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Basic Macarons Recipe – Italian Meringue Method

Macarons come in a ton of different flavors, but all macaron shells are made using two basic methods: Italian Meringue method or French Meringue method. Today you’ll learn all about the Basic Macarons using the Italian Meringue method and what makes the two methods differ from each other.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Let’s start at the beginning…

What is a macaron?

Macarons are small, gluten-free confections made of sandwiching two almond meringue cookies with some filling in between.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

What do macarons taste like?

The macarons will take on the flavor of whatever filling they’re sandwiched with. The macaron shells themselves have a very mild flavor of sweetened almond. When they are filled and have had a chance to mature (aka sit in the fridge with a filling for 24 hours), the inside of the shell becomes soft and very smooth on the tongue, all while the outside of the shell retains some of its crispness.


So what is the difference between Italian Macaron vs French Macaron? 

  • Flavor-wise the difference is not big but noticeable if you have tasted enough of each kind. The French Method of making macarons will produce a rougher “crumb” of the inside of the macaron. The Italian method, however, tends to produce a finer crumb that is more gentle and smooth on the tongue. Most all commercially produced macarons are made using the Italian Method.
  • Appearance-wise French vs Italian has a noticeable difference. The Italian method tends to produce smoother outside of the shell and very often, the outside shell seems to be a bit thicker and not as fragile as some macarons made using the French method.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

French vs Italian, what is the difference in Making Them? 

All macarons are made by making a meringue first, then adding a mixture of almond flour and powdered sugar into it. The difference between the French and Italian method mainly lies in how you make the meringue itself.

  • The French Method will have you whip the raw egg whites and powdered sugar together and then combine it with the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture. This method makes the meringue less stable and easier to overmix and thus ruin the macarons.
  • The Italian Method will have you make the meringue by cooking a sugar syrup and then adding it to the egg whites while whipping them continuously. Making the meringue using the Italian method creates a very stiff meringue, very stable and able to withstand a lot more mixing without deflating it prematurely. All in all, the results are more reliable when making the macarons using this method.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

How to make different Flavors of Macarons? 

While all macaron shells are typically made of the same Basic Macarons’ ingredients (almond flour, powdered and granulated sugar) what gives them a different flavor is the filling or the topping. This means that having one good recipe for Basic Macarons will give you limitless possibilities for creating different flavors.

The flavor can be amplifiied by replacing some (50% or less) of the almond flour with the same flavored nut flour as the filing. For example, for a Rafaello flavored macaron, you can use coconut flavoring in the filling and replace 50% of the almond amount in the shell with finely ground coconut. Or, for a hazelnut flavored macaron you would use Nutella for the filling, then replace 50% of the almond flour in the macaron cookie with hazelnut flour.

Flavor Balance

Since the macarons on their own are relatively sweet, the filling needs to have the right balance of sweetness or you will end up with tiny sugar bombs that will make your teeth ache. The best way to get a perfect balance is to dial back on the sugar in the filling.  I will share a couple of choices in the upcoming couple weeks that you can pair up with these Basic Macarons.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Substitute for Almond flour in Macarons

Sometimes the macaron shell flavor can be enhanced by substituting 50% of the almond flour with a different type of flour, like hazelnut, pistachio or even desiccated coconut. That ratio is pretty important to keep if you want a successful batch. Also keep in mind that the the oil content of the nuts you’re adding is also important. Walnuts, for example, have a high oil content so they would not be a good choice for macarons.

But, if that flavor is not echoed in the filling or the topping, most of the time that change in the nut flour within the shell will not be enough to change the overall flavor profile of the whole macaron.

Can you make your own almond flour?

The short answer is – yes you can.

You can use a food processor and run the almonds together with the powdered sugar called for in the recipe until the almonds are flour-like. Make sure to stop several times throughout and scrape down the sides and bottom. Also, do not overprocess or you will get almond butter.

You can use a nut mill or grinder that has a fine attachment for grinding nuts into flour. Using THIS  tiny mill you will be able to get the same texture that you get when buying pre-made almond flour. Although it does take awhile to grind since the mill is not very big.

Proper Macaron structure with no hollows.

Proper Macaron structure with no hollows.


Troubleshooting Macarons 101

Why is my macaron hollow? 

Often the macarons have a mind of their own that is next to impossible to read. There could be different reasons for why the macarons are hollow, but one of the easiest or simplest ways to eliminate hollow macarons is to bake them through properly.

Just like the meringue will have a hollow inside if they’re removed from the oven too quickly (the unbaked part of the meringue just collapses once taken out of the oven), so will the macarons.

The difference could be just 1 minute, so you really need to know your oven and your macaron recipe. It is better to overbake your macarons, which will give you a crispy throughout the macaron shell. But once paired with the filling and allowed to mature, the macarons will go back to being soft and moist on the inside.

You can even quickly dip or brush the bottom of each macaron shell into some simple syrup (1:1 ratio of water to sugar), milk or even condensed milk (not sweetened condensed milk) before piping the filling to help with the maturation. In the end, no one will know that the macarons were overbaked.

White Chocolate Raspberry Macarons

What happens when the macarons are underbaked? 

When the macarons are baking they rise up slightly and then they need time to cook through and “solidify” the inside. If the macarons are removed too quickly, the shells will rise up, but since they were not given a chance to solidify the inside by being cooked through, they collapse under its own weight. This gives you the top, and bottom with a large gap between the two.

Can hollow macarons be saved? 

There’s no way to magically fix a hollow macaron, but there is something you can do to give the illusion of no hollow. When the macarons are just out of the oven, if you see that they have a hollow inside, you can gently press on the bottom of the macaron with your thumb creating a small dent.

When filled with the filling, this will help to not have the huge space between the bottom and top of the shelf, thus giving the illusion of no hollow.

Raspberry Macarons - Italian Meringue method of making Macarons, filled with luscious raspberry buttercream | Let the Baking Begin!

Common Questions

How long do macarons last?

After being made, the macarons need about 24 hours to mature before being ready for consumption. At about 24 hours is when they taste the best. The filling has had a chance to mingle with the shell and come together, delivering the best flavor.  After that, the macarons need to be eaten or properly stored otherwise their flavor profile will decline.

Can you freeze Macarons?

Yes. To freeze macarons, the macarons need to be kept in an airtight container. Better yet, it is good to wrap each macaron in several layers of plastic wrap before putting them into an airtight container. The freezer burn is all too quick to jump on and ruin macarons, so do not freeze the macarons for more than about 3 – 4 weeks. The secret to keeping macarons fresh is to eat them within couple days or to freeze them right away.

White Chocolate Raspberry Macarons

Resting Macarons 

Resting macarons is the process of leaving the macarons out until you’re able to tap the top with your finger and the finger stays clean.

Some people will swear that resting macarons is what gives you a no hollow macaron. I have tested this theory and in this recipe, no resting is required. Since this recipe is created by a famous pastry chef who sells macarons (among other things) for a living, I not only trust my own experience but his too.

Nevertheless, if you have attempted to rest the macarons from this recipe and you get better results that way, by all means, rest the macarons! At the end of the day, you’re the boss!

Before we get to this recipe,

I wanted to mention that I have tested out many recipes using the Italian Meringue Method and this one seems to be the most straightforward, without too much fuss and with great results every single time, at least for me.

Read the instructions carefully, prepare everything ahead (measure and weigh) then get baking 😀

If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again! Good luck and if you’ve made it at least this far, make sure to treat yourself with least one macaron!

If you still have any questions that were unanswered in this post, go ahead and post them below and I will do my best to answer.

 

Basic Macarons – Italian Meringue Method

Source: Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
Yields:
60 – 70 halves or 30-35 pairs

Ingredients for the Basic Macarons – Italian Meringue Method

Sift together twice:

Heat 172 g of egg whites together, then separate into the following:

  • 82 grams (1/4 cups + 1 1/2 Tbsp) – egg whites, room temperature (add this to the sifted almonds and powdered sugar)
  • 90 g (1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp) – egg whites, room temperature (add this to a mixer bowl)

Combine together and cook until 248F

FILLING – 1 cup according to book (2 cups according to my preference)

How to make Basic Macarons – Italian Meringue Method

Prep: Line two 15in x 21 in baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F with the baking rack in the middle. Gather all of your ingredients and weigh them. Collect all the equipment needed.

Sift the ingredients:

Combine 212 grams almond flour and 212 grams of powdered sugar and sift it twice into a large bowl.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Measure the egg whites for Basic Macarons (Italian Meringue Method):
Separate eggs and reserve 172 grams of egg whites. Place them in the microwave for about 40 seconds and heat in 5-7 second intervals, mixing in between each interval.

Now take away about 90 grams of egg whites to a clean, grease-free bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the remaining egg whites (82 g) to the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture that was sifted earlier.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Mix 82 g egg whites and almond mixture:
In a large bowl stir together the almond flour mixture and the 82 g of egg whites into a thick paste.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Make the syrup for Italian Meringue:
In a small saucepan combine 236 grams of granulated sugar and 158 grams of water. Heat over medium heat. Stir the sugar until it dissolves, being careful not to splash over the sides of the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking without stirring until about 235F-240F.

 If there is sugar splatter on the sides of the pot, wash it down with a wet brush to prevent the formation of large sugar crystals. If the syrup crystallizes, discard the syrup and start over.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

When it does, whip the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of sugar just until foamy being careful not to overwhip. Stop the mixer once the egg whites are whipped to the proper consistency, or run it on the lowest speed.

If the egg whites do not look smooth and look lumpy or “curdled” instead, discard and prepare a fresh set of egg whites for this step (about 90 grams), remembering to heat the egg whites. 

Once the syrup reaches 248F, remove from heat and with the mixer running at the highest speed slowly pour the syrup between the bowl and the whisk.
Continue whipping for about 8-10 minutes and until the bowl is cool to the touch. If you plan to color the shells, right now is a good time to add the gel coloring since it will have plenty of time to incorporate into the meringue.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

The meringue will be stiff, but a whisk dipped into the meringue and lifted will have a peak that slightly bends.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Combine the Meringue with Almond Mixture into Macaron Batter:

  • Next, add the whipped meringue into the almond paste in three additions and keep folding until the mixture falls off the whisk like lava, forming a thick ribbon that you can draw a number 8 with.
  • The mixture shouldn’t be so stiff that it holds its shape without disappearing, but it shouldn’t be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon. It is better for the mixture to be slightly stiff than too loose.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Pipe Basic Macarons (Italian Meringue Method):

Now, fill the prepared piping bag fitted with the 5/8th inch round plain tip (Ateco 808) with the macaron batter. You can drape the empty bag over a tall glass to make it easier to fill the pastry bag.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Pipe the macarons onto the prepared parchment lined baking sheet by pressing out 1.5-inch circles about 1 inch apart.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Rap the sheet against the counter 5-10 times to remove any large bubbles. If you use a softer surface to avoid the loud noise that comes with rapping the sheet on the counter, increase the number of raps.  Next, use a pin or something sharp to pop any remaining bubbles that have risen to the surface of the macarons, but haven’t popped.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Place the baking sheets into a preheated to 350F degrees oven and immediately reduce the heat to 325F. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing macarons off the parchment paper.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Bake rest of the macarons in the same fashion, preheating the oven to 350F before each new baking sheets is placed in the oven.

To fill, use either a ziplock bag or a piping bag fitted with a 5/8th inch plain round piping tip (Ateco 808)  then filled with cream.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Filled macarons should be allowed to mature by refrigerating them for 24 hours before serving.

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Check out these other MACARON recipes:

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method

Italian Meringue Macaron Shells
4.76 from 45 votes

Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method - learn all the secrets to perfect macarons in step by step photo tutorial.

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French, Indian
Keyword: basic macaron
Calories: 100 kcal
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 60 macarons

Ingredients

Basic Macaron - Italian Meringue Method

Sift together twice

Heat 172g of egg whites in the microwave in small increments until slightly warm to the touch, then divide

  • 82 g egg whites, room temperature 82 g = 1/4 cups + 1 1/2 Tbsp (this will be folded into the almond mixture and form a paste)
  • 90 g egg whites, room temperature 90 g = 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp (this will be whipped with the Syrup)

Ingredients for the Syrup (Cook together until 248F)

FILLING - 1 cup according to book (2 cups according to my preference)

Instructions

How to make Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method

Make the Macaron Batter

  1. Prep: 

    Line two 15in x 21in baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Preheat oven to 350F with the baking rack in the middle. Gather all of your ingredients and equipment.

  2. Sift the ingredients:

    Combine 212 grams almond flour and 212 grams of powdered sugar and sift it twice into a large bowl.

  3. Measure the egg whites:

    Separate eggs and reserve 172 g of egg whites. Place them in the microwave for about 40 seconds and heat in 5-7 second intervals, mixing in between each interval.

    Now take away about 90 grams of egg whites to a clean, grease-free bowl of a stand mixer.

    Add the remaining egg whites (82 g) to the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture that was sifted earlier and mix together into a thick paste.

  4. Make the syrup for Italian Meringue:

    In a small saucepan combine 236 grams of sugar and 158 grams of water. Place over medium heat. Stir the sugar until it dissolves, being careful not to splash over the sides of the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until about 235F-240F.

  5. When it does, whip the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of sugar just until foamy, being careful not to overwhip. Stop the mixer once the egg whites are whipped to the proper consistency, or run it on the lowest speed.

  6. Once the syrup reaches 248F, remove from heat and white the mixer running at the highest speed slowly pour the syrup between the bowl and the whisk.

    Continue whipping for about 8-10 minutes and until the bowl is cool to the touch. This is when you would add gel coloring if the macarons are to be colored.

    The meringue will be stiff, but a whisk dipped into the meringue and lifted will have a peak that slightly bends.

Fold the Meringue and Almond Mixture into Macaron Batter

  1. Next, fold the whipped meringue into the almond mixture, in 3 additions. Continue folding until the mixture falls off the whisk like lava, forming a thick ribbon, that you can draw a number 8 with. 

    The mixture shouldn't be so stiff that it holds its shape, but it shouldn't be so loose that it dissolves into itself and does not maintain the ribbon. It is better to for the mixture to be slightly stiff than too loose.

Pipe the Basic Macarons

  1. Fill the prepared piping bag fitted with the 5/8th inch round plain tip (Ateco 808) with the macaron batter. You can drape the empty bag over a tall glass to make it easier to fill the pastry bag.

  2. Pipe the macarons onto the prepared parchment lined baking sheet by pressing out 1.5-inch circles about 1 inch apart.

  3. Rap the sheet against the counter 5-10 times to remove any large bubbles. If you use a softer surface to avoid the loud noise that comes with rapping the sheet on the counter, increase the number of raps.  

    Next, use a pin or something sharp to pop any remaining bubbles that have risen to the surface of the macarons, but haven't popped.

Bake the Basic Macarons

  1. Place into a preheated to 350F oven and reduce the heat to 325F right away. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing off the parchment paper.

    Bake rest of the macarons in the same fashion, preheating the oven to 350F each time a new baking sheet is placed in the oven.

Recipe Notes

 If there are sugar splatter on the sides of the pot when making syrup, wash it down with a wet brush to prevent formation of large sugar crystals. If the syrup crystalizes, discard the syrup and start over.

If the egg whites do not look smooth and look lumpy or "curdled" instead when whipping them, discard and prepare fresh set of egg whites for this step (about 90 grams), remembering to heat the egg whites. 

To fill macarons, use either a ziplock bag, or a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round piping tip (Ateco 808)  then filled with cream.

Filled macarons should be allowed to mature by refrigerating them for 24 hours before serving.

 

Nutrition Facts
Basic Macarons - Italian Meringue Method
Amount Per Serving
Calories 100 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Sodium 10mg0%
Potassium 9mg0%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 2g4%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • […] by making your go-to recipe for macarons. Use any recipe that works well for you. You’ll want to have a few batches of macarons behind […]

    · Reply
  • Leilani

    Hi…just wanted to know…how do I add color to this recipe. Especially if I want a vibrant color.
    Thanks

    · Reply
  • Olya

    I made this recipe and it turned out great the first time after I let them rest, now it’s turning out lopsided, I decreased oven temperature and it helped, some good once, but most are still lopsided, I have tried it 4 times, help.

    · Reply
    • Hi Olya,
      Lopsided macarons tend to happen more if you use a parchment paper, if your oven has hot spots, if you use the fan in the oven, or if you pipe by squeezing the batter from the side instead of the top. Do any of these reasons sound like something that could be the reason? With as finicky as the macarons are, it’s hard to know for sure what it could be.

      · Reply

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