Decoding the Distinction: French vs. Italian Macarons

French vs. Italian Macarons – What’s the difference?

Macarons have become a sensation in the culinary world, captivating dessert lovers with their delicate appearance and exquisite flavors. Among the different types of macarons, French macarons and Italian macarons are the most famous. But what makes them different? Let’s delve into the fascinating world of macarons and explore the differences between these two delicious treats.

What are macarons?

Macarons are small round cakes made from a meringue-based dough. They consist of two baked shells that enclose a flavorful filling, which can range from jams and puddings to frostings and creams. The main ingredients in macarons include egg whites, sugar, ground almonds, and additional flavorings such as extracts or essences. Powdered food coloring is often used to add a hint of color and flavor to macarons.

French Macaroons

French macaroons are made using the French meringue technique. In this method, egg whites are beaten with sugar until they reach a fluffy and stiff consistency. Unlike Italian macarons, the egg whites in French macarons are left uncooked. French macarons have a reputation for being less stable and chewier in texture than their Italian counterparts. They also tend to be less sweet. The use of a higher percentage of almond flour in French macaroons contributes to their distinct almond flavor.
In terms of appearance, French macaroons typically have a flatter shape with smaller feet (the ruffled edges at the bottom of the shell) and larger air pockets in the cracks. The overall texture is chewy and offers a delicious bite.

Italian Macaroons

Italian macarons, on the other hand, are made using the Italian meringue technique. This involves melting sugar to create a colorless sugar syrup, which is then slowly poured into whipped egg whites. The addition of the sugar syrup cooks the egg whites, resulting in a more stable meringue. Italian macaroons are known for their higher rise, finer texture and cleaner appearance.
In terms of taste and texture, Italian macarons offer a crumbly or crunchy texture. They are generally sweeter than French macarons due to the use of sugar syrup in the meringue.

The differences

The main difference between French and Italian macarons is the meringue used to make them. French macarons are made with uncooked French meringue, while Italian macarons are made with cooked Italian meringue. This distinction affects the overall structure, stability, and texture of the macaron.
French macaroons are less stable and more prone to overmixing. They produce flatter shells with smaller feet and larger air pockets. On the other hand, Italian macaroons are more forgiving and provide a stable dough that is easier to work with. They produce taller shells with finer textured feet and a sweeter, crispier, airier cookie.
Ultimately, the choice between French and Italian macarons comes down to personal preference. Some may prefer the chewiness and subtle almond flavor of French macarons, while others may enjoy the crumbly texture and sweeter flavor of Italian macarons.
Regardless of your preference, both French and Italian macarons require skill and precision to achieve the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Whether you embark on the journey of making macarons yourself or enjoy them from talented pastry chefs, these delightful treats are sure to enchant your taste buds.


What is the main difference between French and Italian macaroons?

French macaroons are made with uncooked French meringue, while Italian macaroons are made with cooked Italian meringue. This difference affects the stability, texture and overall characteristics of the macarons.

Are French macaroons more chewy than Italian macaroons?

Yes, French macaroons tend to be chewier in texture than Italian macaroons. The use of uncooked French meringue and a higher percentage of almond flour contribute to their chewiness.

Which type of macaron has a higher rise?

Italian macaroons generally have a higher rise than French macaroons. The stability provided by the cooked Italian meringue allows them to rise more during the baking process.

Is there a difference in sweetness between French and Italian macarons?

Yes, there is a difference in sweetness between French and Italian macaroons. Italian macaroons are usually sweeter due to the use of sugar syrup in the meringue, while French macaroons are less sweet.

Are French macaroons harder to make than Italian macaroons?

French macarons can be a little more difficult to make than Italian macarons. The uncooked French meringue requires careful attention to achieve the right consistency, and over-mixing can result in a less stable dough. Italian macarons, with their cooked meringue, offer more forgiveness and stability in the baking process.

Can you taste a distinct almond flavor in French macaroons?

Yes, French macaroons often have a more pronounced almond flavor than Italian macaroons. The higher percentage of almond flour used in French macaroons contributes to their distinct flavor profile.