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.
What’s more, it’s raised circles are great for making chocolate disks, popular in France – known as Mendiants, covered in dried fruits and nuts.
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.
Hi, this may be a long shot as it’s an old thread, but I came across it whilst trying to work out the best quality baking paper in the U.K. to use for macs ? I have not had much success with silicon and I currently use a supermarket parchment but I was wondering if you could recommend a good quality parchment that can be found in the U.K.? Thanks!
As I haven’t been able to get back to the UK for a while, I’ve asked on my FB page (please join us there if you can!) for the latest and one amazing baker, Becky, suggests the following:
‘I use the reusable cooking liners – they aren’t as thick as the silicon macaron sheets much more like greaseproof parchment but re-useable. Available in Sainsbury’s’ (sounds good for the environment if able to use again)
Hope this helps and thanks for joining me here on le blog!
Hi Jill ,
Can I reduce the amount of sugar since the original macaron recipe always too sweet for our taste . Will this affect the rising feet from Macarons ? Thank you
Yes, you can reduce the sugar slightly but be careful. Yes, it will affect the result – that’s why I developed my own macaron recipe in both my books, starting with Mad About Macarons. There’s a chapter with even more reduced sugar (as much as I dare!) with savoury macaron recipes too. Have fun!
Jill, my macarons always stick so much whenever I use this mat! But whenever I try to bake them longer, they brown and are too hard. I can’t freehand because whenever I bang the tray on the table, the shapes become a mess! What can I do?
Are you using my recipe? I ask since recipes can change the outcome and it helps me to help! Sounds like your batter is too runny – and I don’t encourage readers to bang the tray on the table with this recipe. Let me know more so I can help.
I really love this product. I have use it in my home country in Cambodia. It is easy to use and perfect for family.
Hi Jill, thank you for your article, I am about to buy Mastrad Mat just to experiment. I always make macarons using parchment paper and turn out good, though occasionally turned oval. So now I won’t experiment with mat after reading your article. I am interested to buy your book, where and how, I am in Australia. Thanks
Hi Vera, Sorry for the late response but have been on holiday and away from le blog. You can find both books on the Book Depository. For Australia, I’m not too sure…
My macarons are round during drying time and before baking, but turned oval shapes when baked. What do you think I did wrong?
It sounds like your batter is slightly on the liquid side. For this, there are a number of reasons:
over-beating the batter; not whipping up the whites enough into stiff peaks; not good quality eggs; incorrect measurement of ingredients (you need to follow the recipe to the letter).
Or, as you mention, your baking parchment isn’t great quality. I have asked my Canadian baking friends and will be back in touch!
What is the brand name of the “high quality” parchment paper that you use for your macarons? I am from Canada and the one I use is called “Culinary Parchment”. Before the macarons are baked, they are perfectly rounded. But after baking, most of them take on an oval shapes. Other than that, they are great.
My Canadian friend, Mardi Michels, tells me that her favourite quality brand of parchment paper is Paper Chef in Canada
Thank you, Jill, for helping me out.
David, I wonder if your oven’s fan is too strong? This may cause the macaron to change shape while baking. silicon mats can help hold the shape a bit better but parchment doesn’t block the heat. If the recipe calls for leaving macaron until skin forms try and leave it for a few additional minutes to help retain the shape on parchment.
i have just brought macarons decorating set before using i need your advise is it ok to use and pls forward your receipe do i have to put tray underneath the silocone sheet pls reply
As I say here, I prefer NOT to use a silicone mat for macarons. I’m sorry but my publisher does not allow me to put up the recipe here, as they prefer readers buy the book (and at a small price, it’s value for money for the same as a box of macarons in Paris.) To answer your question, though, if you are wishing to use a silicone mat then yes, you would put the baking tray underneath it. All the best, J.
Hi Jill, i use silicone mat and bake macaron at 140 C in convection oven for around 25 mins. How do I test if they are done? They don’t move easily and stick to the mat. Even after cooling the base of shell is not clean. pls help.
Hi Praveen, first off 140°C sounds too low an oven temperature to me and for too long – but perhaps you’re using a different recipe. Are you following all the instructions from ‘Mad About Macarons’? It’s all in the book for guidance on this – and, as I say in the post, I don’t like using a silicone mat but rather good quality parchment/baking paper. In the book, I bake at 160°C fan although, depending on your oven, this can be lowered to 155° or 150°C (I don’t recommend any lower).
Thanks for the prompt response Jill. How long to bake at 160 °C ? currently, i get a neat shell and foot as well but the base of the shell is not clean. May be once i adjust the temp to 160 °C would i get clean base?
It all depends, Praveen. If you’re using my recipe, it’s easier to say how it will go but if you’re doing it from another version, I can’t guarantee it will work. My recipe is at 160°C fan for only 8-10 minutes and after they come out with a clean base. All the instructions are given in the basic recipe. Cheers!
How important is the feet on the macaron shells?
I just baked two batches for the very time but using parchment paper on insulated cookie sheets. No feet. They didn’t have smooth tops because maybe the batter was too thick. But tasted very good. Slight crisp with slight soft chewiness in the middle. Still wondering if we I should buy the lekue silicon mat and batter dispenser.
Sorry – been away, still away and only have a quick connection time here. A macaron without feet is, well really, not a macaron. As I say in my book. Are you using my recipe from Mad About Macarons and sticking to the instructions? It’s all in the book – including just using a piping bag. All these gadgets are not really necessary…
Wish I thought to google ‘macaron mat’ before I piped them out! They appear to be quite round and even, but I have yet to cook them! I am despairing of how I will get them off once cooked, as my macarons almost always stick!
Update! Well, that was a waste of time! There is plenty of rise, but on one side only, and not the same side one each macaron, interestingly. And, they are not cooked, despite adding an additional 2 minutes to the cooking time. Back to the mixmaster!
Thanks for the feedback, Emma-Jane. Sorry to hear you saw this post a bit late and spent the money on a macaron mat but as I say here, you can use the mat to shape chouquettes and mendiants!
I just finished a 3 hour Macaron class. I’m so glad that I did it. I made some amazing cookies and amazing fillings. I feel very comfortable and confident that I can make amazing homemade Macarons. We made Hazelnut with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Pumpkin with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Spiced with Apple Cider Buttercream.
Thanks for the information about the mats. I’ve been using a Silpat since I started making macarons and I wondered why it was taking them longer to cook than the recipe calls for. When I was in France earlier this week I noticed in a store a macaron mat that had little round “pockets” for macarons and I wondered how it worked. I’d actually come online today to see if I could buy one in the US, and having read your blog I’ve decided to try parchment paper instead. Thanks for the helpful tips!
So glad you saw this before buying, Deborah. Only too pleased to help.
I have the Silicone Macaron macaroon Baking Sheet. Use them couple times fine. Today all of them were sticky (Why?). The same time i did with the baking parchment. The ones baked in the silicone were much nicer looking color from the same batch. Next time i will try one silicone with oil, one with water to see if is any difference.I was told that if you run little water on the silicone and drain, it may work….
Interesting experiment, Mia. As I say in the post, out of all my trials with the mat compared with good quality (that’s important) baking parchment, the parchment came up with the best all-around performance – especially with better feet than the mat. I mention to use an oil to help on the mat – I went no further so if you want to experiment with the water, please do let us all know here! Have fun!
Thanks for all the info – tried making macaroons only once so far and not very successfully. We used an insulated baking sheet under a silicone mat and under parchment paper. Is it better to use an regular non-insulated cookie sheet.
As I say here, I don’t recommend using a silicone mat to make macarons. I just used a regular baking tray/cookie sheet with a good quality baking/parchment paper. Don’t worry about it – it’s only your first time. Try again, keep it simple and just stick to what I say in the book and you’ll have fun!
Thanks for the reply – it was a metal insulated cookie sheet not a silicone mat. There is a layer of air between two metal sheets – they are called AirBake. We use them for cookies so they don’t burn on the bottom but I wondered if it was not suitable for macarons. We’ll try using a regular cookie sheet next time. We still ate them and they tasted good just didn’t look like they should.
Sounds a super duper cookie sheet, Judi. No, don’t know of it, just use regular sheets and it works great. Enjoy making the next batch – taste was good for the first? That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
I have made macarons with parchment paper a few times and they came out good. Used sillpad under same condition and the shell burst on top.no feet Can you tell me why? Thanks
Kevin, I think this scenario just adds to what I’m saying here. Let’s stick to baking/parchment paper and keep life easy! Thanks for your feedback.
Ok thank you for your response.
Hi, what should I use to oil the macaron silicon mold mat?
Hi Evelyn, suggest a light oil such as grape seed oil, but very little of it.
You are gonns think Im crazy but used a small round cookie cutter as a mold for awhile til I perfected the round one. Once you tapped the trays to released air bubbles you would never tell.
Do you have any techniques for hand piping very round macarons? I’m considering a mat because the ones I pipe aren’t very round. Is there maybe some other tool that can be used? It sounds like the silicone mat makes the feet smaller which is less desirable.
Oh and to be clear, I’m using a round template, but it’s my technique that makes them not perfectly round, and that bugs me 🙂
Hi Jules, I honestly don’t think a mat is really beneficial to round macarons and, as I’ve said here, you not only get smaller macaron feet but it’s almost as tricky piping onto the exact mat’s circles than piping free hand! I’d suggest you follow all of my tips and recommendations thoroughly in the book. It sounds like your batter is perhaps a bit runny and so more difficult to control. Once you have a batter that’s manageable, then it will be easy to pipe out using a plain tip right onto the baking paper.
Hello! I wonder what parchment paper brand would be good to use? And how do you make your macaron rounds even and with almost no batter tips?
Hi Lily, Depends where you live but as I live in France I can only suggest Monoprix own brand which I particularly prefer. I’ve just asked my readers on the FB page. In the meantime, the answer is far too long to your 2nd question. It’s all in the book!
I recently made some macarons and i even when out and bought some fairly good parchment paper, but of course they still stuck so i went to my last resort and used some that i got from Costco (I am from the US) and they worked AMAZINGLY for some reason the parchment paper from Costco is price very good and works even better!
Thanks for this, Tammy – it’s very useful for our USA friends. I noticed a few people mentioning this on our FB page. OK, so let’s stick to Costco parchment paper for macarons! Merci beaucoup.
I have two mats and get about 25% of the shells peeling off well. The others come off with a butter knife and a slow hand and a repair job. I love the idea of the mats and will try some oil spray next time. I accidentally left the last batch in 10 minutes longer than usual and they turned out better than other times. I’ll give baking parchment a go and see what happens. If only I could make them last a little longer.
Aha! I purchased some adorably shaped ones that have a bear, heart and star. After about 3 failed batches I was blaming my macaron making hiatus, but probably it’s the mat. I had finally gotten perfect Macs on parchment but moved to silicone and then took a break during which I bought a Mat like this and had do much failure. Perhaps I should just go back to parchment! Thanks for the review!
Glad to be of help, Rollerscrapper. Don’t let the fancy gadgets put you off. You’re right, stick to good parchment! Enjoy macaron making. You’re a star, you don’t need fancy shapes 😉
Thanks Jill! I tried one more time and had perfect round Macs and the shaped ones were a flop, so I have decided that the shaped ones are just not in the cards!
Never impossible! GLad to hear about the perfect round macs; let’s face it, that’s what matters most for a typical, classic Parisian macaron – and the taste. Enjoy macaroning. J xo
Hey Jill! I have a silicone mat and I enjoy it a lot. To be honest I’m sort of afraid to just go completely with parchment. I always find my macarons not as rich as yours in the image and not as stiff/sticky/sticking to the mat. Is there anyway I can fix that? Also is spraying a mat with Pam or some sort of non stick spray worth trying? Sorry for all these questions! xo
Hi Chanel, As I say in this post, I much prefer just using baking parchment. I find that these mats make macarons stick a lot – not so great. So yes, spray with a non-stick spray beforehand. Just good quality baking parchment makes the foot bigger and no sticking. Just go for it!
thank you for this review! i saw it online and wanted to run to macys to buy it but i think i’ll stick with the parchment paper. 🙂
Well, I’m glad I’ve helped you save some money, Mia. 😉
[…] did I feel confident enough to try my first batch. I only wish I would’ve read Jill’s Silicone Macaron Mat review before my first […]
I bought the mats, had to find baking sheets that they fit on, used them for one tray and piped the rest onto parchment and now the mats are just taking up space.
Thanks for the review. Do you recommend the silpat for making macarons? Are the results comparable between the parchment paper and the silpat?
Amanda, I prefer using parchment paper for making macarons since the result is always consistent. Silpat is fine but I’ve found that the macarons spread a bit too much and don’t produce as perfect feet by just using parchment.
I agree with you, JIll that this mat is probably an unnecesary luxury. I got mine ( Lekue) at half price from the generous retailer for me to try,it is similar as your mastrad, most of the mac feet are stuck on the indented circles, so only used the mat once…and went back to the ever so reliable free hand -or with drawn circles underneath the baking paper for those special occasions. I am happy that a mac expert like u came to the same conclusion, so it wasnt just me being silly with the mat then:-)
Very thorough testing, Jill. I’ve looked at some of these mats but after reading your experiences I think I’ll go free-hand with the piping.
You are wonderful to have posted this and to have done all the work to do so. I’ve only made macs once and never had a problem getting them round. I’m a big fan of using parchment paper, for macs and all my other baking. Often look at the baking mats but always talk myself out of purchasing them.
What can I say, Paula? Here’s to good old parchment paper and free-piping easily these round macarons without any expensive gadgets! Thanks for your sweet words.
That was a fun product review Jill! I liked how you figured out other usages for the mat! 😀 You have been baking without one and I think it’s great that we don’t have to spend extra money to make a nice outcome. When I hear bloggers loving those silmats, I was excited to buy one (um, even though I only occasionally bake), but my oven size is a bit smaller kind that the mat didn’t fit sideways to the oven! I returned it..and wished that they come in a smaller size. Anyway, thank you for the review and you were the perfect person to test it out! 😉
Well I’m glad you thought it was fun, Nami. I’m kicking myself for finding something in my cupboard that I don’t need and expensive to boot! Never mind. All in the art of testing for my friends here, eh?
Thanks for this informative post. You have steered me way from buying one. Perfecting my hand piping it is!
I don’t think you need much more perfecting on the piping, Lora. You’re fantastic and so creative!
I need to get one of these silicone mats. Thanks for the information.
OK, but note this is about the macaron mat with circles and not about the plain silicone mat.
I love the mat. It really helps me get all my macarons the same size. I’ve never had trouble free hand getting them round, but I would end up with all different sizes. Sometimes matching them up was a little trouble. Always ended up with one cookie with a big side and a small side. As for browning and feet, I thought it did great. I do spray mine with a very light spray of canola oil before using. I think that helps browning. The first time I didn’t and had some stick,,
Glad to hear it works for you – interesting to hear. Yes, marrying up the pairs are easier but I personally love the one or two odd couples that I can use as as excuse just to ‘test’ the filling 😉
C’est d’la triche!!! 😉
Sure is, Jérôme!
I’ve been making macarons, mostly with the general recipes from your book, which I love! I’ve been piping directly onto parchment paper, without any template. Most of the time, I get the sizes and round almost perfect; but I was wondering if you’ve found a template online or did you create your own template to put underneath the parchment?
PS: I purchased the same silicone mat in France, but have not yet used it. I went to a class at L’Atelier des Chefs, and learned there that the parchment and the baking sheets was much better to allow air to filter into the shells.
I’ll be honest – I have never used a template. Never needed one – it’s so easy to just pipe out rounds with a plain tip on to the paper. You can get the hang of it so quickly.
You got a macaron mat (with circles) or a normal silicone mat?
I think it’s important to note the difference between one of these mats with circles and a regular Silpat. I find that I achieve the same results with parchment and with a Silpat, and I don’t really have a preference other than that parchment is a pain when it rolls up on you constantly, so more often I use my Silpats. I was all giddy when I found the macaron mat with circles, even though I thought it may be fairly gimmicky. Similar to your experiences, I was fairly disenchanted. I noticed that they didn’t peel off very well and left residue on the mat (exactly the same as in your picture) and holes in the shells. Not a very pretty product. I will probably give them another chance just because, but in the long run stick with regular Silpats or parchment. I appreciate the review!
Katie, agreed. Here I am talking about the silicone macaron mat (with the circles.) Interesting to here you have the same experiences!
How interesting. I’m glad I read this. I love piping and so would probably stick to that. I’m also one of those people who would buy a mat too big for the tray! I’m glad it didn’t go to waste though!
Hehe – like you, I don’t go around the shops with a tape-measure in my handbag, even although my husband thinks I carry already too much in it!
Thanks for testing this out so I don’t have to 😉 I have never had an issue with macarons not being round (that is in fact the least of my concerns!) so I have never understood the concept of a special mat just for that… For mendiants, however…… 😉
Now you see why I needed to post something, Mardi? It’s so easy to pipe out rounds free-hand so no need for an expensive mat. As for the mendiants, it’s the same thing: you still get a good round just by using the back of a spoon!
Everyone I know loves Silpat mats and to this day I haven’t purchased one. Although I may have purchased this one for the circles had you not shared this review. To date I’ve used a sheet that I printed off online to place under my parchment as I piped, with circles, until I got the hang of making circles the same size. Once you do get the hang of it, you develop a type of rythum that makes piping quick and easy. You must be so speedy at it by now!
Nice review. Thanks for sharing that.
Vicki, I do love the Silpat mats for choux buns, eclairs and cookies – it’s great for these. I’ve seen the circle idea but as you say, once you get the hang of it there’s no need for that either. You’re probably quicker than myself by now!
Thanks for saving us the trouble of falling for this gizmo.but your mendients are adorb.
Thanks, Carol – even mendiants just need baking parchment and you can easily obtain perfect rounds with the back of the spoon…
Read this with interest!! I thought I was being very clever in buying the silicone mats ( I even tried 2 different ones!) but have to say I get much better results on baking parchment too!!! And cleaning them is a nightmare!!!!
Yes, I forgot to mention the cleaning. Too right, Beckie!