According to this question, there are two different forms of macarons, "French" and "Italian". What is the difference between the French and Italian macaron method - and where does the name originate?

I'm guessing it has something to do with how the meringue is made as I've seen some recipes that use the Italian meringue method (hot sugar syrup) as opposed to a method that uses solid sugar.

Are both methods really still "French" regardless of the name? I ask because a book I'm reading is very obviously written by a French man (apparently the "king of French pastry" but he uses the method with the Italian meringue and doesn't call his macarons "Italian macarons". In fact, I'm pretty sure he refers to them as "French macarons".

As a note, I don't believe this to be a duplicate of the linked question as that is asking for differences in the results. I'm asking about differences in the actual method itself.

1 Answer 1


As a macaron fanatic, eating that is, and collector of recipes and cookbooks, I referred to Les Petits Macarons by Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride and to Pierre Hermé Macaron and, you are correct, the difference is the meringue, itself: French, Italian, or Swiss.

The French method produces the correct texture and taste,light and delicate, for the French macaron.

Italian meringue is more stable, using hot sugar syrup instead of dry sugar, but the macaron is much sweeter, some feel too sweet, and it's more difficult to get the macaron to bake properly.

Macaron can also be made with Swiss meringue, whipping the sugar and egg white over a double boiler, then off heat, although this method is less commonly used.

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    My confusion, though, is that the entirety of his book uses the Italian meringue method... which doesn't jive with what you say in your second paragraph. Have I missed something? Does he actually use the French method himself but use the Italian method in the book because he thinks readers will be more likely to succeed?
    – Catija
    Mar 29, 2017 at 18:03
  • @Catija I apologize... I pulled out his, and four others (yes, don't ask)... Les Petits Macarons by Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride describes all three. I'll change the reference.
    – Giorgio
    Mar 29, 2017 at 18:35

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