My “Easy Way to Make Macarons” post, with my Pistachio Macarons Recipe. It’s a bit of a read, but may help those intimidated by the process!
Originally published September 19, 2011. Updated on 8/19/2021
As someone who has a hard time going gluten-free, no matter how much my body hates wheat... French macarons have been a lifesaver of a gluten-free treat for me.
For anyone who’s ever looked online to figure out how to make your own French macarons, it can be a scary thing:
The Macaron Myths
Start working on the cookies 3+ days before you want to serve them.
Leave egg whites out on the kitchen table for 3 days to “age” (Um.. Gross).
Grind your own nuts.
Weigh each ingredient carefully with a kitchen scale... the weigh again just to be sure.
Sift everything multiple times.
Baby the meringue. Babysit the cookies.
Macaron recipes that insist you follow a huge list of instructions and “rules”, or expect certain failure.
Oh, and if your homemade macarons are cracked, lack “feet”, aren’t perfectly round, perfectly smooth, or perfectly... perfect?
Well then you just fail as a wife, mother, friend, hostess, and human being, and the macaron god obviously hates you.*
* Yes, I’ve seen many references to the Macaron God, and he is apparently a malevolent being.
At a retail price of $1.50+ per cookie though... ouch.
Kinda leaves you stuck between a rock and a macaron-less hard place, huh?
Homemade Pistachio Macarons, The Easy Way
So, I’m pleased to say that I’ve developed an easy, fool proof way to make perfect, chewy macarons - Obscenely delicious macarons!
Oh, and I can sum the whole technique up in one word!
People, these are cookies, not rocket surgery.
They are made to be snarfed, not shellacked and displayed in a museum.
Baking cookies is about doing something you enjoy, and making something tasty and delicious for the ones you love.
It should never be about super precision, completing a lengthy set of bizarre rituals, and dying a little every time that someone pops that amount of work into their mouths.
So let’s drop the fussy nonsense, and stop the macaron insanity!
These macarons may end up ugly, but they taste a million times better than any I’ve bought in specialty stores.
Besides, ugly is the new cute, right?
Easy To Make Macarons
Here’s the thing: store bought macarons I’ve bought have all been a little “blah” when it comes to flavor.
The meringue cookie part is usually not flavored at all, and the bakeries seem to go pretty conservative on adding flavors to the filling.
Granted, this was in Minnesota, so it may be COMPLETELY different elsewhere.
Nonetheless, I like my baked goods to be SO rich and full of flavor, that 1 or 2 is enough to thoroughly satisfy and satiate any sweet cravings for a while.
I DO come from the land of the Nanaimo Bar, though... so this may be a cultural thing for me 🙂
This pistachio macaron recipe will take less than 20 minutes from “Hrm. I think I’ll make some macarons”, to putting those suckers in the oven... and that’s being generous (About 10 mins, for me!).
The filling takes about 5 minutes of active work, and actually filling the cookies is probably another 5-10.
Take a breath.
Get past all of the guilt and shame and pressure that you may have read on other macaron recipes.
The fact of the matter is that even seasoned professionals still screw up macarons from time to time, even while following the “rules” religiously.
This may or may not give you a "foot", and they may have slightly more texture from the nuts than you're "supposed" to have... but they have that perfect crispy/chewy texture that macaroons are known for... without a hit to your sanity.
Repeat after me: They are just cookies.
Good? Good. Let’s do this!
A Few Notes on Making Macarons
Now, after the big speech about not needing to follow the rules, here are a few things that are good to know!
Finely ground pistachios may be referred to as “pistachio meal” or “pistachio flour”, depending on where you find them.
It’s a specialty item, so it can be difficult to find in stores.
If your pistachio meal is too coarse to sift through a wire strainer, run it in a small food processor for a little bit, for best results.
About Whipping The Egg White
While you don’t need aged egg whites, there is one big basic you need to know to ensure the success of your pistachio macaron shells:
Mix egg whites and sugar in a *very clean* metal mixer bowl.
It is very important that not only is the bowl and whisk attachment VERY clean, but that no specks of egg yolk are included with the egg white.
The presence of any egg yolk or grease on your bowl or whisk will prevent the egg whites from properly whipping up. This is the only “rule” you really need to be concerned about!
Parchment vs Macaron Mat
When I first started making macarons, I used parchment paper and just eyeballed everything - which is fine.
A while back, I bought a pair of silicone macaron mats, and love them... with a couple caveats:
1. Pipe enough to fill the smaller circle printed on the silicone mat, and let it ooze out to the bigger circle.
How much to pipe out is a bit of a learning process, but the guides printed on the mat really help you get a feel for it.
Of course, I didn’t realize this until I had a batch going... to be photographed, at that!
If you have a mat that doesn’t quite fit, you can either trim it, or position so that MOST of the guides are flat, and just don’t pipe on the areas that aren’t.
The batter oozes, so you really want to pipe them on a flat surface.
Also: While fully baked macarons lift from parchment pretty much fresh out of the oven, I’ve found that macarons baked on the silicone mat should cool before being lifted, or they’re more likely to stick.
YMMV, figured I should put it out there.
For the most part, this recipe uses simple ingredients - with just one specialty one that you might need to order.
I have a few notes on some of the main ingredients used:
While many “pistachio macarons” use almond meal / almond flour (finely ground almonds) - and sometimes even almond extract! - I prefer a pure, natural pistachio flavor.
So I use finely ground pistachios instead - IMHO, pistachio flour is an essential ingredient for making *pistachio* macarons.
Don’t have access to any? You can place toasted pistachios in the bowl of a food processor and blitz it until you have a fine meal.
... just don’t go too far with it, or you will end up with pistachio butter. (Super tasty stuff!)
A Note on Color
I did not use green food coloring in the batch I made for updating this blog post.
I’d love to say it was because I planned to show it in its most natural form, but nah - I forgot... and was too lazy to put on a second batch to redo it.
As you can see, it’s a little be more “blah” of a color than you may expect from macarons, so I do recommend using a bit of green gel food coloring.
The gel provides FAR more intense color than liquid, and is less likely to mess with the consistency of your macaron batter.
Speaking of Pistachio Butter - or pistachio paste - you’ll want some for the filling.
The filling is a pistachio white chocolate ganache, but you could always make a pistachio buttercream if you prefer - I recommend using an American Buttercream recipe, and adding the pistachio butter, to taste.
You will need both granulated sugar (you can use superfine sugar / castor sugar if you’d prefer), and powdered sugar / icing sugar for this recipe.
As mentioned above, be sure to not get even a speck of egg yolk into the whites when separating them.
To help with that, know that egg whites separate the best when they’re very cold, right out of the fridge.
They whip up best when they’re at room temperature, though, so if you’re concerned, feel free to let them sit for a few minutes after separating them!
As for the egg yolks, I’m a fan of putting them in a small, airtight container in the fridge and making some kind of fruit curd the next day.
See my How to Make Fruit Curd post for gorgeous photos and links to all of my different, fun fruit curd recipes.
Spoiler: You don’t HAVE to use citrus as a base!
Heavy cream - AKA whipping cream or heavy whipping cream - is used to make the ganache.
You’re looking for a cream that’s about 32-35% milk fat.
Not a lot to say here - I use White Chocolate Chips, and ingredient that tends to make pastry chefs judge :).
That said, you can always use a high quality white chocolate in bar / chunk form, just use the same weight.
How to Make Pistachio Macarons
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here’s the pictorial overview for the visual learners!
Make the Meringue Cookie Batter
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or macaron mats.
Mix together powdered sugar and ground pistachio meal. I like to sift it through a metal strainer, as shown.
Add the sugar, a little at a time, until incorporated.
Continue whipping the eggs until stiff peaks form. The whites will be pillowy, thick, and marshmallowy.
When you remove the whisk from the meringue, it should leave a very definite “peak” – if the tip flips over a little, that’s ok.
Beat and Pipe the Macaron Batter
Dump a small amount of the dry ingredients into the meringue.
Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to gently stir the mixture until everything is well incorporated and very thick.
Dump remaining dry ingredients into the meringue, continue stirring gently until well incorporated, scraping the bottom of the bowl with your rubber spatula.
You don’t want to beat it till it’s fully RUNNY, but you’d like it to settle back into place if you remove a small amount of batter and drop it back into the mix.
It’s better to under-beat it than to over-beat it.
A good rule of thumb is that you want it runny enough that you can drop a ribbon of batter in an unbroken figure 8.
Spoon macaron batter into a pastry bag / piping bag with a ¼″ or so opening – whether a metal tip, or just the end cut off the bag.
Pipe ~ 1.25″ – 1.5″ rounds onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper - or a macaron mat, as shown
Pick up a baking sheet of piped cookies, and gently rap it against the counter - or another flat surface - a couple of times to bring up any air bubbles.
Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, and prepare the pistachio white chocolate ganache filling.
Make the White Chocolate Pistachio Filling
In a small saucepan, combine heavy whipping cream and pistachio butter, stirring with a fork or small whisk until pistachio butter is fully incorporated into the cream.
Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring just until it comes to a boil.
Remove saucepan from heat, add white chocolate chips.
Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, or until thick enough to fill cookies with.
To Assemble Macarons
Spoon or pipe about a Tablespoon worth of filling onto the flat underside of one cookie.
Top with the underside of another cookie. (Rounded sides facing out).
Again… it’s just a cookie!
Done. Snarf em happily and guilt-free!
More Cookie Recipes!
This recipe is great on its own, but also shines as part of a larger cookie spread. Looking for more ideas? I've got you...
Apple Pie Cookies
Boozy Chocolate Haystack Cookies
Chewy Black Forest Cookies
Chewy Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies
Chewy Chocolate White Chip Cookies
Decorated Sugar Cookies
Holiday Cookies - Noelles
Hoppy Citrus Macarons
Malted Milk Meringue Cookies
Pecan Pie Cookies
Peppermint Swirl Meringues
Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Sweet Ecstasy Cookies
Tropical Fruit & Rum Cookies
Looking for my gluten-free cookie recipes? They're now over on my new gluten-free blog, Beyond Flour!
Also, if you're interested in gluten-free cooking and baking, you should definitely check out my gluten-free cookbooks: Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten Free Cooking & Baking, and the sequel... Beyond Flour 2. You can order them right here on my website, through Amazon, or through any major bookseller.
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Easy Pistachio Macarons
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup finely ground pistachios **
- 3 large egg whites
- 4 tablespoon white sugar
- Green gel food coloring if desired
White Chocolate Pistachio Filling
- 2-3 tablespoon Pistachio Butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 5 oz white chocolate chips ½ bag
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
- Mix together powdered sugar and ground pistachio meal, set aside.
- Mix egg whites and sugar in a *very clean* metal mixer bowl. It is very important that not only is the bowl and whisk attachment VERY clean, but that no specks of egg yolk are included with the egg white. The presence of any egg yolk or grease on your bowl or whisk will prevent the egg whites from properly whipping up. This is the only “rule” you really need to be concerned about!
- Affix your bowl to the mixer, and whip eggs on high until stiff peaks form. The whites will be pillowy, thick, and marshmallow. When you remove the whisk from the meringue, it should leave a very definite “peak” – if the tip flips over a little, that’s ok. Add a small amount food coloring, if desired, whisk in.
- Dump bowl of dry ingredients into the meringue. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently stir the mixture until everything is well incorporated and very thick.
- Once mixture is fairly uniform, beat it until it’s still thick, but oozes a bit. You don’t want to beat it till it’s fully RUNNY, but you’d like it to settle back into place if you remove some and drop it back into the mix. It’s better to under-beat it than to over-beat it.
- Spoon macaron batter into a pastry / frosting bag with a ¼″ or so opening – whether a metal tip, or just the end cut off the bag.
- Pipe ~ 1.25″ – 1.5″ rounds onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If the batter isn’t running all, there’s no real worry about placing them close together – I’ll leave an inch or so between the rounds.
- Pick up the sheet of piped cookies, and rap it against the counter a couple of times to dislodge any air bubbles.
- Bake cookies for 13-16 minutes, or until they lift easily from the parchment. (Undercooked macarons will stick). Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, and prepare the filling.
White Chocolate Pistachio Filling
- In a small saucepan, combine heavy whipping cream and pistachio butter, stirring with a fork or small whisk until pistachio butter is fully incorporated into the cream. Heat mixture over medium, stirring until it comes to a boil.
- Remove saucepan from heat, add white chocolate chips. Stir mixture until chocolate chips are melted and completely incorporated into the mix, which should be smooth. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, or until thick enough to fill cookies with.
To assemble Macarons
- Spoon or pipe about a Tablespoon worth of filling onto the flat underside of one cookie. Top with the underside of another cookie. (Rounded sides facing out).
- If any cookies collapsed or get smashed in the course of handling them, spoon the filling into the smashed cavity, leaving the flat side on the outside.Again… it’s a cookie.
- Done. Snarf em happily!