A macaron (/ˌmækəˈrɒn/ MAK-ə-RON,[1][2] French: [makaʁɔ̃] (listen)) or French macaroon (/ˌmækəˈrn/ MAK-ə-ROON) is a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond meal, and food colouring.

Parisian-style macarons (vanilla flavour)
Alternative namesFrench macaroon
Place of originFrance
Created byPierre Desfontaines or Claude Gerbet.
Main ingredientsCookie: egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder, food colouring
Filling: buttercream or clotted cream, ganache, or jam
Traditional macarons de Nancy.

The macaron has been introduced in France by the Italian chef of queen Catherine de Medici during the Renaissance. Since the 19th century, a typical Parisian-style macaron is presented with a ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two such cookies, akin to a sandwich cookie. The confection is characterized by a smooth squared top, a ruffled circumference—referred to as the "crown" or "foot" (or "pied")—and a flat base. It is mildly moist and easily melts in the mouth. Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavours that range from traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to unusual (foie gras, matcha).[3]


There is some variation in whether the term macaron or macaroon is used, and the related coconut macaroon is often confused with the macaron. In North America, most bakers have adopted the French spelling of macaron for the meringue-based treat to distinguish the two. Stanford professor of linguistics Daniel Jurafsky describes how the two confections have a shared history with macaroni (Italian maccheroni, from Greek μακαρία). Jurafsky notes that French words ending with "-on" that were borrowed into English in the 16th and 17th centuries are usually spelled with "-oon" (for example: balloon, cartoon, platoon).[4] In the UK, many bakeries continue to use the term "macaroon".[5][6]


According to Dan Jurafsky in Slate magazine, Arab troops from Ifrīqiya (now Tunisia) brought new techniques (papermaking) and foods like lemons, rice and pistachios with them during their occupation of Sicily in 827. These included many nut-based sweets such as Fālūdhaj and Lausinaj - baked goods with sweet almond cream inside. These sweet pastries were handed down by the Sassanid Shahs in Persia, where the almond cake was made to celebrate the Zoroastrian New Year (Nouruz). In Sicily (and in Toledo, Spain, another contact point between Muslim and Christian culture) fālūdhaj and lausinaj developed into various desserts, like the almond-paste tarts called marzapane and caliscioni. In 1154 Muhammad al-Idrisi reported the production of noodles, which was also carried out in Sicily for the first time. Under the collective term Maccarruni, the Arabs referred to ground grain products as noodles and pastries. The Italians borrowed maccheroni from Maccarruni, from which today's macarons are derived.[7]

The culinary encyclopedia Larousse Gastronomique (1988) traces the origin of the macarons back to a French monastery in Cormery in the 8th century (791). At the same time, the encyclopedia entry spreads the pious legend that the shape of the pastry with a cracked crust was abandoned from the navel of a monk.[8]

A Swiss online encyclopedia on the history of baking says that the almond biscuits were brought from Andalusia (present-day Spain) to Marrakesh (present-day Morocco) in the early 11th century by the sultan and first king of the Almoravid dynasty Yusuf ibn Tashfin, and that it was served mainly during Ramadan.[9]

Picture from Dictionnaire encyclopédique de l'épicerie et des industries annexes, by Albert Seigneurie, edited by L'Épicier in 1904, page 431.

During the Renaissance, French queen Catherine de' Medici's Italian pastry chefs made them when she brought them with her to France in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.[10][11] In the 1790s, macarons began to gain fame when two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold the macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing. These nuns became known as the "Macaron Sisters". In these early stages, macarons were served without special flavours or fillings.[12][10]

It was not until the 1930s that macarons began to be served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling, was originally called the "Gerbet" or the "Paris macaron." Pierre Desfontaines, of the French pâtisserie Ladurée, has sometimes been credited with its creation in the early part of the 20th century, but another baker, Claude Gerbet, also claims to have invented it.[4][13] French macaron bakeries became trendy in North America in the 2010s.[14]

Earliest recipe

Many Italian cookbooks of the 16th-century mention almond biscuits closely resembling macarons, albeit under different names. The earliest known recipe dates back to the early 17th century and appears to be inspired by a French version of the recipe.

To make French Macaroones
Wash a pound of the newest and the best Jordane Almonds in three or foure waters, to take away the rednesse from their out-side, lay them in a Bason of warme water all night, the next day blanch them, and dry them with a faire cloath, beat them in a stone morter, until they be reasonably fine, put to them halfe a pound of fine beaten Sugar, and so beat it to a perfect Paste, then put in halfe a dozen spoonefuls of good Damaske Rose-water, three graines of Ambergreece, when you have beaten all this together, dry it on a chafingdish of coales until it grow white and stiffe, then take it off the fire, and put the whites of two new laid Egs first beaten into froath, and so stirre it well together, then lay them on wafers in fashion of little long rowles, and so bake them in an Oven as hot as for Manchet, but you must first let the heat of the Oven passe over before you put them in, when they rise white and light, take them out of the Oven, and put them in a warm platter, and set them againe into the warme Oven & so let them remain foure or five houres, and then they wil be thoroughly dry, but if you like them better being moist, then dry them not after the first baking.

John Murrell, A Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen (1617).[15]


Macaron preparation

There are two main methods for making a macaron – the "French" method and the "Italian" method. The difference between the two is the way the meringue is made.

In the French method, egg whites are whisked until stiff-peaked meringue forms. From there, sifted, ground almonds and powdered sugar are folded in slowly until the desired consistency is reached. This process of knocking out air and folding is called macaronage.[16]

The Italian method involves whisking the egg whites with a hot sugar syrup to form a meringue. Sifted almonds and icing sugar are also mixed with raw egg whites to form a paste. The meringue and almond paste are mixed together to form the macaron mixture. This method is often deemed more structurally sound yet also sweeter and also requires a candy thermometer for the sugar syrup.

The vegan variation involves the use of aquafaba in place of egg white, and the butter is substituted as well. All other ingredients are essentially the same.

Either Italian or French meringue can be combined with ground almonds.[17]

A macaron is made by combining icing sugar and ground almonds into a fine mixture.[18] In a separate bowl, egg whites are beaten to a meringue-like consistency.[19] The two elements are then folded together until they are the consistency of "shaving foam", and then are piped, left to form a skin, and baked.[20] Sometimes, a filling is added.


Macarons in a variety of colours
Macarons in a Pierre Marcolini shop window
Macarons(caramel and salt) on sale at Two International Finance Centre (IFC), Hong Kong


Several French cities and regions claim long histories and variations, notably Lorraine (Nancy and Boulay), Basque Country (Saint-Jean-de-Luz), Saint-Émilion, Amiens, Montmorillon, Le Dorat, Sault, Chartres, Cormery, Joyeuse and Sainte-Croix in Burgundy.

Macarons d'Amiens, made in Amiens, are small, round-shaped biscuit-type macarons made from almond paste, fruit and honey, which were first recorded in 1855.[21]

The city of Montmorillon is well known for its macarons and has a museum dedicated to them. The Maison Rannou-Métivier is the oldest macaron bakery in Montmorillon, dating back to 1920. The traditional recipe for Montmorillon macarons has remained unchanged for over 150 years.[22]

The town of Nancy in the Lorraine region has a storied history with the macaron. It is said that the abbess of Remiremont founded an order of nuns called the "Dames du Saint-Sacrement" with strict dietary rules prohibiting the consumption of meat. Two nuns, Sisters Marguerite, and Marie-Elisabeth are credited with creating the Nancy macaron to fit their dietary requirements. They became known as the 'Macaron Sisters' (Les Soeurs Macarons). In 1952, the city of Nancy honoured them by giving their name to the Rue de la Hache, where the macaron was invented.[23][10]


Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu has its own variety of macaroon made with cashews instead of almonds, adapted from macarons introduced in colonial times.[24]


Macarons in Japan are a popular confection known as マカロン (makaron).[25] There is also another widely available version of makaron which substitutes peanut flour for almond and a wagashi-style flavouring. The makaron is featured in Japanese fashion through cell phone accessories, stickers, and cosmetics aimed towards women.[26]


In Switzerland, Luxemburgerli (also Luxembourger) are a brand name of macaron[27][28] made by Confiserie Sprüngli in Zürich. A Luxemburgerli comprises two disks of almond meringue[29] with a buttercream filling[30] in of many available flavors.[31] Luxemburgerli are smaller and lighter than macarons from many other vendors.

United States

Pastry chefs in the US have edited the classic cookie to include more traditional American flavours. Flavours of macarons available in the US have been known to include mint chocolate chip, peanut butter and jelly, Snickers, peach champagne, pistachio, strawberry cheesecake, candy corn, salted pretzel, chocolate peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, candy cane, cinnamon, maple bacon, pumpkin, and salted caramel popcorn.[32]

South Korea

In addition to macarons, fat-carons (뚱까롱, thick macarons), also called ttungcarons, were invented and became popular in South Korea. The bakers intentionally overfill the macaron filings and later decorate them as well. The appearance can resemble more to that of a small ice cream sandwich.[33]


In Paris, the Ladurée chain of pastry shops has been known for its macarons for about 150 years.[34][35]

In Portugal, Spain, Australia, France, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand and the Netherlands, McDonald's sells macarons in their McCafés (sometimes using advertising that likens the shape of a macaron to that of a hamburger).[34] McCafé macarons are produced by Château Blanc, which, like Ladurée, is a subsidiary of Groupe Holder, though they do not use the same macaron recipe.[34]

Outside of Europe, the French-style macaron can be found in Canada[36] and the United States.[37][38][39]

In Australia, Adriano Zumbo and his TV series MasterChef have contributed to the macaron becoming a popular sweet treat, and it is now sold by McDonald's in its Australian McCafe outlets.[40]

See also


  1. "Definition of macaron in English". Oxford Dictionaries. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. "Definition of macaron". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  3. "Macaron". Dessert Eater. Archived from the original on 11 August 2013.
  4. Jurafsky (2011b).
  5. "Macaron vs Macaroon - What's in a name anyway?". Anges de Sucre. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  6. "Macaroon or Macaron?". Miss Macaroon. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  7. Dan Jurafsky (16 November 2011). "Macarons, Macaroons, Macaroni. The curious history". Slate. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  8. Dena Kleiman (20 March 1991). "The 5th Question At the Seder: Have a Macaroon?". New York Times. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  9. "Pièces sèches: Macarons". Lexique de Boulangerie-Pâ Archived from the original on 17 September 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  10. Tucker, Hugh (17 May 2022). "The true origin of French macarons". BBC Travel. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  11. "History of Macarons". Mad Mac LLC. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  12. Robyn Lee. "Introduction to French Macarons". Serious Eats.
  13. Elena Ferretti (30 November 2009). "Macarons, the Daddy Mac of Cookies". Fox News.
  14. Mary Chao (11 June 2014). "The French Macaron Trend". Democrat & Chronicle.
  15. John Murrell (1617). A Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen (PDF).
  16. "French pâtisserie technique: Macaronage". Le Cordon Bleu.
  17. "How to cook perfect chocolate macarons". The Guardian. 16 May 2012.
  18. "Macaron troubleshooting tips". Better with Butter. 22 June 2012.
  19. "Macaroons". BBC.
  20. "Macaron Myth Buster: French or Italian?". The World of Anges. 22 February 2015.
  21. Nick Rider (1 May 2005). Short Breaks Northern France. New Holland Publishers. p. 135. ISBN 9781860111839.
  22. Cécile Teurlay (July–August 2003). "Montmorillon — Le musée du Macaron et de l'Amande" [Montmorillon — The Macaron and Almond Museum]. Musée de l'Amande et du Macaron (in French).
  23. "Maison des Soeurs Macarons > Notre Histoire ..." (in French).
  24. Olympia Shilpa Gerald (8 December 2012). "In search of Thoothukudi macaroon". The Hindu. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  25. Jean-Philippe Darcy (9 July 2010). "夏の新作マカロン" [Summer New Macaroons] (in Japanese). Fukui News. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  26. Anderson, Sarah (15 August 2015). "Destination JS: Macaron Edition". Japan Society. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  27. Hubbeling, Christina (10 October 2009). "Wer macht die besten Macarons?" [Who makes the best macarons?]. Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  28. Böhler, Guido (20 March 2010). "Macarons: wer macht die besten und schönsten?" [Macarons: who makes the best and most attractive?]. (in German). Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  29. Malgieri, Nick (21 July 1994). "Baking: How to Make a Macaroon". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  30. Kummer, Corby (30 March 2011). "Smackaroon! The Switzerland vs. France Cookie Smackdown". The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  31. "Luxemburgerli Flavours".
  32. Thomson, Julie R. (9 October 2012). "Americanized Macaron Recipes: French Cookies With American Flavors (PHOTOS)". HuffPost. Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  33. "[맛있는 이야기] 마카롱 얼마나 아세요? 마카롱의 역사". 문화뉴스 (in Korean). 24 March 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  34. Jargon, Julie (2 March 2010). "Mon Dieu! Will Newfound Popularity Spoil the Dainty Macaron?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  35. Reed, M. H. (29 January 2009). "Macaroon Delight". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  36. Chesterman, Lesley (11 October 2008). "Macaron mania hits Montreal - finally!". The Gazette (Montreal). Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  37. Denn, Rebekah (25 October 2009). "French macarons are sweet, light and luscious". The Seattle Times.
  38. Greenspan, Dorie (1 April 2010). "Macarons: New to The Easter Parade This Year". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  39. Neda Ulaby (12 February 2010). "Move Over, Cupcake: Make Way For The Macaroon". NPR. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  40. Chavassieu, Olivia (15 April 2008). "Heaven on Earth". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 March 2012.


Further reading

  • Media related to Macarons at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of macaron at Wiktionary
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