Italian Macarons

When it comes to macarons there are two common ways they’re made. While the French method is considered easier, the Italian method is considered more structurally sound and also yields sweeter macarons.

While French macarons are easier to make I prefer using the Italian method because it more reliably makes beautiful macarons.

image of italian macarons filled with chocolate ganache

The Italian Method vs. the French Method

The French method whisks egg whites together with a bit of sugar to create a meringue with stiff peaks. This meringue is then folded into a mixture of finely ground almonds and powdered sugar. This process of folding the meringue into the dry ingredients is called macaronage.

There are two significant ways the Italian method differs from the French method.

The first difference is that the Italian method whisks egg whites with a hot sugar syrup to create a stiff meringue.

image of sugar syrup being poured into egg whites to make Italian meringue

The second difference is that ground almonds and powdered sugar are mixed with raw egg whites to form a paste before any meringue is folded into them.

Both methods require expertise to mix the batter the perfect amount to achieve that elusive, lava-like consistency.

Equipment You’ll Need to Make Italian Macarons

While French macarons don’t require much equipment other than an electric mixer, Italian macarons do. Below is a list of equipment you’ll need:

image of ingredients and tools needed to make italian macarons

Making an Italian Macaron – Step by Step Process

While the recipe below is quite detailed, I find visual cues so helpful!

Below are some photos and a video tutorial of the process to help guide you through this recipe.

Step #1: Prep Your Ingredients and Equipment

After weighing your ingredients, wipe down your mixing bowl and whisk attachment with a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to remove any residual grease. This helps the egg whites whip up better!

Step #2: Make The Macaron Paste

Stir together your sifted almond flour, powdered sugar and egg whites. The mixture should be super thick and almost paste-like. Cover it with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

image of almond flour paste made as the first step of making italian macarons

Step #3: Make Italian Meringue

Heat your sugar and water to soft ball stage (235 F) then slowly pour it into your whipped egg whites (at the soft peak stage). Mix on high until you get relatively stiff, glossy peaks. If you want to make colored macarons, mix in gel food coloring during this stage. Do not use liquid food coloring!

Step #3: Mix the Meringue Into The Macaron Paste

Mix the meringue into the almond/powdered sugar paste mixture in three additions. The batter might look a bit stiff but it’s better to be too thick than to overmix it! The batter should form a thick ribbon when it’s lifted.

Step #4: Pipe the Macaron Shells

Fill a large piping bag with the macaron batter and pipe 1 inch rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

Firmly bang or drop the pan on the counter firmly a few times to release air bubbles, then pop any remaining air bubbles that come to the surface with a toothpick.

Step #5: Rest Your Piped Macarons

Let the macarons rest for 30 minutes until they form a skin. They should be dry to the touch once they’re ready to be baked! While the shells rest preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

image of italian macarons resting to help them form a skin before being baked

Step #6: Bake Your Macarons

Bake one tray of macarons at a time. Place the tray in the middle rack of your oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let the macarons cool fully on the pan (about an hour) then gently remove them from the silpat mat.

image of a purple italian macaron shell with perfect feet

Step #7: Assembling Your Macarons

Pipe a small dab of ganache or filling of your choice on one macaron shell and top it with a second shell. Place the finished macarons in the fridge to chill overnight then enjoy!

image of purple italian macarons filled with milk chocolate ganache

Italian Macaron Troubleshooting

While I’d love to think everyone’s first batch of Italian macarons will turn out perfectly, my own experience has taught me that’s not how things usually go.

Macarons are incredibly temperamental and it might take a few tries to get them just right.

Below are some of the issues I’ve run into when baking macarons, along with ways to prevent them from happening again.

image of cooled macaron shells ready to be filled

Why Do My Macarons Have Cracked Shells?

Cracked shells were the first issue I ran into when I started baking macarons. A few different things can cause cracked shells, including too short of a rest, trapped air bubbles, too hot of an oven, or undermixed batter.

image of cracked italian macarons that were baked in too hot of an oven

Potential Fixes: Bang your pans firmly before resting your macarons, rest your macarons until they form a skin, check your oven for hot spots, or mix your batter slightly more.

Why Are My Macarons Hollow?

Hollow macarons have big air pockets between the top of the shell and the base. This can happen when the meringue or batter is overmixed or if air bubbles get trapped before being baking.

image of hollow italian macarons that were not banged against a counter before being baked

Potential Fixes: Make sure you’re not over mixing your meringue/batter, or bang your pans firmly against your counter before letting them rest.

Why Are My Macarons Sticking to My Baking Sheet?

Your macarons may stick to your mat/parchment paper if they’re underbaked, or if you didn’t let them cool fully before trying to remove them.

image of macarons that stuck to the tray

Potential Fixes: Let your macarons fully cool before trying to lift them, or bake them slightly longer.

Why Don’t My Macarons Have Feet?

If your macarons don’t develop feet it could be because your batter is too wet, your batter was overmixed or you didn’t let your macarons rest for long enough.

image of a macaron with underdeveloped feet

Potential Fixes: Try using aged egg whites, make sure you’re not using any liquid flavoring or food coloring, or let you shells rest until they form a touchable skin (20-40 minutes).

Why Are My Macarons Crispy/Hard?

Sometimes if your batter is overmixed it causes your shells to spread more and bake up crispy. They may also just be overbaked! Keep in mind that macaron shells softed once they’re filled and have time to mature in the fridge, so don’t be disheartened if they seem a bit firm once they’ve cooled.

Potential Fixes: Mix your batter less, bake your macarons for less time, or fill them and see if the maturation process softens them.

Why Are My Macaron Shells Brown?

There’s nothing worse than baking up tray of macaron shells only to see they’ve browned! This is caused by overbaking or hot spots in your oven.

image of an overcooked macaron shell that has a brown bottom

Potential Fixes: Turn down your oven temp by 5-10 degrees F, bake them for slightly less long, bake the macarons with a pan above them to protect them from the heat, or bake the macarons with two pans.

Why Are My Macarons Uneven?

This can be caused by an uneven baking tray or mat, an oven that bakes unevenly, or from uneven piping.

image of a lopsided macaron with an uneven foot

Potential Fixes: Make sure you’re using a good quality pan and silpat mat, test your oven for hot spots, or take your time when piping and use a template to ensure your macarons are consistent in size and shape.

Choosing The Right Filling for Your Macarons

While we put tons of energy into the shell of a macaron, almost all of the flavor in a macaron comes from its filling.

The shell gives the macarons an incredible texture, but the filling is what determines its flavor. You can use just about any type of frosting or ganache to fill macarons.

image of chocolate ganache filling

I have a big sweet tooth, so I usually prefer using a milk or white chocolate ganache, or american buttercream.

If you don’t want your macarons to be super sweet, I recommend using a dark chocolate ganache, Italian buttercream or Swiss meringue frosting.

You can also pipe a frosting or ganache ring on your macarons and fill it with jam or other fillings to create unique flavors.

Tips for Making the Best Italian Macarons

  • Wipe your mixing bowl and whisk with lemon juice or vinegar to remove any traces of grease before making your meringue. It will help your egg whites whip up better!
  • Separate your own eggs and age them if possible! Do not use egg whites from a carton.
  • Measure your ingredients in grams with a kitchen scale! You really need to be precise with this recipe and your macarons will turn out best if the ingredients are weighed.
  • Carefully read through the directions before making these macarons. There are quite a few steps and it’s good to know your game plan before you start!
  • Use a macaron mat or print out a template to help you pipe consistently sized macarons.
  • FIRMLY bang/drop your pans on your counter after piping your macarons. This helps release any air bubbles that may be trapped and prevent cracked or hollow shells.
  • Rest your macarons for 30 minutes before they’re baked to allow them to develop a skin.
  • Pipe a small number of macarons on a few sheets to test your oven for hot spots and to see if it bakes accurately. This way you won’t waste a whole tray of macs if your oven runs hot or cold.
  • Let your macarons mature! Letting them rest overnight while they are filled softens them (in a good way) and allows the flavors to develop.
  • If your first batch of macarons doesn’t turn out, please check out the troubleshooting section above for help!
holding an italian macaron up close to  show its perfect feet and chocolate ganache filling

Making These Italian Macarons in Advance & Storage Tips

  • You need to let Italian macarons mature for a few hours or overnight in the fridge before eating them. This gives them their best texture and taste.
  • Store macarons at room temperature for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate macarons for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • Freeze filled macarons for up to a month in an airtight container.
  • Unfilled macaron shells can be frozen for up to a month in an airtight container.
  • Make your filling ahead of time too or save any leftover filling! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this recipe for Italian macarons, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

Also please tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets on social media so that I can see your amazing creations!

image of an italian macaron that's been bitten into to show its soft and chewy center

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 30 macarons

Italian Macarons

image of italian macarons filled with chocolate ganache

Learn how to make perfect Italian macarons! My step by step tutorial & detailed recipe will help you master these delicious delicacies.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 2 minutes

Ingredients

Italian Macarons

  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal (106 grams)
  • 1 cup + 3 Tbsp powdered or confectioners sugar (106 grams)
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature - divided (45 grams and 45 grams)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar (118 grams)
  • 1/3 cup water (80 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar or lemon juice to stabilize ( <1 gram)
  • ¼ tsp gel food coloring - optional ( <1 gram)

Chocolate Ganache Macaron Filling

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate (45 grams)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or whipping cream (60 grams)

Equipment

Instructions

Italian Macarons (adapted from my friend Matt Adlard's recipe)

  1. Sift the almond meal (106 grams) and powdered sugar (106 grams) into a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in 45 grams of egg whites. Fold the mixture together until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  3. Next heat 118 grams of granulated sugar and 80 grams of water in a pot over medium heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the mixture reaches 235 F.
  5. Once the mixture starts to boil, pour the remaining 45 grams of egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on a medium speed.
  6. Add in 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar to help stabilize the meringue and continue to mix at a medium speed until soft peaks form.
  7. Remove the sugar syrup from heat once reaches 235 degrees F and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl into the meringue on a medium speed.
  8. Once the syrup is fully mixed in, increase the mixing speed to high and mix until glossy, stiff peaks form. If you want to color your macarons, mix in the gel food coloring in this step. There should be a tiny bend in the peak of your meringue when the whisk is lifted.
  9. Mix the meringue into the almond/powdered sugar mixture in three additions.
  10. Once the meringue is mixed in, fold the batter in a circular motion until thick ribbons of batter run off the spatula when it's lifted. Be careful not to overmix the batter!
  11. Transfer batter to a large piping bag fit with a medium sized round piping tip and pipe 1 1/4 inch rounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  12. Bang the pans firmly on the counter a few times to release air bubbles, then pop any remaining air bubbles that come to the surface with a toothpick.
  13. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F, then let the macarons rest for 30 minutes to allow a skin to form. They should be dry to the touch once they're ready to be baked!
  14. Bake one tray of macarons at a time on the middle rack of your oven for 12-15 minutes.
  15. Remove from oven and let the macarons cool on the pan (about 1 hour), then gently remove them from the silpat mat.

Chocolate Ganache Macaron Filling

  1. Place 1/4 cup of dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and set aside.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup of heavy cream in a saucepan until it begins to simmer.
  3. Gently pour the heavy cream over the chocolate, making sure they are covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir slowly until fully combined and the ganache is silky smooth, then pour into a piping bag to fill the macarons.

Assembling These Italian Macarons

  1. Pipe a small dab of ganache onto the center one macaron shell and top with second shell to create a sandwich.
  2. Place the finished macarons in the fridge to chill overnight, then let them come to room temperature enjoy!

Notes

Tips for Making the Best Italian Macarons

  • Measure your ingredients in grams with a kitchen scale! You really need to be precise with this recipe, and your macarons will turn out best if the ingredients are weighed.
  • Separate your own eggs and age them if possible! Do not use egg whites from a carton.
  • Carefully read through the directions before making these macarons. There are quite a few steps and it's good to know your game plan before you start!
  • Use a macaron mat or print out a template to help you pipe consistently sized macarons.
  • FIRMLY bang your pans on your counter after piping your macarons. This helps release any air bubbles that may be trapped and prevent cracked or hollow shells.
  • Rest your macarons for 30 minutes before they're baked to allow them to develop a skin.
  • Pipe a small number of macarons on a few sheets to test your oven for hot spots, and to see if it bakes accurately. This way you won't waste a whole tray of macs if your oven runs hot or cold.
  • Let your macarons mature! Letting them rest overnight while they are filled softens them (in a good way) and allows the flavors to develop.
  • If your first batch of macarons doesn't turn out, please check out the troubleshooting section above for help!

Making These Italian Macarons in Advance & Storage Tips

  • Italian macarons need to mature overnight (or ideally 24 hours) in the fridge before being eaten! They taste best 24 hours after being made.
  • Macarons can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
  • Macarons can be refrigerated for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • Filled macarons can be frozen for up to a month, but the length can vary based on the filling.
  • Unfilled macaron shells can be frozen for up to a month in an airtight container.
  • Your filling can be made ahead of time too or save any leftover filling! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Nutrition Information

Yield

30

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 54Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 4mgSodium 7mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 2g

2 thoughts on “Italian Macarons

  1. Excited to try your recipe! I’ve tried the french method a few times with varying degrees of success. Do you only sift the almond flour and powdered sugar 1 time?

Let me know what you think!