When I heard the Veganuary challenge making its annual rounds, I realised I hadn't tried to make a vegan macaron yet. Now I've made this Raspberry Vegan Macaron Recipe and learned from the experience, I'm happy I have cracked the challenge of making macarons without egg whites.
Are Macarons Vegan?
Lately I've heard people ask if macarons are vegan. Classic Parisian macarons are made using egg whites so, while they are gluten free, they are not vegan. You'll find all of these recipes in both of my books. However, the recipe below is for vegan macarons.
Flexitarian is my name: I rarely eat red meat, stick to poultry, fish and seafood as much as possible - in between at least a few vegetarian weekly meals. To be a vegan means carrying on eating a deliciously crispy French baguette but cutting out all that gorgeous unpasteurised French cheese, butter, milk and organic eggs I see so often at our local markets.
I'm simply not ready to give them up yet - even although I know I want to make the change eventually. However, I do enjoy my healthy maple oat granola or spiced granola in the mornings with almond milk and, for vegan party food, make these energy bites in the form of no-bake chocolate and fruit snowballs and salted toffee cherry tomatoes, great with a glass of rosé. That's it, really - for now.
So why am I making these Raspberry Vegan Macarons so late in the day? I love a challenge and besides, I want to see if I can make eggless macarons using aquafaba.
Raspberry Vegan Macaron Recipe (with Aquafaba French Meringue)
Aquafaba - it is miraculous to watch how this fancy name for the brine of tinned chickpeas or beans can go from a simple thick brown reduced liquid to a whipped up, shiny, regular-looking meringue. It looks like it's made from egg whites but it's easy to be fooled in the looks department: it's entirely vegan with no eggs used!
As with my regular macaron recipes in my books using egg whites, I use the French meringue method - so no candy thermometers are needed. It's a lot easier, producing just as good results.
All was going well, just as I would be making regular gluten-free French meringue macarons by both my books. Once I'd completed the macaronnage (basically the mixing of the batter to eliminate air bubbles and produce a shiny texture) it looked ready to pipe out the shells, even if a bit thicker than I'm used to.
Piping out the vegan macarons mixture, the batter was indeed thicker and a bit grainier than for my regular macarons and, therefore, susceptible to having pointy tops (I shall refrain here from what I normally call them!). Apart from that, no problem.
Making Vegan Macarons - Do I need to Air Them?
As for regular macarons, leave vegan macarons to sit out and air for at least 30 minutes before baking. Even using aquafaba for vegan macarons, the effect is the same: the outer layer becomes quite hard to the touch.
Once this happens, they're ready to bake.
Oven Temperature for Making Vegan Macarons
I knew that Aquafaba doesn't like high temperatures and for making aquafaba meringue, it prefers lower temperatures much like for normal meringues. So, I reduced the oven slightly from my usual macaron temperature to 140°C fan just to try out the first batch.
Oh-oh. A totally maca-wrong move.
Clearly that first batch wasn't right! The temperature was still FAR TOO HIGH. As with making regular macarons, I bake the trays one at a time; just as well, as at least I didn't ruin the rest of the batter! I could easily correct it by reducing the oven temperature to 110°C fan (130°C) for the next batch.
Bingo! It worked. For the vegan macarons filling, I personally find it's not that easy to find tasty vegan ideas to sandwich the shells together, as I can't use normal chocolate ganaches or buttercream. I still need time to work on this part! The easiest to hand was homemade raspberry jam - or try it with rhubarb, hibiscus & rose jam. Another easy vegan macaron filling is classic peanut butter but that would look strange with pink.
When ready to eat next day, I sprinkled them with some freeze-dried raspberry powder for that extra raspberry flavour.
Vegan Macarons - My Conclusion
At first glance, these vegan macarons look like regular macarons using egg whites. However, they're not quite as picture perfect compared to my classic Parisian macarons. I'm happy these vegan macarons had feet and no hollows, even if they were slightly sticky - there's still room for improvement! I feel that the most important element in French patisserie is taste before looks. So, for vegan macarons I need to work on that part first before really working on the perfectly smooth appearance.
Their taste, however, is nothing like regular macaron shells - no matter how much you hear, "Don't worry; it will taste better in the end". I added vanilla powder and some natural raspberry powder, just to help it along the way for flavour points. The eventual taste of the vegan macarons shell is strange, especially with raspberry: definitely sweet but there is the "weird" sensation with the aftertaste of, well, chick peas.
Although it's good to know we can produce vegan macarons, I'm sticking to my own traditional French-meringue macarons using egg whites for now. That's at least until I can work on perfecting the same kind of taste we're used to from all these wonderful classic Parisian patisseries.
Mad About Macarons - Macaron Recipe
For my classic Parisian macaron recipes, you'll find most of them in Mad About Macarons! , along with detailed step-by-step instructions with tips on troubleshooting, decorating them, making for weddings etc. - and in the chapter devoted to macarons in my latest book, Teatime in Paris.
Don't forget that regular Parisian macarons are made with egg whites but are gluten free.
Troubleshooting Vegan Macarons
- Like regular Parisian macarons, ensure you weigh your ingredients by the gram or ounce using a digital scale (this article link explains why) and follow the recipe to the letter. Although not difficult to make, following the recipe through exactly will achieve the right result, although the only other culprits could be your ingredients and oven, as all ovens behave differently. For this, I'd suggest an oven thermometer, just to ensure your oven is doing what it says it's doing;
- As with regular Parisian macarons, avoid using liquid colouring as it waters down the meringue, making it difficult to work with. I use powdered colouring where only a quarter teaspoon, for example, is needed. For stockists, see baking chat for more information;
- Like regular Parisian macarons, bake each tray one at a time. It's more time consuming - and even more so for vegan macarons - but worth it as home kitchen ovens normally just don't like dealing with it. Leaving the vegan macarons in the oven with the door open for 15 minutes at the end of baking proved to work so much better;
- When baking vegan macarons, it's totally different to baking regular Parisian macarons: the vegan aquafaba meringue prefers a lower oven temperature and baked (much like meringues) for longer.
Vegan Macaron Recipe
Raspberry Vegan Macarons
- 100 g (3.5oz) Aquafaba, chickpea brine (reduced from a 400g tin)
- 75 g (3oz) caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 150 g (5.5oz) finely ground almonds (almond flour)
- 150 g (5.5oz) icing/confectioner's sugar
- pinch powdered pink colouring or beetroot colouring (optional)
- Drain the brine/liquid from a 400g tin of chickpeas into a saucepan. Reduce the liquid (uncovered) on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes until reduced to about ⅔. Leave to cool then refrigerate overnight.
- Using a stand mixer (or with electric hand beaters), whisk the aquafaba and cream of tartare in a large bowl, adding the caster sugar gradually once it starts to foam. Continue to whisk, gradually on high speed for 10 minutes or until the aquafaba starts to form firm, glossy peaks. If using, add a good pinch of pink powdered food colouring.
- Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar into a large bowl, putting aside any leftover bits of almonds for decorating desserts later. Add the whipped aquafaba and, using a good flexible spatula, mix the ingredients together until combined. Beat out any air using pastry scraper, continuing back and forward until the batter is glossy and falls off the scraper. Transfer the batter to a piping bag with a plain tip (8mm).
- Line 2 flat baking trays with baking parchment (I prefer this to a silicone mat, as it's easier to produce feet). Pipe out small rounds, leaving enough space between each (they will spread in the oven slightly) .
- Leave the trays out to air for about 30 minutes until they are quite hard to the touch. If still too soft, leave out for longer. Preheat the oven to 130°C/110°C fan/250°F/Gas ½.
- Bake each tray separately for 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the tray in the oven with the door open for a further 15 minutes (this sounds cumbersome but after experimenting was the best way for this recipe). Leave to cool.
- For the filling: Arrange the macaron shells into pairs and marry each couple together by piping out one half with raspberry jam, top with the other shell then set aside in the fridge for 24 hours. (I heated up a quarter of a jar of raspberry jam with a few lemon verbena leaves and left the jam to cool).
Hi made these today but mine didn’t rise at all, why could that have been!
Did you leave them to air enough? If you're in a humid climate, you'll need longer to air them as for normal macarons. That could be a culprit - also if your oven temp was too high. I'd try both these
I have a question. I have not made these quite yet and I was wondering if I could use gel or liquid coloring if I can not find the powder?
Hi Megan. Yes, you can use gel colouring (avoid liquid if you can as it will affect the meringue) but I much prefer using powdered colouring as less is needed and it's easier to work with.
Hi I have been experimenting with some vegan desserts lately. I make a great vegan chocolate cupcake and was looking for something other than vegan buttercream and I came across a recipe for vegan chocolate ganache using vegan chocolate and coconut milk. It was a huge success and would be great for the filling for the macarons.
Thanks, Cindy. I need to try making a vegan chocolate and coconut milk ganache, then. Good luck with the vegan desserts experimenting!
Hi Jill, longtime aquafaba-using vegan baker here. Something very important about using aquafaba for meringues (and for all baked goods, really) is to use unsalted chickpeas, otherwise you will end up with a chickpea-like aftertaste. Perhaps this is why you were getting a less-than-perfect final flavour. Meringues are my favourite dessert, and the best ones I've ever had came from a patisserie in Arcachon, France. I've never been able to recreate that quality, but I don't even think that'd be possible with egg whites! ? Anyway, hope this helps!
Thank you so much for your interesting note, Paige. This does help and makes sense but I'm wondering how so many bakers using aquafaba from tinned chickpeas don't have the same problem: yes, every tin states that there's a little salt but how on earth can we find tins of chickpeas with low sodium or no salt at all? I have asked around my local stores around Paris and I get the shoulder shrug and pouted lips! Where do you get your unsalted chickpeas? Your tips would be much appreciated!
Hi Jill! I was also struggling to find no salt chickpeas. I finally just resorted to boiling my own beans. Time consuming but well worth it!
Sounds like the best idea, Jazmin. Thanks!
Amazon sells powdered non salted dehydrated Aquafaba as well as a liquid version with no salt. They send the liquid to you frozen and you just thaw it out on the table. Works the same and has no sodium
I had a query
Can I bake these macrons in convection microwave?
If yes then at what temp and time
Hi Ruchi. I've never even heard of a convection microwave. Sorry no idea on microwaves.
This recipe works! I needed a bit more drying time because they were raw in the middle, but I got some feet!!! And that was my goal. Thank You!!
That's wonderful, Karen. So happy for you. All ovens are different and so that's something you can personalise to suit yours. Great!
Goodness Jill, how many times have I thrown away the brine of tinned chickpeas and beans never knowing it could be whipped up as shown. I appreciate you taking the time to make macarons for vegans and found it interesting but I prefer your classic recipes with egg whites which work very well for me. Also I didn't know you can buy raspberry powder.
Hehe - I thought exactly the same when I was making a chickpea salad and keeping aside that brown, thick brine! Isn't that funny? Yes, I also prefer the taste of traditional Parisian macarons. I'm not convinced of the taste of acquafaba, to be honest. I'm sure you can find raspberry powder in health food stores.
Yes, Jill. Now i understand. As you know we don't eat red meat at all but no way i would give up "a proper macaron"... and chick peas aftertaste doesn't sound appealing. ? Huge thanks for sharing. And no matter what they look gorgeous.
Thanks, Natasha. So happy to get the feet and the look with chick pea brine. But I have to tell the truth here: if it's not up to the Parisian patisserie taste challenge, then I'm clearly not ready yet for veganism - when it comes to meringues, anyway. I've tried so many other vegan deliciousness and it works (e.g. Shangri-La hotel, Paris) but vegan macarons are difficult buggers and, in this case, I need to work on the perfect taste.
So your taste buds are more important than the life of an animal? Interesting.
Perhaps you’re just that great of a baker because every vegan macaron I’ve tasted was incredible. And hey, they didn’t contribute to a terrible, cruel industry.
Doesn’t sound like a cookie is why you aren’t ready for veganism. Selfishness perhaps.
That's actually a really interesting comment, Kimberley. Alas a bit agressive, I'd however love to write a full on response in a special blog post as it can't just be summed up in a few words here. As I say, I'm not vegan but it's something I wish to get to gradually. As an ex-vegetarian and now mainly vegetarian cook, I am happy at least to make the first few steps; I just need to adapt the recipes as the vegan taste is, yes, not the same as what we're used to from the wonderful Parisian patisseries. I still have a lot to learn - however, in the meantime, I found vegan macaron feet and have shared that happy moment. J
I’m vegan too and I for one applaud you for trying. I understand where her comment is coming from as I’m sure she’s well aware of how cruel egg production is and has seen baby make chicks get grinded up alive for egg production but with that said, we don’t want to chase you off and turn you away from veganism. But please try again making these with non salted Aquafaba you can purchase from amazon. You won’t regret it!
How does egg white sound appealing either? Because you are used to them. I have made vegan meringues and I can tell you once you have whipped the aquafaba and added the sugar, there is no strange after taste.
Everyone has their own tastes, Tom.
Jesus, the aggressive vegans are out in full force! You'd think they'd want to encourage slow steps towards veganism, than attack the people giving it a go. Real shame!
Beautifully handled criticism however, with elegance and grace -- and the recipe was fantastic too!
Many thanks for your kind words, Sean. I was beginning to regret even giving them a go after such disappointing comments above. I'm still going to persevere, however, and continue to give veganism a try gradually. I'm thrilled you like the recipe!
I’m vegan and although I understand where they’re coming from we really don’t want to turn anyone off from befanism. It’s just that we are passionate about it because we’ve seen first hand accounts of the massive and sick cruelty involved in the egg industry; it’s pretty bad as all animal cruelty is. With that said, please don’t be upset or turn away from vefanism. Vegans are not perfect and we don’t claim to be; just passionate and want to share that passion. I appreciate you trying to recreate these vegan macaroons.
Thanks for all your positive comments, Natasha - for bearing with me for being a bit behind on this subject and for the tip on the aquafaba on Amazon. Alas, I can't get it yet in France (we are so behind on this in general, it seems) but good to know it exists and hopefully will come to us soon.
I am SO impressed. Though the taste was not perfectly replicated, you still made it possible for vegans to finally enjoy a macaron "like" dessert. Well done, my friend! xo
Thanks so much, Liz. Appreciate you popping in!
Guess what? We're on the same page again! I've just made vegan doughnuts and will be sharing the recipe soon! Crazy, huh? Well, your vegan macarons look absolutely MARVELOUS! Well done, Jill! I bet the raspberry flavor is fantastic, too!
Well, it will be interesting to hear your conclusions on the taste of your doughnuts, as you need to read the end of this post.
Just felt that I had to give vegan macarons a try at least.
Very interested to read about the results of your experiment with these vegan macarons. I am especially glad to hear your views about the taste. I have to tell you, I attended a tea once, hosted by the record label 4AD and vegan pastries were served. I really wanted to like them (because it was an event I had looked forward to for weeks), but they just did nothing for me. Glad to know you still prefer the wonderful effects of butter, eggs and cream on baking!!
Isn't that interesting, Betty? To be honest, it also depends on the ingredients and type of vegan produce. I've had some vegan pastries from the Shangri-La in Paris, for example, and couldn't believe they were vegan - they were SO good. But on reflection, none of them were meringues or macarons. I'm definitely not convinced with the aftertaste that aquafaba leaves. Not much luck for you either, then. I'm sure there are other wonderful vegan desserts that have a wonderful taste.