These lemon macarons have bright yellow shells flavored with lemon zest and filled with a silky swiss meringue and tart lemon curd!
These lemon macarons are the most perfect delicate spring cookies! The shells are flavored with the zest of a whole lemon and colored with a touch of yellow food gel. Fill them with a tart lemon curd and a silky swiss meringue for some lemon meringue pie inspired macarons!
- White Vinegar: To ensure that your meringue remains stable, clean and wipe down all appliances with white vinegar.
- Powdered Sugar: You’ll need powdered sugar for the macaron shells.
- Almond Flour: Be sure to use extra fine almond flour to get those super smooth shells!
- Egg Whites: You’ll need about 3 egg whites for the shells. Don’t worry about bringing them to room temperature because you’ll just heat them up over a double boiler to make a swiss meringue! You'll also need two more for the meringue filling and 2 egg yolks for the curd.
- Granulated Sugar: The sugar is going to be added to the egg whites when making the swiss meringue for the shells. It will only take a couple minutes for the sugar to dissolve into the egg whites, so whisk frequently and watch carefully! You’ll also need ⅓ cup of sugar for the curd and ½ cup for the meringue.
- Food Gel: I recommend using food gel over food coloring, since it is much more potent and doesn't add too much liquid. My favorite brand is Americolor.
- Cornstarch: You'll need cornstarch for thickening the lemon curd.
- Butter: You'll need just 1 ½ tablespoon of butter for the lemon curd.
- Lemons: Add the zest of one lemon to the shells, and the juice of about 2 lemons for the curd.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and individual quantities.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are step by step photos and instructions on how to make these coconut cupcakes! For the full ingredient list and method, see the recipe card at the end of this post.
Step 1: Make the swiss meringue and add 4-6 drops of yellow food gel as it whips.
Step 2: Gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients. The batter is ready when you can draw several figure eights without breaking.
Step 3: Pipe the macaron batter, tap the baking sheet on the counter to release air bubbles, and let them rest for about 30 minutes. Then, bake at 300 degrees F for 12 minutes.
Step 4: Make the lemon curd and allow it to cool in the fridge.
Step 5: Make the swiss meringue filling.
Step 6: Assemble the macarons!
6 Essential Macaron Tips
- Wipe down all bowls and appliances with white vinegar. This will ensure that everything is spotlessly clean and nothing will hinder the stability of the meringue.
- Beat the meringue until STIFF peaks form. The best way to test this is to turn the bowl upside down to make sure that the meringue is stable enough and does not move at all.
- SIFT SIFT SIFT! You need to sift the powdered sugar and almond flour twice to get those smooth macaron shells!
- Mix the batter with a silicone spatula by circling around and straight through the middle. Once all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, deflate the macaron batter by spreading it against the sides of the bowl. This will ensure that the shells do not come out hollow.
- Test the consistency of the batter frequently by drawing a figure eight with the silicone spatula. You should be able to draw a figure eight a few times in a row without the batter breaking. This is how you know the batter is ready to be piped onto a baking sheet.
- Allow the macarons to rest long enough before going into the oven. I would recommend 30-40 minutes of rest time before baking. As they rest, a skin forms on the surface, which is what forces the macarons to bake upwards and grow feet!
The swiss meringue method is my preferred method for making macarons, as it is the simplest and most stable meringue, in my opinion. The egg whites and sugar are combined in one bowl and heated over a double boiler with simmering water until it reaches 120 degrees F. Slightly heating the egg whites stablizes the meringue, which will increase your chances of achieving the correct consistency of macaron batter.
The key is to make sure the batter is mixed properly and the meringue is deflated enough. Once all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, deflate the macaron batter by spreading it against the sides of the bowl. This will ensure that the shells do not come out hollow.
Allow the macarons to rest long enough before going into the oven. I would recommend 30-40 minutes of rest time before baking. As they rest, a skin forms on the surface, which is what forces the macarons to bake upwards and grow feet!
Macarons require a low temperature for baking. I recommend baking them at 300 degrees F for about 12 minutes.
Macarons will last for a few days at room temperature and up to a week in the fridge. I prefer to store them in the fridge not only so they will last longer, but also because I find that they taste even better cold. With this lemon curd filling, they should be kept in the fridge.
Baking in grams
All of the recipes on this blog are carefully developed with gram measurements so you can easily recreate them in your own kitchen with success. Volume measurements are extremely inaccurate and leave room for significant errors. Not all measuring cups are made equally, so your one cup of flour will be different from my one cup of flour. By providing precise measurements in grams (aside from minor ingredients, which are given in tsp/tbsp), you can make these recipes accurately and with less cleanup! All you need is this kitchen scale.
If this still isn't enough to convince you, I have provided volume measurements in the recipe card. If you are interested in understanding the conversions, this is the best conversion chart.
But trust me, once you try baking in grams you'll never turn back!
Happy baking! x
Other lemon recipes you'll love
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For the lemon macaron shells:
- 130 g powdered sugar
- 120 g almond flour
- zest of one lemon
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 105 g (about 3) egg whites
- 4-6 drops of yellow food gel
For the lemon curd:
- 66 g (⅓ cup) granulated sugar
- 6 g (2 teaspoon) cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 22 g (1 ½ tablespoon) unsalted butter
- 66 g (⅓ cup) lemon juice
- 2 egg yolks
For the swiss meringue:
- 70 g (about 2) egg whites
- 100 g (½ cup) sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
For the lemon macaron shells:
- Prepare a macaron template by using a large piping tip or small round cookie cutter of about 1 ½" in size to trace circles about 2 inches apart on one sheet of parchment paper. You will place this under another piece of parchment paper when ready to pipe the macaron shells.
- In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar and almond flour twice.
- Whisk lemon zest into the dry ingredients.
- Next, heat the egg whites and granulated sugar over a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved or until the temperature is about 120 degrees F.
- Transfer the egg white mixture to a large bowl or a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk until the meringue reaches soft peaks. At this point, you can add the food gel.
- Continue whisking the meringue until stiff peaks form. The best way to test if it is ready is by turning the bowl upside down. If the meringue does not fall or move at all, then it is ready.
- Start the macaronage by folding in ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Mix carefully with a silicone spatula by scraping aroung the sides of the bowl, then through the middle of the batter. Do this a few times until it is mostly combined.
- Add the remainder of the dry ingredients, folding with the same gentle method. Once the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, begin spreading the batter along the sides of the bowl to deflate it slightly. I find that this mixing method ensures that the shells do not bake up hollow. Continue scraping around the sides of the bowl and through the middle. The mixture is ready when you can draw several figure eights without the batter breaking.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a small round piping tip (I used Ateco 802). Place your macaron template under another piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and pipe perpendicular to fill in each heart. Carefully remove the template and tap the baking sheet on the on counter a few times in order to release any air bubbles. It also helps to bang on the bottom of the baking sheet with your hand.
- Let the macarons rest for about 30-40 minutes, or until they are dry and no batter comes away when you touch them.
- Toward the end of the resting time, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Bake the macarons for about 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet.
For the lemon curd:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt until no lumps remain.
- In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, melt the butter.
- Whisk in the sugar mixture, then the lemon juice and egg yolks until fully combined, about 1 minute.
- Use a rubber spatula to constantly stir the mixture for another 2-3 minutes or until large bubbles form in the center. Immediately remove from heat.
- Strain the lemon curd into a bowl. Press plastic wrap up against the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
For the swiss meringue:
- In a double boiler, heat the egg whites, sugar, and salt, whisking frequently until it reaches 160 degrees F or until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites do not feel grainy.
- Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until soft peaks form, then add the vanilla.
- Continue mixing until stiff peaks form.
- Assemble the macarons immediately.
- Transfer the meringue and the curd to piping bags with small round tips.
- Pair the macaron shells up and pipe the meringue onto the bottom shell around the edges, then the curd in the middle. Place the paired shell on top, pressing down slightly to ensure they stick together.
- The flavor of macaron shells develop more by the second day, so I recommend making them the day before and chilling them overnight, then assemble the next day.
- If you have trouble peeling the macarons off of the parchment once they have cooled, pop them into the freezer for a few minutes and they should come off easily.