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How Long Do Macarons Last? – Ultimate Guide

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Macarons are one of our favorite French delicacies ever invented. They are soft and chewy with a slight crunch to them. And all the flavors you can make! Don’t get us started on the flavors – there is literally no end to the possibilities.

But if you’ve ever had to make macarons, you know that they are quite the tricky business.

There is so much that can go wrong and when you eventually do get them right, it seems like they only last a day or two. You know, because we ate them all!

However, it is true that macarons tend to become very soggy and lose their structural integrity at room temperature very quickly. So it’s still a good idea to figure out how long you have to eat them.

So, how long do macarons last? In the refrigerator, macarons can last up to 1 week and in the freezer, they will last several months. How long they last depends heavily on whether they were stored properly after being made. Storing them in the refrigerator or freezer are the only safe ways to keep them fresh.

In this article, we will not only look at the correct ways to store macarons but also what they are, how they are made and different variations of them. We will also answer some frequently asked questions that could make or break your product!

What Are Macarons?

Before we start, let’s clear up a few things about macarons.

Saying a macaron and macaroon is the same thing is like saying the sun and moon are the same when in fact, they are practically opposites.

To simplify the answer, a macaron is two meringue-based biscuits made from almond flour and a macaroon is one biscuit made from desiccate coconut.

There are a ton of other differences because as we’ve just said, they are indeed different. Below is a chart to summarize the main differences between these two biscuits.

Macaron Vs Macaroon

Base IngredientGround almond flourShredded coconut
StructureTwo biscuits sandwiching a fillingA single biscuit
TextureChewy and lightCake-like
FlavorAny flavor (savory or sweet); flavor mostly comes from the fillingCoconut flavor only (unless you add icing)
ColorAll kinds of colorsTraditionally golden brown and white

It is important to know the difference because sometimes people search for the wrong product and don’t understand why the recipe isn’t working.

Or they look for a solution to a macaron problem that obviously doesn’t make sense it the article is about macaroons.

Macaron Ingredients

The two main ingredients that make a macaron a macaron, is almond flour (meal) and egg whites. Additional ingredients that make up the base include powdered or icing sugar, granulated white sugar and food coloring.

The food coloring is an essential ingredient because it hints at the flavor of the filling. Without the coloring, the macaron will simply be a yellow-brown blob.

Additional ingredients that can be added to a macaron are mostly flavorings, although adding flavoring to the shell itself is kind of pointless.

The shell doesn’t retain flavor once baked because of its airy structure, which is why the filling is a crucial part of the macaron. No matter how much essence or extract you add to the mixture, it won’t come through in the shell.

The filling should have a very strong flavor and a perfectly smooth consistency to accompany the delicate shell.

Macarons can be either savory or sweet; there simply aren’t any limits. Because the flavor comes from the filling and not the shell, it is very easy to make a savory ganache filling like goats’ cheese (chevin) or chicken liver pate.

Macarons also often have garnishes like gold leaf pieces, chopped nuts, glitter, paint strokes, etc. Some of these work great for storage, others don’t.

They all are beautiful though and like the filling, hints towards the flavor profile that can be expected.

Do Macarons Go Bad?

Unfortunately, after all that hard work, your macarons will only last a couple of days, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things you can do to prolong the shelf life.

Moisture, oxygen, and temperature are what bacteria require to multiple and grow, ultimately causing the food item to go bad.

By eliminating even one of these, your macarons will already last considerably longer. Proper storage is essential to keeping your macarons fresher for longer.

How To Store Macarons

Macarons cannot be stored at room temperature. Sure, they can stand out a few hours, maybe a day, but they cannot stay there permanently. This will shorten the shelf life to about 2 days.

First off, remember the three factors that we need to eliminate to extend the shelf life?

When storing macarons at room temperature, you are creating the perfect temperature zone, also known as the food danger zone, for bacteria to thrive in.

Room temperatures also tend to fluctuate considerably which means that condensation could form on them as well. Therefore, you are not eliminating the moisture, you are adding to it.

Lastly, even by storing the macarons in an airtight container to try and eliminate the oxygen aspect, it won’t matter. The other two factors far outweigh this single attempt and besides, the container will cause even worse condensation.

So, what is the solution? 

Refrigerator and Freezing

The refrigerator or freezer is your best storage option for storing macarons and keeping them fresh. By placing them in an airtight container and an enclosed space, you eliminate the oxygen.

Storing them at a stable and colder temperature, you also eliminate the possibility of condensation and inhibit the activity of the bacteria.

When storing macarons, there are two routes you can go: storing the shells only or storing the assembled cookie.

When storing the shells individually, they will last in the refrigerator anywhere between 4-7 days. Once assembled, the filling will decrease shelf life to 2-4 days in the refrigerator.

The filling contains a ton of moisture and nutrients and therefore feeds the bacteria. Rather store the filling in a piping bag in the refrigerator if you only need macarons in a few days.

Storing the shells in the freezer is perfect for a long-term solution. If stored correctly, the macarons can last up to 6 months in the freezer – even longer when frozen without the filling.

How To Store Macaron Shells in the Fridge or Freezer

Regardless of where you hope to store your treats, the storage method is pretty much the same in the fridge or freezer:

  1. Place the shells in a single layer in an air-tight container.
  2. Before placing more shells on top of the first layer, set down a piece of baking paper or wax paper to prevent the shells from sticking to each other.
  3. Continue layering shells and wax paper until the container is full.
  4. Close the lid and make sure it is air-tight.
  5. For extra security, wrap the whole container in saran or plastic wrap. This will ensure that no moisture or oxygen can enter.
  6. Place the container in a safe space where it won’t be crushed or moved around a lot. Also, keep the macarons away from any odors.

To store the filling, simply place it in an air-tight container.

How To Store Assembled Macarons in the Fridge or Freezer

Although storing macaron shells and filling separately will help these delightful treats last longer, we don’t blame you for wanting to get a step or two out of the way.

If you’ve already assembled your macarons, here is how to store them properly in either the fridge or the freezer:

  1. Once the macarons are fully assembled, place the whole biscuits in a single layer in an air-tight container. Do not garnish the macarons.
  2. Before placing more biscuits on top of the first layer, set down a piece of baking paper or wax paper to prevent the shells from sticking to each other.
  3. Continue layering macarons and wax paper until the container is full.
  4. Close the lid and make sure it is air-tight.
  5. For extra security, wrap the whole container in saran or plastic wrap. This will ensure that no moisture or oxygen can enter.
  6. Place the container in a safe space where it won’t be crushed or moved around a lot. Also, keep the macarons away from any odors.

Review: How Long Do Macarons Last [Chart]

Just to be crystal clear, let’s sum up how long macarons will last by different storage methods.

How Long Do Macarons Last?

Shells only4-7 days6-8 months
Assembled2-4 days4-6 months

As usual, freezing your macarons are the best way to keep them for a long time. Anytime you can store the shells and filling separately will also help you extend the life of your macarons.

Mistakes To Avoid When Storing Macarons

1. Prevent fluctuating temperatures when storing macarons. As we have said, it causes condensation and isn’t really good for any type of food.

2. Do not store them without layering the cookies or shells with wax paper. The shells will stick and break and your work would’ve been for none.

3. Do not store macarons with their garnishes. Some garnishes might become soggy or lose color and texture. It also makes effective stacking tin the container very difficult when there are protruding pieces of garnish.

4. Defrost macarons at room temperature in the container. Do not place them back into the oven, especially if they have the filling. The shells will defrost in less than 2 hours.

Now, we don’t want to sound weird, but frozen macaron shells are actually delicious! They aren’t rock solid, just ice cold because of their airy structure. So go ahead and try them out as a warm-weather treat.

5. Do not mix different flavored macarons in one storage container. This will cause the fillings to infuse with each other.

7. Make sure your container is stain and odor-free. Macarons are extremely porous and will be affected by other colors and smells.

How Macarons Are Made

Now that we’ve sorted out the technicalities, let’s move on to the process of making macarons.

Baking is a very specific science and macarons are one of the ultimate tests. You can try it once and it works perfectly, then you try it again and it is a total failure, delicious as it still may be.

Macarons are a very technical dessert that takes much practice and a lot of experience to perfect, but we will try our best to give you a breakdown.

There are two main methods when it comes to making macarons: the French method or the Italian method. If done correctly there shouldn’t be a difference between the final outcomes of each.

The difference between the two is that the French method uses fresh egg whites that are whipped to stiff peaks while the Italian method adds sugar syrup to these egg whites to cook them.

How to Make Macarons

While we’re here, we might as well quickly explain how to make a macaron! After all, you’ll probably be hungry after reading this article. We know we are!

So here are the basic steps for making macarons at home:

  1. Combine the icing sugar and almond flour.
  2. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until it becomes foamy.
  3. Slowly add the sugar syrup and whip until you get a meringue.
  4. Fold in the meringue into the almond mixture until it reaches a very specific consistency.
  5. Pipe the macaron shapes.
  6. Rest to form a skin.
  7. Bake.

What Can Go Wrong?

Here are some common mistakes when making macarons that can throw off your batch. You’ll want to avoid these so you don’t waste your precious time, effort, or dessert!

  • The environmental temperature was too warm or cold.
  • Meringue wasn’t made properly.
  • Mixtures weren’t incorporated effectively.
  • Batter is over-mixed or under-mixed.
  • Shells are rested for too short or long of a time before baking (skin doesn’t form).
  • Macarons are baked at the incorrect temperatures.

These are only some of the basic things that often go wrong. There are tons more things, but paying close attention to these might save you a lot of hassle.

Can You Rest Macarons For Too Long?

Yes, you can definitely rest macarons for too long. Like we just said, it is one of the biggest mistakes people often make. 

The macarons should be rested until they just form a skin and have a glossy sheen – this is the best indication that they are ready to be baked.

Many recipes state a specific time, but this skin isn’t necessarily time-dependent, rather dependent on the room temperature and humidity.

Even the altitude you are making the macarons at affects the final outcome and sometimes the whole method has to change.

The skin forming is an indication that the macaron will rise perfectly and evenly when baked. If you rest them too long and the skin becomes too dry, the macaron will bake lopsided, get stuck to your silicon mat, or break and crack.

Can You Leave Macarons To Dry Overnight?

This is a very tricky and controversial thing.

From personal experience and knowing many people that professionally make macarons for a living, if your macarons don’t form a skin, something already went wrong in the recipe and no amount of trickery will save it.

Like we’ve said and will say again, macarons aren’t easy to make and many things can go wrong. Shortcuts don’t work.

Many people suggest drying them in the oven on low heat overnight.

Although this might sound like a solution, it really isn’t. Sure, they will form a skin, but they still won’t come out correct – they will still either crack, bake lopsided, not form a foot, etc.

One thing we can say is that this tends to happen a lot with French macarons (the one that doesn’t use the syrup). 

We think the idea probably came from the fact that macarons are made with a meringue, and normal meringues get dried in the oven, so, therefore, it must work with macarons?

We aren’t sure at all and it doesn’t make sense to us – bottom line, we don’t recommend it!

Your best bet would be to fan the macarons with a fan or even a blow-dryer on a gentle setting, using cold air only. This will help dry the top without affecting the internal structure. Only do this if the skins aren’t forming at all within an hour.

What is the Perfect Macaron?

A perfect macaron should be smooth on top. The shell should be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

There should be a foot at the bottom. The foot almost looks like a little lip or stand, but it shouldn’t be broken or cracked at all. The inside shouldn’t be hollow, hard or crispy, but rather fluffy.

Should Macarons Be Chewy?

The perfect macaron texture should be as follows: the outside should be dry and crispy, but thin. The inside of the macaron should be dry, soft and yes, just a little bit chewy. It might even look a bit uncooked.

If you are thinking chewy like bubble gum, then definitely not, and if your macarons turn out this way, again, something went terribly wrong.

It shouldn’t be crumbly and dry like a shortbread cookie, but also not wet like a brownie – it’s something delightfully in between.

Up Next: The Best Food Coloring For Macarons

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