These easy vanilla macarons with a creamy vanilla bean buttercream are the perfect delicate cookie for any special occasion.
Follow my 6 essential macaron rules, and these vanilla macarons will turn out perfect every single time! This base recipe is used for all of my macaron recipes, so once you nail this one you can let your imagination run wild and create allll the macs. Vanilla is such a classic macaron flavor, which makes this best recipe to use to practice that macaronage technique! Oh and you'll know you've nailed them when they bake up with perfect feet, crack on top when you bite into them, and have that soft, chewy interior. Sandwich with them with a creamy vanilla bean buttercream and enjoy 🙂
- 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 both the macaron shells and the vanilla bean buttercream.
- 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!
- 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!
- Vanilla Paste: Add a touch of vanilla paste to both the shells and the buttercream for a pronounced vanilla flavor as well as those pretty vanilla bean specks!
- Unsalted Butter: For the buttercream, be sure your butter is room temp (not too cold, but not too warm!) in order to properly cream together with the powdered sugar.
My 6 essential macaron rules
- 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.
Other macaron recipes you'll love
How to accurately measure ingredients for baking
All of the recipes on this blog are carefully developed to create incredibly delicious baked goods that you can easily recreate in your own kitchen with success. The only way this is possible is to standardize the way ingredients are measured - by weight. 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), I can ensure that you can make the recipe 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
For the vanilla macaron shells:
- 130 g powdered sugar
- 120 g almond flour
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 105 g egg whites, about 3
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
For the vanilla bean buttercream:
- 227 g 2 sticks; 1 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
- 400-500 g 3 ½ - 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
For the vanilla 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.
- 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 vanilla paste.
- Continue whisking the meringue until stiff peaks form. A good 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.
- Once the meringue is ready, start by folding in ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Mix carefully with a rubber spatula by scraping the sides of bowl, then through the middle of the mixture. 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 gently spreading the mixture on 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 breaking.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a small round pipping tip (I used Ateco 802). With the macaron template placed under the parchment paper on the baking sheet, pipe at a perpendicular angle to fill in the circles. Carefully remove the template and tap the baking sheet on the 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 mintues, 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 vanilla bean buttercream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
- Slowly add in the powdered sugar while mixing on low speed. Taste test after 400g (3 ½ cups) and add more until it reaches the desired sweetness.
- Add in the salt and vanilla paste and continue beating on low speed for several minutes until the buttercream is smooth.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small piping tip (I used Wilton 1M).
- Pair the macaron shells up and pipe the buttercream onto the bottom shell, then 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.
Recipe was good overall. The meringue took a little corn starch to fully develop and some tops were cracked ,but I am not a great baker so maybe it was just me. But tasted authentic and was delicious.
Can I ask why you added cornstarch to the meringue? If you were hoping to help stabilize it, then you would need to add cream of tartar, not cornstarch. However, if the eggs were separated correctly, all appliances were wiped with white vinegar, and you followed the Swiss meringue method, there should be no reason to add cream of tartar.
As for cracked shells, this usually occurs because the oven is too hot. If you do not already have one, I highly recommend getting an internal oven thermometer!
Hope you get the chance to try them again 🙂
Thank you for the tips! I’ll keep it in mind next time!
I’ve always been so afraid to make macarons, but your tips made it surprising easy! Thank you!!
Had my first go at making macarons yesterday and they actually turned out so well! Thanks for all the tips and great recipe!!