I have a problem with baking yellow macarons, or any light coloured macarons.

The yellow (or any light colour) ones always brown, always!

I tried lowering the temperature, I bought the best colours I can get in the UK. The colours are powdered, to reduce the liquid content.

Does anyone have a method they could suggest that is fool proof.

  • 3
    Are they browning on top, underneath, or both?
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 0:55
  • @Joe they are browning on all sides, I can't add foil to block the heat, but where would I place the shelf?
    – jelly46
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 10:27

3 Answers 3


As well as the previous answers and if not already doing so, try using beet sugar (e.g. Silver Spoon in UK) rather than cane (e.g. Tate Lyle in UK) as beet sugar takes a little longer to Brown.


There are two types of browning, Maillard begins at around 140C and caramelisation at 180C.

Maillard needs protein and sugar. Caramelization is a sugar only reaction. Both are exothermic (from memory, could be wrong) and once started, the reaction generated heat will accelerate the browning. Alkaline condition will also promote caramelization. So watch out for baking soda and other alkaline ingredients that are not adequately neutralized by acidic ingredients.

There are bound to be proteins and sugar present in your dough. So, if possible keep your temperature (especially at hot spots in your oven) below 140C.

  • 1
    Baking powder should be self-neutralizing. Baking soda however is alkaline. For every gram of it, you will need a touch over 2.2 grams of cream of tartar to neutralize it assuming you have no other acid ingredients like fruit juice in you dough.
    – user110084
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 13:53
  • 1
    I don't see how this theory is relevant for macarons. They have no leavening agents (actually nothing that's especially alkaline or acidic). As for the temperature, if you set it below 140, they won't cook properly. The major chefs all do it at higher temperatures and they don't discolor.
    – rumtscho
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 6:19
  • 1
    There are two ways foods go brown in cooking (perhaps a third involving enzymes which do not function much above 60C). Given that we are dealing with egg whites, maillard is more relevant here. Ingredients do not need to be "especially" high or low in pH to promote or inhibit browning, just on either side of 7. I am not pretending to suggest a cure for these recipes but more about places to look for causes when baking. There may be inhibitors you use. I do not make macarons, but a casual search turned up a couple of recipes and both had exactly 140C or 285F, "bake to set but not brown".
    – user110084
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 17:54
  • Again, I have never made macarons. If I were to do it, I would be very tempted to add a bit of lemon juice or cream of tartar to the egg white and compare results with another without the addition. Lowering the pH might (speculating here) even shorten the setting time for the white.
    – user110084
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 5:46
  • Just dawned on me that food colours may not have a neutral pH. And if it is an azo type, does the nitrogen in the dye do any incidental chemistry with the ingredients to promote browning?
    – user110084
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 5:59

Bravetart wrote an article about this years ago, and noted that some coloring formulations don't play nicely with the oven. She suggests a few brands of gel pastes which work for her.

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