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Italian Macarons

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

Italian macarons take few extra steps, but they are totally worth it!

image of Italian macarons filled with white chocolate ganache topped with white chocolate and sprinkles

What is the Italian Method of Making Macarons?

No matter what method you use, they all involve making a meringue of some sort, and then combining that meringue with almond flour and powdered sugar.

This process of folding the meringue together with the dry ingredients is called macaronage.

The Italian method is unique because just like its name implies, it uses an Italian meringue. This involves whisks egg whites with a hot sugar syrup to create a stiff, stable meringue.

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

The second defining feature of Italian macarons is that the almond flour and powdered sugar are mixed with raw egg whites to form a paste before any meringue is folded into them.

Equipment You’ll Need to Make These Italian Macarons

To successfully make Italian macarons, you need a few different tools! Below is a list of equipment you’ll need:

image of ingredients and tools needed to make italian macarons

Making Italian Macarons – 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: Make the Macaron Paste

Stir together the 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 egg whites, almond meal and powdered sugar to make a paste to make Italian macarons

Step #2: Make the Italian Meringue

Next, heat the granulated sugar and water in a pot over medium heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side. Heat to medium and bring to a boil.

As soon as the mixture starts to boil, pour the remaining whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on a medium speed.

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.

Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 238F / 114C, then slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl into the meringue on a medium speed.

image of sugar syrup being heated to 238 F or 114 C to make Italian meringue

Once the syrup is fully mixed in, increase the mixing speed to a high speed and mix until glossy, stiff peaks form.

If you want to color your macarons, mix in gel food coloring during this step.

There should be a tiny bend in the peak of your meringue when the whisk is lifted.

This usually takes me 6-7 minutes, but can vary based on your mixer!

You should notice the meringue gathering inside the whisk towards the end of this process.

image of pink italian meringue that's been whipped to stiff peaks

Step #3: Mix the Meringue into the Macaron Paste

Mix the meringue into the almond/powdered sugar paste mixture in two additions.

image of Italian meringue being folded into almond paste mixture

Once the meringue is mixed in, fold the batter in a circular motion until thick ribbons of batter run off the spatula when it is lifted.

Step #4: Pipe the Macaron Shells

Pour the batter into a large piping bag fit with a medium sized round piping tip and pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds on baking sheets lined with silpat mats, 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.

image of pink Italian macarons being piped onto a silpat mat

Step #5: Let the Macaron Shells Rest

Let the macarons rest for 30 minutes until they form a skin. They should look matte and be dry to the touch once they’re ready to be baked.

While the shells rest preheat the oven to 320 F / 160 C.

Step #6: Bake the Macaron Shells

Bake one tray of macarons at a time. Place the tray in the middle rack of your oven and bake for 16-20 minutes.

Let the macarons cool fully on the pan, then gently remove them from the silpat mat.

image of pink macaron Italian shells that have been baked and have perfect feet

If they are fully baked, they should peel cleanly off the mat and have a shiny bottom.

image of an Italian macaron that has been baked and peels cleanly off the mat

Step #7: Assembling These Italian Macarons

Pipe a dollop 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 Italian macarons that have been filled with white 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 an Italian macaron filled with chocolate ganache

Why Do My Italian 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 under-mixed batter.

image of cracked italian macaron shells

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 Italian 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 over-mixed or if air bubbles get trapped before being baking. It can also happen if your macarons are underbaked.

image of macaron shells that have baked up with hollow shells because they were underbaked

Potential Fixes: Make sure you’re not over mixing your meringue/batter, make sure the shells are baking for long enough, or bang your pans firmly against your counter before letting them rest.

Why Are My Italian Macarons Sticking to My Mat?

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 an Italian macaron that wasn't baked for long enough and stuck to the baking mat

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

Why Don’t My Italian Macarons Have Feet?

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

image of a macaron shell baked at too low of a temperature so it didn't develop feet

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

Why Are My Italian Macarons Crispy/Hard?

Sometimes if the batter is over-mixed it causes the shells to spread more and bake up crispy. They may also just be over-baked!

Keep in mind that macaron shells soften 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 Italian 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 a macaron shell that was baked too long and at too high of a temperature and browned on the bottom of the shell

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 Italian 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 macaron shell that baked with lopsided feet because the pan wasn't level

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 These Italian Macarons

While we put tons of energy into the shell of a macaron, almost all 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 white chocolate ganache that' been chilled and is ready to be used to fill macarons

I have a big sweet tooth, so I usually prefer filling my macarons with white chocolate ganache or American buttercream.

If you don’t want your macarons to be super sweet, I recommend using my chocolate ganache filling, hybrid 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

  • 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!
  • 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. Your macarons will turn out best if the ingredients are weighed.
  • Use a macaron mat or print out a template to help you pipe consistently sized macarons.
  • Let your baked and filled 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!
image of Italian macarons filled with white chocolate ganache topped with white chocolate and sprinkles

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 you think! Please leave a rating and comment below.

Tag me @chelsweets and #chelsweets on social media so that I can see your amazing creations!

image of an Italian macaron filled with chocolate ganache

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 20 macarons

Italian Macarons

image of Italian macarons filled with white chocolate ganache topped with white chocolate and sprinkles

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

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 8 minutes

Ingredients

Italian Macarons

  • 160g cups finely ground, blanched almond flour (1 2/3 cup)
  • 160g powdered or confectioners sugar (1 1/4 cups)
  • 120g egg whites, room temperature - divided (4 large egg whites)
  • 160g granulated sugar (3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp)
  • 40g water (3 Tbsp)
  • a pinch cream of tartar - optional (1/4 tsp)
  • gel food coloring - optional

White Chocolate Ganache Macaron Filling

  • 170g finely chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips (1 cup)
  • 95g heavy cream (1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp)

Equipment

Instructions

White Chocolate Ganache

  1. I like to fill these macarons with white chocolate ganache, but you can use any type of filling you prefer! These also taste great with my cream cheese macaron filling, chocolate ganache filling, hybrid buttercream or Swiss meringue frosting.
  2. The white chocolate ganache filling needs about 4 hours to set, so I recommend making it first! It can also be made up to a week in advance. I usually make it the night before.
  3. Place 170g of white chocolate in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  4. Pour 95g heavy cream into a heat-proof bowl and heat in 15 second intervals in the microwave until it just begins to bubble (this usually takes me about a minute). If you don't have a microwave, heat the cream over a medium-high heat in a saucepan until it starts to bubble and steam.
  5. Pour the heavy cream over the white chocolate. Make sure all the white chocolate is submerged beneath the cream. Let the mixture sit for a couple minutes.
  6. Use an immersion blender or a spoon to mix the ganache until the mixture has come together and is smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap flush against the ganache and place the bowl in the fridge to chill.

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

  1. Next, make the Italian macaron shells. Sift 160g almond meal and 160g powdered sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in 60g of egg whites. Fold the mixture together until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  3. Next, heat 160g granulated sugar and 40g water in a pot over medium heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side.
  4. Heat over a medium heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture starts to boil, pour the remaining 60g of egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on a medium speed.
  5. 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.
  6. Continue cooking the sugar syrup until it reaches 238F / 114C. Then slowly pour the syrup between the edge of the bowl and the whisk attachment while mixing on a medium speed. The syrup might splatter a bit around the bowl as you pour, but that's ok! Just do your best to avoid have the syrup hit the whisk attachment.
  7. Once the syrup is fully mixed in, increase the mixing speed to a high speed and mix until glossy, stiff peaks form (this usually takes me 6-7 minutes). There should be a tiny bend in the peak of your meringue when the whisk is lifted. If you want to color your macarons, mix in the gel food coloring during this step. Mix the meringue into the almond/powdered sugar mixture in two additions.
  8. Once the meringue is mixed in, fold the batter in a circular motion until thick ribbons of batter run off the spatula when it is lifted. Be careful not to over-mix the batter!
  9. Transfer batter to a large piping bag fit with a medium sized round piping tip and pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds on baking sheets lined with silpat mats, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  10. 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.
  11. Preheat the oven to 320 F/ 160 C, then let the macarons rest for 30 minutes to allow a skin to form. They should look matte and be dry to the touch once they're ready to be baked.
  12. Bake one tray of macarons at a time on the middle rack of your oven for 16-20 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven and let the macarons cool fully on the pan, then gently remove them from the silpat mat.

Assembling These Italian Macarons

  1. Place the ganache in a piping bag fit with a large round piping tip. It should be thick enough to scoop into the piping bag and hold its shape.
  2. Pipe a thick dollop of white chocolate ganache on one macaron shell. Gently press a second shell on top of the ganache to create a sandwich.
  3. If desired, drizzle a bit of white chocolate over the macarons and top with rainbow sprinkles.
  4. Place the finished macarons in an airtight container and chill in the fridge overnight, then let them come to room temperature for about 15 minutes and enjoy! Store any leftover macarons in the fridge.

Notes

Recipe Yield:

This recipe makes about 40 macaron shells, which can be used to make 20 macarons. You can double this recipe to make more macarons if needed. Just make sure you use a large enough mixer to whip up that much meringue!

The yield and bake time can vary based on how large you pipe your shells. I piped these shells with a diameter of 1 1/2 inches, so they're about the size of a standard macaron.

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. 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 gel food coloring to color these macarons. If you try to use liquid food coloring, it can throw off the consistency of the batter.
  • 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 the macarons for 30 minutes before they're baked to allow them to develop a skin.
  • Pipe a small number of macarons on a mat to test your oven for hot spots and 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 filled macarons mature in the fridge overnight! This softens them (in a good way) and allows the flavors to develop.
  • If your macarons don't turn out, please check out my macaron troubleshooting guide for help!

Making These Italian Macarons in Advance & Storage Tips

  • French 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 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.

Nutrition Information

Yield

20

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 185Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 8mgSodium 21mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 1gSugar 23gProtein 3g

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