This is the best way to make Italian macarons (in my opinion). The Italian macaron method is considered the most stable and reliable type of macaron and is used most by professional pastry chefs because the hot sugar makes the macaron shells stronger and shinier.
I tested SO MANY recipes trying to find the best, no-fail Italian macaron recipe. I had everything go wrong from wrinkled tops to exploding volcanos or no feet. I had given up hope until I took this macaron class in Paris and learned how to make the best Italian macarons ever.
After I learned this method, my Italian macarons have been flawless. I really think it's this particular ratio of sugar to egg whites that is the secret to success!
Italian macarons are definitely not as easy as French macarons. So if you are a beginner I definitely recommend you try the French method first. If you're ready to start making more stable and professional macarons, this recipe is going to be perfect for you.
Tips For Success
- Age your egg whites - Crack your egg whites ahead of time and let them rest in the fridge for a few days. This will relax the egg protein and help reduce the chance of getting hollow macarons. Aged egg whites are also less prone to over-mixing or going grainy.
- Cook your sugar syrup carefully - The first few times I tried this recipe I accidentally overcooked my syrup which causes your meringue to be too firm and your shells will explode. Make sure your meringue is at soft peaks and ready to go as soon as your syrup is at the correct temperature.
- Don't over-whip your meringue - With French macarons, you need to really whip your meringue like crazy but with Italian macarons, as soon as you get stiff glossy peaks, you want to stop mixing. Overmixing will cause your macarons to crack.
- Don't let your macaron shells dry for too long - As soon as you can touch the top and it feels like it has a slight skin, you can bake them. If you let these shells dry for too long they can seal themselves to the mat and they won't have feet.
- Bake a test cookie - If this is the first time you are trying this recipe, bake a test cookie to make sure your oven temperature and resting times are working. If you have problems skip down to the bottom of this blog post to troubleshoot the issue and test again. Once you have success then you can go ahead and bake your whole tray of macaron shells.
- Don't be afraid to continue mixing - In my experience, you need to mix the macaron batter much more than you think. For a long time, I was undermixing my batter because I was used to the French method and was afraid of overmixing. Once I really paid attention to how my batter was looking, I had more consistent results.
- Make the macaron filling ahead of time - I like to make my filling the day before as well so it has a chance to be fully set up.
Italian Macaron Ingredients & Equipment
Almond flour - Make sure you use finely ground almond flour for the shinest macarons. I like this brand from Bobs Red Mill.
Aged Egg whites - Make sure you separate your egg whites carefully. Specks of egg yolk can inhibit the meringue from whipping properly. You can use boxed egg whites for the eggs that you mix into the almond flour mixture but I recommend fresh, aged egg whites for the meringue.
Cream of tartar - A little acid can help stabilize your egg whites and make them easier to whip. It's not 100% necessary but it can help!
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:
- Kitchen scale
- Stand Mixer or Electric Mixer
- Candy thermometer
- Large piping bag
- Round piping tip
- Large, flat baking sheets
- Parchment paper or silicone mats with a template.
Before You Begin
- Take your egg whites out of the fridge 2-3 hours in advance. Room-temperature egg whites whip up better than cold egg whites.
- Begin by wiping your bowls, whisk, and tools down with some white vinegar. This will remove every trace of oil from the surface and help ensure the perfect macaron.
- Preheat your oven to 310ºF
- Trim the parchment paper to the size of your pan so that it fits perfectly inside or use a silicone mat with a template.
- Measure out all your ingredients carefully using a food scale and set them aside. Having your ingredients ready to go will help ensure success.
Making The Ganache Filling For The Macarons
Macaron filling will take a little bit to set up so it's best to make this first. I love this ganache as a filling because it's not too sweet but you can also use buttercream or even jam filling. You can make so many flavors of ganache by replacing some or all of the cream with fruit puree or even steeping the milk with tea or spices to give it flavor.
- Heat your cream and corn syrup together in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam and you see some small bubbles forming.
- Pour the hot cream over your chocolate and let it sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Whisk the mixture until it's smooth and creamy.
- Add in the butter and whisk until smooth.
- Cover the ganache with plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature until set. I usually allow 24 hours.
- This ganache is incredibly smooth and creamy and pipes like a dream!
Making Italian Macaron Shells Step-by-Step
- Preheat your oven to 310ºF.
- Wipe down your bowl, whisk, and tools with a little white vinegar to make sure they have no fat residue on them.
- Place the almond flour, salt, and powdered sugar into the food processor and blend for 20 seconds, shaking the mixer as needed in between bursts to prevent clumping. When you no longer see the powdered sugar streaks, you can stop mixing.
- Sift the dry ingredients (almond flour mixture) into a large bowl. Throw out any big chunks of powdered sugar or almond leftover. These lumps will make the surface of the macarons more rough instead of shiny.
- Add in the first measurement of egg whites and stir until the mixture is thick and makes a paste.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
- Place the second measurement of egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment attached.
- Add your granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on medium and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once your syrup starts bubbling, begin mixing your meringue on medium speed.
- When your meringue reaches soft peaks, turn the mixer to low but don't turn it off.
- Once your sugar reaches 238ºF/114ºC, add in any food coloring that you would like. Adding the coloring to the hot syrup will help eliminate any extra moisture that may mess up your macaron shells.
- Continue heating your syrup to 244ºF then immediately stream the syrup into your meringue (while mixing on medium speed), avoiding the whisk.
- Once you have added in all the hot sugar syrup, add in the vanilla extract.
- Increase the speed to 6 and continue whipping until you reach stiff peaks which should take 6-8 minutes.
- The meringue should look glossy, and soft and the tip should have a slight bend in it like the shape of a bird beak when you pull the whisk from the meringue.
- Add about ⅓ of your meringue into the almond paste mixture and mix it together with a spatula. You don't have to be careful with this part.
- Add the rest of the meringue on top of the macaron batter and begin "J folding" to incorporate the meringue. This method of mixing is called the macaronage process.
- I make three "J" folds, then I gather all my batter back to the center and smooth out the top. Then I repeat this process again.
- Continue folding until your macaron batter looks smooth and falls off the spatula in a long ribbon and you can make a figure eight with the ribbon without it breaking. See the video for more details on this process. I also like to take a bit of the batter and spoon it onto the counter and see how long it takes for the bumps to settle. If they smooth out within 2 minutes I know my cookies are ready to bake.
- Place your piping tip into your piping bag.
- Push a little of the bag into the tip to prevent dripping.
- Add your macaron batter to your piping bag and push the batter down so it's all near the piping tip and you eliminate air bubbles.
- Pull the piping tip to remove the bag and immediately begin piping.
- Hold your piping bag straight up and down about ½" above the baking tray and begin squeezing the batter into the circle. The piping tip should always be in contact with the top of the batter. When you have reached the dotted line, stop squeezing the immediately make a quick "C" shape with the tip. This quick circular motion can take some practice but is the best way to remove the batter from the piping tip cleanly. If you do get some points you can pat them down with a toothpick but usually, they will settle themselves in the next step.
- After all your macaron shells are piped, lift the tray about 6" from the work surface and drop the pan. This will help any trapped bubbles escape. You can also use a toothpick to remove any trapped bubbles.
- If you're using parchment, glue the corners of your parchment paper down with a tiny dab of macaron batter to keep the parchment from fluttering around in the oven.
- Let your macarons rest for about 10-15 minutes until a thin skin has just formed. Don't let them rest for too long though or they won't raise in the oven.
- Place your macarons into the oven for 10 minutes and then rotate the pan and continue baking for another 4-5 minutes. Once the shell stops wiggling when you touch it, they are ready to come out. Pro Tip: You may have to increase or decrease your oven temperature and baking times based on your oven and environment.
- Once your macaron shells are done baking, carefully transfer the mat from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool down.
- Do not attempt to remove your cookies from the parchment paper until they have fully cooled down.
Assembling The Italian Macarons
- Start matching up your macarons by size and line them up in front of you in rows.
- Pipe a spiral of ganache onto one shell about ⅛" away from the outside edge of the shell.
- Place the matching shell on top and press gently until the ganache reaches the edge of the cookie.
- For best results, place the finished macarons onto a baking sheet and put them in the fridge to rest for 24 hours. Rested macarons are much tastier and have a better texture than macarons baked the same day.
How To Store Italian Macarons
Macarons taste even better after they have been refrigerated. The interiors turn wonderfully chewy and the flavors have time to develop. Place your finished macarons into an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to a week. You can freeze your macarons for a long time and just take them out of the freezer whenever you have the desire to enjoy your tasty homemade macarons.
Troubleshooting Italian Macaron Problems
If you are having problems with your macarons, take a look at some of these troubleshooting techniques to see if you can fix the issue. Remember to only try one fix at a time so if it works, you know what you changed. Try not to attempt different flavor combinations until you've mastered a base recipe that works for you. All of these suggestions are based on the assumption that you have measured your ingredients properly using a kitchen scale.
If you are having issues because you have converted to cups then the first step is to use a scale because these tricky cookies are virtually impossible to make without one.
Hollow Macarons - One of the most common issues.
- This can be from egg whites that are not aged, therefore the protein structure is not strong enough to make a proper shell. Age your egg whites for at least 48 hours or be sure to add the meringue powder to strengthen your shells.
- Another cause could be trapped air before baking. Be sure you bang your tray a couple of times to release any trapped bubbles in the macarons before baking.
- The oven temperature could be too hot. Decrease the temperature by 25 degrees the next time you bake.
- Improper mixing. Make sure you are mixing your batter to the correct consistency.
No Feet - One of the main features of a macaron is its delicate feet. If you're missing yours, this might be the issue.
- Undermixing can be the cause of no development of feet. Make sure you are mixing your batter to the proper consistency before piping.
- Oven temperature can cause your shells to dry out before they fully bake. Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven isn't running hot or cold. If the temperature is too low, increase the temperature by 25 degrees the next time you bake.
Cracking - This can happen for a variety of reasons from uneven temperature to improper mixing.
- The egg whites could have been whipped for too long. Try whipping a little less or use aged egg whites.
- Overfolding your macaron batter. Stop folding when you can form a figure 8 with the batter.
- Improper mixing. Make sure you use the "J fold" method and use sifted ingredients.
- The oven temperature is too hot. Make sure you check your oven temperature with a thermometer and rotate your macarons halfway through baking.
- Macaron shells did not develop a skin before baking. Make sure you test your macaron shells with your finger to see if a skin has formed before baking.
Wrinkled or Delicate Shells - Not rested long enough or oven temperature too low.
Hot sugar splatters onto the bowl when mixing - Try to drizzle the hot sugar down the side of the bowl so it does not hit the whisk. Make sure the mixer speed is on speed 4 while adding in the hot syrup.
Rough macaron shells - You may have under-mixed your batter or your almond flour was not fine enough.
Dark spots on my macaron shells - This can be from mixing too vigorously or from under-baking.
Uneven Rise - Lower your oven temperature by 10º or it can be from too strong of a fan. Turn off convection baking.
Domed macaron that has cracked like a volcano - The oven temperature is too hot. Make sure you check your oven temperature with a thermometer and rotate your macarons halfway through baking.
Macaron shells did not develop a skin before baking. Make sure you test your macaron shells with your finger to see if a skin has formed before baking.
Misshaped or oval - Macaron batter was over-mixed or piping was uneven.
- 1 Food processor
- 1 Sifter
- 1 Thermometer
- 3 silicone mats
- 155 grams almond flour
- 155 grams powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 60 grams aged egg whites this is first measurement
- 155 grams sugar
- 40 grams water
- 60 grams aged egg whites for the meringue
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or any kind of extract
- 260 grams heavy whipping cream
- 36 grams corn syrup
- 400 grams semi sweet chocolate
- 20 grams unsalted butter softened
- If you haven't aged your egg whites, you should do it now so they have time to relax and let some of the water evaporate.
- I make my ganache 24 hours in advance to give it time to set up.
- Bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer over medium heat.
- Place your chocolate into a heat proof bowl
- Pour the hot cream over your chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Whisk the chocolate and cream together until it's smooth.
- Add the butter and continue whisking until it's smooth.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap touching the surface of the ganache and let it set up at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Place your almond flour and powdered sugar into the food processor and blend for 30 seconds to combine.
- Sift the mixture to remove any lumps.
- Add in your first measurement of egg white and mix until you get a thick paste. Cover it with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
- Add your second measurement of egg white and cream of tarter to the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment attached.
- Add your sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once the sugar starts boiling, begin whisking your egg whites on medium speed until they reach soft peaks then reduce the speed to low but do not turn them off.
- Once your sugar mixture reaches 236ºF you can add in any coloring you want.
- When the sugar mixture reaches 244ºF immediately stream it into the mixing egg whites on medium speed. Avoid hitting the whisk.
- Continue whipping on medium speed for 5 minutes then increase to medium high until you reach stiff glossy peaks that have a slight bend in them.
- Add in the vanilla extract.
- Add ⅓ of your meringue into the almond paste mixture and mix it in to lighten the paste. You don't have to be careful.
- Add the rest of the meringue and fold it using the "J" folding technique in my video until the batter can make a figure eight and settles into itself after 2 minutes.
- Put the macaron batter into a piping bag with a medium round tip
- Pipe the macaron batter onto the silicon mat on top of the cookie sheet. Hold the piping bag straight up and down, about ½" from the mat, and squeeze the batter until it goes just past the first circle. Stop squeezing then make a quick "c" motion with the tip to detach the batter from the cookie.
- Hold the pan above the counter about 6" and drop it to remove bubbles from the batter. You can also use a pin or toothpick to pop any bubbles you see.
- Allow the shells to form a thin skin for about 15 minutes. Don't let them sit too long or they will not rise.
- Bake your macarons for 15-16 minutes or until the shell doesn't wiggle anymore when you touch it.
- Remove the silicone mat from the pan and let it cool on a wire wrack. Don't remove the shells until they are fully cooled.
How To Assemble The Italian Macarons
- Match your shells up so that they are similar sized and line the tops and bottoms up in a row.
- Pipe the ganache onto the shell about ⅛" away from the edge with a piping bag.
- Press the top shell on and repeat with the rest of the shells.
- After you fill your shells, refrigerate them for 24 hours so they become soft and chewy. You can even freeze them to eat later!