Fancy and light, lemon macarons are the perfect spring cookie! The macaron shells are smooth and chewy, while the lemon buttercream and lemon curd make for a sweet and tangy filling.

lemon macarons in a pile on parchment paper with lemon wedges.


 

Lemon desserts are simply the best for their sweet and zesty flavor. I love lemon sugar cookies and lemon curd thumbprints, but when I’m feeling fancy I bake lemon macarons. Each sandwich provides two bites of perfection. If this is your first time making macarons, be sure to read my macaron guide for all the tips and tricks to perfecting this classic French cookie.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Light and refreshing. The citrus flavor gives these cookie sandwiches a tart, yet sweet flavor that is delicious.
  • Perfect for entertaining. Whether it’s a baby shower, Mother’s Day or Easter, lemon macarons are an impressive treat to serve!
  • Reliable recipe. I used my go-to macaron recipe that never fails. The method is tried and true. I also use the lemon buttercream recipe for my lemon cupcakes!

Ingredient Notes

bowls of ingredients to make lemon macarons.
  • Egg whites: Eggs are easier to separate when they are chilled. Make sure there is no trace of yolk! Cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top, and leave at room temperature to dehydrate for 8 hours.
  • Almond flour: A fine almond flour is a must for macarons. Its natural oils make the cookies moist and chewy. I prefer King Arthur Flour Grain-Free Almond Flour.
  • Baker’s sugar (aka caster sugar): This superfine sugar dissolves easily in the egg whites to help make the meringue. If you can’t find baker’s sugar, you can use granulated sugar and a food processor to make it finer.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this helps guarantee a smooth texture on the macaron shells and provide a little sweetness.
  • Cream of tartar: This ingredient helps stabilize the egg whites and allows them to hold air more effectively. It can be found at your local grocery store or online.
  • Lemon extract: To flavor the cookies, add lemon extract. I don’t recommend lemon juice or zest for the cookies because it will significantly affect the texture.
  • Butter: To make the buttercream, use unsalted butter that is room temperature. Salt is added separately to help offset the sweetness.
  • Lemon curd: You can use store-bought or make lemon curd at home!

Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.

Recipe Variations

Use food coloring. Right before adding the dry ingredients, stir in a couple drops of yellow gel food coloring to the meringue. This will make a nice bright hue that matches the flavor of the macarons.

Skip the lemon curd. Omit the curd and use just the buttercream filling. You’ll likely need to double the recipe so you have enough.

How to Make Lemon Macarons

photo collage demonstrating how to make lemon macarons in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
  1. Dry out the egg whites. Place the egg whites in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Poke with a toothpick to make holes. Let sit at room temperature for 8 hours.
  2. Sift the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Repeat twice and discard any large clumps. Set aside.
  3. In a clean bowl of a stand mixer, use whisk attachment to beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and salt.
  4. With the mixer running, slowly add the baker’s sugar. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form.
photo collage demonstrating how to pipe macarons on a baking sheet, and make lemon buttercream to fill macarons with.
  1. Add half the dry ingredients. Gently fold in until just barely combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and fold in until mixture has a lava-like consistency.
  2. Transfer batter to a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe onto silpat mat on a baking sheet making cookies about 1-inch in diameter. Let cookies sit dry out for 45 minutes or until dry to the touch. Bake at 300°F for 12 to 14 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. To make the frosting, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in salt, lemon juice and zest. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a tip.
  4. Match up cookies according to size. On the bottom of one cookie, pipe a ring of buttercream. Spoon a teaspoon of lemon curd in the center. Press matching cookie on top. Repeat with remaining macarons and serve.

Expert Tips

Dehydrate the egg whites. The extra liquid in the macarons will evaporate. If the egg whites aren’t dehydrated then the batter will be too runny. Additionally, this step will help relax the proteins to form stiffer peaks while whipping the batter.

Make sure the bowl is extra clean. This may sound obvious, but any trace of oil in the bowl can affect the meringue. It’s also important there are no yolks in the the egg white mixture.

Use a kitchen scale. Macarons require precise measurements and a kitchen scale is the best way to do this. 

Aim for a lava-like consistency for the batter. Be gentle folding the dry ingredients into the meringue. Do not over-mix. You know the batter is done when the spatula is lifted out of the bowl and the batter forms a figure 8 without breaking.

lemon macaron with a bite showing lemon curd center.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Make ahead the macaron shells and filling. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week then assemble.

Store macaron sandwiches in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The lemon curd makes the macaron shells soggy so they are best when eaten within a few days.

Freeze for up to 3 months. Gently wrap sandwiches in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Store in the freezer, then defrost in the refrigerator before serving.

Recipe FAQ

Why are my macarons hollow?

The egg whites were over-whipped or the batter was over-mixed.

Why are my macarons lumpy?

The almond flour and confectioners’ sugar was not sifted properly. Don’t press the mixture through the mesh sieve. Discard any large lumps.

Why don’t my macarons have feet?

Too much liquid or humid environment. Be sure to dehydrate your egg whites and let the macarons dry out before baking. I do not recommend baking on a humid day

plate with macarons and lemon slices with one lemon macaron on its side showing lemon buttercream filling.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

lemon macarons in a pile on parchment paper with lemon wedges.

Get the Recipe: Lemon Macarons with Lemon Curd

Lemon macarons are the perfect spring cookie! The macaron shells are smooth and chewy, while the lemon curd filling is sweet and tangy.
5 (7 ratings)

Ingredients

Macarons

  • 100 g (about 3 large eggs) egg whites, room temperature
  • 150 g (about 1 1/3 cups) fine almond flour
  • 120 g (about 1 cup) confectioners' sugar
  • 100 g (about 1/2 cup) baker's sugar, granulated sugar works too, see notes
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract

Filling

  • ½ cup (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup lemon curd

Instructions 

Cookies

  • Place egg whites in a small bowl (make sure there is no trace of egg yolk). Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few large holes in it. Leave out at room temperature for 8 hours or in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.
  • Place confectioners’ sugar and fine almond flour into a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Sift and let the bowl catch the sifted ingredients. Discard any large clumps in the sieve. Repeat twice and set aside dry ingredients.
  • Put egg whites in a very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk eggs on medium-low speed for a minute or two until frothy then add the cream of tartar and salt. With the mixer running, very slowly add the bakers sugar (either 2 teaspoons at a time or in a very slowly sprinkle into the bowl). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes on KitchenAid Stand Mixer speed 6. When the mixture is almost done, mix in the lemon extract. Pro tip: The mixture will ball up in the whisk and the mixture will stay in the bowl if turned upside down.
  • Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once mostly incorporated, add the remaining dry ingredients. Continue folding by going around the sides of the bowl with the spatula, then cutting through the center. The batter is done when it has a lava-like consistency. Do not over-mix. Pro tip: Try lifting the spatula out of the bowl and forming figure 8 with the batter without it breaking.
  • Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (about 1/2-inch in diameter). Pipe batter onto a silpat mat with macaron outlines or onto parchment paper. Pipe circles 1-inch wide and spaced 2 inches apart. Lift the baking sheet about 6 inches off the counter and drop it down. Repeat twice more, then rotate the pan 180° and bang the pans three more times (this releases air bubbles from the macarons).
  • Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 40 to 45 minutes and up to an hour. The macarons are ready to bake when dry to the touch (you should be able to “pet” them without leaving a mark).
  • Ten minutes before macarons are done drying, preheat the oven to 300° F. Bake macarons for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool completely.

Filling

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter using the paddle attachment. Beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until completely incorporated.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mix until combined. If necessary, add more lemon juice until desired consistency is reached.

Assembly

  • Match up the cooled macarons according to size.
  • Transfer frosting to a bag with the desired tip.Pipe a border of buttercream on the bottom of one macaron shell. Place ½ teaspoon lemon curd in the center and top with the matching shell. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Notes

Baker’s sugar: To make it at home, put granulated sugar in a food processor. Grind for about 10 seconds or until fine.
Lemon extract is preferred for the macaron shells. It’s more concentrated and less acidic so it won’t affect the texture of the batter.
Weighing ingredients: Weigh the egg whites before they are dehydrated. Weigh the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour after sifting.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Macarons are best when eaten the day they are assembled.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Carefully wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Store in the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator before serving.
Serving: 1macaron, Calories: 160kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 53mg, Potassium: 14mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 118IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 0.3mg

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