Beautiful Vanilla Macarons are sandwiched with not too sweet vanilla bean buttercream. These delicate and delicious French macarons are little bites of heaven.
Maybe you love French macarons but have been scared to make them because of their reputation for being finicky. You can do it!
Follow my recipe exactly, read through the tips and look at all the process photos. You’ll be on your way to macaron success. I’ll show you exactly how the batter should look for macaron success
- Almond flour – Use premade almond flour or you can grind blanched almonds in a food processor.
- Egg Whites – Use fresh egg whites that have been aged overnight in the refrigerator. Do not use pasteurized egg whites unless the carton specifically states they can be used for meringue.
How to make Vanilla Macarons
See the recipe card for detailed instructions and measurements.
- Combine the almond flour, confectioners’ and granulated sugar in a food processor.
- Pulse to combine the ingredients.
- Sift the almond mixture through a fine sieve. Toss any larger bits of almond left in the sieve.
- Divide the almond base into two parts.
- Whip the egg whites to soft peak and begin adding the remaining powdered sugar.
- Scrape the seeds from half the vanilla bean and add them to the egg whites.
- Gather the whipped whites and the almond base.
- Fold the almond base into the meringue into two parts.
- The macaron batter will start out quite rough.
- The macaron batter will gradually smooth out and come together.
- The final batter should be glossy and smooth but not thin and runny.
- Pipe the cookies using the circles as a guide for consistent size.
- Pipe slightly smaller than the circle as the batter will spread as it settles.
- The macarons should start to form a “foot” about 5 minutes after they go into the oven.
- To check if the shells are baked gently shimmy the top of the shell. If it jiggles separately from the “foot” the inside is still too soft. If it feels soft but is attached to the foot it’s done.
- To make the buttercream combine the remaining almond base, softened butter and remaining vanilla seeds in a mixer bowl.
- Mix to combine.
- Increase the speed and whip until light and aerated.
- Allow the macaron shells to cool completely.
- Macarons shells should easily separate from the parchment paper if they are baked correctly.
- Pair the shells up by size. Flip over one shell per pair and pipe buttercream onto the flat sides. Sandwich the cookies.
Pastry Chef tips for making French Macarons
After making literally thousands of macarons I’ve keyed in on the steps that are necessary for the most perfect cookies.
- Age the egg whites. Macaron shells made with freshly separated egg whites may have too much moisture and can bake up with cracks or lumps. Remember, macarons are all about that perfectly smooth and satiny shell.
- Weigh your ingredients. Volume measures are not precise enough for this recipe.
- Sift the nut flour and sugar after processing it. This will eliminate any lumps of sugar or large bits of nut that might mar the texture of the cookies. If you started with whole almonds instead of almond flour you may have to grind and sift up to 3 times to get the nuts ground fine enough.
- Let the shells dry for 30 minutes before baking. This will set the top and help create the iconic “foot” of a perfect macaron.
- Refrigerate the assembled cookies before serving. A night in a covered container in the refrigerator will help the cookies absorb some moisture from the filling and let the flavors meld.
French Macaron troubleshooting guide
- Over mixed macaron batter is very shiny and runny and will barely hold it’s shape before it quickly flattens out.
- Perfect macaron batter will flow but it still has some body. It will hold it’s shape before is slowly settles.
- If your macaron batter is over mixed the batter becomes runny and the cookies will spread rapidly after piping. The Shells will bake up flat with an uneven color and texture.
- Macaron shells from perfectly mixed batter will hold their shape after piping before slowly spreading out. They will bake up smooth with an even color and texture.
- The top of the macaron shell needs to set first so it rises straight up and away from the foot. If there is too much moisture in the oven the top doesn’t dry out quickly enough.
- If there is too much moisture in the oven the macaron shells will form cracks and may not form a proper “foot”.
- If your oven holds a lot of moisture, prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon.
- Macarons baked too hot will color more and will have a mottled and even texture and will stick to the parchment paper.
- Macarons made with runny batter will be flatter and uneven.
- Macarons baked at the proper temperature will brown less and have a smooth even top.
- Macarons baked from perfect batter will have a slightly rounded top and even foot.
French Macaron FAQs
The easiest mistake to make with macarons is under folding or over folding the batter. The batter should be fairly smooth and shiny but not runny. When you drizzle the batter onto itself it should hold the shape briefly before slowly settling.
Aging reduces the moisture in the whites and relaxes the proteins so they whip up more readily.
If you use pasteurized or frozen egg whites be sure to check the label to see if they can be used for making meringue. Often, pasteurized whites do whip properly and should not be used for macarons.
- Macarons can be held at room temperate for 2-3 days.
- Macarons can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to a week.
- You can freeze macarons for several weeks after they’re assembled, making them the perfect make-ahead dessert or gift.
Now that you’ve made this recipe what should you do with the extra yolks? Check out this collection of recipes that use extra yolks for some great ideas.
More French Macaron recipes:
- Chocolate Macarons
- Lemon Blueberry Macarons
- Strawberry Rosé Macarons
- 100% Pistachio Macarons
- Baileys Macarons
- Eggnog Macarons
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Vanilla Macaron Recipe
Macaron Base Mix
- 6 oz almond Flour
- 2 oz granulated sugar
- 8 oz confectioner sugar
- 3 large egg whites (aged, see note)
- 1 ½ oz confectioner sugar
- 1 each vanilla bean
- 12 oz Macaron Base Mix
- 4 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
- Remaining Macaron Base Mix
Make The Base Mix
- Pulse 6 oz almond Flour, 2 oz granulated sugar and 8 oz confectioner sugar in a food processor to combine. Move the mixture to a sieve and sift into a bowl. Whisk the ingredients after sifting to be sure they are well combined. Divide the base – setting aside 12 oz (336g) for the macaron shells and the remaining for the buttercream filling.6 oz almond Flour, 2 oz granulated sugar, 8 oz confectioner sugar
Make the Macaron Shells
- Use a biscuit cutter to draw 24 2" circles on a 1/2 sheet of parchment paper. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and put the paper with the circles underneath the parchment on one of the pans.
- Whip 3 large egg whites to soft peak. With the mixer running add 1 ½ oz confectioner sugar and the seeds from half of the vanilla bean. Whip to full peak.3 large egg whites, 1 ½ oz confectioner sugar
- Gently fold the 12 oz Macaron Base Mix into the whites in two batches. Continue folding until it becomes soft and shiny, but not thin and runny. Scoop the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (or cut the tip of a disposable bag). Pipe the batter using the circles as a guide to keep the size consistent. Set the pan aside to allow the cookies to dry for 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 °F.12 oz Macaron Base Mix
- Touch the top of a cookie to make sure it's dry to the touch, it can be a bit tacky but shouldn't completely stick to your finger. Bake for 7-8 minutes then rotate the trays. Bake for another 5-6 minutes until the shells are dry and the centers are soft (see note).
- Allow the shells to cool completely. You can use a small offset spatula to release the shells from the parchment. Be careful handling the shells, it’s very easy to crack the smooth surface.
Make the Buttercream Filling
- Combine 4 oz unsalted butter with the Remaining Macaron Base Mix and the seeds from the other half of the vanilla bean. Whip on medium-high speed until the buttercream lightens in color and becomes aerated.4 oz unsalted butter, Remaining Macaron Base Mix
- Scoop the buttercream into a clean pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip or cut the tip of a disposable bag.
- Pair up the cooled shells by size. Flip over one shell per pair. Pipe buttercream over each flipped shell. Sandwich the cookies gently, handling the cookies by the edges and not the tops.
- The finished cookies should be refrigerated in a covered container for a couple of hours or overnight before serving. The cookies can also be frozen for several weeks.
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