A step by step guide to macarons using the Italian meringue method

UPDATED with a new FAQ at the end of the post, compiled from the questions in the comments sections here and on my other macaron posts.

I was honoured to co-host the October Daring Bakers challenge with my wonderful friend Korena and we dared everyone to make macarons. The Daring Bakers tackled the macaron back in October 2009, however with so many new members we thought it would be a good challenge to re-visit. Macarons are a quintessentially French pastry – beautiful, delicate, and a bit finicky – but with a few tips and the right technique, they are completely achievable for the home baker.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to macaron shells, which are made from a batter of ground almonds and powdered (confectioner’s) sugar folded into meringue. The first is to use a French meringue (a basic meringue where sugar is gradually beaten into egg whites) and the second is to use an Italian meringue (where a hot sugar syrup is drizzled into whipping egg whites). I am a fan of the Italian meringue method, and Korena of the French meringue method, so we presented both techniques in the hope that everyone would find the one that works best for them.

I’m going to present to you the Italian meringue (hot sugar syrup) method of macaron making. I tried and tried making macarons using the French meringue method, experimenting with different recipes, aged versus fresh egg whites, parchment versus silicone… failed. About 10 times. But being a stubborn old chook, I couldn’t admit defeat so I enrolled in a macaron class. To my surprise, the French pastry chef teaching the class presented us with a recipe using the Italian meringue method. Well, long story short, it worked and that’s the way I’ve made them ever since. I would like to clear up the misconception floating around the interwebbies that macarons made with the Italian meringue method aren’t “real French macarons” (yes, I have been told this on social media). In fact, neither method is more “French” than the other, they are just variations on a theme. Just like Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, I use this method because I find that it gives more consistent and reliable results.

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Some thoughts…

The recipe is in weights, not volume, because macarons rely on specific ratios of almonds to powdered sugar to meringue, and volume measurements are much less accurate.

You don’t need to age the egg whites. I have successfully made macarons with whites straight from the shells. The only stipulation is that they should be at room temperature. Egg whites and meringues can be temperamental – if there is even a trace of oil, fat, or egg yolk in the bowl or on the beater, it can prevent the egg whites from whipping to a stiff peaks. For this reason, when separating your eggs, be very careful not to get any yolks in with the whites. One trick Korena always uses to ensure meringue success is to wipe the already-clean bowl and beater or whisk with a vinegar-moistened paper towel: this eliminates any grease, and the little bit of acid helps the egg whites turn into a meringue more readily.

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Regarding almonds – you can use ground almonds with or without the skins on, but we both prefer using clear ground almonds (no skins) for the look. If you can’t buy ground almonds locally, you can grind them yourself. Just don’t use an almond flour which is very fine and powdery – ground almonds are gritty when rubbed between your fingers. You will grind them further with the powdered sugar. Almonds can be substituted for other nuts or seeds, however their oil content can change the way the batter behaves, so it’s probably best to use almonds on your first try, and then play around once you’re confident in your macaron skills.

Some thoughts on food colouring – Whether you use it or not is entirely up to you, but if you do use it, what you use will determine how much you use and your own preference will determine when you add it. When adding food colouring or flavouring to macaron shells using the Italian meringue, I prefer to add it at the almond paste stage. This is mostly because I find it easier to see the difference in colour when I’m folding in the meringue. You can add it to the meringue, though, as you prefer. You should only use gel or powder – avoid liquid food colouring, as it can add too much moisture to the mix. Remember, though, that after you add colouring to one part, you will dilute the colour when combining the two parts. Flavourings such as vanilla bean seeds can also be added at these same stages.

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Baking the macaron shells – I prefer lining the baking sheets with parchment paper, but many people prefer or have better results using a silicon mat. Try both and see what works best for you. And speaking of baking sheets, some bakers use a double or triple stack of baking sheets to help insulate the macaron shells as they bake. This might be a useful technique if your oven runs hot or heats unevenly. I splashed out on a couple of triple layer De Buyer sheets for baking success and they really were a good investment – they bake cookies and macarons, puff pastry, galettes and tarts and breads wonderfully. Some bakers prefer to bake with the oven fan on, but my oven has a hot spot in one corner when I use that so I avoid it for macarons. I’ve given the convection temperatures in the directions, though. As all ovens vary, hold moisture differently and can be quite a long way from what it says on the dial in regard to temperature, it’s important to experiment until you get comfortable baking macarons with your particular oven.

According to a “perfect macaron” article that I read somewhere, the ideal ratio of shell to filling is 2:1. That is, the filling should be about the same thickness as one shell. That’s pretty much the ratio we go with, and the easiest way to achieve that is to go by how much is in the piping bag. Fill the bag twice for piping the shells, so fill it once for piping the filling.

Note: This recipe is for almond shells using egg whites, but the same process applies if you’re using other nuts etc, or using aquafaba (chickpea canning liquid) for vegan shells. Pop “macarons” into the search box and you’ll find a wealth of recipes 🙂

My very own video of how to make macaron shells using the Italian meringue method…

Makes: 30 x 4cm / 1 1/2” filled macarons
Preparation: 20 minutes to prepare batter, at least 20 minutes to rest, 18-20 minutes to bake, at least 30 minutes to cool

Equipment required

Kitchen scale
Food processor
Fine sieve
Spatula
Medium bowl
Stand mixer or electric hand mixer and bowl
Piping bag with large round tip (#10 – #12) or plain coupler
2 large baking sheets
Parchment paper or silicon mats
Piping templates (optional)
Small heavy-based saucepan
Candy / instant read thermometer

Ingredients

(original recipe in grams)

140g / 4.9 oz ground almonds
140g / 4.9 oz powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
100g / 3.5 oz egg white (from approx. 3 eggs), room temperature, divided 50/50
100g / 3.5 oz granulated (white) sugar
40g / 1.4 oz (weight) water

Optional

Replace up to 20g / .7 oz of the powdered sugar with unsweetened cocoa powder or powdered freeze dried fruit
The seeds of 1 vanilla bean
A few drops of non-oil-based essence
A few drops of gel food colouring or a pinch of powder food colouring

Directions

Prepare 2 parchment (not wax paper) lined baking sheets. They need to be big enough to hold 30 x 4cm / 1 1/2” diameter shells each. (I have my piping guide under the baking paper here.)

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Mix the ground almonds and powdered sugar (and cocoa powder, if using) together in a bowl, then grind in a food processor until you have an extra fine texture. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor.

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Sift into a large bowl (I use a mesh strainer and push the mixture through with a spatula), putting any bigger pieces of almond back into the food processor to re-grind.

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Add 50g / 1.75oz egg whites and mix thoroughly into the almond mixture. At this point, you can add food colouring or flavouring such as vanilla seeds, citrus zest, essense, if desired. (I added 1/2 tsp vanilla paste and 1/2 tsp red powder food colouring to this batch.) Set aside.

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In another bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, scrupulously clean and free of any oil or egg yolk, beat the other 50g / 1.75oz egg whites to stiff peaks. the meringue should fill the whisk.

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Meanwhile, put the granulated sugar and water into a small heavy-based saucepan and heat on medium-low to 118°C / 244°F, without stirring.

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While whisking constantly on low speed (to avoid splashing hot syrup), slowly add the cooked sugar mixture to the beaten egg whites, pouring it down the inside edge of the bowl. You’ll get a bit of it hardening on the side of the bowl, but that’s okay – just leave it there.

Sorry, no photo here – I was alone in the kitchen, the sugar syrup is hot and I didn’t want to risk burning myself or dropping my camera!

Whisk at high speed until the mixture is cool, about 3 minutes. About 1 minute before the end, you can add food colouring, if not done at the almond paste stage. The mixture should increase in volume and become firm and shiny, and it should be thick and marshmallowy and you have a beak when you lift the whisk.

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Scrape the meringue onto the almond mixture and incorporate with a rubber or silicone spatula. You do actually want to get a lot of the air out of the mixture – you do this by folding and squashing the mixture against the side of the bowl, rotating the bowl a quarter turn with each fold. Be sure to firmly scrape the bottom of the bowl with the spatula, so you don’t leave a layer of almond paste there.

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Mix until you have a homogenous batter that runs from the spatula in a thick ribbon. The sequence of 10 images below was taken over a period of 5 seconds.

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Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 7 – 9mm / #10 – #12 plain round tip (this is best done in two batches, so you don’t overfill the bag). Pipe 60 equally sized rounds, about 4cm / 1 1/2” in diameter, in staggered rows onto the prepared sheets. Hold the piping bag upright with the tip just above the sheet and pipe without pulling upwards or swirling in circles, so the batter comes out in a round blob around the tip, and give a little sideways flick at the end to break the stream.

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Tap the baking sheet firmly on the bench several times to release air bubbles and obtain a smooth surface. If you have any tips sticking up, press them gently down with a damp fingertip.

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Leave the tray to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes until a slight skin forms. If you gently touch one, it should be only just tacky.

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Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C / 300°F / Gas Mark 2. If you prefer to use convection (oven fan), preheat to 140°C / 285°F / Gas Mark 1.

Bake the macarons in the centre of the oven for 18 minutes (20 minutes if using cocoa or dried fruit powder in the shells), one sheet at a time, turning the sheet half-way.

To test if they are done, give the top of a shell a gentle nudge – it shouldn’t move away from the foot. if it does move, pop the sheet back into the oven for another minute or two, then test again.

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Remove from oven and remove the parchment from the tray with the shells still on it and place on a cooling racks for at least 30 minutes, until completely cool, then remove macaron shells carefully from the parchment.

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If not filling straight away, store in an airtight container at room temperature, separating layers with parchment. Otherwise, fill and store in an airtight container in the fridge to mature for at least 24 hours before eating.

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*****

FAQ

Q: Can I reduce the sugar?
A: The sweetness usually comes from the filling – the shells are sweet, but not overly so, and success with the shells relies on the ratios, so I wouldn’t mess with that – but you could certainly use a less sweet filling. A tart curd or unsweetened jam can help with that balance.

Q: Can I use brown sugar?
A: I haven’t tried it, but I don’t think it would work, because brown sugar has a much higher moisture content.

Q: Can I use almond flour?
A: It shouldn’t be as fine as wheat flour – even though you grind it with the powdered sugar, it is still slightly gritty, not powdery. If the consistency is more like cornmeal than wheat flour, you’re good to go.

Q: Can I use other nuts or seeds?
A: You certainly can! I’ve had success with sesame seeds, hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts and coconut. Just be extra attentive to the batter, because different nuts and seeds will behave differently depending on moisture or oil content. Check them after the standard baking time, too – oilier nuts or seeds will usually require a little extra time in the oven.

Q: If I don’t have a food processor, can I use a blender?
A: As long as it grinds it fine enough, I don’t see why not. It should be fine enough to pass through a fine sieve.

Q: Why is my almond – powdered sugar – egg white mixture really thick?
A: It could be the consistency of the egg whites – they get more watery with age, so try ageing them in a bowl at room temperature for a few days. If you weigh out the whole 100g, then age them, try spooning out the wateriest 50g for the almond mixture and keeping any thicker, gloopier part for the meringue.
Otherwise, is your powdered sugar pure sugar, or is it icing mixture? Icing mixture often advertises itself as powdered sugar but can contain corn starch or other thickening agents, which will absorb more moisture than pure powdered sugar.
If all else fails, try adding a spoonful of the meringue and working it in as a thinning agent before adding the rest.

Q: What type of food colouring do you recommend?
A: Every type and brand yields a different result. I get pretty intense results with Wilton gel colours, and in my experience powder colours are not nearly as strong so are best used for more subtle shades.
When adding the colour, you should go for a shade roughly twice as intense as you want for the final result, because you will dilute the colour when you mix the meringue into the almond mixture – I add the colour to the almond mixture and my rule of thumb is to add enough to get it to the colour I want, then add about as much again.
Bear in mind that if you add a lot of food colouring to get an intense shade, you will be making the batter wetter (if using gel) or stickier (if using powder) so you should increase the baking time by a minute or two.

Q: I don’t have a thermometer. What kind should I use? How can I check the syrup without one?
A: I use a digital candy thermometer, party because I find it easier to read and it beeps when it’s at the right temperature and partly because it’s quite a small quantity of syrup and I don’t want to lose lots of it by having it stuck all over a bulky traditional thermometer.
To make the syrup without a thermometer – 118°C (245°F) is what candy makers call Firm Ball stage. To test it without a thermometer: use a teaspoon to drop a little bit into to a glass of cold water and it should create a firm chewy ball. I suggest practicing a bit first, to get used to the different stages – there’s an explanation of the different stages with videos here: https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar-stages.html

Q: Can I use a hand-held electric mixer when making the meringue?
A: Absolutely! It will take a bit longer to beat to stiff peaks, because hand mixers are usually slower, but it will be fine. Just be extra careful adding the hot syrup – an extra set of hands is a great help here.

Q: What consistency should the batter be?
A: Something like cake batter – it should run off the spatula, but thickly and slowly.

Q: Any tips for piping?
A: You could try using parchment (baking paper) on your baking sheet or silicon mat with a piping guide under it (I have one for download: https://pizzarossa.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/mac-template-left1.pdf and https://pizzarossa.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/mac-template-right1.pdf). Bear in mind that they’ll lose height and will spread a little when you bang the sheet on the bench to clear the bubbles.

Q: Why are my macarons lopsided?
A: I sometimes get that for the second batch in dry weather because they sat longer (so have a dryer skin) and the oven can be a bit too hot after the first batch is done. You could try reducing the time that they sit (it depends so much on climate – the skin should be slightly tacky), be sure not to preheat the oven for too long, and make sure it cools off a little between batches.

Q: Why do my shells crack? Why are my macarons hollow?
A: There are a few things that can cause cracking, so I’m afraid it’s going to be a case of trial and error.
1. If the batter is undermixed so there are large air bubbles, they won’t rise evenly, leading to cracks.
2. If the batter is overmixed it will mean thin, flat shells with cracks because there’s not enough mass inside to hold it.
3. They could be puffing up too quickly in the oven and don’t have enough structural integrity – a cooler oven might help. I recommend an oven thermometer to check, because most home ovens are out by at least several degrees. There are cheap ones around, but if you don’t want the expense maybe you could borrow one, or share the cost with a baker friend.
4. Not drying the shells sufficiently before they go into the oven – the top should be slightly tacky and dull.
5. Another thing I’ve found is the baking surface – as I’ve said, I had terrible results with silicon macaron mats, lots of cracking, but good multilayer metal baking sheets gave me great results – I guess it’s got to do with thermodynamics and heat transfer… but you could try using a couple of baking sheets stacked together.

Q: Where are my feet?
A: Macarons made using Italian meringue do have smaller feet than those made with French meringue, certainly less “ruffly”, and they do shrink on cooling.
If they are deflating completely it could be the baking temperature. If they cook too fast they won’t have the strength to stay up, so maybe try reducing the temperature by a few degrees and increasing the baking time by a couple of minutes.
Conversely, if the oven temperature is too low, the shells will spread instead of puffing up.
A common cause of no feet is due to humidity – you might need to dry them with the rangehood fan on.

Q: How can I test that they are baked sufficiently?
A: The best way to test them it to give the shell a little nudge above the foot – if the top moves away from the foot, they’re not done. There’s not really any other way to tell, because it’s the interior and underside that you’re testing, so you can’t just pick one up.

Q: Can I make macarons in a humid climate?
A: Sure! You’ll probably need to increase the drying time of the shells before baking. Use a dehumidifier if you have one, otherwise dry the shells on the stovetop with the rangehood running.
A pinch of cream of tartar in the meringue can help, too.
After baking, you’ll need to get them off the mat/parchment as soon as they’re cool, and get them straight into an airtight container and into the fridge until you fill them, then straight back into the fridge after filling.
And try to bake in the least humid part of the day.

Q: Vegan?
A: Yup! https://pizzarossa.me/2015/05/17/vegan-macarons/

Q: Can I freeze the shells?
A: I’ve never tried freezing them, but I have read on plenty of sites that it’s possible. You can store the shells in an airtight container in the fridge (unfilled) for up to a week.

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128 Responses to A step by step guide to macarons using the Italian meringue method

  1. Rebecca says:

    Good challenge! I am now a fan of the Italian Meringue method.

    • pizzarossa says:

      Thanks Rebecca! Glad to hear it! 🙂

      • Dalia says:

        These look so beautiful and amazing. Can I reduce the sugar?

      • pizzarossa says:

        The sweetness usually comes from the filling – the shells are sweet, but not overly so, and success with the shells relies on the ratios, so I wouldn’t mess with that – but you could certainly use a less sweet filling.

    • Jodean says:

      I have made this recipe 5 times and it also came out stiff, but I added another egg white to my batter until it resembled paste. They came out beautiful! ! I just love this recipe jode

  2. Beautiful pics (even the pic that’s “missing” when you were pouring the sugar syrup put a smile on my face 🙂 ) and terrific instructions! Do you have favorite color/flavor combinations that you use when pairing the shells and filling?

    • pizzarossa says:

      Thankyou so much! 😀 ooooh, such a hard question! I think my favourite would have to be vanilla and caramel, but anything with chocolate is wonderful, too!

  3. Liz says:

    Thank you so much for this challenge, Rachael! I had a blast making my macarons. Yours are so beautiful. Your website is lovely too. 🙂

  4. It was so fun to co-host with you Rachael, and I’m really proud of the challenge we put together. High five!

  5. Misa says:

    Thanks for hosting the challenge Rachael! Next time I have to try the italien method 😉

  6. one of the best challenges till date! thank you 🙂

  7. Amazing job!! I remember doing these as a challenge a few years ago and I just completely failed. I’ve fallen off the daring bakers wagon, but I so need to jump back on! I’ve missed it! Lovely job on the macaron tutorial! I really need to try these again!

  8. Cindy says:

    I have tried this twice, but the initial step of mixing the almond flour, powdered sugar, and egg whites leaves me baffled. I weighed everything out to the T, 140g each of the first two, and 50 g egg whites, mixed with a spatula, and it is barely coming together. It is very thick and dry, and nothing like the pictures you show. Any ideas why?

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hmmm… that’s a tricky one! Not something I’ve ever encountered… do you grind the almonds and sugar together first? It takes a bit of mixing to get it to come together sometimes, and the mixture can vary quite a bit in consistency depending on the egg whites, so it could be that yours are particularly thick. They get more watery with age, so maybe you could try aging them in a bowl at room temperature for a few days. If you weigh out the whole 100g, then age them, try spooning out the wateriest 50g for the almond mixture and keeping any thicker, gloopier part for the meringue.

    • pizzarossa says:

      Cindy, something has just occurred to me – is your powdered sugar pure sugar, or is it icing mixture? Icing mixture often advertises itself as powdered sugar but can contain corn starch or other thickening agents, which will absorb more moisture than pure powdered sugar. Just a thought!

  9. Shelley says:

    Thank you! Have you successfully halfed the recipe ?
    Shelley xx

  10. treza says:

    Ur recipe are superb more over i like your measurments of ingrdnts you provide thankx

  11. CLAUDINE DALLAM says:

    should the batter be thin or pancake like ?

  12. Bill Bunn says:

    Great recipe. I live at a high altitude, so required a lower temperature for the boiling sugar. 2 degrees less for every 1000 feet of altitude. Worked well.

  13. Ellen D says:

    I’m having the same trouble as Cindy. The almond paste is more like a dough. I’ve followed this to the letter, and even climate controlled my house! Looks like I’ll have to toss this batch and return to french meringue method 😦

    • pizzarossa says:

      It’s so strange! It does vary a lot depending on the whites, and it can be quite thick if I replace, say, 20g of the sugar with cocoa, but nothing as thick as you are describing.

      • Rick says:

        I’ve had exactly the same problem. The paste is very thick like marzipan and won’t stir into the meringue. I will try it with aged egg whites next time – Both times I tried it the eggs were very fresh. (Or would it be easier to add extra egg white, or a splash of water?)

      • pizzarossa says:

        It can be quite thick and pasty, but certainly not like marzipan! Aged, room temperature egg whites and just using the wateriest part should make it better; also ensuring that your powdered sugar isn’t icing mixture (which contains cornstarch or other thickening agents). I would not recommend adding anything else, though – try adding a spoonful of the meringue and working it in as a thinning agent before adding the rest.

  14. Pam says:

    Hello! Great informative post.
    Once I’ve baked them for 20 minutes at 300-310F they are completely hollow and sticky/pooled at the bottom. I think the temperature is my issue.
    Do you think I need to raise or lower the temperature?
    I have wasted a lot of ingredients and am hesitant to have another go at this point.

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Pam,
      It sounds to me like the interior hasn’t had a chance to set, so I’d guess the temperature is too low, but honestly I would recommend an oven thermometer. They are a kind of ridiculous thing to have to buy, because your oven should know what temperature it is, but it can tell you if your oven runs hot or cold, if it’s all the time or just in certain temperature ranges… and they are usually pretty cheap in the supermarket kitchenware aisle.

      • Pam says:

        Thank you for the quick reply 🙂
        I do use an oven thermometer as my oven uses a knob with numbers on it which is horribly unreliable.

        I’ll test higher temperatures on my next batch. Thanks again!

  15. Trang says:

    Thank you for such a great recipe, i finally achieve non hollow macarons! However they were lopsided, any tips for this?

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Trang,
      I’m so happy to hear they worked for you and you don’t have hollow shells! As for lopsidedness, I sometimes get that for the second batch in dry weather because they sat longer (so have a dryer skin) and the oven can be a bit too hot after the first batch is done. You could try reducing the time that they sit (it depends so much on climate – the skin should be slightly tacky), be sure not to preheat the oven for too long, and make sure it cools off a little between batches.

  16. Doaw says:

    Thank you for the recipe! i tried the recipe out after many failed attempt with the French method and by golly I was able to make macaroons with feet and it was perfect to eat. it was still a little bit hollow for me but i tried to work with what I could! Love it! Successful Macarons finally!

  17. Hannah says:

    Hiii! This article is really good and instructional! Thank you! By the way, can you recommend a small batch recipe to me, using the italian method? I want to use this but I wanna try my luck out on the first try in lesser quantity since almond powder here is sooooo expensive. Cheers!

  18. Hannah says:

    Also, any tips if I wanna make them using a hand mixer as I don’t have a stand mixer? Thanks!! 🙂

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Hannah,
      You could certainly halve the recipe, as everything is by weight. You can grind your own almonds, if that’s cheaper – just be careful to get them really fine. You can also do the meringue with a hand mixer – I have used one when I made them at someone else’s home – it just takes longer to get the meringue to stiff peaks. 🙂

  19. Regi says:

    Wow, wonderful instructions. I started making macarons 1 and a half years ago but I often have trouble making them. I’ve always used the French Meringue method, but after reading lots of blogs and posts and after finding out that both Pierre Herme and Laduree use the Italian meringue method, I decided to look for a recipe using it, and I came accross your blog. The problem is I always get hollow macarons (except when I make chocolate ones), which makes me frustrated, especially after being in Paris last year and trying Pierre Herme’s macarons, which were so moisty and smooth, and looked exactly like yours. I hope it will work this time. Thanks again 😀

  20. Kirsten says:

    Hi, I’ve tried this twice now – in my first batch one tray (baked in a fan oven) was perfect, smooth slightly shiny top, nice foot etc) but the second tray booked in a conventional oven had a lot of “crackers” which had peaked in the middle. I put that down to the oven….however, my next batch, all trays had lots of peaked, cracked macarons. Is that because I haven’t worked out sufficient air or because I’ve overworked the mixture? thanks

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Kirsten,
      It sounds like you haven’t worked the batter enough – peaks when you pipe the shells means the batter is too thick, and if there are large air bubbles they won’t rise evenly, leading to cracks. It’s really frustrating (and expensive) because it’s such a trial and error process, but you’ll hit the sweet spot and get to know it. Best of luck!

      • Kirsten says:

        Hi – thank you for such a quick response – I think I had over-beaten the Italian meringue. I made another batch last night, and achieved the perfect ribbon effect in the batter. I piped them and left them to stand for about 30 mins and when I returned they had held their shape. In the oven, lovely smooth tops and great feet – I was so excited that I slightly over-baked them. However, they are filled and the family are enjoying them. Thank you So much for this article.
        Kirsten

      • pizzarossa says:

        I’m so pleased to hear about your success Kirsten! Wishing you many happy, delicious macaron moments in the future 🙂

  21. Lynn says:

    I just recently started using the Italian method for macarons. Do you know why I get really tall and ruffled feet, not too pretty in my opinion? Also the top of the macaron shells collapsed after I removed the tray from the oven, any ideas what I did wrong? I didn’t remove the tray while baking so not sure what happened there.

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Lynn, sorry about the delay. Tall feet is a thing I’ve never encountered with Italian meringue macarons but the collapsing shells were the bane of my life when I started out. It could be that the batter is undermixed so you’re getting big air bubbles, or they could be puffing up too quickly in the oven and don’t have enough structural integrity- a cooler oven might help. Are you using a silicon mat or metal tray? You could also try using double stacked metal trays for slower release of heat underneath.

  22. Maria Resto says:

    Hi I have made the french version before and have never managed to get feet! I try and try and always feetless! I am going to try this version and keep my fingers crossed My question is can I freeze the shells? I wanted to get them done and out of the way because I have to make about 200 of them for a wedding and I am also doing the cake. Trying to save sometime.

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Maria,
      I’ve never tried freezing them, but I have read on plenty of sites that it’s possible. You can also store the shells in an airtight container in the fridge (unfilled) for up to a week.

      • Maria Resto says:

        Thank you! I have heard that too but I need to be sure, I do not want to have to make them again.

  23. rachel says:

    I made these and they turned out so perfect! my only note is that the first mixture (the one with the almonds and sugar) was gloppy and not at all what the pictures showed. however, when I mixed in the second mixture, it definitely helped and i got delicious little strawberry lemonade macrons. Thank you so much. this is a five star recipe!

    • pizzarossa says:

      Thanks Rachel – glad to hear the recipe worked so well for you! The consistency of the almond mixture is really variable, depending on the egg whites – if you use the thicker part of fresh whites it will be quite thick, but the watery part of older whites will be very thin. It all works out in the end, though 🙂

  24. Charlie says:

    Hi

    Can the coloring be added at the end? I have to make 6 different colors for a rainbow party, but only 3 of each so I definitely don’t want to make 6 batches for only 20 macarons!

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Charlie,
      It’s certainly worth a try – I’d recommend using gel coloring because it mixes in more quickly and evenly than powder – divide the batter as soon as the meringue has been incorporated but before it gets to piping stage, otherwise it will be overmixed after you stir in the color. The other option would be to make white shells and use colored luster dust or paint them with powder colors dissolved in vodka (vodka evaporates quickly without making the shells too wet), but the effect wouldn’t be as bold.

      • Charlie says:

        Thank you very much for the response! I have another question – can I pipe directly from a piping bag (i.e. without the tip)? I don’t have the right size tip, plus I would like to pipe the different colors directly after each other without having to wash the tip every time. I assume it will have an effect on the batter if it stands for too long before being piped?

      • pizzarossa says:

        It would depend on the size of the opening of the piping bag – it might be better to use plastic bags and cut the corner off, to get a smaller opening. I’d recommend mixing and bagging each colour straight away, then snip the corner off the bag when you are ready to pipe each one, because the batter will dry out if it sits in the bowl. Try to handle it as little as possible, though, to avoid it becoming overworked and runny.

  25. Hanna says:

    Hi , this is a gret and amazing article, and i’m sure that i learned so much from it , but there is one problem that in my country its hard to find thememetor , can you help me , because the serup needs to be on 118 c and i dont know how to know if its ready on not!!!
    Thank you so much

  26. Nancy says:

    I tried making macarons using the French method last year and they failed in every possible way.

    I gave this recipe a shot. The first time I made them, I halved the recipe, not wanting to waste ingredients if they didn’t turn out. Well, I oveemixed the batter and they turned out flat. At least they had tiny feet though! I DO NOT recommend halving the recipe because you get less stable peaks in your meringue and it’s therefore very easy to overmix.

    Yesterday, I decided to delve in headfirst and try again with the original quantities. They turned out PERFECT. Just like your photos. It took some adjusting of the oven between batches, but I was delighted by the end product. THANK YOU!

    • pizzarossa says:

      Nancy, thank you so much for your comment! I am so glad they worked for you, and the tip about (not) halving the recipe is great! 🙂

      • Nancy says:

        Hi!

        I made more macarons today, and ran into some trouble with the cocoa variation.

        I split one batch into two parts and replaced 5g of powdered sugar with 5g Dutch processed cocoa powder. The macarons came out with smooth tops and feet, but did not form smooth bottoms. The bottoms were sunken in a little and really moist. Do you have any idea why that happened?
        The other half of the same batch without cocoa powder turned out perfectly.

        Thank you!

      • pizzarossa says:

        I usually bake cocoa ones for a couple of minutes longer because the cocoa can make the batter sticky – it depends on the cocoa, so I recommend checking them. Each variation can have its own peculiarities, I’m afraid.

  27. Laura says:

    Hi there, I use the French method when making macarons and I had a question about baking and pans. I found that if I pipe them and bake one pan at a time, there’s a difference in the macaron shells due to resting time. How can I fix this?

    • pizzarossa says:

      Personally, I don’t find it has too much effect, but that’s probably due to my baking environment (humidity etc). If it makes a big difference, there are a couple of things you could try. Most obvious would be baking both trays at the same time, swapping them once or twice, and adjusting the baking time as necessary. Alternatively, you could pipe the second batch when the first goes into the oven – fill the bag and clip it near the piping tip end and twist the top tightly shut so it doesn’t dry out. Just avoid handling it too much, otherwise it will end up overmixed.

  28. Charlie says:

    I made a batch yesterday and wanted to make two colors, so I made two half batches of the almond paste (in other words 70 g almond flour, 70 g icing sugar and 25 g egg whites for each) to which I added the color. I then made a full batch of the meringue and weighed it so that I could divide it exactly between in two before I folded it into each of the almond pastes. I first folded one color, transferred it to a piping bag and twisted the top to keep it closed, then I folded the second color and also transferred it to a piping bag. Then I cut off the tip of the first bag and piped them, and while they were resting I piped the second color. The first ones went into the oven and when I turned them halfway I got REALLY excited because they looked perfect! They had beautiful feet and perfect tops. But when I took them out of the oven when the time was done it looked like they fell flat. The feet became thin and bulged out at the sides. I thought it was because I turned them halfway so I decided not to do that with the second pan, but they came out even worse. Very thin feet and the tops looked wrinkled (but not cracked). What could cause this? (Can I add a photo somewhere to show how looked?)

    • pizzarossa says:

      Charlie, I would guess that either the batter was overmixed or the macarons were underbaked – it sounds like they didn’t have enough structural integrity to hold their height. I don’t think WordPress allows photos in comments, but you could put them on photobucket or flickr or somewhere and add a url, maybe?

  29. Kayla says:

    Can’t wait to try the recipe! What thermometer do you recommend using for the syrup?

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Kayla,
      I use a digital candy thermometer, party because I find it easier to read and it beeps when it’s at the right temperature and partly because it’s quite a small quantity of syrup and I don’t want to lose lots of it by having it stuck all over a bulky traditional thermometer.
      Hope you enjoy your macarons!

  30. elham says:

    Hi,thank you for you great post!
    I bake Macarons with Italian meringue, but some times my Macarons have not feet and generally have oval shape ( while my batter is not over mix! ). I whoud appreciate if you could help me.

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Elham,
      It could be the temperature of the oven. It sounds like it could be a bit low, so the shells spread instead of puffing up. An oven thermometer is the best solution, but if you don’t want to buy one and are willing to play around, I’d try adjusting the temperature up by 5° for half a batch and see if that helps, or turning on the fan if your oven has one.

  31. Bea says:

    Hi! I’ve been baking macarons for a month now using the Italian method. Recently, all my macarons have got feet and no cracks but it has always been a problem of mine that I see really tall and perfect feet in the oven at around 5minutes but then as they bake and before taking them out of the oven, the feet get smaller than what I previously saw! This has been my dilemma for many batches already!:( I tried experimenting on different temperatures (140C to 170C). Got 2 random batches with the feet not collapsing but for some odd reason, I cannot replicate those results. I don’t really know why they sink/collapse/get smaller feet in the middle of baking. Help!

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Bea, the difference in size of the feet between French and Italian meringue methods relates to the texture of the whole shell. The Italian meringue produces macarons with a moister interior and they have smaller feet than their French meringue counterparts – something to do with egg white stability and the size of the air pockets in the batter. The feet on mine drop as they bake, but unless they’re actually footless because I messed up the mixing stage, I don’t worry about it. In fact, I prefer the look of the straighter feet on an Italian meringue macaron than the big ruffly things on a French meringue one!

  32. kristiyan says:

    can i use brown sugar and blend it instead of white powdered sugar?

  33. Anna says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your macaroon experience and expertise! This was my third try at macaroons and this recepie was the first to work! I live in a really humid climate so I had the dehumidifier running half the day to get the kitchen really dry which meant they actually set for the first time! So pleased to have found a good recepie!

  34. frances thompson says:

    when i first start whipping the egg whites can i add a pinch of cream of tartar to stabilise them (this is how I usually make italian meringue).

  35. Julie says:

    I’ve made over 20 batches using the french method (I’m getting so frustrated!). I get perfect looking shells, but every batch is hollow. They collapse to hollows soon after removing them from the oven, they are perfect right when I remove them. I’ve been keeping a diary, I’m convinced it’s an oven issue and have invested in a thermometer. If it’s an oven related issue would the Italian method do anything at all for me? Recently, I’ve been baking mine at 320F for 13 minutes on parchment paper (I’ve tried double panning and silicone mats) I age my egg whites and they are room temperature when used. Does the lower temp and longer cook time help with hollows, in your opinion?

    • pizzarossa says:

      The temperature and baking time do make a big difference in my experience (it took me many failures before I figured out how my oven behaves), but the amount of difference depends on many other factors too (consistency of the batter, size of the air bubbles in the batter, baking surface…). That said, the Italian meringue method is widely accepted to be more stable overall, which is why the big macaron houses use it. If I were you, I’d give it a go – it couldn’t hurt to start from a new perspective.

  36. I’m about to put my first batch of macarons in the oven. Fingers crossed!

    I probably should’ve read these comments first (rookie move), because my almond/sugar/egg/color paste was definitely a lot thicker. Difficult to stir, even. My powdered sugar ALSO contains corn starch, so that’s a little worrying. I so hope they turn out okay.

  37. Pingback: Ep. 027 - The Macaroon Buisness with Pina Romolo, CEO of Piccola Cucina - My Food Job Rocks!

  38. Brooke says:

    Hello, thank you so much for a simple (well as simple as macarons can be), well explained recipe and accompanying video, it really makes it easy to follow and understand the complexities of these temperamental biscuits! I have made two batches using your recipe. The first turned out pretty perfect, nice feet, smooth tops, delicious texture on the inside (I seriously can’t stop eating the shells!). The second one was a little under done. I have four questions:
    1) What are the tell tale signs to look for that they are cooked? I pulled my second batch out of the oven when I thought they were done but once they had cooled, they separated with the tops coming off and the underdone bottoms stuck to the mat.
    2) Any tips for piping? I’m using a silicone macaron mat and am finding it hard to work out how much to pipe as they tend to spread at different rates.
    3) And lastly, any advice on colouring? I’ve added the colour to the almond/sugar/egg white stage but once the meringue is added the colour dilutes significantly (obviously). I thought I was being generous with the gel colour but not generous enough. Any tips here would be greatly appreciated.
    4) And lastly, I will be most likely making some of these in the height of the Australian summer. Having read that macarons do not like humidity, are there any ‘tricks of the trade’ to counteract any negative effects on my macarons?
    Again, thank you so much for you recipe and video, it’s making learning from home much achievable.

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Brooke,
      Thanks so much for your message and great questions!
      1) The best way to test them it to give the shell a little nudge above the foot – if the top moves away from the foot, they’re not done. There’s not really any other way to tell, because it’s the interior and underside that you’re testing, so you can’t just pick one up. That said, I find the second tray to be the most problematic because the oven temperature fluctuates (at least it does with my oven) so it can be running too hot or too cool. I generally leave it for a few minutes between trays to settle.
      2) Practice! 😉 You could try using parchment (baking paper) on your silicon mat with a piping guide under it (I have one for download in my chocolate hazelnut macaron post), just until you get the hang of it. Bear in mind that if you pipe them about three centimetres across, they’ll lose about 1/3 of their height and spread to about three and a half to four centimetres across. If they’re spreading more than that, your batter may be too thin.
      3) My preference is for pastels, rather than really strong colours, and the rule of thumb I use is to add enough to get it to the colour I want, then add about as much again, bearing in mind you’re adding so much white. Sometimes it’s frighteningly bright, depending on the colour!
      4) If it’s humid, you’ll very likely need to increase the sitting time before baking – a gentle touch on the unbaked shell should be slightly tacky (the top should be dull, too). After baking, you’ll need to get them off the mat as soon as they’re cool, and get them straight into an airtight container and into the fridge until you fill them, then straight back into the fridge after filling.
      Hope this helps! Let me know how you go 🙂

  39. Mazdia Islam says:

    Is it okay to use hand mixer when making the meringue?

  40. Nicki says:

    Hello, came across your blog while researching macarons. If I wanted to make Cap’n Crunch macarons, would I use 140grams ground Cap’n Crunch cereal or use a portion of ground almonds and Cap’n Crunch? Thank you in advance.

    • pizzarossa says:

      I made cookie macarons once and used half almond and half cookie crumbs, and they worked pretty well – you need go very light on the mixing because the cereal will absorb a lot of the liquid from the egg whites. You could up the cereal flavour by crushing some up and adding it to a buttercream filling. 🙂

  41. Elizabeth says:

    If I don’t have a food processor, can i just use a blender?

  42. sally says:

    can you make italian macarons with french or swiss meringue? because i don’t have a candy thermometer and i dont want to fail macarons…

  43. Britney Shaw says:

    I am an aspiring pastry chef, currently in culinary school, and I’ve attempted to make macarons five times. Every time has been a failure! However, I decided to try the Italian meringue method since I started making Italian meringue buttercream. AND it worked!!!! Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s the proudest moment in my pastry chef career!

  44. Michelle says:

    While doing research on how to make perfect macarons, I stumbled across this recipe. Your instructions are so clear and detailed, I didn’t need any more research! These made perfect macarons the first time around! No little nippies, perfect feet, smooth on top. Thank you so much!

    The second time I made these, I used a Swiss meringue (still used your recipe, just eliminated the water and heated the eggs and sugar over a double boiler), and they turned out just as spectacular. I think I’ll stick with your recipe, but continue to use the Swiss application. It’s much faster and delivers the same results.

    Thanks again,
    Michelle

    • pizzarossa says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback, Michelle! I’m delighted to hear it worked so well for you! And I am especially excited to hear that it worked using Swiss meringue – it has been on my to-do list for ages to give it a try!

  45. Sunny says:

    Thank you very much.

  46. meowmeowk says:

    I have been having a lot of difficulty with French Macaron recipes so I tried your Italian Meringue recipe. I’m not sure what went wrong (I meticulously followed the directions, and the tops were dry when I put them in the oven) but all of the macarons came out cracked! They all had feet (though somewhat small) but the tops had these huuge cracks.

    Any ideas?

    • pizzarossa says:

      There are a few things that can cause cracking, so I’m afraid it’s going to be a case of trial and error.
      Number one is not drying the shells before they go into the oven, but you did that so it’s obviously not the issue.
      It can also be caused by under or over mixing the batter – undermixed will mean lumpy and uneven shells with cracks because of large air bubbles; overmixing will mean thin, flat shells with cracks because there’s not enough structural integrity.
      Another problem can be too hot an oven, leading to too fast rising – I recommend an oven thermometer to check, because most home ovens are out by at least several degrees. There are cheap ones around, but if you don’t want the expense maybe you could borrow one, or share the cost with a baker friend.
      Another thing I’ve found is the baking surface – as I’ve said, I had terrible results with silicon macaron mats, lots of cracking, but good multilayer metal baking sheets gave me great results – I guess it’s got to do with thermodynamics and heat transfer… but you could try using a couple of baking sheets stacked together.
      Let me know how you go!

  47. Dani says:

    Not that it matters if everyone’s macarons turn out fine, but I use Pierre Herme’s recipe for mine and the only major difference I see between his and your’s is that he uses the same amount of sugar for the sugar syrup as his “tant pour tant” ratio for almond flour and icing sugar. So to compare your’s and his, he would use 140g of sugar for his syrup for the Italian meringue (same as either almond flour or icing sugar which is always equal). Just thought I’d add that in case some people can’t quite achieve enough meringue volume or meringue that isn’t really study. The increase in sugar might help?? Otherwise, your recipe is really similar to “the Master’s”!! And BTW, your macarons do look amazing…beautiful feet. I also ditched the French Meringue method because the macarons always wnded up either hollow or the tops were too delicate to touch, but the Italian meringue method has never failed me 🙂 Plus, who wouldn’t have want to lick the Italian meringue bowl clean?? Yummmm, just like melted marshmallows!!
    Oh, one question though…have you noticed that it’s really hard to get a deeper colour on Italian meringue macarons than French meringue ones? Do you have any tips to get around this and get the actual colour you wanted? Tysm!!

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Dani,
      That’s really interesting about the different amount of sugar – I had assumed the syrup was tant pour tant because it’s 140g all together (100g sugar plus 40g water).
      Colouring is the bane of my life! LOL! Every type and brand yields a different result! I get pretty good results with Wilton gel colours, and in my experience powder colours are not nearly as strong so are best used for more subtle shades. I honestly don’t like to imagine how much they must put in commercial ones to get those super intense colours, though!

  48. chloehakola says:

    I just want to tell you thank you for this post! I had tried multiple times to make macarons and have failed, it was really discouraging. I found your post on Pinterest and I followed your instruction step by step and finally made perfect macarons! I am making some as we speak! Thank you again so much for giving me such a great experience!

  49. Ruki says:

    Hi Dani,
    I tried using your Italian meringue method, but my macaroons had no feets at all. They looked fine before baking and I let the rest till they formed a skin . I even tried increasing the temperature a little the second time but nothing worked. I have tried baking macaroons many times but no luck so far.

    • pizzarossa says:

      A common cause of no feet is due to humidity – you might need to dry them with the rangehood fan on. Another cause can be undermixing the batter.

  50. Raquel Trabelsi says:

    By far this is the best recipe I’ve come across and I’ve tried like 5. Macarons come out smooth and not hollow. The only problem I’m having is that I get very little feet. Midway through the cooking process I get so excited because I see nice size feet then a few minutes later they deflate 😢. I’ve tried changing the temperature, silicon mats, teflon mats, different trays, overmixing, undermixing to no avail. I’ve aged the eggs, used them straight from the fridge, etc, etc. Any possible cause?

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Raquel, macarons made using Italian meringue do have smaller feet than those made with French meringue, certainly less “ruffly”, but if they are deflating completely and you have tweaked everything else it could be the baking temperature. If they cook too fast they won’t have the strength to stay up, so maybe try reducing the temperature by a few degrees and increasing the baking time by a couple of minutes. As every oven is different, it does mean tweaking the baking numbers to suit – one of the dubious joys of macarons! 😉

  51. Myriam says:

    Thank you very much for all your informations.
    Always did the French method but I cannot make it right twice in a raw:(( ….doing exactely the same thing .. Frustrating..
    I cannot wait to try the Italian with your recipe..
    I have a question..
    Is the “non oil base essence” the same as
    “Extract” or not at all?
    Also, regarding your “optional” list, do I have to add only one thing from the list?..(vanilla beans OR essence OR essence etc..) or can I add everything listed?

    • pizzarossa says:

      Hi Myriam,
      Yes, extract and essence are just different names for the same thing. You can add more than one thing, but you need to be careful not to change the consistency of the batter too much. If you are using liquid extract/essence, you should use powder colouring. Let me know how your macarons turn out 🙂

      • Myriam says:

        I will and thank you so much for your kind answer.Glad to know about the coloring powder because I would have used a gel 🙂

  52. leana says:

    question, for the ground almonds I assuming I can use almond flour instread.

    • pizzarossa says:

      It shouldn’t be as fine as wheat flour – even though you grind it with the powdered sugar, it is still slightly gritty, not powdery. If the consistency is more like cornmeal than wheat flour, you’re good to go.

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