What's The Difference: Macaron vs. Macaroon

A lot of people are confused about these two desserts.

IMAGE Shutterstock

Cookies are delightful nuggets of sweetness. It can be buttery discs, simple vanilla drops, studded with chocolate chips, or made healthy with bananas. Two cookies that people are often confused about: macaron and macaroons

The two cookies look significantly different. Both cookies are made with a few simple ingredients and egg whites, but that is where their similarities end. 

Here are all the differences between these two delicious desserts: 

1 Macarons are made with almond flour. Macaroons are made with grated coconut. 

The difference between macarons and macaroons has to do with each cookie recipe's ingredients. Macarons are made with almond flour while the main ingredient of macaroons is grated coconut. 

Here are ingredients of a basic macaron:

  • • almond flour
  • • powdered sugar
  • • egg whites
  • • sugar

Optional ingredients include the food coloring and the buttercream, fruit jam, or ganache filling if you're making a sandwich cookie. The shells can also be flavored to made different tasting cookies.  

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On the other side, macaroons are definitely coconut cookies. Here are the ingredients of a macaroon:

  • • grated coconut (niyog)
  • • sweetened condensed milk 
  • • egg whites

An optional ingredient is the vanilla extract for more flavor and better aroma. 

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2 Macarons are usually a sandwich cookie. Macaroons are dropped mounds. 

Macarons are actually shells of a sandwich cookie. You need two to sandwich the ganache, buttercream, or fruit filling that you want. You do not have to eat these as a sandwich cookie since these on their own are pretty tasty and delicious, too. 

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Macaroons meanwhile are commonly made in mini paper cups. It's a wet batter that is best housed in a container. These yield super moist cupcake-like cookies with toasted tops. These can be made more stiff to hold up on its own as a cookie should by whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks and/or adding a little flour to create a more sturdy structure. Another way to macaroons to stand up on its own on the baking sheet is to use more grated coconut and let the egg white be the binder. 

Photo by Riell Santos
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3 Making macarons is more complicated than macaroons. 

One of the main reason why the macaroon is so popular is because it's an easy recipe to make. Three main ingredients, including the well-loved sweetened condensed milk, mixed in a bowl and baked. No fuss. 

The macaron however is much more complicated recipe that requires some technique. It's a French cookie that needs to be made and mixed a certain way and then formed and allowed to dry before it can be baked. The foot that is so distinctive in macarons, while unnecessary, is a sign of success. Perfect shells that didn't burst as it baked or released properly from the parchment paper are also marks of success. 

It's these techniques that make the macaron much more intimidating to make than the more humble macaroon. 

If you are interested in making either of these cookies, here are recipes to try: 

Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here.

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