Find out if macarons are gluten-free, what you need to be aware of, if they are dairy-free, and where to buy them.
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Do you love the light and fluffy little cookies with the hard shells, pillowy centers, and sandwiched between sweet flavorful frosting? You’re not alone.
Macarons once used to be thought of as a fancy treat or unattainable to get your hands on in most parts of the world, if you weren’t a pastry chef or knew of a restaurant or bakery to find them.
These days, macarons are becoming more common in local bakeries, and are even being produced on a larger scale making their way into grocery store bakeries and even in the frozen food section.
There’s so much to love about macarons, and whether you’ve loved them for years or are just learning about them, you’re probably wondering if they contain gluten.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, you know that it’s important to know what each and every food you put in your mouth contains so you don’t have a reaction later.
Even down to cookies, we need to be cautious. So in today’s post, we’re talking about delicious almond-based cookies that make me feel super fancy when I eat them: macarons.
In this post, we’re going to talk about what macarons are, what they’re made of, and if they’re gluten-free. We’ll also discuss the differences between macarons and macaroons, if macarons contain dairy, if they’re vegan, and where you can buy them wherever you live.
Find out the answers to your most common questions about macarons and how they fit into a gluten-free diet!
What are macarons?
Macarons are a meringue cookie sandwich with a buttercream filling in the middle. These cookies are light with a hard shell on the outside and pillowy center, with a creamy filling between the two cookies.
Macarons can be made into a variety of different flavors. Both the shells and the fillings can be flavored differently, to make for even more varieties you can make or find these cookies in.
Macarons are originally from France, and are said to have been made by an Italian Chef of Queen Catherine Medici. There are famous macaron bakeries in France that are said to have the very best macarons in the world, at Ladurée.
What are macarons made of?
Macarons are made up of two different parts: the meringue shells or cookies, and the buttercream filling.
The meringue shells in macarons are made from egg whites, almond flour, and sugar. The egg whites are whipped, then the almond flour and sugar are gently folded in. The meringue filling is added to a pastry bag and piped onto baking sheets to rest before baking.
The buttercream frosting is made from butter, powdered sugar, milk, and any additional flavorings to give the filling a unique flavor.
Are macarons and macaroons the same thing?
People often confuse macarons and macaroons, because their names are so similar. The extra “o” isn’t the only difference between these two cookies.
Macarons are the meringue cookie sandwiches with buttercream frosting. Macaroons are coconut cookies made with shredded coconut, egg whites, and sugar. They’re often dipped in chocolate or served plain.
Both cookies are delicious, but they are different, and not just in name alone.
Are macarons gluten-free?
Macarons are gluten-free! With all naturally gluten-free ingredients, most macarons are safe for a gluten-free diet.
The caveat is that some flavors of macarons may contain gluten, depending on what extra ingredients are added to the cookies or buttercream.
For example, I’ve seen a s’mores flavored meringue which was gluten-free all on its own – until the cookie with buttercream coming out the sides was rolled in graham cracker crumbs. This added gluten to the cookie, making it not a good choice if you’re avoiding gluten.
Be aware of different flavors and the ingredients that might be used to introduce gluten into the recipe.
Are macarons dairy-free?
Macarons are not dairy-free. Dairy is introduced to a macaron in the form of butter and milk from the buttercream.
If you were making your own macarons at home, you could opt to make a dairy-free filling instead of using real butter and milk.
The meringue shells in macarons are dairy-free.
Are macarons vegan?
Macarons are not vegan, because they have dairy in the filling that is sandwiched between two meringue shells. They also contain egg whites in the meringue cookies.
I have seen (and even tried!) some recipes for vegan macarons online, using aquafaba, the whipped liquid from a can of chickpeas. I’ve attempted to make these at least three times and all three times didn’t work out well for me. The shells were almost burned on the bottoms and the insides spewed out the sides.
As I was researching this post, I actually found an online service that makes and delivers vegan macarons right to your home. If you love macarons and this is something you’d like to try, check out Pastreez.com.
Are my favorite store bought macarons gluten-free?
There are a number of grocery stores these days that carry macarons in the freezer section, making it easier than ever to enjoy these delicious little cookies almost any time you’d like at home – without having to become a pastry chef!
Find out if your favorite store bought macarons are safe for your gluten-free diet.
Are Trader Joe’s macarons gluten-free?
According to the Trader Joe’s website, their macarons are not gluten-free. There is glucose syrup in the ingredients list indicating there is gluten in this product.
While this specific product may not be what they offer all the time, I also wasn’t able to confirm that their macarons are gluten-free by looking at their gluten-free dietary list either.
Are Costco macarons gluten-free?
The two brands I was able to confirm that Costco has sold in the past are Le Chic Patisserie and Tipiak.
Both of these brands, I was not able to find evidence of gluten in their ingredients lists. Le Chic Patissier does have a gluten-free label, while Tipiak does not. This could mean there’s a potential for cross contamination or that Tipiak simply has not tested for gluten to know if it’s present or not.
Are Whole Foods macarons gluten-free?
Whole Foods carries both a Whole Foods Market brand and Rocq macarons.
The Whole Foods Market macarons have no gluten-containing ingredients, however the labels do have a note saying that it may contain other allergens due to shared production areas.
The Rocq brand does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients, but as a note on the Whole Foods website that says their macarons are “produced in a facility that also processes eggs, fish, milk and dairy, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, wheat.” This means cross contamination is possible, so be aware of your level of sensitivity before you buy.
Are Publix macarons gluten-free?
According to the Publix website, their macarons have an allergen warning stating the following:
“Our department uses the following ingredients in our products: eggs, milk, peanuts, soybeans, tree nuts, wheat. Even if not listed on labels, please be aware that our products may have come in contact with these ingredients.”
If you are sensitive to gluten at trace amount level from cross contamination, you’ll maybe want to avoid these.
Where can I buy macarons?
Macarons are best bought fresh from a local bakery, although it’s not always easy to find a bakery who makes them.
If you have a local bakery with French macarons, you can go there knowing that most flavors are gluten-free. Some larger stores now carry macarons in their freezer area with other desserts. I’ve seen them at my local Kroger store and Costco.
If you don’t have a bakery that makes macarons close to where you live, you can find websites online that deliver too. As I was researching this post, I came across a few options for delivery in the US.
Macaron Delivery Services
Try one of these online options for macarons next time you get a craving. For all of these, you can place your order online and they’ll ship to your home.
- Baked by Melissa
- Chelles Macarons
- Dana’s Bakery
- Etsy and vegan options from Etsy
- Lady Yum
- Le Bon Macaron
- Macaron Bar
- Pastreez (offers vegan and dairy-free options)
If you’ve been looking to find out if your favorite macaron cookies are gluten-free, I hope this post has given you all the information you need to make an informed decision. Most macarons are gluten-free but may come from bakeries that are not dedicated gluten-free facilities.
Macarons are generally made with dairy, so if you also are following a dairy-free diet, you may want to try to find a recipe and try your hand at making your own at home or using a service like Pastreez to get dairy-free macarons delivered to your home.