A Guide to Fix Your Macarons – Macaron Troubleshooting Guide

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Baking isn’t easy sometimes especially with Macarons or mostly known as French Macarons. A macaron is a delicate meringue-based French cookie sandwich made entirely from almond-flour, egg whites and sugar. You could definitely see them being displayed a lot in bakeries with its various colors and sweet fillings. They can be a little expensive to purchase due to its ingredients but once you taste it, you will realize that it’s worth spending over these pretty French cookie sandwiches. They’re delicious. Also guys, it’s macarons, not macaroons. I can’t believe I’ve always been fooled thinking it’s macaroons. Ooh! Additional knowledge, here’s the French pronunciation: Ma-Ka-Rohn. 

Macarons aren’t hard to make if you follow the recipe carefully but not everything comes out perfect for your first try. So here’s a Macaron Troubleshooting Guide to answer your troubling questions based on why your macaron looks like the way it came out.

1. Cracked Macaron Shells

Cracked Macaron Shells
Image credit: Chelsweets

“My macaron’s shell cracked, what should I do?” Here are some things you should look out for:

  • Under-whipped Meringue
Under whipped Meringue
Image credit: Pinterest
  • Resting Period is Short

Your macaron shells need to be rested for a while so they can dry. If you’re not giving the shells enough time to dry, the moisture will cause them to crack, therefore you’ll end up with cracked macaron shells. High humidity could also be the reason, so if you live in a humid climate, try finding a recipe that doesn’t require resting. So, how should I know that the macarons are ready and dry? Rest your macarons for about 20 – 40 minutes until they are dry to the touch and not sticky at all.

  • Oven Temperature Too High

An over that’s too hot may be the reason why your macaron shells are cracking. Our best advice is to get an oven temperature and double check the temperature inside of the oven. Take note of the placement of your baking tray as well because if it’s too close to the heat source, it can also be the reason why.

  • Take Note on the Amount of Your Food Colouring

It’s advisable to use powder or gel food colouring for your macarons so you wouldn’t have much problems with the shells. Too much moisture in macaron shells is the reason why it cracks. Obviously, you can still use food colouring but make sure you’re giving the shells a long time to rest before you bake them.

No Feet Macarons

“My macaron doesn’t have the ruffled texture you would always see in a macaron, what happened?” Well, those are what we usually call feet and perhaps, here’s why:

  • Oven Temperature Low

You need to have the right, perfect temperature to bake your macaron shells or else, it wouldn’t develop any feet. This is why we opt for you to invest in an oven temperature.

  • Too Wet Batter

Too much moisture could cause problems for the macaron shells. A batter can be wet due to the excessive amount of liquid like liquid food colouring, extracts etc.

  • Under-whipped Meringue

Cracked macaron shells could be caused by under-whipped meringue. The reason for this is that the meringue isn’t strong enough. Before adding the dry ingredients, make sure the meringue forms stiff peaks.

  • Overmixed batter

When macaron batter is overmixed, there aren’t enough air bubbles to raise the shells while it’s baked. As a result, they emerge flat and without feet.

  • Rest too long/too short

Let your macarons rest for a while but obviously not too long and not too short because you don’t want it to lose its structure or crack at the end. When you’re letting your macaron shells rest for about 20 – 40 minutes, check it every 15 minutes to make sure it’s dry to the touch and not sticky at all. 

2. Flat/Spread Out Macarons

Flat Spread Out Macarons
Image credit: Reddit

“My macaron seemed to be flat and spread outwards.” 

  • Overmixed batter

During macaronage, learn when to stop folding so you don’t end up overmixing it. So, when should you stop folding the batter? Fold until the batter flows gently but easily off the spatula; if it falls too quick and mixes back into the batter in the bowl too fast, you’ve probably overmixed.

  • Under-whipped Meringue

Cracked macaron shells could be caused by under-whipped meringue. The reason for this is that the meringue isn’t strong enough. Before adding the dry ingredients, make sure the meringue forms stiff peaks.

  • Oven Temperature Too High

An oven that’s too hot may be the reason why your macaron shells are spreading and flat. Our best advice is to get an oven temperature and double check the temperature inside of the oven.

3. Lopsided Macarons

Lopsided Macarons
Image credit: Reddit

“My macaron seems to be uneven and lopsided, what happened?”

  • Long Resting Period

Uneven macaron shells are caused by the deflated structures due to it being rested for too long, thus the shells would be baked unevenly.

  • Wrong Piping Technique

To be safe, use a macaron template when you’re piping out the batter. The ideal technique is to hold the piping bag at 90° and proceed to squeeze until the tip forms a nice mound, then swirl it to one side. Don’t be concerned if you have a little peak on top, these normally settle down when you tap the pan.

  • Uneven Heat

When it’s baking inside the oven, your macarons may experience uneven heat so it’s best to turn the baking sheet around half way through the baking. This is why you should get an oven temperature and experiment to make sure the heat distribution is proper enough.

4. Distorted Macaron Shell

Distorted Macaron Shell
Image credit: Reddit

“My macaron didn’t come out in a circle like it’s supposed to.”

  • Wrong Piping Technique

To be safe, use a macaron template when you’re piping out the batter. The ideal technique is to hold the piping bag at 90° and proceed to squeeze until the tip forms a nice mound, then swirl it to one side. But don’t be concerned if you have a peak on top. These normally settle down when you tap the pan.

  • Overmixed batter

During macaronage, learn when to stop folding so you don’t end up overmixing it. So, when should you stop folding the batter? Fold until the batter flows gently but easily off the spatula; if it falls too quick and mixes back into the batter in the bowl too fast, you’ve probably overmixed.

5. Speckled/Wrinkled Macaron Shells

Speckled Wrinkled Macaron Shells
Image credit: Reddit

“My macaron turned into a brownie-esque texture with wrinkles.” Not gonna lie, I have to say they look pretty cool but we’re determined to get the right, smooth texture so here are a few reasons why:

  • Overmixed batter

During macaronage, learn when to stop folding so you don’t end up overmixing it. When should you stop folding the batter? Fold until the batter flows gently but easily off the spatula; if it falls too quick and mixes back into the batter in the bowl too fast, you’ve probably overmixed.

  • Oily ingredients

Any oily ingredients in the batter might affect your macarons and turn them wrinkled. Avoid oily almond flour, and use almond flour that is finely crushed and dry.

  • Perhaps Too Much Powder

This usually happens when you add in too much cocoa powder into the mixture or matcha powder if you’re making matcha flavoured macarons. Always pay attention and be careful of how much you’re pouring because it could lead to wrinkled macaron shells.

6. Browned Macarons

Browned Macarons
Image credit: We Are Not Martha

“My macarons lost their vibrant colours and turned brown, what happened?”

  • Baked too long

Self-explanatory. If you bake the macarons for too long, they will turn brown and lose their colour.

  • Oven Temperature Too High

An oven that’s too hot may be the reason why your macaron shells are browning. Our best advice is to get an oven temperature and double check the temperature inside of the oven so you can bake them at an appropriate temperature and time.

7. Macarons with air bubbles

Macarons with air bubbles
Image credit: Bear Naked Food
  • Over-whipped Meringue

It’s a problem when your batter has a lot of air in it because it’ll create the air bubbles on your macaron shells so, please do avoid over whipping your meringue. During the macaronage, try to deflate air out of the batter by pressing the batter against the walls of the bowl.

  • Tap Your Trays and Pop Your Air Bubbles

When you’re done piping your shells, remember to tap your trays a few times against the counter to prevent the air bubbles. Pop any remaining air bubbles with a toothpick on the surface of the macarons. That’ll do the trick.

8. Sticky or Bottomless Macarons

Sticky or Bottomless Macarons
Image credit: Reddit
  • Cool Down Period is Too Quick

Your macarons become sticky or the bottom part seems to stick to the mat due to the fact that you’re not letting it cool down completely before removing them. 

  • Oven Temperature Low

Your oven temperature being low could result in your macarons not having any bottoms because you’re not giving them the chance to develop and bake fully! Test out whether your macaron shells are fully baked by wiggling one shell, if it jiggles then, it needs more baking time. We would really recommend for you to invest in an oven temperature and learn what works best

  • Too far from the heat source

The macarons become bottomless due to it not being exposed to enough heat for it to bake. Experiment with your oven and rack levels to see where it is best to be baked.

9. Porous Macarons

Porous Macarons
Image credit: Indulge with Mimi

“Yeah, I don’t know what that means but my macarons do not look the way it’s supposed to.” If you mean by your macarons have tiny holes on top, they’re called porous and here are reasons why:

  • Incorrect ratio

Perhaps you were using too much cocoa powder in your batter that it led to porous macaron shells. Be careful of your measurements and make sure they’re the right amount.

  • Wet Batter

Any ingredients that release too much liquid and moisture into your batter could be the reason why your macarons end up with little holes on top. Prevent using liquid food colouring, instead opt for gel food colouring for macarons.

  • Under-whipped meringue

If your meringue isn’t strong enough and doesn’t reach stiff peaks, then that may be the answer as to why your macarons ended up porous.

  • Your Meringue is Contaminated

Okay, it doesn’t sound as scary as that but perhaps your macarons ended up with tiny holes on top due to your meringue being exposed to water or grease particles. Always be aware of the residue that might end up in your bowls or whisk.

10. Bumpy Macarons

Bumpy Macarons
Image credit: foodequalshappyme

“My macarons have bumps and a little point on top, why?” 

  • Did You Sift Your Ingredients?

Make sure you always sift your dry ingredients such as the powdered sugar and almond flour and until it’s fine so your macaron shells don’t come out bumpy. 

  • Undermixed Batter

This can be the cause of macaron shells having bumps so to know whether your batter is perfect enough, see whether your batter flows slowly when you mix it and it comes off the spatula easily or not.

11. Soft Macaron Shell

Soft Macaron Shell
Image credit: Indulge with Mimi

“My macaron seems to be super soft and breaks easily.”

  • Under-whipped Meringue

One of the top reasons as to why your shells are soft and break easily is because your meringue isn’t strong enough and stiff peaks aren’t formed when you whip it. When your meringue is under-whipped, your macaron shells aren’t structured and strong enough.

  • Your Shells Are Under Baked

You’ll know it’s under-baked when you take it out of the oven and it still jiggles. Macaron shells are supposed to be solid and sturdy, so let it spend enough time in the oven to be baked.

12. Crispy Macaron Shells

Crispy Macaron Shells
Image credit: Chocolate Apprentice

“I’m a little disappointed that my macaron shells came out looking crispy instead of a smooth top. What happened?”

  • A Little Too Much of Food Colouring

One of the factors as to why your macarons don’t work is because it has too much moisture, probably due to the fact that you’re using liquid food colouring. Try to avoid that and go for gel-based food colouring. You can use liquid food colouring but don’t go too overboard. Gel or powder food colouring are recommended to use when making macarons.

  • Overmixed Batter

During macaronage, learn when to stop folding so you don’t end up overmixing it. So, when should you stop folding the batter? Fold until the batter flows gently but easily off the spatula; if it falls too quick and mixes back into the batter in the bowl too fast, you’ve probably overmixed.

  • Oven is Too Hot

An oven that’s too hot may be the reason why your macaron shells turned crispy. Our best advice is to get an oven temperature and double check the temperature inside of the oven so you can bake them at an appropriate temperature and time.

13. Hollow Macarons

Hollow Macarons
Image credit: chelsweets

“My macarons seem to be hollow and have a gap inside, I wonder where I went wrong?”

  • Oven Temperature Low

Your oven temperature being low could result in your macarons having gaps because you’re not giving them the chance to bake fully! We would really recommend for you to invest in an oven temperature and learn what works best.

  • Your Shells Are Under Baked

You’ll know it’s under-baked when you take it out of the oven and it still jiggles. Macaron shells are supposed to be solid and sturdy, so let it spend enough time in the oven to be baked.

  • Long Resting Period

Letting your shells rest for too long will result in the macarons becoming hollow due to it losing its firmness. When you’re letting your macaron shells rest for about 20 – 40 minutes, check it every 15 minutes to make sure it’s dry to the touch and not sticky at all. 

  • Take Note of Your Meringue

It’s a problem for your macarons if your meringue is either under-whipped or over-whipped. Always remember that it’s crucial for your meringue to form stiff peaks when you whip it, so that your shells come out fine.

Don’t get so disappointed if your macarons don’t come out the way you expected, especially when you’re still learning. Macarons take a lot of time to achieve perfection but with learning and practice, you’ll definitely get there. Don’t be so disheartened! Keep it up so you can search for more french macarons recipe online and make more of them!

GIF credit: Giphy

Don’t forget to spend some more time on our website by searching up various recipes you should definitely try! They’re easy, delicious and will make your tummy happy! 

Happy baking!

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