How to Make Macarons and Impress Your Friends

With a few simple tips and tricks, you can learn how to make macarons that are as pretty and delicious as a French patisserie.

Macarons are arguably the most visually appealing cookies in any French bakery, The rainbow rows of are always so neatly lined up, and it can be nearly impossible to decide which flavors to try.

You might think making cookies like that should be reserved for professional pastry chefs. While the process takes a bit of time and patience, you can learn how to make macarons at home. Follow our tutorial for making French macarons step-by-step to nail down the delicate cookie-making basics. Soon you'll be on your way to creating all sorts of French macaron flavors for your friends and family.

How to Make Macarons

overhead view of different color macarons
Blaine Moats

A tiny French cookie that requires several steps might seem intimidating, but trust us, you'll quickly get the hang of making macarons. You can use any macaron recipe with this method, but here's a great basic macaron recipe to get you started.

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1. Prepare Your Egg White Mixture

overhead view of double boiler bowl with egg white mixture
Blaine Moats

Make your own double boiler by placing the metal bowl of a stand mixer over simmering water. (If you have a double boiler, you can use it, and then add it to the bowl of your stand mixer, but we like eliminating the need to dirty an extra pot.) Stir the egg white mixture constantly until sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes glossy and opaque.

Test Kitchen Tip: To avoid breaking the yolks when separating eggs, carefully crack one egg into a bowl. Use clean hands to carefully remove the yolk. Transfer the whites to a separate bowl. Continue cracking and separating eggs one at a time. Wash your hands well when you're done.

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2. Prepare Meringue

whisk showing egg whites at stiff peaks
Blaine Moats

Use a stand mixer to beat the egg white mixture until stiff peaks form. The meringue will take a few minutes to whip, so use the time to measure the remaining batter ingredients while the mixer is running. Add your food coloring to tint the macarons at this time if desired. Use gel food coloring ($15, Amazon) or paste colorings only (not liquid) to prevent breaking down the ingredients.

Buy It: KitchenAid Classic Plus 4.5-Quart Stand Mixer ($330, Target)

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3. Make a Paste with Dry Ingredients

spatula mixing dough in bowl
Blaine Moats

Stir together the almond flour, powdered sugar, and remaining egg whites to form a thick paste.

Test Kitchen Tip: Check the baking aisle or natural food/gluten-free section of a large grocery store for almond flour ($12, Target). It is typically made from blanched almonds (without skins). Almond meal, on the other hand, often has the skins ground in and might be a coarser grind.

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4. Combine Macaron Ingredients

meringue paste in glass bowl with spatula
Blaine Moats

The batter will be thick when the meringue and paste are folded together and adequately combined. It will flow off the spatula in a thick ribbon, and you can draw a figure eight in the batter.

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5. Place Batter in Pastry Bag

filling pastry bag with macaron batter
Blaine Moats

Prepare a pastry bag ($12, Amazon) with a ½-inch round tip. To easily fill the pastry bag, place it in a tall glass (angle the tip upward so the macaron batter doesn't flow out the bottom). Spoon the batter into the bag.

Buy It: Macaron Baking Kit ($24, Amazon)

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6. Pipe Macarons

piping macarons on parchment paper
Blaine Moats

There are special silicone baking mats for macarons ($10, Amazon) out there, but there's no need to buy one just yet if you're not ready to commit. To achieve the perfect macaron size without a mat, draw 1½-inch circles on a sheet of parchment paper. Place the parchment with circles drawn on it under another sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Pipe the batter to nearly fill the circles. Slide out the parchment pattern so you can use it again.

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7. Release the Air Bubbles

toothpick removing air bubbles from macaron
Blaine Moats

Once the macarons are piped, firmly tap cookie sheet five to 10 times on the counter to release air bubbles in batter. If any air bubbles remain after tapping the baking sheet, use a toothpick to gently pop the bubbles.

Are macarons gluten-free? You bet they are! Your friends with allergy restrictions can also enjoy these gluten-free cookies without worry.

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8. Cool, Fill, and Decorate Macarons

hand holding macaron cookie
Blaine Moats

After 10 to 12 minutes of baking time per sheet, the tops of the macarons should be firm and not slide when gently touched. After baking, a proper macaron will have a frilly base (foot) and a smooth, unblemished top. Slide the parchment off the cookie sheet and onto the counter to cool completely. Fill your cookies with buttercream frosting, ganache, or jam. Decorate as you wish, and enjoy!

Make Your Macarons Pretty!

Customize your sweet sandwiches by piping fillings into the centers of the macarons using a different pastry bag tip (such as a large star tip) or rolling the edges of the fillings in sprinkles or crushed candies. You can also top the cookies with edible glitter or a paste of edible luster dust mixed with a drop or two of vodka. Use a small, clean paintbrush to brush the paste onto the cookie tops (the alcohol will evaporate).

How to Store Macarons

Store filled cookies in an airtight container ($3, Target) in the fridge up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 months.

Macaroons vs. Macarons

If you grew up in the United States, there's a chance you found this article and were thinking of those sweet coconut treats found on the holiday cookie table. Not only is the French macaron (mah-kuh-ROHN) pronounced differently than macaroon (mac-uh-roon), they're made of different ingredients. So what are macarons made of? The French macarons we made here are crispy, slightly chewy cookies from beaten egg whites mixed with sugar and ground almonds with a ganache or buttercream filling. On the other hand, the macaroon is a dense drop cookie made with shredded coconut, egg whites, and granulated sugar.

After mastering macarons from scratch, you'll have to try all the flavor variations. For example, go fruity with cherry-filled macarons, or try cocoa-hazelnut macarons for a real treat for your sweet tooth.

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