Orange Macarons

These chewy homemade orange macarons will win your heart. Tangy orange curd paired with rich chocolate ganache, are sandwiched between two layers of deliciously chewy French macarons that are loaded with aromatic orange zest. These macarons will not disappoint.

7 orange macarons sitting on a wooden chopping board.

What makes this the best Orange Macaron recipe ever?

  1. No artificial flavors: unlike some recipes, this recipe for orange macarons uses real oranges for flavor. That means no need to buy expensive extracts or artificial flavorings. You can even leave out the food dye and for completely natural macarons free of any artificial nasties.
  2. Loaded with orange flavor: the combination of orange zest in these macarons and tangy orange curd means these macarons taste anything but bland. Best way I can describe the flavor – it’s just like a Jaffa or Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
  3. Heat stable: These macarons are filled with both chocolate ganache and orange curd. The chocolate ganache acts as a glue that sticks the two macaron shells together, It also acts a moat to keep the orange curd in place. Ganache has a higher melting point than buttercream, so they will stay fairly well assembled while waiting to be eaten, and the filling won’t squirt out or make a mess when you take a bite (although I don’t recommend leaving these macarons out in the sun for hours on end),
  4. Easily customizable: If you prefer straight up orange flavor (no chocolate) or orange creamsicle macarons, read through my substitution recommendations below for how to substitute the chocolate ganache and orange curd filling.

Tools you’ll need

You’ll need basic kitchen equipment to make these orange macarons, including:

  • Electric Mixer (either a stand mixer or handheld)
  • Bowls
  • Spatulas
  • Fine Grater
  • Kitchen Scales
  • Food Processor
  • Fine Sieve
  • Piping Bags and nozzles
  • Baking tray
  • Parchment paper (or a silicone baking mat)
  • Stove and saucepan
  • Microwave
  • Toothpicks
  • Macaron template (optional, but recommended)

Ingredients

Macarons (ingredients shown above)

To make these orange macaron cookies we’ll need:

  • Almond Flour: Try to find a brand with fine granules. We’ll whiz the almond flour up in a food processor anyway, but it’s easier if you start out with small granules to begin with.
  • Icing Sugar: also known as powdered sugar.
  • Oranges: We’ll be using the zest of an orange to add flavor to the macarons.
  • Eggs: We’ll be using the egg whites in the macarons, however reserve the egg yolk to use in the orange curd.
  • Cream of Tartar: Is optional, but using cream of tartar helps the egg whites to whip up nicely.
  • Caster Sugar: Also known as fine granulated sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds another level of flavor to the macaron cookies
  • Salt: Not included in the photograph, but is useful as it balances out the sweetness of the sugar.

Orange Curd Ingredients

This orange curd uses just 5 ingredients:

  • Oranges: We’ll be using both the zest and the juice.
  • Caster Sugar
  • Salt
  • Egg Yolks: This orange curd is a great way to use left over egg yolks from the macarons
  • Unsalted Butter

Dark Chocolate Ganache

My microwave chocolate ganache is so easy to make and uses just two ingredients:

  • Dark Chocolate: Use real, good quality dark chocolate for this ganache. As there are only 2 ingredients in this ganache, you’ll taste the difference. I’m using dark chocolate with 70% cocoa.
  • Cream: Use heavy cream – aka a cream that is made of 30%-40% fat.
Orange Macarons filled with dark chocolate ganache ad orang curd sitting on a wooden chopping board with dried orange slices.

How to make Orange Macarons

Macarons have a reputation for being a little tricky to make, so with that in mind I have broken down the main steps for making these orange meringues, and tried to provide as many tips as possible to help you get the best result first go. If you’d like more general tips and techniques for making macarons, check out my blog post about how to make perfect macarons at home.

Make the macaron shells

Step 1: Wiz up your almond flour, icing sugar and orange zest in the blender. This will break down any big pieces of almond flour and encourage the orange zest flavor to disperse through the other dry ingredients.

Top tip: Blending the icing sugar together with the almond flour will help absorb any oils that the almond flour creates as its broken up. But still, don’t over wiz the mixture. You don’t want to turn the almond flour into almond butter. For best results pulse the ingredients for 1-2 minutes.

Step 2: Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl to weed out any large pieces of almond flour and orange zest. Discard any large bits that won’t fit through the sieve. By using a fine blend of dry ingredients, you are most likely to achieve a nice smooth finish on your macarons.

Top tip: Shake your sieve back and forth rather than trying to push the dry mixture through your sieve. This way you won’t accidentally push any large pieces through that would have been better to discard.

Step 3: whisk egg whites together with sugar to make a meringue

Top Tip: Before starting clean your equipment with a little white vinegar to ensure there is no residual fat on any of your equipment. (Traces of fat will stop the egg whites from whipping up.

Step 4: fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. My preferred motion is to use a rubber spatula to scrape around the outside of the bowl.

Top tip: Now is the best time to add food color (if you’re planning to use it). Gel food colors are best as they are super concentrated. Don’t use liquid food color or oil based food color).

Step 5: Deflate your macaron batter. Do this by using your spatula to spread the batter around the edge of the bowl to remove some of the air. Then scrape the batter off the side of the bowl and bring it back into the middle. Continue this process until the batter becomes a little runny. It is ready when you scoop up some with you spatula and it falls off in a ribbon shape.

Top tip: Getting this consistency right means the macarons will spread just a little when you pipe them onto the baking sheet. You don’t want them spreading too much as this will leave you with thin macarons. But a little bit of spreading is important as this gives the macarons a smooth finish.

Step 6: Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and pipe onto a baking tray that has been lined with either parchment paper or a silicone mat. Once the macarons have been piped, bang the tray on your counter a couple times to encourage any air bubbles to rise to the surface. Then use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles that you can see,

Top tip: you can use a template as a guide for piping the macaron cookies, so that your end up with fairly even sized macarons. This will make it easier to find similarly sized macaron cookies to pair up when you are assembling them.

Step 7: Bake in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 Celsius) for 20 minutes. You can test that the macarons are ready by carefully peeling one off the baking sheet. If it comes off in one piece then they’re done. Let them cool on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack

Top Tip: All ovens are different. You may need to cook at a slightly higher or lower baking temperature, position your baking try higher or lower in the oven, or cook for a differing amount of time.

Make the Orange Curd

This is a simple orange curd recipe that has been adapted from the Lemon Curd recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction. There’s just 2 steps to making this curd.

Step 1: Put the yolks, orange zest, orange juice, sugar and salt in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and stir with a whisk until it thickens.

Step 2: Once thickened stir through chopped pieces of butter.

Top Tip: When making orange curd (or lemon curd for that matter) NEVER use metallic equipment (e.g. metallic bowl or spoon). If you use any metallic equipment (even a glass jar with a metal lid) the taste of the metal may transfer into your curd, completely tainting the flavor.

Make Dark Chocolate Ganache

This chocolate ganache couldn’t be easier to make. Pop chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl (preferably plastic) and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Then, take it out and give it a good stir to melt the chocolate and cream together. If the chocolate doesn’t melt completely give the mixture another 10 second zap in the microwave and stir again. Repeat until all the chocolate and cream combine to a nice smooth shiny ganache.

Top Tip: Using a plastic bowl to heat your chocolate in the microwave will get best results. This is because it will not heat up as much as a ceramic or glass bowl would in the microwave. If you use bowls made of ceramic or glass, you run a greater risk of overheating the chocolate and causing it to burn and causing the ganache to curdle.

Assemble your Orange Macarons

First, organize your macaron cookies into evenly sized pairs. If you plan to decorate your cookies, I’d recommend doing this before filling them. These cookies are decorated with a little dark chocolate drizzle and some dried flower petals (from petite ingredient)

To fill your macarons, pipe a circle of chocolate ganache around the outer edge of a macaron. Then fill the inner circle with orange curd and place the second macaron on top.

Top Tip: If you find the ganache is too runny and the macaron shells are not sticking together properly, pipe the ganache and orange curd onto the macarons and place them in the freezer for 5 minutes to allow the ganache to firm up slightly. Then place the second macaron on top.

Hand holding a half a macaron with chocolate ganache piped as a moat to contain orange curd filling.

Storage Recommendations

These macarons should be stored in the fridge, for best results, consume within 24 hours after they’re made. Some macarons taste best after they have had time to soften in the fridge, however as the filling of these macarons is quite wet they do not require this time to soften up. 3-6 hours in the fridge should be plenty enough time for these macarons to ripen.

Alternatively if you want to make these orange macarons well in advance they can be frozen.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.   Transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge (so that they can defrost) the day before they will be served.

Top Tip: When defrosting macarons, do not open the container they are stored in until after they have defrosted. By letting them defrost in the container that they were frozen in, the condensation that forms will do so on the container, and not on your macarons.

Substitution Ideas

Here’s a couple of ideas to make these macarons your way:

Make these chocolate orange macarons into orange creamsicle macarons by replacing the dark chocolate ganache with orange ganache (made from 1 part orange juice to 3 parts white chocolate). Heat this mixture up in the microwave using the same method outlined in this blog for dark chocolate ganache.

Alternatively, for straight up orange macarons, try filling them with orange buttercream instead of orange curd and ganache. You can find my recipe for orange buttercream in this blog post for orange chocolate cupcakes.

I don’t recommend filling macarons with orange curd alone. The orange curd is just not stable enough to hold the macaron shells together and likely the curd will squish out of the macarons and make a big mess when you try to eat them.

I hope you love this recipe for orange macarons as much as I do. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how you go, so please leave a comment below and let me know how it went.

Happy Baking xx

A pile of orange macarons filled ith orange curd and chocolate ganache.

Orange Macarons

Orange macarons infused with aromatic orange zest and filled with tangy orange curd and rich dark chocolate ganache
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Rest Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 35 macarons

Equipment

  • Scales
  • electric mixer (either hand held or stand mixer)
  • Food Processor
  • Fine Mesh Sieve
  • Fine Grater
  • Juicer (manual)
  • Piping Bags and Nozzles
  • Baking Tray
  • Parchment Paper or Silicone Mat
  • Toothpicks

Ingredients
  

Macaron Shells

  • 1 Orange
  • 100 grams Egg Whites
  • 140 grams Powdered Sugar
  • 150 grams Almond Flour
  • 90 grams Superfine Sugar (Caster Sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • Gel Food Colour (optional)

Orange Curd

  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 3 tablespoons Orange Zest
  • 60 grams Orange Juice
  • 60 grams Caster Sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 60 grams Butter (unsalted)

Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 100 grams dark chocolate
  • 50 grams cream

Instructions
 

Make Your Macarons

  • Use a fine grater to finely zest 1 orange.
  • Place the almond flour, icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of orange zest in the bowl of your food processor and pulse for 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the dry ingredients to your sieve and gently sift the mixture into a bowl. Discard any large pieces of almond flour or orange zest. Place this bowl to the side.
  • Put your egg white into the bowl of your mixer and mix on low until bubbles start to form.
  • Add your cream of tartar and turn the mixer up to medium.
  • Gradually add the caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time, allowing the sugar to dissolve into the egg whites before adding the next tablespoon.
  • Add the salt and vanilla extract. Then turn the mixer up to high and whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  • Pour half the almond flour mixture into the egg whites and gently fold it in. Then add the remaining almond flour, and fold it in as well.
  • Use your spatula to deflate the batter slightly by spreading it around the sides of the bowl and the bringing it back into the middle. Continue stirring the batter in this fashion until it loosens. You will know it has reached the ideal consistency when it falls off your spatula in a ribbon shape.
  • Transfer the batter into a piping bag that is fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe 1.5 inch circles of macaron batter onto your prepared baking tray.
  • Bang your tray onto the table 3 times to encourage any air bubbles to rise to the surface, then inspect the macarons and use a toothpick to pop any visible air bubbles.
  • Allow the macarons to rest at room temperature until their surface turns to a mat texture and is dry to touch (may take between 15-45 minutes).
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius) for 20-25 minutes. You will know they have baked once you can peel a macaron off the baking sheet in one piece.
  • Once they've baked, allow the macarons to cool completely on the tray before removing them. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble the macarons.

Make Your Orange Curd

  • Finely grate the zest of your orange then cut the orange in half and extract the juice.
  • Place the orange zest, orange juice, egg yolks, sugar and salt in a glass bowl, and place this on top of a saucepan with about an inch of barely simmering water in it.
  • Stir with a whisk until the mixture thickens.
  • Stir in the butter.
  • Transfer the orange curd to a heatproof container and store it in the fridge until it cools completely.

Make Your Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • Place the dark chocolate and cream in a plastic microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 20 seconds.
  • Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the mixture. If it is still lumpy return it to the microwave and heat for a further 10 seconds. Repeat this process until the chocolate melts completely and is mixed into the cream.

Assemble the Macarons

  • Sort the macrons into pairs of evenly sized macaron cookies.
  • Optional Step: drizzle a little melted chocolate over the macaron shells and add some sprinkles or dried edible flowers for decorations.
  • Transfer the orange curd and chocolate ganache into their own piping bags.
  • Pipe a circle of dark chocolate ganache on the underside of one of the macaron cookies.
  • Fill this circle with orange curd, then place the matching macaron shell on top.
  • Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a day or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Allow the macarons to come to room temperature before serving.
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