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French Almond Macarons


These cookies have a crisp exterior and a slightly chewy center. Make all three versions for a festive dessert buffet.

  • Yield: Makes about 30

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2005


  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) sliced almonds, finely ground, or almond flour
  • All-purpose flour, for dipping
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream for French Almond Macarons


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sift confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Whisk in almonds; set aside. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats (such as Silpats), and mark circles using a 1 1/2-inch cutter dipped in flour.

  2. Put egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until foamy, then beat in salt. Beat in granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until medium-soft peaks form. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

  3. Using a rubber spatula, fold half the almond mixture into the egg white mixture until just incorporated. Fold in vanilla and remaining almond mixture until just incorporated. Firmly tap bottom of bowl on counter to eliminate air pockets.

  4. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806). Pipe mixture into marked circles on prepared baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until macarons are slightly firm and can be gently lifted off parchment (bottoms will be dry), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer macarons on parchment to a wire rack; let cool completely.

  5. Spread 2 teaspoons buttercream on flat sides of half the macarons, then sandwich with remaining halves, keeping flat sides together. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes, before serving.


Strawberry Macaroons Variation -- Follow instructions for French almond macaroons, adding 4 drops red food coloring to the egg whites just before you add the sugar-almond mixture. Proceed with the recipe. For the filling, use only 1 teaspoon vanilla, and fold 1/3 cup strained strawberry preserves into the Swiss meringue buttercream after you mix in the butter. Chocolate Macaroons Variation -- Follow instructions for French almond macaroons, sifting 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder with the confectioners' sugar. Proceed with recipe. Instead of the Swiss meringue buttercream, make a ganache filling: Place 5 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate in a small bowl. Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream just to a simmer in a small sauce-pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, and stir until chocolate has melted. Let ganache stand until thick enough to spread. Use to fill cookies.

Cook's Notes

Macarons can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to two days.

Reviews Add a comment

  • RaleighCakePops
    3 AUG, 2013
    My new go-to recipe for French macarons! Actually the simplest macaron recipe I've found. And! I colored them pink ;)
  • jimmyfox
    14 JUN, 2013
    I am not going to even try this recipe. I love most of Martha's recipes. But looking at this recipe, is a no go for me. I am surprised at this one, as she is so detailed oriented. I got my baking diploma at Cordon Bleu, but wanted to see an American version so I checked on line. Most were like the ones I have. All have you REST after you pipe for at least 15 minutes. And once you pipe you should tap your sheet pans to eliminate your air bubbles. Not tap when batter is in bowl. Sorry Martha
  • Nining
    15 SEP, 2012
    I wanted to come up with something exciting and elegant for my daughter's baby shower - and I've always been curious about the macaron's but didn't have the courage. Martha's recipe is not only easy, it is tasty! They were so good I decided to try the Swiss Merengue and OMGoodness - perfection! My son (the pickiest child of all time) can't get enough! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
  • Kittenploof
    6 AUG, 2012
    I'm not very fond of this recipe. I've attempted it twice now and the macaroons have been nothing of the consistency that they should be. To be fair I've always had a bit of a problem with baking and I do not have an electric mixer. This is not an easy recipe.
  • vail08
    29 APR, 2012
    These are amazing! When do you add food coloring to make them colored??
  • jlyn77
    23 AUG, 2011
    @juliabobulia92, do you even know what slander means? I guess this recipe "spoke" to you...LOL! Baking and cooking take technique and a multitude of trial and error, this one may be on the difficult side (in order to get it right the first time around).
  • juliabobulia92
    29 JUL, 2011
    This recipe is full of LIES and SLANDER. Not only did it only make about ten macaroons, they were enormous based on the instructions provided, and they were not fluffy and delicious. LIES. Do not attempt.
  • plbearden
    14 APR, 2011
    prettypatty: hitomi22 IS correct!
  • prettypatty
    14 APR, 2011
    To hitomi22: I do believe the correct wording should be: whomever, not whoever. Since this a correction of the recipe, shouldn't the grammar be correct, too?
  • MikeSee
    1 DEC, 2010
    I made these with hazelnut flour because I couldn't find almond flour and they were AMAZING.