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Macaron Troubleshooting

While I’d love to think everyone’s first batch of French macarons will turn out perfectly, my own experience has taught me that’s not how things usually go. That’s why I’m sharing this macaron troubleshooting guide.

Macarons are incredibly temperamental and it might take a few tries to get them just right. It took me several batches to get them just right, with those perfect little feet and a smooth shiny top.

image of french macarons that were made using this macaron troubleshooting guide

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

Macaron Troubleshooting Issue #1: 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 included in a macaron troubleshooting guide explaining how to avoid this issue

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.

Macaron Troubleshooting Issue #2: 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 undermixed or if air bubbles get trapped before being baking.

image of hollow italian macarons that were not banged against a counter before being baked included in a macaron troubleshooting guide explaining how to avoid this issue

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

Macaron Troubleshooting Issue #3: 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 included in a macaron troubleshooting guide explaining how to avoid this issue

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

Macaron Troubleshooting Issue #4: 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 no feet included in a macaron troubleshooting guide explaining how to avoid this issue

Potential Fixes: Try using aged egg whites, make sure you’re not using liquid flavoring / food coloring, or let you shells rest until they form a touchable skin (20-60 minutes).

Macaron Troubleshooting Issue #5: 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 soften once they’re filled and have time to mature in the fridge. 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, brush the bottoms with milk, or fill them and see if the maturation process softens them.

Macaron Troubleshooting Issue #6: 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 included in a macaron troubleshooting guide explaining how to avoid this issue

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

Macaron Troubleshooting Issue #7: 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 included in a macaron troubleshooting guide explaining how to avoid this issue

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.

image of pink french macaron shells baked and cooled on a metal tray

My Tips for Making the Best French Macarons

  • Wipe your mixing bowl and whisk with lemon juice or vinegar. This removes any traces of grease before making your meringue and 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!
  • If you want to color your macarons, use gel food coloring! Liquid food coloring can throw off the consistency of the macaron batter.
  • 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 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.
image of pretty pink french macarons stacked in the air to show how symmetrical they are

Making French 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 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.
image of a french macaron that's been bitten into to show its chewy center and crisp shell

Let Me Know What You Think!

I hope you found this macaron troubleshooting guide helpful.

If you have any questions or issues I didn’t cover above, please leave a comment below. Hopefully we’ll be able to figure it out together!

If you think the issue might be the recipe you’re using, I recommend trying my French macaron recipe! I walk you through the recipe step by step and include a video tutorial that will help you master macarons once and for all!

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Lovely

Wednesday 17th of November 2021

Thanks this was my most successful batch of macarons ever. The sails melted into the batter and the first batch baked with a beautiful shiny and smooth surface. The other 95% of my macarons baked with terrible cracks. The only batch that did not was the one that I air dried with a blow dryer however, the color in this batch looked off and there was no smoothness.

Marlene

Monday 8th of November 2021

My batter turned out very think. Not sure what went wrong. It was my first try.

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Adel

Friday 28th of May 2021

I have tried macs tonight for the 3rd time, (temperamental little buggers) My batter is thick every time, I dont get to the figure of 8 ribbon stage. Should I keep folding it in (scared of over mixing) or should I add a little more egg whites? I have been weighing my ingredients to the t but still no cigar ?

Patricia

Thursday 28th of October 2021

@Adel, Well sometimes depending on the humidity it takes a long time to macronage to the correct consistency. Adding more egg whites may help-- I would try a different recipe first. I have found the variation in ratio of almond flour, confectioners sugar and egg whites to be outrageously inconsistent from recipe to recipe. For being so "temperamental" as they say you would think the recipes would be more consistent. Sometimes if you have over beaten the egg whites (easy to do) they are too dry and then you can't get the consistency.