These lemon macarons are delicious and so fun to make! Lemon-flavored macaron shells filled with a lemon cream cheese buttercream and lemon curd... what could be better?
Everyone, I think I have a problem. A macaron problem.
Now that I feel like I can consistently make decent macarons, my head is spinning with ideas for new recipes. From s'mores macarons to piña colada macarons, the possibilities are endless. And today, I'm coming at you with my latest macaron obsession!
These lemon macarons are light and airy, and they're filled with a mouthwatering lemon cream cheese buttercream and lemon curd. Plus, what's not to love about that bright yellow color?
Let me show you how to make 'em!
What You'll Need
Here's a quick overview of some of the key ingredients and tools needed to make these macarons. The full recipe can be found at the bottom of the post!
- Powdered sugar - This recipe uses powdered sugar for both the macaron shells and the buttercream. Be sure to sift it first to remove any clumps.
- Almond flour - Almond flour is a key ingredient when it comes to making macarons. You can typically buy almond flour in the baking aisle of any grocery store.
- Egg whites - To make macarons, you fold the powdered sugar and almond flour into meringue, which comes from whipping egg whites. I always recommend separating egg whites manually instead of purchasing them from a carton.
- Lemon juice - Naturally, lemon macarons need some lemon juice, right? You'll use lemon juice for both the macaron shells and the buttercream.
- Yellow food coloring - To achieve that beautiful yellow color, you'll add some yellow food coloring to the macaron shells. I always recommend using gel food coloring when making macarons.
- Unsalted butter - To make the buttercream, you'll want to use softened unsalted butter. I always recommend baking with unsalted butter instead of salted; that way, you can more easily control the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Cream cheese - You'll also need some softened brick-style cream cheese to make the buttercream.
- Lemon curd - To add an extra kick of lemon flavor to these macarons, I like to pipe a little bit of lemon curd into the center of each one. While you can make lemon curd from scratch, I saved a bit of time by buying a jar of it from the store.
- Silicone baking mat — I always find that my macarons turn out best when I line my baking sheet with a silicone baking mat rather than parchment paper. I also love to use silicone baking mats when baking other items like cookies or granola.
- Disposable piping bags — Disposable piping bags are pretty essential for this recipe, both for piping the macarons and also filling them with the buttercream and lemon curd. If you can’t pick some up, you can always create a makeshift piping bag using a Ziploc bag.
- Round piping tips — For this recipe, you can use round piping tips when piping the macaron shells, buttercream, and lemon curd. If you want, you can also use a star tip or another shape when filling the macarons for more of a unique look.
How to Make These Macarons
If you've never baked macarons before, I know they can seem a bit intimidating to make at first. It took me a few tries to figure out the correct technique for making them, and I definitely had a few failed batches along the way.
However, once you get the hang of making them, it's so satisfying to see them come to life from start to finish! Here's a quick overview of how to make these lemon macs.
Start by making the French meringue. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), whisk the egg whites. When they are quite foamy and no longer yellow, start gradually streaming in the granulated sugar, and whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. (Image 1 and Image 2)
Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. Sift together the powdered sugar and almond flour, then add them into the meringue in two additions, and gently fold until well combined. (Image 3)
Finish making the macaron batter. Add in the yellow food coloring and lemon juice and start the macaronage process. Continue to stir the mixture, and you will notice it start to become looser and more ribbony. To see if your batter is ready, do the figure-eight test: if you can make an ‘8’ with the batter without it breaking, it is ready to pipe. (Image 4)
Pipe and dry out the macarons. Transfer the macaron batter to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe small circles (I did 1.75 inch rounds) onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat, leaving two inches between each macaron. Once you have piped all the macarons, tap the baking sheet against the counter several times to remove any air bubbles. Let the macarons dry at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour (the amount of time will vary depending on the humidity). Once you can touch the top of a macaron without leaving a fingerprint, they are ready to go in the oven. (Image 5)
Bake the macarons. Bake the macarons at 300°F for 16 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Then, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely on the baking sheet. (Image 6)
Prepare the buttercream filling and lemon curd. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat together the unsalted butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Then, add in the powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt, and continue mixing until well combined. Transfer the buttercream to a pastry bag, and transfer the lemon curd to a different pastry bag. (Image 7)
Assemble the macarons. Once the macarons have cooled completely, pipe a ring of buttercream onto one macaron, then pipe a small dollop of lemon curd into the center before sandwiching another macaron on top. Repeat the process for all the macarons, then refrigerate. For best results, let the macarons chill in the fridge overnight before serving. (Image 8)
Tips for Making This Recipe
Here are a few tips to get perfect macarons every time:
- Make sure to sift your dry ingredients when making the macaron batter. Out of all the steps in the recipe, this is the one you don't want to skip! Sifting the almond flour and powdered sugar helps prevent lumps that might flatten the macarons.
- Whisk the egg whites until you have a meringue with stiff peaks. At this point, you should be able to turn the whisk upside down without the meringue budging an inch. If you’re not quite there, continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Tap the baking sheet after piping the macarons. After piping all my macarons, I like to tap the baking sheet firmly against the counter several times. You can also do this by banging on the bottom of the baking sheet with your hand. Doing so helps the mixture settle and removes any air bubbles.
- Let the macarons cool completely before filling. If you try to remove the macarons while they are still warm, they will stick to the baking sheet and crumble. Be patient and let them cool completely before removing from the sheet and filling.
Common Questions About These Macarons
These are some questions I frequently hear about these macarons. If you have a question that isn't answered below, feel free to leave it in the comments.
I’ve been making macarons for years, and I still struggle with getting them all to be a consistent size! If it’s your first time making them, I highly recommend printing out a template like this and putting it under your silicone baking mat before piping. Then, remove the template before baking, and stash it away for the next time you make macarons.
The amount of time varies depending on the humidity and your environment. After piping the macarons, you need to dry them out until the top forms a skin, and I have found that this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. To see if the macarons are ready, press your finger lightly on top of one — if it has hardened and does not leave a firm fingerprint, the macarons are ready to bake in the oven.
Stored in an airtight container, these macarons will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3-5 days. I recommend removing them from the fridge 15-20 minutes before eating for the best taste. Alternatively, you can also freeze macarons for up to 1 month.
How to Store & Freeze
To store: Cover and store any leftover macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. To prevent them from sticking together, place a piece of parchment paper between each layer of macarons.
To freeze: Store the macarons in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. You can also freeze the macaron shells (unfilled) and buttercream filling separately for up to 1 month. Just let everything thaw completely before assembling.
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