Difference between Italian Meringue Macaron and French Macaron

The macaron is the uncontested star of French patisserie.  It is the queen in a high tea menu that could not miss.  Many people have tasted macarons however do you know the difference between an Italian Meringue Macaron and French Macaron?  Do you know your personal liking and which one to go for?

Among the multi-colored macaron shell, can we tell by look between an Italian meringue Macron and a French Macaron? Well, I am afraid the differences are very subtle.  Italian Meringue Macarons exhibit a more vertical rise compared to French ones which are more like a flat disk.  It has smoother surface and the shell seems thicker than French Macarons.  The feet of an Italian Meringue Macaron are usually more vertical too with delicate air pockets.  French Macaron on the other hand appeared to be more “ruffly” and with bigger air pockets at their feet.  Taste wise, The Italian Meringue Macaron produce a finer crumb that is more gentle and smooth on the tongue.  Again, the difference is really very subtle unless you have tasted enough each type of them.

So, what constitute the main difference?  It is actually the baking method behind the scene. 

Italian Meringue Method

French Meringue Method

Whip the egg whites and powdered sugar.

Cooking sugar syrup and stream unto egg whites while whipping.

Meringue is more stable and will not deflate prematuredly

Meringue is less stable and easier to overmix

Mostly used in Commercial

Less used in Commercial


Both are using the same basic ingredients like almond flour, powdered sugar and egg whites.  Therefore, what gives them the different flavours

are the filling or topping of a macaron.  When you fill the macaron with chocolate, the chocolate flavor will likely cover the mere taste of the macaron shell.  Likewise, it applies to vanilla, butter cream and other fillings or toppings.

Some bakers amplify the taste of the macaron shells by replacing less than 50% of the almond flour with other ingredient such as nut flour, hazelnut flour, finely ground coconut, etc.. This gives the macaron a stronger taste of flavor added.

Well, macarons are delicate pastry and the making process are pretty lengthy and demands high precision when comes in handling.  Plus one of its ingredient, almond flour price is at the high side that explains why the macarons are known as a pricey pastry.  To me, a tasty and good macaron are hard to find and I am definitely willing to pay for it!