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Macaroons vs. Macarons: What’s the Difference Between the Cookies, Anyway?
Monica Murphy/Getty Images/Line Klein

Truth be told, we love cookies of all shapes, sizes and flavors. But we have a special place in our heart for oh-so-tasty macaroons. Wait, we mean macarons. Hold on, which ones are dipped in chocolate? Talk about confusing. Let’s solve the macaroons vs. macarons kerfuffle once and for all. A macaron (pronounced mack-a-ROHN) consists of two meringue-based cookies sandwiching a buttercream, ganache or jam filling. A macaroon (pronounced mack-a-ROON), on the other hand, is a mounded cookie made with shredded coconut. But that’s not the only way that these two confections differ from each other. Let’s break it down.   

1. Macarons are made with almond flour, and macaroons are made with coconut

While both cookies contain whipped egg whites and sugar, those are the only ingredients they have in common (and even then, macarons use confectioners’ sugar whereas macaroons use the granulated variety). To make macarons, egg whites are whipped into a meringue-like texture before almond meal and sugar are carefully folded in. This almost-liquid batter is then piped into perfect rounds and baked. For macaroons, shredded coconut is added to whipped egg whites and sugar to create a dense batter that’s dropped onto a baking sheet by the spoonful and baked until crispy and golden on the outside.

2. Macarons come in different flavors and colors

Hear the word macaron and images of pretty pastel-colored confections on display in a Parisian bakery window come to mind. This French treat comes in a variety of colors and flavors thanks to different food colorings and fillings. Some popular choices include green pistachio, yellow lemon and pink raspberry. Macaroons (remember, these are the chewy mounds made with coconut) are sometimes dipped in chocolate, but for the most part, these guys are pretty much the same everywhere, and you’ll especially see them being sold and served around Jewish Passover as they contain no flour or leavening.  

3. One your 5-year-old niece could make, and the other should only be attempted by pro-level bakers

When it comes to macaroons, the only hard part is waiting for the coconut treats to cool once they’re out of the oven. And the baking method is very forgiving—the cookies are arranged into crunchy piles with uneven and craggy edges. Delicate macarons, conversely, are notoriously difficult to make. The almond meal has to be very fine and bakers have to be careful not to fold the mixture too much—or too little. Once the batter is ready, it should be poured into exact rounds and baked until light and airy. Forgot about the cookie swap tomorrow? Macaroons are your friend (macarons, not so much).  

4. The two cookies have totally different textures

Macarons are elegant treats with a crunchy exterior and soft interior. Macaroons, on the other hand, are dense mounds that are sticky and chewy. But if you’ve learned nothing else from the above, then here’s what you need to know: Both cookies are absolutely delicious. 

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