students in my French pastry beginner online course and online French pastry membership.

Macarons can also be a little daunting. But here’s the good news – they don’t have to be hard! After years of working as a French pastry chef in Versailles, I’ve perfected the art of macarons. And now I’m ready to pass my best tips for making French macarons to you!

Are Macarons Hard to Make?

French macarons are notoriously finicky and they’re one of those desserts that many home bakers don’t think they can make on their own. The hardest part of macarons is typically the meringue, which forms the foundation of these French cookies.

There are all kinds of ways macarons can go wrong, from hollow shells to uneven feet. Troubleshooting these issues can also be tricky as there are a lot of explanations for why each can happen and it entirely depends on how you did the recipe. 

This is why I believe the best way to teach my students how to make French macarons is to focus on the method. Doing the recipe correctly and achieving the right textures will eliminate most issues that you’re having.

Once you know how to bake perfect macarons, your confidence in the kitchen will soar and you’ll be ready to tackle just about any French pastry recipe!

Macarons vs Macaroons

Before we get into my tips for making French macarons, let’s make sure one thing is very clear: macarons and macaroons are not the same thing. In fact, they’re very, very different.

Macarons (what we’re talking about today) are delicate sandwich cookies made from meringue and almond flour. Macarons include two meringue shells that sandwich together with a variety of fillings, such as lemon curd or pastry cream. While there are different ways of making macarons, such as Italian macarons and Swiss macarons, the French macaron is the best-known method.

Macaroons, on the other hand, are dense, chewy cookies made with shredded coconut, egg whites, sugar and sometimes ground almonds.

Both cookies are delicious, but it’s important to not get them confused!

Caramel macarons, an example of what you can make with tips for making French macarons at home

What You Need to Make French Macarons

While French macarons may be famous (or infamous!) for their trickiness in baking, they require surprisingly few ingredients. To make macarons you’ll need:

  • Egg Whites: Egg whites are the most important ingredients in macarons, and they’re often the part where macarons go wrong. It’s important to use egg whites from eggs that you have separated (not store-bought liquid egg whites) and make sure you don’t get any yolk into the whites.
  • Cream of Tartar (Optional): Cream of tartar can be helpful to prevent egg whites from overwhipping, but it’s not necessary. Checking the texture of your egg whites multiple times while whipping them is the best way to get to the perfect peak.
  • Sugar: Sugar is of course essential for making macarons sweet, but it also works with the cream of tartar to provide stability and structure to the egg whites.
  • Fine Almond Flour: Make sure you’re buying almond flour, not almond meal. Almond flour is much finer and is the key to giving your meringue cookies their unique flavor and light, slightly chewy texture.
  • Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is primarily responsible for the iconic ruffly “feet” on the bottom of each meringue cookie in macarons. Powdered sugar soaks up moisture from the batter, which helps the feet form while baking.
  • Gel or Powder Food Coloring (Optional): If you don’t color your macarons, they will have a lovely, light beige color. But if you want to make fun and colorful cookies, use one of these to avoid adding too much liquid to the meringue. Powder tends to have a highly concentrated color without having to add a lot. My favorite brand is The Sugar Art based in Texas.
Colorful French macarons

Important Tools for Baking French Macarons

This list contains affiliate links to the products I use in my French pastry atelier. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will get a small commission at no cost to you.

You probably already have most of the tools you’ll need to make authentic French macarons at home! These are my go-to:

  • Glass or Metal Bowls: The material of your bowl may not seem important, but it really does make a difference when it comes to whipping egg whites. Plastic bowls are porous, which means they may still have grease or other residue even when cleaned. This can make it hard to properly whip egg whites. Stick with glass or metal! If you’re using a KitchenAid mixer to whip your egg whites (which I recommend), your mixer will have come with a metal or glass bowl already.
  • Food Scale: You can make French macarons with cup/tablespoon measurements, but the best way to make these is by measuring ingredients in grams with a food scale. This is the food scale I own.
  • Stand Mixer: I highly recommend a stand mixer for making French macarons at home. If you don’t already have one, you don’t have to go out and buy one just for this recipe – a hand mixer would work as well. But if you already own a stand mixer (or are already researching which KitchenAid to buy), it’s the ideal tool for this recipe!
  • Sieve: Sifting your flour and powdered sugar is key to getting the right consistency for your macaron batter. Your goal is to remove lumps and bumps, so make sure to use a sieve with a coarser mesh. By using a fine mesh you’re going to cause yourself a lot of stress when it doesn’t go through very easily or quickly. This is the sieve I use in my pastry kitchen every day.
  • Piping Bag and Tip: You’ll need to pipe your batter onto a baking pan to make the meringue cookie shells for your macarons. You can use a disposable piping bag or a reusable one. I love the roll of 100 reusable bags from Ateco – they’re fantastic and there’s no clean-up required! I recommend this set if you don’t already own a set of piping tips. For this recipe, you’ll need a piping tip, such as the Ateco 804 or 806 or the Wilton 1A, 8-10 mm. that can help you make a variety of recipes.
  • Cookie Sheet: I pretty much always use these half-sheet cookie pans for my macarons (and other cookie recipes). Make sure you use a flat cookie sheet and one that doesn’t warp in the oven. If it has a rim, a great tip is to flip it over and place the parchment paper or silicone mat on top. The rim can often cause cracking as it prevents a steady airflow to the macarons. You’ll want to line your pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. These are the mats I own and use!

20 Tips for Making French Macarons

We’ve officially made it to the part where I share just a few of my best (and pastry chef-tested) tips and tricks for making French macarons at home! If you ever get the opportunity to join one of my macaron classes, I’d highly recommend it. I can talk about macarons for an hour and a half straight!

I’m breaking these down into sections based on each stage of the macaron-making process, from making macaron batter to storing macarons.

maple pecan macarons on a plate

Tips for Making French Macaron Batter

Most of the problems with macarons come from the meringue! Use the tips below to ensure you don’t make common macaron mistakes:

  • Whip the egg whites on medium speed until they start to foam and then slowly start adding the sugar. 
  • Add the sugar over several additions, waiting 30 seconds or so between each addition to allow for it to whip into the egg whites and dissolve.
  • Whisk until the meringue holds a stiff peak! This can take up to 10 minutes. Check frequently when you’re close to this length of time so you don’t overwhip the meringue.
  • If you want the perfect macaron texture, don’t overmix the batter when combining the meringue with the powdered sugar and almond flour! Sadly, there’s no way to fix it after that. 
  • You’ll know your batter is ready when the mixture flows like lava when you lift your spatula and falls in a thick continuous ribbon. It will also get slightly shiny in appearance. 

Tips for Piping French Macarons

Piping macarons onto the baking sheet is one of the parts of macaron baking that people often find overwhelming – especially because it’s important to get your meringue cookies as equal in size as possible so you have two that match up in the end! Here are some tips to make this easier:

  • Make sure your piping tip is perpendicular to the baking sheet.
  • Apply steady pressure without moving the piping tip to make the perfect circle.
  • When you’re done, stop applying pressure, and use the piping tip to swirl on the surface of the macaron to cut it off.
  • For equally-sized circles, use a French macaron template (just Google them or head to Pinterest and you’ll find free printables!) or trace something circular (like a bottle cap) on parchment paper before piping. I typically make them about 1.5” wide.
piping French macarons on a silicone baking mat

Tips for Baking French Macarons

  • Make sure to use a lined cookie sheet. You can line it with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. There are even baking mats specifically for macarons that come complete with a template for piping.
  • Before baking your macarons, pop any air bubbles in the batter by tapping the bottom of the pan on a table or counter. You can also use a toothpick to pop air bubbles. This helps ensure the macaron shells don’t crack when baking.
  • Let your piped macarons dry before baking. Let them sit at room temperature for about 30-60 15 minutes, which helps the macarons form their ruffly “feet” when baking. This can be adjusted based on your cooking environment. If you live in a humid location, it’s good to let them rest longer.
  • Don’t remove the macarons from the baking sheet too early. If you do, they may stick. I like to let mine cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

How to Know When Macarons Are Done Baking

This is one of the most common questions I get asked! To test macarons for doneness, gently touch the top of the shell with your finger. I call this the “wiggle test.” If it still seems wiggly, then it’s not done and likely needs another couple of minutes. When a macaron is done, it should feel solid and should not move around.

Filling French macarons with a piping bag

Tips for Assembling French Macarons

  • Let the macarons cool completely before taking them off the tray. This will ensure they don’t stick or break before assembling them.
  • Look for shells that are the same size and then match them up for the perfect circle. If you used a template, then this part should be pretty easy!
  • Top one shell with a pecan-sized mound of filling or an amount of your choosing (let’s face it, there aren’t many people who would be mad about a little extra filling!).
  • Cradle one shell in your palm and then carefully top with the other to easily assemble.

French Macaron Fillings to Try

There are so many creative and delicious ways you can fill macarons! Here are just a few of my favorite ideas:

  • Different kinds of ganaches
  • Fruit curds
  • Buttercreams
  • Caramels
  • And even the very traditional jam!

You can find recipes for a lot of these fillings in my cookbook or my macaron e-book!

French macarons with jam

How to Store Macarons:

Macarons are best eaten within a couple of days of baking. But if you want to store them for longer it is possible!

  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • You can also store them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • To defrost, set it at room temperature for about 20 minutes or place the whole box in the refrigerator the night before you want to eat them.

Do Macarons Need to Be Refrigerated?

I do recommend keeping macarons in the refrigerator and in an airtight container. Refrigeration helps prevent macaron shells from drying out and becoming stale (which just so happens to be the biggest reason why people who have tried macarons before don’t like them!). It’s also important if you’re using a buttercream or ganache filling to keep ingredients fresh.

Ready to make your own macarons?

Once you’ve read through all these tips for making French macarons, it’s time to try them for yourself! Be patient and take your time. They may not come out perfectly the first time, but with some practice, you’ll get the hang of it! And in the meantime, I doubt you’ll mind eating your “mistakes.”

Use my personal macaron recipe below to try them at home. For an even more in-depth explanation of the directions and more flavor options, check out my cookbook or my macaron e-book.

French Macarons

Learn how to make delicate and delicious French macarons: two meringue cookies with filling sandwiched between them. It's recommended to use a food scale for this recipe.

Ingredients

For the Meringue:
  • 100g egg whites (from 3 large eggs)
  • 100g granulated sugar (½ cup)
  • 135g almond flour (1 1/3 cups)
  • 120g powdered sugar (1 cup)
*It's highly recommended to use a food scale for this recipe.

Instructions

  1. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and the granulated sugar in a separate bowl nearby.
  2. Sieve together the almond flour and powdered sugar. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the egg whites on medium speed. Gradually add the granulated sugar once the egg whites are foaming and no liquid egg white is left in the bowl. Whip until they hold a stiff peak. Add food coloring here if using (either gel or powder).
  4. Fold in the almond flour and powdered sugar in thirds. Mixing until the batter flows like lava and can form a ribbon when falling from the spatula.
  5. Pipe circles on parchment paper or Silpats and tap the bottom of the tray to reduce air bubbles. Let sit 10-15 minutes and then bake at 325F/160C for 12-14 minutes, or until the tops, when wiggled, are firm.
  6. Let cool completely before removing from the parchment or Silpat.

Notes

Fill the macarons with your choice of sweet filling, from ganache or jam to fruit curd or caramel.

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Caramel macarons, an example of what you can make with tips for making French macarons at home
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Grazie darling Molly! Merci thanks! I appreciate so much your work, kindness and generosity, I wish I could be able to buy plenty of your classes…
I’ m so happy you and François getting married, I’ m based in Firenze, so anything you need from here please let me know.
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