Flax Macarons

“Let’s do a macaron taste test! We’ll find the best macarons in Paris.” <– Ah, such grand plans Ali and I had for our short time in Paris. In reality, we made it to two macaron stops (Pierre Herme and La Duree) and have you ever tried to do a taste-off between the two? It’s kind of like trying to choose your favorite child (or so I hear).

Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess

On the downside, the price of such treasures is exorbitant. Can I be honest with you? A lot of my recipe inspiration comes from being cheap. I’ll eat something when I’m out and think, “I could make that at home [for wayyy cheaper.]”

Back in my own kitchen, I of course wanted to try making my own macarons, but I was apprehensive. They are, after all, the most finicky cookies in the blogosphere, with a toweringly intimidating reputation and an iffy chance of success. Plus I had it in my head that it would take having my own chicken and almond tree to keep up with the supply of egg whites and almond flour that I would need to bake up the perfect macaron.

Then I discovered that just two egg whites is more than enough to fuel a moderately-sized batch and that almond flour can be subbed for…you guessed it, flax meal!!!! I have nothing against almond flour but see: cheap tendencies above. Also see: Costco sacks of golden flaxmeal.

Ground flax actually works brilliantly as a substitute for the traditional almond meal because the nutrition make up is very similar, with close to equivalent amounts of fat, carbs, sugar and protein in each:

 (Per 1/4 cup) Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
Almond meal 160 14g 6g 3g 1g 6g
Flaxmeal 148 12g 4g 3.8g .2g 2.6g

Yet I still didn’t think these would work since my $10 scale is not all that reliable, I don’t have a sifter, I’m terrible at math, a million more reasons. But you guys—they were actually SO MUCH EASIER than I ever imagined. I’ve had sugar cookies turn out worse than this. If I, inaccurate scale and all, could make these, YOU CAN TOO. It’s just five ingredients and a bit of whipping and folding and piping and waiting.

Some step-by-step photos for your viewing pleasure:

Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess

Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess

Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess

Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess IMG_7250 IMG_7271v3

Things I did not do when making these:

  • age my egg whites
  • pay attention to the temperature of my egg whites
  • whip my egg whites to stiff peaks
  • grind my own flaxmeal
  • properly sift my dry ingredients
  • rap the pan on the counter

I could go on.

Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess

Taste-wise, they have the lovely chewiness of a traditional macaron with an added nuttiness and slight graininess that you will LOVE if you’re into flax and probably not prefer if you hate the taste of flax. I loved it. I didn’t even add any vanilla or salt to my shells, but you can feel free to enhance the flavor with your flavorings of choice.

I decided to dunk mine in a bowl of ice cream because I would like you to come up with one good reason why that’s not a great idea.

Flax Macarons // The Pancake Princess
Flax Macarons // The Pancake PrincessMy only regret is that I didn’t try to stuff the actual macarons with ice cream, like omgTHIS.

Notes (aka the three slightly finicky things you should actually do):

  • Excise grease from any bowls and beaters the egg will touch. Grease is the downfall of egg whites. You don’t even need to whip stiff peaks for these, but it’s always a good idea to clean your equipment with a mixture of vinegar and water to get rid of any greasy residue that will prevent your eggs from whipping up at all.
  • Let the macaron shells sit out. Waiting is not fun, but I think this step is really essential to let the top of the shells dry out. You want the oven heat to cause them to expand up–creating that much-desired “foot”–instead of out, which will crack the top of your shell.
  • Fold the ingredients GENTLY. It should be a gentle scoop and plop cycle. Scoop, plop, rotate bowl. Repeat.

And the honorary fourth thing is: use a scale. I’m sorry, but you must.

Flax Macarons

Yield: about 30 shells, or 15 assembled macarons


  • 14 grams granulated sugar
  • pinch of cream of tartar, optional (this helps stabilize the egg whites)
  • 112.5 grams powdered sugar
  • 62.5 grams ground golden flaxseed (flaxmeal)
  • 50 grams egg whites

  • about 1/2 cup your favorite frosting, for filling (I used a simple ganache: about 1:1 heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate melted together)


Line a baking sheet with good-quality parchment paper or a silpat.

Whisk together the granulated sugar and cream of tartar in a small bowl. Sift together the powdered sugar and flaxmeal (if you don't have a sifter, you can also use a blender to blend the ingredients.)

Add the egg whites to a medium-sized bowl and beat them on low speed until foamy. Slowly sprinkle the sugar mixture over the egg whites as you beat. Increase the speed to medium and beat until soft peaks form.

Gently fold in the flax mixture until completely incorporated, scooping from the bottom and rotating the bowl as you fold. Don't overmix or your macarons will turn out flat.

Add your batter to a piping bag with a round tip or just a plastic bag with the tip cut off. Pipe small, uniform circles of batter about an inch apart (they should only spread incrementally, if at all). Let sit out for an hour (try not to let them sit out for too long past that).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 12 minutes. I piped approximately 1 to 1.5-inch circles and 12 minutes was perfect for me. If yours are larger or smaller, keep an eye on them and adjust the baking time accordingly.

Let the macarons cool completely. You can pipe or dab dollops of frosting on one shell, then top with another shell.


I tried two types of parchment paper with these; the macarons stuck much more to the dollar store parchment paper than my more expensive parchment paper. So use quality parchment paper! I also tried spraying parchment paper with baking spray, but I think it degraded the quality of the macarons.

These don't bake up into the puffiest macarons I've ever had and I have a hunch if you beat the egg whites into stiff peaks, they might rise a little taller. If you try, let me know!

Adapted from here.


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47 thoughts on “Flax Macarons

    1. erika Post author

      Thanks Maddie!! Hope they turn out wonderfully for you! I haven’t made these in so long–thanks for reminding me to re-make them!

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  2. janet @ the taste space

    Katie’s link didn’t work but I just had to track down your recipe. Crazy. I love it. I have PTSD from my first foray into macarons. Note to self: do not make them as Christmas gifts and give yourself one night for possible success. Possibly the most finicky thing to make, ever.

  3. Selena @ The Nutritious Kitchen

    Okay hiiiii these photos are abosultely gorgeous! I think I went up and down this post 5 times mesmorized by each photo…is that weird? I feel like I’m on a page of Bon Appetit magazine, not even exaggerating.
    And on another note these sound delicious. I’m not a big macaroon person in general but the ingredients and photos are more than enough of a reason to try your version!

  4. Marie

    I haven’t had good luck with my first 2 batches and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I’m going to try this instead. Looks like you manage to get away with not having to follow a coupla of the “rules”.

    1. erika Post author

      Hi Marie! Yes, these were the first macarons I ever tried making and they turned out amazingly well. I hope the same goes for you–let me know how they turn out if you get a chance! :)

  5. Laura

    These look amazing!! Now I want to make macarons ASAP. Aka, this weekend it is going down. Do you have any recommendations for alternate flavors (besides chocolate)?

    1. erika Post author

      Oooh. Great question! I originally wanted to do a fruity filling like a basic buttercream or whipped cream frosting with fruit (for example, this type of buttercream: http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2009/05/vanilla-almond-cupcakes-with-blackberry-buttercream.html) but I was too lazy to get out my beaters to cream butter/whip heavy cream haha. So I would recommend anything fruity! Or if you’re in the mood for something a little more rich, maybe this salted caramel frosting? http://www.chow.com/recipes/12100-salted-caramel-frosting

      Let me know how it goes!! These worked like a dream for me and I’m crossing my fingers it’ll be the same for you!

    1. erika Post author

      Thanks Thalia! I’d never made macarons EVER and these turned out well for me, so I’d definitely encourage you to try them!! Looking forward to checking out your blog!

    1. erika Post author

      Thanks Sarah! I could not have put it better myself :) With flax at my side, macarons will probably be consumed all day, every day!

    1. erika Post author

      omg blushingg. You’re so sweet!! It must have been beginner’s luck or something because they were seriously so much easier than I expected. Maybe flax is less temperamental than almond meal? Or you could be right–I brought back magical macaron-making skills from Europe!! (Another excuse to go back!!) 😉

  6. Alice

    This post is so beautiful Erika :) There’s a really lovely polish to your images & recipes, that’s very drool worthy. Love the snap of the crumpled paper with the flax macarons, it’s a truly genius idea too 😉

  7. Anne

    OH MY GOODNESS!! I have searched all over for a macaron that does not include almonds (because I ran out and they are expensive…) and I had a nice bag of flax meal in the pantry!! Except I just bought a big 3 lb bag of almonds… These look delightful though!

    1. erika Post author

      Right?? Every time I buy almond meal, my wallet cries a little. I hope you get a chance to try these out sometime and let me know what you think! (I hope I’m not the only one who loves these flaxy creations :))

  8. The Vegan 8

    Omg I just looked at that link of her flaxseed macaroons and that is a wonderful idea!! I would so love to try that, but all that flax would probably leave too strong of flax taste for me and I’ve noticed my tummy gets mad at me if I have too much. I’ll stick with my almond flour, but it is a wonderful idea! Yours look gorgeous and especially with all that yummy ice cream, I would totally wash those cookies down, flax and all! I love having something cookie/brownie/cakey with ice cream! Delicious!

    1. erika Post author

      Unless you really hate the taste of flax, I don’t think the flax taste is really THAT prominent–just a little nutty. And if you just eat one macaron at a time, you definitely won’t overdo the flax–it’s a tiny amount! :)

  9. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    No.freaking.way. You made these perfect, awe-inspiring, gorgeous macarons with flax?! You’re a miracle worker! I’m not even going to bother attempting to make macarons, given how expensive the ingredients are and how damned finicky they are. Fuggedabout it. I’ll just buy them and ooh ‘n aaah over yours. These are beautiful photos, Erika. Even the one where you’ve got your mise en place set out looks like a work of art. My kitchen when I’m baking looks like a tornado hit it. I’m thrilled you baked the perfect macaron and you’re a smart lady for eating them with ice cream. Have a fabulous weekend, my friend!

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  11. Pang

    Wow!!! You replaced that almond meal with ground flax, you little daredevil!!! Your macarons looks so good, I would not think they made without aged egg whites & those you did not do. I am loving your humble instructions and your photographs, girl!! :)

  12. Kathryn

    These are totally inspired. Flax instead of almond meal?! So smart! And your macarons look absolutely perfect with their dinky little feet. Love.

  13. laurasmess

    You are the cleverest of the clever clogs Ms Erika!! What an awesome idea! I never would’ve thought to mess with macarons as they seem to be the most temperamental biscuits ever, but you’ve completely proved that a competent baker can transform them beautifully!! I love the idea of flax much more than almond meal, actually. I LOVE FLAX (we’re BFF’s). Your macarons are perfect. Ah, so impressed! xx

  14. cynthia


    … WHAT!!!! This is TOO. COOL, Erika! First of all, a gigantic “hear hear” to your thrifty philosophy on cooking — you are my economical soulmate. I am obsessed with the fact that you thought to sub flaxmeal for almond flour, and obsessed with how amazing these flax macarons look — and no aging or tempterature-ing or rapping or anything?! You goddess. Off I go to continue wigging out more quietly… so, so cool!


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