These citrus lemon macarons are sweet, dainty, and perfectly flavored with lemon citrus. These macarons are perfect for brightening up those dark winter days or for refreshing your tastebuds on hot summer days. Basically, these French almond cookies are good no matter what season it is!
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What are Lemon Macarons?
Lemon macarons consist of lemon buttercream sandwiched between two almond meringue cookies. Macaron shells consist of almond flour, sugar, egg whites, water, and sometimes some flavoring.
How to Make Lemon Macarons
- Begin by making a mise en place of all the ingredients. What is a mise en place, you ask? It’s the measuring and preparation of ingredients so that everything is ready before you begin making the macarons.
- Strain the aged egg whites, meaning pour them into a sifter and push them through the strainer. Strained whites equals shiny macaron shells!
- Next, make a paste with the powdered sugar, almond flour, powdered egg whites, and half of the strained egg whites.
- Bring granulated sugar and water to 244 degrees F on the stove. When the sugar reaches 230 degrees, begin whipping the remaining egg whites on high in your stand mixer.
- Once at 244, slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites along the edge of the mixing bowl while the mixer is whipping on high.
- Whip until medium peaks form, and fold into the paste in 3 additions.
- Smear the macaron batter along the sides of the bowl and bring back to the center until the batter is like thick batter that slowly drizzles and melds back into the batter within 20 seconds.
- Pipe macarons, bake, and fill. Refrigerate for 24 hours before eating for the best experience.
How to Make Lemon Buttercream Filling for Macarons
Making the filling is really simple!
- First, cream softened butter and cream cheese.
- Next, add the lemon zest, powdered sugar and lemon juice.
- Cream all of the ingredients together and pour into a piping bag. (no piping tip needed)
- Lastly, cut off the end of the bag so that there is a 1/4 inch hole and fill macarons.
Essential Baking Tools for These Macarons
- A digital thermometer.
- Macaron silicone baking mats with macaron guides and parchment paper.
- Rimmed half sheet baking pans. Do NOT use flat baking trays! They alter the baking process and quality of the macarons too much.
- Disposable piping bags for the macarons and ganache.
- A #12 piping tip for the macaron batter and ganache.
- To color the shells, use powdered food coloring, not liquid if you can help it. Sometimes gel food coloring works, but be careful not to add too much because moisture can ruin macarons!
- A kitchen scale for measuring ingredients. Because the ingredient amounts need to be exact, don’t use measuring cups.
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For the Macaron Shells
- 125 g almond flour, such as this kind or this kind(sift to remove big grains)
- 125 g powdered sugar
- 6 g powdered egg whites
- 46 g liquified egg whites, strained (aged for 7 days, see instructions below)
- 125 g sugar
- 31 g water
- 46 g liquified egg whites, strained(aged 7 days)
- Zest of half a lemon
Lemon Buttercream Filling
- 8 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
- 1 Tbs cream cheese, softened
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Preparing to Make the Macarons
- Age the egg whites for 7 days in the fridge before making macarons to liquify the eggs.
- To do this, place the egg whites (approx. egg whites of 3-4 large eggs) in a bowl, cover with plastic, and make a few slits in the plastic. Store in the fridge for at least 2 days, but 7 days is best. The egg whites lose some of their water content and breakdown during the aging process, which helps to create a better macaron.
Making the Macaron Shells
- Measure out all ingredients before beginning!
- Sift almond flour and remove coarse grains. After sifting, weigh out 125 grams of almond flour into a large clean bowl.
- Then sift powdered sugar and powdered egg whites into the almond flour.
- Add 46 g of room temperature egg whites and stir until a paste forms. Do not leave any dry bits of almond flour or powdered sugar. The mixture needs to be thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Making the Italian Meringue
- Pour water and granulated sugar into a medium pot and cook over medium high. Place a thermometer in the pot and do not stir.
- Meanwhile, add 46 grams of egg whites to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the water and sugar reached 230 degrees, turn the mixer onto high speed so the egg whites start whipping.
- When the sugar syrup reaches 244 degrees F, remove from heat, and SLOWLY pour the sugar syrup into the mixer(keep the mixer going) right on the edge of the bowl so that it slowly drips down the side of the mixing bowl into the eggs.
- Once all of the sugar syrup is in the bowl, turn down to medium high speed and mix until medium peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. The bowl should feel room temperature to the touch on the bottom as well. Most importantly though, make sure that the meringue is whipped to medium peaks.
Making the Macaronage
- Now it is time to combine the almond paste and the Italian meringue. Take 1/3 of the meringue and stir it into the almond mixture to lighten the texture and weight of the batter. This third of the Italian meringue is sacrificed in order to get the proper texture with the remaining meringue.
- Add another 1/3 of the Italian meringue, and this time, gently fold it into the batter 4 full turns.
- Add the remaining meringue, and give it 4 more full turns. At this point, the mixture will not be fully mixed. Don’t worry! Keep going.
- Smear the meringue on the sides of the bowl a few times and then bring it back to the middle. You should be able to drizzle the meringue in thick lava ribbons that SLOWLY flow into the bowl. It should meld back into the batter in 15-20 seconds. If the batter is too thick, smear and fold the batter a few times and check again.
- Check the consistency of the batter every 3-4 folds by bringing the batter to the middle of the bowl and drizzling it. The consistency can change quickly, so watch carefully! If the batter is flowing really fast and is more like a puddle, it has been over mixed and will not make good macarons anymore. There is no saving runny macarons, so you will have to start over and make a new batch. So be careful!
Baking and Filling Macarons
- Preheat oven to 300(you may have to try a few temperatures in your oven before you find just the right setting, usually between 300 and 320 degrees F).
- Line 2 half sheet pans with macaron baking mats(or macaron paper guides with circles) and parchment. Fit a piping bag with a Wilton #12 tip(or similar tip size).
- Fill the piping bag with the macaron batter and twist the top of the bag closed. Pipe macarons into 1.75 inch circles.
- The best way to do this is by holding the piping bag directly above the parchment paper and piping straight down. Allow the batter to push out into a bigger circle while piping, and then quickly pull the tip away so that there is just a slight point remaining on top of the batter disk.
- If batter is the right consistency, the little points will disappear on their own as they sink into the macaron batter.
- Remove silicone baking mats or guides so that only the parchment and macarons remain. Tap the trays of macarons quite hard on the counter a few times to allow the air bubbles to escape.
- Allow the macarons to form a skin- roughly 15-25 minutes. They are ready when they are no longer sticky to the touch.
- Place macarons in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, relying more on what the macarons look like than the actual suggested time.
- Test the macarons around the 15 minute mark by gently wiggling the tops of a couple. If the tops slide or move around some, then they are still not ready. When you try to wiggle the top of a macaron and it doesn’t move, then they are ready to come out of the oven.
- Remove baking mats from trays so that the macarons do not continue to bake. Allow to cool completely and gently peel off of silicon mats.
Making the Lemon Buttercream Filling
- Cream butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until all ingredients are creamed together.
- Pipe lemon buttercream filling in the center of one macaron shell until there is about 1/8 inch border of macaron showing. Place another macaron on top of the buttercream, then gently press together so that the filling comes to the edges of the macaron. Repeat with remaining macaron shells.
- Macarons need to be refrigerated for best results, but they can be eaten the same day. They are best to eat after 24-48 hours when they have had time to mature in the fridge. Eat within 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.
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