Photo: Hannah Whitaker

Makes 2 dozen macarons


  • 2¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 1½ cups whole almonds, with skins
  • 4 egg whites, divided (not pasteurized)
  • 1¾ tsp. cream of tartar, divided
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 12 Tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon curd
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract


Active cooking time: About 1½ hours
Total cooking time: 3½ hours

To make cookies: Pulse powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor until finely ground. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk 3 egg whites and 1½ tsp. cream of tartar on high speed until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in almond mixture in thirds, just until combined, to form meringue.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a medium round tip (½" to ⅝") and fill bag with meringue. Twist the top closed, being careful to squeeze out any air bubbles. Pipe out 1" circles, each about ½" high, onto prepared baking sheets, spacing circles about 2" apart. Set aside, uncovered, at room temperature for 2 hours. (This allows the cookies to develop their distinctive crust.)

Preheat oven to 325°. Bake cookies until set but not browned, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside to cool completely.

To make buttercream: In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat remaining egg white and ¼ tsp. cream of tartar until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes; set aside. Heat granulated sugar and 1½ Tbsp. water in a small pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 248° on a candy thermometer, 3 to 4 minutes. With mixer on low speed, carefully drizzle sugar syrup into beaten egg white. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, raise speed to high, and whisk until cool to the touch, about 5 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to medium and, with the motor running, add butter 1 Tbsp. at a time. (If mixture looks curdled, raise speed to high and continue to add butter.) When buttercream is smooth, whisk in lemon curd and vanilla.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip, pipe a nickel-sized dollop of buttercream onto the flat side of half the cookies. (Save remaining buttercream for another use.) Top with remaining macarons to make sandwiches. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Bake it better!
If you don't have a pastry bag, snip off the corner of a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and use it to pipe out the meringue and buttercream (use a separate bag for each).

The recipe below is for plain macarons with lemon buttercream. To make chocolate macarons with vanilla buttercream, follow the recipe but add ⅓ cup cocoa powder when pulsing the powdered sugar and omit the 1½ tsp. cream of tartar in step 1; in step 5, omit the lemon curd.

Adapted from Miette, by Meg Ray (Chronicle Books, 2011).