Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cracked Macaron Shells?

Many people have been asking me why they have cracked macaron shells. 99.9% of the time it is because you did not dry the macarons out long enough. The 0.01% is that you overmixed or undermixed the batter.

Now, there are four factors to consider in why your macaron shells are not drying...

  • Overmixed the batter
  • Humid weather conditions
  • Did not use a fan
  • Too impatient and put them in the oven while not completely dry (me sometimes)
Now here is a correct consistency of the batter piped into circles. See how they are not too thin yet not too thick? They have a small shadow around the curve of the circle (this is how I check to see if it is overmixed or not).

If they are not getting dull and dry like this, PLEASE DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE OVEN. They will crack and look ugly and won't be macarons anymore. If you touch it and it wiggles around a bit, leave it to dry longer.

I have two tips that will surely help dry out your macarons (provided you didn't overmix):

1. Use a FAN to dry out your macarons. It will speed up the drying process! I would say by the time you're done doing the dishes, and preheating your oven, the macarons will be dry.
2. Add 2tsp corn starch or potato starch to the batter if it is humid in your area. This will add some extra tackiness to your batter and should dry out your macarons if you use it additionally to the fan.

Now if you undermixed your batter and they cracked, it will look like this...

See how it is lumpy and bumpy? You didn't release most of the air in the batter, making large air pockets.

Now if you overmixed your batter and they cracked, it will look like this...

These are more flat and look like chocolate crinkle cookies. You released too much air in the batter, causing the shell to collapse onto itself and crack.

I hope this helped, and now you should be able to tell the difference :)


  1. Hi Natalie, I lived in Indonesia and the humidity level is 75 - 90%. I made macarons perfectly in Melbourne but here mostly it will crack. I tried everything in your recipes and tips and sometimes from 1 batch I still get 1 or 2 pans cracked. I wonder how come from 1 recipe, 2 pans are cracked and 1 turned out perfect. I have a picture of the cracked macarons and wonder if you can give me advice? When I put it in the oven, the macarons are dull, matte and dry already so I have no idea why it still cracked. Please let me know if I can send you the picture.

    Thanks a lot,


    1. Hi Marcia,

      Are all of the macarons hard to the touch or are they still a little soft? If so try drying it longer with a fan or add some cornstarch. Also may I see the picture?

    2. Hi my name is dirga , i from Indonesia too , if your kitchen is really humid ,you better tried using cold egg whites , 100% successful

    3. I have the same problem sometimes..from 1 batter 1 pan looks good and the other crack. .very you found out the problems? Thsnks

  2. Hey Natalie,

    Where did you purchase your Airbake pans? Thanks, Shane

  3. Hi Shane, you mean my Nordic Ware or AirBake? Either one at Target

  4. I was wondering if you could help me with my french macaron problems.

    I've been baking french macarons with the Italian Meringue method for a while now and although they taste and look great, they lack high fluffy feet. The macarons are nice and uniform but the feet are really really short. I use a silpat, double heavy duty aluminum trays, and I also rotate it halfway. I am currently baking them in a convection oven at 285 degrees F and for 16-17 minutes.

    Is there any suggestions that you can give me or ideas on what I may be doing wrong.


  5. Do you add pinch of salt along with the 2tsp of cornstarch? Or either or? I live in Texas so humidity is always here to stay :(

  6. Hi Natalie! Great post! I recently made Pierre Herme's Italian meringue recipe and my macarons looked good up until baking. Based on your instructions, it sounds like I may have been too trigger-happy with putting them in the oven before being fully fully dried. But as you can see from this photo (, many were lopsided as well. Some people interpret this as drying for TOO LONG, so I'm confused as to whether I'm drying too little, too long, or doing something else wrong? I have an electric coil bottom heat only oven in the United States, so I think the uneven and strong bottom heat from that plays a big role in my recent failures. Do you have any suggestions for improvement? I have already tried to double up my pans but that results in sticky bottoms, little feet, and overbrowned tops. Thanks in advance and Happy New Year!

    1. hi sorry late reply! I think you may have overmixed the batter, thus some didn't dry and some did. Hope you figured it out by now haha. I still get this problem at times. it's weird :(

  7. Hi there,

    I just made macarons for the first time. I tried a macaron shell once it had cooled down after baking. It was very crunchy and hard. Is there any way to fix this?

    I won't be serving my macarons until saturday night. (two days)

    I would really appreciate your help.

    1. PS: I decided to fill the macarons with nutella buttercream, even though the shell is very very hard. They are now in an air tight container in a fridge - I am hoping they'll go softer. Let me know x

  8. hello I am writing from turkey:))
    my last attempt to make macarons was dissapointing, they all get cracked and then I discover your blog and excellent advice:))
    I realised that I was undermixing my and I didn't realize the importance of humidity.
    this time I mixed it properly and also used a fan and the result is wonderful:)) thank you for sharing these knowledge:)) ı am so happy:))

  9. Dear Natalie, I made today my first ever macaroons and they cracked. Thank you very much -- your answers to my question are top-notch, concise and clear. Best wishes to your blog.

  10. I am on my second batch of these. First batch was a disaster! They cracked & were very chewey. I followed my instructions exactly. But my friend told me I didnt let them dry long enough, had too much air in my mixture. I also read maybe my oven temp was too high? So today I let them dry longer & thought the meringue looked good before I piped them. First pan over half is cracked. A few look presentable.. Now I have two more pans to bake.. So disappointed they aren't turning out well.