Lemon Macarons

Total Time

Prep: 1 hour + standing Bake: 15 min./batch + cooling

Makes

30 macarons

Updated: Jun. 27, 2023
These light and airy lemon macarons are perfect for special occasions or to give as gifts. —Josh Rink, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Ingredients

  • MACARON SHELL:
  • 1-1/3 cups almond flour
  • 2-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • Yellow gel food coloring, optional (do not use liquid food coloring)
  • BUTTERCREAM FILLING:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Yellow gel food coloring, optional
  • 7-1/2 teaspoons lemon curd

Directions

  1. Place the almond flour, 1-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar and lemon zest in a food processor; pulse until thoroughly mixed to ensure almond flour is very fine. Pass almond flour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve; discard any large pieces that remain.
  2. Place egg whites and salt in a very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; whisk on medium-low speed until frothy. Slowly add superfine sugar; whisk until dissolved, 1-2 minutes. Slowly add remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar; increase speed to high and whip until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form, 1-2 minutes. If desired, beat in enough food coloring to achieve desired color.
  3. Gently fold the almond flour mixture into meringue, a third at a time. Using the side of a spatula, smooth batter up sides of bowl several times to remove air bubbles and ensure there are no lumps; do not overmix. Run spatula down the center of the bowl; the line in the batter should remain visible for a moment before mixture runs back into itself.
  4. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat oven to 300°. Transfer batter into a pastry bag fitted with a #7 or #10 round tip. Pipe 1-3/8-in. rounds onto a parchment-lined tray about 1 in. apart. Tap tray against counter 2-3 times to remove excess air bubbles. Let macarons rest until no longer wet or sticky to the touch, 30-60 minutes. Bake, 1 tray at a time, until cookies rise about 1/8 in. to form "feet," 14-16 minutes, rotating tray halfway through baking. Remove tray and let macarons cool completely; repeat with remaining trays. Once macarons have cooled completely, remove from parchment.
  5. To make filling, cream butter in a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment; slowly add confectioners' sugar until incorporated. Add heavy cream, lemon zest and salt; mix until smooth. If desired, beat in enough food coloring to achieve desired color. Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip; pipe buttercream onto the bottoms of half the macarons. Place 1/4 tsp lemon curd in center of each frosting circle. Top with remaining macaron shells. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
Lemon Macarons Tips

Why did my meringue shells crack?

Cracked cookies can happen for a few reasons. One common occurrence that will cause your shells to crack is not mixing the batter enough, or inversely, overmixing it. Overmixing will deflate your egg whites, resulting in hollow cookies and easily cracked tops, while not mixing enough will result in chunks of egg whites expanding, which also causes cracks. Your batter should be uniform, without large bits of white left visible. Another reason why the macaron shells may crack is not letting them rest before baking. You'll know the cookies are ready to bake when the top is no longer wet, but just slightly tacky. The drying process allows a skin to form, so the expanding air puffs up the cookie instead of cracking it. If the macaron shells crack after baking, you may have taken them off the baking sheet too soon. Be sure to let them cool on the sheet before moving them. Check out our guide to how to make French macarons for more tips.

How can I make lemon macarons my own?

The traditional filling for macarons is buttercream, but we used buttercream and lemon curd in our cookies. We did something similar with our strawberry macaron recipe. You could also choose a jam in a flavor that complements lemon, like blueberry or raspberry.

How should I store lemon macarons?

Store lemon macarons in an airtight container, with parchment between the layers. Because of the buttercream filling, macarons should be kept in the refrigerator. These cookies are best enjoyed at room temperature, so take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to eat. You can also freeze macarons, but you should thaw them gradually to prevent them from getting soggy. Put them in the refrigerator to thaw overnight, then let them come to room temperature before serving.

Hazel Wheaton, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 macaron: 108 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 6mg cholesterol, 29mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (15g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.