Pistachio Macaron Recipe

It is highly possible that heaven is indeed a pistachio macaron.

I honestly struggle to find words to explain how I feel about pistachio macarons, they are certainly among my favourite sweet treats and I absolutely adore this recipe.  The macarons themselves are honestly breathtakingly delicious and the buttercream....oh my....

I adapted the amazing buttercream recipe form I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita, which is a brilliant French Buttercream recipe. 

 This seems like a great time for a little buttercream study session....

All About Buttercream

American Buttercream (probably the most commonly used Buttercream) is made by creaming together butter and confectioners' sugar and beating to the desired consistency and lightness.

Italian Meringue Buttercream  is prepared by adding sugar syrup to egg whites whipped to soft peaks. The syrup and egg white mixture is then whipped until it has cooled to around 100 °F.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream is made by cooking the egg whites and sugar together in a bowl placed on a pot of boiling water.

French Meringue Buttercream is prepared by whipping egg whites, cream of tartar, and caster sugar until stiff, glossy peaks are formed.

Finally French Buttercream (the Buttercream I am using here) is made in the same way as Italian meringue-based buttercream, except with egg yolks or whole eggs instead of egg whites-- hot sugar syrup, which has been heated to soft-ball stage is beaten into the egg yolks or whole eggs which have been beaten until they are thick and pale yellow.

Anyway back to the macarons....

You will more than likely have to make your own ground pistachios, this is very easy and I use my food processor.  Sieve them twice and weigh them once ground.

I used Sugarflair food colouring paste in Mint Green to colour my macarons.

Pistachio Macarons
(Makes around 25 -30 Macarons)

160g icing sugar
100g ground almonds
60g ground pistachios
4 medium egg whites, separated into two equal batches -
160g caster sugar
green food colouring paste

For the Pistachio Buttercream

Recipe adapted from I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita

100g unsalted butter, very soft
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp vanilla sugar (or caster sugar)
1 egg
50g ground pistachios

Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sieve together the icing sugar, ground almonds and ground pistachios into a large mixing bowl. Add the first batch of egg whites (unbeaten) and the food colouring paste to the almond mix to form a thick paste. Make the mixture darker than you would like at this point, as the addition of the beaten egg whites later on will significantly lighten the colour. Set aside.

Tip the second batch of egg whites into a heatproof bowl and have an electric whisk at the ready. Place 50ml water and the caster sugar into a small saucepan on a medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup registers 110C, using a sugar thermometer, at which time start beating the egg whites on a high speed. Once the syrup has reached 118C pour it in a thin stream into the mixing bowl, avoiding the whisk. Continue to whisk on high until the mixture has cooled slightly and you have a shiny peaked meringue mixture - the bowl should no longer be hot to the touch, but still warm.

Tip the meringue onto the almond mixture and gently fold together. It is important not to over-mix the batter - it should fall in a thick ribbon from the spatula. The ribbon should fade back into the batter within about 30 seconds - if it does not, fold a few more times.

Heat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/ gas 3-4. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, leave to rest for 30 minutes on the kitchen counter, or until the macarons have developed a skin.

Bake the macarons for 14 minutes. Once out of the oven immediately slide the parchment onto a work surface and cool for a few minutes before gently peeling off the paper.

Pair up your macaron shells.

To make the Pistachio Buttercream:

In the bowl of an electric mixer or using a handheld mixer beat the butter until very soft, about 3 minutes.

Place the egg into the clean bowl of your mixer ready to beat.

Place the water and sugar into a small saucepan and place over a medium heat.

After a minute or two start beating the egg.

 The syrup is ready when it reaches soft ball stage. To check for soft ball stage scoop some of the syrup out of the pan with a spoon and drop into a small amount of cold water, then try and scoop it out of the water and squish it into a ball using your fingers.  If you can do this the syrup is ready.

Pour the syrup in a thin stream into the beaten egg, avoid the whisk and the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat the meringue mixture until the bottom of the bowl is no longer hot and the mixture becomes white and heavy.

Add the butter prepared earlier in three parts to the meringue mixture, beating after each addition.  While beating the butter and meringue mixture it may appear to separate .  It will look curdled and you will definitely think you have made a mistake, even though I am saying this you will still think you have made a mistake.  I promise you haven't just continue beating on a high speed until the mixture becomes creamy.  Add the pistachios and mix well.

Fill a piping bag, fitted with a plain round nozzle, with Pistachio French Buttercream and pipe onto the flat side of one macaron in each pair, sandwich the macarons pairs together and devour. 

Next week Halloween baking will be in full effect and I can't wait, I also have some glorious Autumnal cakes coming up. 

I'm also really excited because my amazing friend is back home, she has been away studying but is back for half term and I cannot wait to see her!  I'm going to take her some macarons, a little reward for working so hard.

x x x



Victoria said...

heaven...i agree! i need to find a macaron class...i need assistance! :)

ButterYum said...

If I were a macaron, I would be a pistachio macaron. Utterly divine flavor... I must make these!


Lucy, Vanilla Frost said...

Lovely colour! These look fab.

Butter Hearts Sugar said...

Pistachio macarons are my favourite too! I've always stuck with the same macaron recipe but I should really try some others. I think I'll start with this one, they look beautiful.

Lora said...

Pistachio is one of my top favorite flavors. These are sheer pistachio perfection.

Hanna said...

They look great, love the little flecks of pistachio in the shells! French buttercream sounds lovely and decadent too!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...


Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou said...

So beautiful AND delicious! Thank you for such a fabulous recipe! xo

Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou
This Week: A Glamorous "Little Black Dress" Halloween Soiree!

carrie said...

are 4 medium egg whites equal to 100g?

carrie said...

is the weight of the egg whites (4 medium) equivalent to 100g?

How To Be Perfect said...

Hi Carrie,
4 medium egg whites should be about 120ml, I really wouldn't know the weight in grams sorry, best to just weigh one. X

Anonymous said...

Hi, Thank you for sharing this recipe! I do have a question about the buttercream. In the ingredients, you list 1 egg, but later on in the directions, the beaten egg is referred to as a meringue. Should we separate the egg white and yolk or use them both together? Thanks!!

How To Be Perfect said...

The recipe uses the whole egg, white and yolk. Since hot sugar syrup is added to the beaten egg this makes a meringue mixture. Good luck with your Macarons! X

Sukaina said...

Hiiiii :)

Its me again!

So I've been making batch after batch of these macaron and I love LOVE LOVE your recipes....the italian meringue method seems to give the macaron height and a beautiful texture...


All of my last few bathches have had uneven feet - they've been lopsided - and the ones giving me the most trouble are the pistachio ones...any suggestions?

Also - is it best to add the hot syrup to stiff meringue?

And - I promise, last question: any other way besides temperature that signals that the sugar syrup is ready?



How To Be Perfect said...

Hi Sukaina,

I was having a similar lopsided Macaron problem a few months ago and it turned out that my baking sheets (that looked fine) were totally warped. This was causing wonky macs and it sounds like this may be your problem too.

Especially if you have been making lots of batches on the same trays.

Try new baking sheets if you can (irritating I know) and try doubling up the baking sheets to stop the bottom of the macarons getting too much heat. Wonky feet can also mean they have been left sitting too long. Leave them to sit before baking just until they form a skin, no longer.

Add your hot sugar syrup to foamy egg whites with soft peaks not stiff, add the syrup and then beat until almost cooled.

The syrup is ready at soft ball stage ( drop a little in a bowl of cold water, if you can make it into a ball with your fingers it's ready). This is really risky though as you want a 118C syrup and soft ball stage is 118C-120C, it would be very easy to go too far.

I hope that helps! My wonky macs were driving me mad, it took me ages to figure out it was the baking tray and I haven't had any issues since. Good luck! X

Anonymous said...

can you convert the temp when baking the macarons from celcius to farenheit ?

Astral de la Mare said...

The Macarons are baked at 170C which converts to 338F. X

Rach said...

Just made your buttercream and it was delicious! Do you have any tricks on incorporating the sugar syrup with the egg in a kitchenaid mixer. I did hit the beater and the side of the bowl- only way to keep the mixer moving while pouring in syrup?? Thanks

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi Rach,

I'm so glad you liked the recipe! As far as adding the sugar syrup, it is all about how high you pour from, the higher you pour from the thiner the stream of syrup and the less you will hit the side of the bowl or beater.

It is definitely better to avoid the beater as much as possible as this will spin the syrup and you may end up with hard lumps of sugar in your buttercream. Pouring from a hight, you should manage to hit that sweet spot right in between the beater and bowl but it may take some practise.

Hope that helps! Best of luck with your baking. X

Mel said...

These were amazing! I was a little scared to try the italian meringue technique since I'm not familiar with making syrups, but this was actually really easy. One question though, do you usually rap your baking sheet once macarons are piped? I use the I Love Macarons book as well for technique tips, and she stated to always do this. When I did though, the macarons were much larger than I wanted. Thank you.

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi Mel,

I'm so glad you like the recipe. I do recommend you rap your baking sheet once the macarons are piped.

The helps to remove any air bubbles and will help to ensure the macarons spread evenly and end up perfectly round.

The macaron batter does spread somewhat at this point and it is worth piping your macarons slightly smaller than you want them to account for this. Hope that helps! Best of luck with your macaron adventures! X

Anonymous said...

this is the first time i made pistachio macarons, the flavor is great, but i had a problem with the outside texture, it was full of little holes! i really want to try again, do you have any help to give me as to find what cause them?

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi Anon,

Do you mean the macarons had holes in the top?

If the tops are not smooth and more porous then this is likely to be an over or under mixing issue.

If when you piped the macarons they had little peak that failed to settle the batter was under mixed. If not and the macaron batter spread very easily it is likely you over mixed the batter.

If the holes you refer to are large then I'm afraid I have never come across this problem before and am unsure as to what would cause this. Perhaps a sugar syrup issue? an little lumps of hardened syrup or adding a too hot syrup will cause havoc with your macarons.

I really hope this helps and don't be put off, they're tricky little things but you will get there. Best of luck! x

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi Anon,

Do you mean the macarons had holes in the top?

If the tops are not smooth and more porous then this is likely to be an over or under mixing issue.

If when you piped the macarons they had little peak that failed to settle the batter was under mixed. If not and the macaron batter spread very easily it is likely you over mixed the batter.

If the holes you refer to are large then I'm afraid I have never come across this problem before and am unsure as to what would cause this. Perhaps a sugar syrup issue? an little lumps of hardened syrup or adding a too hot syrup will cause havoc with your macarons.

I really hope this helps and don't be put off, they're tricky little things but you will get there. Best of luck! x

Anonymous said...

thank you that helps a lot, the holes were little and all over the tops, i'll try again tomorrow and mixed a little less.

i have to say that the flavor is amazing, we ate them all at home even when they didn't look so good.

Mel said...

Hi Astral,

The foot of my macarons don't seem to be as high as yours. I think my technique is off when making the syrup for the meringue. Do you use a digital thermometer? Also, do you keep the thermometer in the pot the entire time the sugar heats up or do you occasionally stick the thermometer in to check the temp? Thanks!

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi Mel,

Yes I use a digital thermometer. I suggest you attach a thermometer as soon as the sugar has dissolved if you are new to this, although I admit I tend to check the temp when I know it's close. You may want to try adjusting your baking temp and maybe doubling up your baking trays (one inside another) as this may help. Also be really careful not to over mix the batter. Hope that helps!

Julie said...

Hi Astral, I would love to try making these macarons tomorrow for Mother's day, but I've got no thermometer. Are we still able to do it without the use of a thermometer?

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi Julie,

I don't recommend making these without a thermometer, it'd be very risky. Why not try a French Meringue Macaron recipe instead of an Italian Meringue recipe like this one. No thermometer required & a much simpler process. X

Lyndsey White said...

Hi Astral- please help me! I have made this recipe many times and it is always delicious in taste! However I frequently find the shells end up hollow, either just they do that or I lose half the sheel because it sticks to the paper. This is worse when I use macaron baking sheet (which I think is silicone). Today the mix seemed stiffer than usual too, which made it hard to get the nice round shape I usually get (when it's a bit runnier they settle nicely themseves on the sheet). Can you give me any tips? I am desperate to ge these looking as lovely as they do on your page! Thank you for the wonderful recipes! Lyndsey

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi Lyndsey,

Try baking your macarons at a higher temperature on a parchment lined baking tray. If the batter seems stiff then you have under mixed. Combine the egg whites and almond mixture and then use a rubber spatulas to push the air out of the batter until the mixture is shiny and falls in a long ribbon off of the spatula.

If the macarons are sticking they are undercooked, a higher temp will solve this but you may need to adjust your baking time by a couple of mins.

I suggest leaving your macarons to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the parchment.

Also you may be leaving them to set too long before baking. Pipe the macarons and leave to set on the counter just until they form a skin, you should be able to touch one and come away with a clean finger.

Also make sure you tap the base of the baking tray against the counter top a few times after piping the macarons to remove any air bubbles and help form that perfect round shape.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, I will try again soon!! Lyndsey

sara ho said...

Hello! I will be making these tommorow and I had a few questions. I hope I can make these and first time will be a charm and i wont have any oopsies. haha

My first question is instead of food coloring paste can we use regular liquid food coloring paste to the egg whites.

2nd question: My oven is a gas so do i heat the oven to 150C? and what does the "3-4" mean in that sentence?

Thanks so much by the way! I can't wait to make these.

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi Sara,

Do not use liquid food colour as it will effect the texture of the Macaron and the added liquid will make the batter too runny.

Heat the oven to 150c, the 3-4 refers to Gas Mark ovens only.

Good luck with your Macaron adventures!

Anonymous said...

Try a delicious 3D Macaron
Take one and leave a comment.If you like a copy of the 3D Model state which format and your email address

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this recipe :) There are plenty of simpler macaron recipes found online but I'm so glad I decided to use yours. They turned out great!

jasmin chapman said...

oh wow i made this as a test batch for my food tech folio. first try and they came out brilliant. all my friends and food tech teacher tried them and all were very impressed with the outcome. this recipe is so easy to follow and they taste amazing!!

jasmin chapman said...

oh wow i made this as a test batch for my food tech folio. first try and they came out brilliant. all my friends and food tech teacher tried them and all were very impressed with the outcome. this recipe is so easy to follow and they taste amazing!!

ljc said...

The Macaron recipe you refer to "icing sugar" is this the same as powder/confection sugar? I wasn't sure since I see confection sugar referenced in your recipe as well under the fillings. I can't wait to start this recipe but I need clarification. thank you

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi ljc,

Icing sugar, powdered sugar and confectioners' sugar are all the same. Happy Marcaron making!

ljc said...

Well, I thought between online and by cookbook conversion chart I could get US measurement (since that's all I have) but between the internet & my cookbook they don't match so I'm very confused. Is there anyway I can get you recipe from you in US measurements? Pistachio is my ultimate favorite, who would think a green nut could make us all go gaga. lol

Astral de la Mare said...

Hi ljc,

I wouldn't recommend making macarons using US cup measurements. Measuring ingredients with cups is no where near precise enough for making macarons and I doubt you will get the results you are hoping for.

If you can pick up a cheap pair of kitchen scales, you will be amazed at the difference they make to your baking.

Conversion charts often differ and if you measure out a cup of flour twice and then weigh both cups, they are almost never the same weight.

I hope that helps!

ljc said...

I finally remembered my password to post a comment! Recipe is fantastic!! I made 3 different batches in 3 weeks and all turned out perfect! I added hot pink coloring to the Pistachio in honor of Breast Cancer Month. They look and taste perfect! I will be starting you berry berry next! BTW I get them in the freezer to store but they don't last 48 hours! Thank you for sharing! :)

chipmunk said...

I love pistachio macarons and this recipe looks interesting. Before I get on to it, can I just confirm with you - do you only beat 2 of the 4 egg white (since the first batch is added to the powder mixture unbeaten)? Does that provide enough rise?

Also, would this work if I half the recipe? Am cautious about making too many on my first attempt.

Thanks x

ljc said...

To Chipmunk Yes beat only 2 eggs and yes the macaron will rise enough once baked. I wouldn't recommend 1/2 recipe - you can freeze these as I have and they are absolutely fantastic once taken from the freezer and let thaw for 5 min or so.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I followed your receipt but miserably failed because when i was whisking my meringue, it didn't seem to form peaks and was quite watery, and having whisked for what seemed like a life time I decided to go ahead with it and fold it in the paste anyway. Of course it was too runny to pipe. Where do you think I went wrong? I definitely stuck to all the quantities, but not sure whether it was because me eggs were large and not medium, but I'm not sure if that makes a significant difference?

Anonymous said...

How can I make the French Buttercream instead of the Italian one ?


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