Do you need a special macaron silicone mat to make perfect macarons? My review with the difference between a mat and parchment for baking and how to use mats best.
Note: this post is not sponsored.
Can You Bake Macarons on Silicone?
For all the macarons I’ve churned out over the years, I only ever needed good quality parchment paper to make macarons successfully. I had never before used a silicone macaron mat. So when I saw them in specialised baking shops and advertised online, I figured they make your macarons even easier to bake and turn out perfect, right?
So I bought a macaron silicone mat to experiment and help you decide if it’s worth buying one or not.
I could indeed bake macarons on silicone but the findings were interesting while making salted caramel macarons.
This post is not referring to a flat silicone Silpat mat, but a special macaron mat with raised, pre-defined circles.
Macaron Mat with Raised Edges
This was a Mastrad raised circle macaron silicone mat.
Although it’s referred to as a “small” macaron baking sheet, it’s rather a large mat (42cm x 33cm; 17″x13″) and so the small is referring to the size of macarons, not the macaron mat itself.
In America this may be an extra small size, but in France this is the normal size found in the pâtisseries in Paris.
The mat produces 56 shells for 28 macarons.
Silicon Macaron Mat vs Parchment
Number of macarons per tray: it was great to see so many macarons condensed onto one tray. Look at how many I managed to pipe out above on the mat compared with the usual free-hand piping on baking paper.
So if you want to make large batches, then pick a macaron mat that has a lot on one sheet.
Size of mat: the mat, however, was slightly too big for my already large flat baking sheet. The result was that the batter moved and produced some oval macarons which were not so pretty.
I would, therefore, recommend that you use a strong flat baking sheet – large enough to fully support the mat, such as an aluminium 18x14cm baking sheet without any lipped edges.
Piping Batter on to a Macaron Silicone Mat with Raised Circles
Piping on the mat’s circles. Notice that my macarons are not quite round. Why? Well, although it may look easy, I had to pipe the batter right into the middle of the raised rounds.
By the time the batter spread out a little (as they normally do), some of my piping wasn’t directly in the centre. I’m so used to piping quickly free-hand on parchment without a template guide.
The paradox is you need to be really good at piping to get it bang on in the centre of each mat’s circle every time.
So leave enough space between the piped circle and the raised circle of the mat as they spread out.
With mats they need more baking time.
Baking the macarons using the silicone macaron mat took an extra 4-5 minutes compared to the ones baked on baking parchment.
Macaron Feet using the Silicone Macaron Mat
In general, the end result was satisfactory for many that were piped correctly in the centre but there were too many rejects. I was equally disappointed with the macarons’ ruffled ‘feet’. With the macaron silicone mat, they were much flatter than I normally achieve by piping directly onto good quality baking parchment/paper.
Many macarons also stuck to the mat:
- Those that were perfectly small inside the raised circles had a shiny surface underneath but with smaller ruffled feet;
- Others that came over the raised circles had bigger but protruding feet and were damaged on taking them off the mat. They also came off slightly concave.
Don’t compensate by oiling the mat either – that defeats the purpose of silicone – and that’s criteria for failure.
Personally, I find it too time consuming to relearn how to pipe the batter into the centre of the silicone rounds on the mat – although I’m not stopping you from trying this if you are a beginner.
What to do With Reject Macarons?
Don’t throw any rejects away! Use them to make plenty of desserts. My eldest daughter loves these desserts so much, she’s actually happy if there are one or two rejects. They are delicious to make gluten free versions of trifles and classics such as:
- Macaron Tiramisu
- Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle (red, white & blue)
- Macaron Black Forest Creams
- Sticky Baked Peaches (stuffed with macarons)
There are more new-age mats today that have 2 circles each, with the raised circle on the exterior.
However, I’m still not convinced on this either. So if anyone wants me to try it out, please send me one and I shall gladly put that to the test too.
Being so used to piping out macarons free hand, I find it much easier to use simple baking parchment (good quality) and pipe out rounds quickly. Look at the feet using baking parchment below. They have a much bigger, pronounced foot which gives Parisian macarons their characteristic look.
For more on macaron characteristics,
see my article on the Difference Between a Macaron and Macaroon.
Baking Sheet Tip: using a solid flat baking sheet underneath without lipped edges. This ensures no trailing macarons at the edges. Lipped edged sheets can lead to uneven baking, as the outer edges deflect more heat.
This applies to both a silicone mat and if using parchment for baking macarons.
How I Best use a Macaron Silicone Mat
After a few batches I found the best use for the macaron silicone mat. For making macarons, put it underneath parchment paper and use as a baking guide template.
Here is my easy recipe for Mendiants using it. The raised circles are just the perfect size.
As you can see, the whole process is made easy with the mat’s round grooves to make perfectly round mendiant chocolate disks. Spoon melted chocolate right to the edges of the raised circles then wait for them to set.
Once set, just peel off the mat.
As a result, the mendiants look like they have been bought from a French pâtisserie.
Macaron Silicone Mat Review – Conclusion
Raised Circle Mat: First-time users with a piping bag can find it awkward at first and, although the mat provides extra confidence in piping out uniform rounds, you still need to practise piping out the rounds directly in the middle and just enough so that the batter doesn’t go over the raised circles.
I’d rather recommend a silicone mat with rounds as a template guide rather than raised grooves.
The positive side is more macarons can fit on one mat. Ensure you use a solid flat baking sheet underneath without lipped outer edges that is large enough to completely hold the full mat flat out. So check your sizes first as I recommend above. It’s good for making large batches of macarons for parties.
My Verdict? Expensive macaron mats are a luxury and not always needed to make perfect, round macarons. If you already have the mat, it’s great for using as a template under baking parchment or for making French chocolate mendiants.
For best macaron results, I still prefer to use good quality baking parchment and following a good macaron recipe.
Have you bought a macaron mat recently? What do you think?
Macaron Recipe Books
Don’t forget. Most importantly, you need a good macaron recipe. Find my detailed step-by-step basic recipe with many possibilities in my bestselling book, Mad About Macarons! (published 2010; reprinted 2021, translated into Dutch, Spanish and Hungarian). It includes a chapter on giant macarons for dessert and savoury macarons.
Find a whole chapter on macarons also in my 2nd book, Teatime in Paris. It’s ‘A Walk Through Easy French Pâtisserie Recipes’, stopping by the many of the best Parisian pastry shops with their specialities on the way.
Note: This is a personal review and not sponsored. Mastrad did not contact me. As I see them in so many shops and readers ask me if they should buy it, I bought the mat myself, curious to experiment. All ideas and opinions are my own in the interest of my macaron-making friends.
This post was first published 31 August 2012 but has now been updated.