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These sunny yellow Lemon Macarons are sure to brighten your day! They are filled with lemon buttercream and lemon curd for double the lemony goodness!
I don't know about you but every year towards the end of winter I start craving all thing lemony. Lemon bars, fresh squeezed lemonade, lemon meringue pie - it all just sounds amazing.
So when I found myself with half a batch of leftover lemon curd the other day and some extra egg whites on hand, I decided to whip up a batch of these lemon macarons! You can always use store-bought lemon curd, but homemade is so much better.
The macaron shells and the lemon curd filling recipes are both easy to make, even if you’ve never made a macaron before. They take a little time, but if you’re looking for a simple recipe to make french macarons for beginners, this one is a good choice!
Making macarons can be intimidating, especially if you are an inexperienced baker, but with this recipe, a stand mixer, and a little optimism, it’s honestly not that bad. I was able to successfully get "feet" (the ruffly edge at the bottom of each macaron shell) on my very first try when I made macarons and that's my goal for anyone who tries this recipe as well!
How to Make Lemon Macarons
Sifting. Macarons are made with almond flour, not regular all-purpose flour, and it really needs to be sifted with the powdered sugar in the recipe to both lighten the mixture and make sure they are evenly combined. I recommend sifting twice, just to be sure everything is incorporated well.
Beat the egg whites. If you have the time, I suggest using aged egg whites instead of just room temperature egg whites. To age the egg whites, separate the whites and yolks, then put the whites in the fridge overnight. The next day, let them sit out on the counter for 1-2 hours before making the macarons.
It's not completely necessary and sometimes I just don't have time and skip the overnight aging process, but I always let the egg whites sit out for 1-2 hours so they really are room temperature at the very least.
In a large, clean bowl, beat aged egg whites on medium speed until they are frothy, about 1 minute. I always use my KitchenAid with a whisk attachment for this part of things, but you could do it with a hand mixer instead.
While the mixer is running, gradually add in the granulated sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking for 20 seconds or so after each addition, until all of the sugar has been added. Add the food coloring and continue to whisk on medium to medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
Don't overbeat the egg whites (which is why I don't recommend upping your speed any higher than medium-high) but definitely whisk until the egg whites hold their shape when you lift the beaters out.
Fold in the almond flour mixture. Add the almond flour mixture and start folding with a sturdy spatula. You will know you have mixed it enough when a thick ribbon of batter flows off your spatula when you hold it up over the bowl. The batter should melt in on itself after about 10 seconds and you should be able to make a figure-eight shape with the batter a couple of times before the batter has all run off the spatula.
- If it falls off in blobs, you haven't mixed long enough.
- If it falls off in a stream and immediately melts in on itself like honey or shampoo, there's a chance you went too far and overmixed it.
Hopefully these images will help you see how the batter changes as you mix it.
Pipe the macaron shells. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Some people like to trace 1 ½" circles on the backside of the parchment paper as a guide for piping, and you can even buy special macaron silpat mats for this purpose. It's important not to pipe these directly onto your baking sheets or they will stick.
Transfer the macaron batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Or just put it in a large heavy-duty ziploc bag and cut off one corner. Pipe 1 ½" circles a couple inches apart on the paper or mat. Then rap the baking sheet on the counter a few times to help remove any air bubbles in the shells. You can poke air bubbles that form on top with a toothpick if you need to.
Let the macarons dry for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. The shells will get tacky on top and you should be able to tap them with your finger without your finger sticking.
Preheat oven and bake. Let the oven preheat for a good 20 minutes at 300 degrees F, then bake one tray of macaron shells at a time for 16-18 minutes. Let the macaron shells cool completely on the baking sheet before attempting to remove them from the baking mats or parchment paper.
Make the lemon buttercream to hold in the lemon curd. Piping a border of buttercream around the edge both helps to hold the lemon curd in so it doesn't all squish out when you assemble the macarons.
While the macaron shells are baking, beat the butter until creamy and smooth in a large bowl using an electric or stand mixer. Add powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, then beat again until light and fluffy.
Spoon the lemon buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a small-ish round tip (or again just cut off one corner or a ziploc bag), then pipe a border around the bottom side of half of the shells. Fill with ½ to 1 teaspoon of lemon curd, then sandwich another shell on top to complete the macaron.
How do you know if a macaron is done?
When your macaron is finished baking, it should have “feet” at the bottom- These are the bubbly-looking bottoms. When you touch the top of the macaron it should be stable and not slide around in any way. If your cookie slides around to the touch, it isn’t finished baking. Add another 2 minutes and then check again, repeating as needed.
Can I freeze macarons?
Macarons filled with lemon curd don't freeze as well because they get too wet when they defrost. But you can make the shells and wait to fill them, or just fill them entirely with lemon buttercream, which does freeze well.
Looking for more Spring dessert recipes? Try these!
- French Fruit Tart
- Blackberry Turnover
- Guava Cream Cheese Cuban Pastries
- Homemade Danish
- Puff Pastry Churro Sticks
- Lemon Icebox Cake
- Passion Fruit Lemon Loaf Cake
- No Bake Sour Cream Lemon Pie
- 1 cup finely ground almond flour
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 3 large egg whites at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Yellow food coloring
- ½ batch of [Lemon Curd]
- ¼ cup salted butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice as needed
- Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Sift almond flour and powdered sugar through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Repeat one more time to make sure the ingredients are uniformly combined, discarding any larger pieces that don't go through the mesh sieve. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute, then slowly add the granulated sugar, about 1 tablespoon every 20 seconds or so. Add the yellow food coloring and increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the sifted almond mixture into the egg whites using a spatula until the batter becomes the consistency of lava and drizzles off a spatula in a thick ribbon.
- Transfer the macaron batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip or a ziploc bag with one corner cut off. Pipe the macaron batter in 1 ½-inch circles onto the silpat mat or parchment paper lined baking sheets. Rap the baking sheet against the counter a few times to release air bubbles.
- Let the macarons sit for 30-60 minutes until the top is dry enough to touch. It may take even longer if the day is humid.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake one sheet of macaron shells at a time for 16-18 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheet before attempting to remove the macaron shells from the pan.
- Meanwhile, make the lemon buttercream by beating the butter in a medium bowl until creamy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix again until smooth and light.
- To fill the macaron shells, transfer the lemon buttercream to a bag fitted with a small round tip or a ziploc bag with one corner cut off. Pipe a border of buttercream around the edges of half of the macaron shells. Fill with ½ teaspoon of lemon curd, then top with another macaron shell.
- You can buy jars of lemon curd at the store near the jellies and jams, although I think homemade lemon curd is so much better. Just be sure to make it in advance so it has time to cool completely before assembling your macarons.