This French madeleine cookies recipe yields soft cake-like cookies. They are known for their shell-like shapes and spongy texture.

madeleine cookies dusted in confectioners' sugar and layered on small rectangle baking sheet

If you’re wondering whether madeleines are cookies or cakes, well, it depends who you ask. In my opinion, madeleines are mini french cakes, but they are often referred to as cookies due to their size. Whatever you call them, they taste absolutely delicious!

Why this recipe works: This French madeleine recipe requires whipping the batter for a total of 10 minutes to yield light and pillowy cakes. The batter is also chilled to relax the gluten and help the madeleines rise in the oven.

ingredients to make madeleine cookies labeled with text

Overview: How to make madeleine cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease madeleine pan.
  2. Whip batter: Combine eggs, vanilla and salt on high speed until pale in color, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add sugar and continue whip on high speed for 8 more minutes.
  3. Fold in ingredients: Add flour 1/4 cup at a time, folding the batter gently just until incorporated. Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around the edges of the bowl. Fold in gently.
  4. Chill the batter: Cover the bowl and chill the batter for 45 minutes.
  5. Bake madeleines: Divide batter evenly among madeleine pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove madeleines from the pan, cool slightly and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

I own this madeleine pan and love it! The light colored aluminized steel keeps the madeleines from burning.

photo collage demonstrating how to make madeleines in the bowl of a stand mixer
madeleine batter creating a ribbon after mixing

What is the ribbon stage?

The ribbon stage is when eggs and sugar are whipped together until light in color and thick in consistency. The batter has reached the ribbon stage when it forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted out of the bowl (as pictured above). Whip the batter on high speed for 8 full minutes to reach the ribbon stage for madeleines. You can do this with the whisk attachment for a stand mixer or using a hand mixer.

madeleine cookies on baking sheet with dusting of confectioners' sugar and lemon zest

Frequently asked questions

Can I make madeleine cookies without the pan? Yes, but the texture will be off. Bake the batter in a mini muffin tin for the same amount of time. The texture won’t be as light and fluffy, but the madeleines will still have good flavor.

Do you have to chill madeleine batter? No, but it helps with the texture. The flour is folded in gently at the end so it hasn’t had time to hydrate. Chilling the batter hydrates the flour and relaxes the gluten. This step helps the madeleines rise higher while baking.

Why do madeleines have a hump? There is a lot of air in madeleine batter. When the batter is cooked, steam escapes creating the signature hump or belly.

madeleines on parchment paper with lemon slices and dusting of confectioners' sugar

Storing madeleine cookies

Madeleines have a delicate texture are best when eaten the day they are baked. However, they may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. They taste delicious dunked in a hot cup of tea or coffee.

I don’t recommend freezing madeleines as they will lose their texture, but if that doesn’t bother you then madeleines may be kept in the freezer for up to one month. Wrap the cookies securely in a freezer bag and remove any air. Store in the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature.

If you have lots of lemons, try my recipe for lemon bars or lemon poppy seed bread.

madeleine cookie leaned up against more madeleines layered in baking sheet.

Madeleines are one of the most easy-to-make delicate cookies. They are so soft and light in texture you can’t help but have more than one. Dip a madeleine in your afternoon tea and enjoy!

madeleines layered on baking sheets with with lemon slices

French Madeleine Cookies

This French madeleine cookies recipe yields soft cake-like cookies. They are known for their shell-like shapes and spongy texture.
5 (6 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs,, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (93 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 6 Tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (30 g) confectioners' sugar

Instructions 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (a hand mixer works too), combine eggs, vanilla and salt on high speed until pale in color, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add sugar and continue to whip on high speed for 8 more minutes. Batter is done when it holds a ribbon when the whisk is lifted.
  • Use a rubber spatula to fold the flour into the batter in thirds (1/4 cup at a time). Fold gently just until incorporated. Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around the edges of the bowl so it doesn't deflate the batter. Again, fold in gently making sugar to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  • Cover the bowl and chill the batter for 45 minutes and up to 4 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease madeleine pan (I used my magic cake pan release for this recipe, but greasing the pan with butter works just as well).
  • Remove the batter from the refrigerator and divide the batter evenly among a madeleine pan with 16 molds. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove madeleines from the pan, cool slightly and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Notes

Store madeleines in an airtight container for 2 or 3 days.
Suggested tools: Kitchen scale, madeleine pan, stand mixer with whisk attachment or hand mixer
Serving: 1madeleine, Calories: 103kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 49mg, Potassium: 18mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 176IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 1mg

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