Macaron vs Macaroon: Discover Their Delicious Meanings

Are you confused between macaron vs macaroon? Read on to learn the difference between these two words and the tasty treats they refer to.

The next time you walk into a pastry shop and have your eyes turned by a tantalizing coconut flavored treat, can you ask for the treat with confidence? Two words, macaron and macaroon, both apply to sugary confections, but they are not the same thing. 

Determining which tasty treat you want requires a short grammar and language history lesson. Here is a closer look at macaron vs macaroon, the etymology of the two words, and their pronunciation.

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A History of Macaron Vs Macaroon

Macaron vs macaroon

The words macaron and macaroon are similar because they both come from the French word maccherone. these commonly confused words have similar origins, but they actually refer to two different cookies.

The Definition of Macaron

A macaron is a meringue-based sandwich cookie that has almond flour, egg whites, and confectioners sugar as its primary ingredients. The pronunciation for this cookie is the way it looks, with the “rohn” sound at the end of the word.

These delicate French pastries are tricky to bake because they require careful baking to create the smooth top and ruffled edges, known as the crown and foot. After whipping the meringue, place the batter in a piping back and pipe onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, then let it sit until it forms a skin. Cook until firm, and cool completely before creating the sandwiches.

French macarons have fillings that complement the almond meal flavor. Sometimes they are filled with jam, but ganache and buttercream fillings are more common. The final cookie is chewy had full of flavor.

History of the Macaron

The macaron may have a French-inspired name, but pastry historians believe it has Italian origins. According to tradition, when Catherine de Medici married Henry II and moved from Italy to France, she brought her pastry chefs, and their macaron recipe, with them.

The recipe evolved, and in Paris in the late 1800s, it became the cookie we know today. Pierre Desfontaines, a French pastry chef, receives credit for stuffing filling between meringues to create the cookie.

Common Flavors 

Macaron vs. macaroon
French macarons have fillings that complement the almond meal flavor

Colorful macarons come in almost any flavor imaginable and also come in a wide range of colors thanks to food coloring. Popular flavors include:

  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Pistachio
  • Lemon
  • Raspberry

Because they contain flour from ground almonds, not wheat, these cookies can easily be gluten-free. 

What Is a Macaroon?

The macaroon is a drop cookie with shredded coconut, egg whites, sugar and flavorings, like vanilla extract or ground almonds. They have a flaky look due to the coconut and are irregular in shape. The word macaroon's pronunciation includes the “roon” sound at the end.

Like the macaron, the macaroon is a meringue-based cookie. You make it by whipping the egg whites, then folding in dry ingredients. Then, drop the finished batter into mounds on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake until set. 

Coconut macaroons baked in America often get dipped in chocolate. 

History of the Macaroon

The exact origins of the macaroon are unknown. Originally, the cookies were made with ground almonds and almond paste instead of coconuts, but bakers soon realized coconut flakes traveled better and did not spoil as easily. 

This cookie is popular with Jewish bakers over Passover because it has egg whites as its leveling, not baking powder, making it safe to eat for the celebration. 

Deciphering Between Macaron vs Macaroon

Because macaron and macaroon have such similar names, getting them mixed up is common. In addition, using the “rohn” pronunciation with macaroon is not technically wrong, because in French there is no “oo” sound, so that is how the word gets pronounced. 

If you can remember that the words in English get pronounced as they appear, you may have an easier time keeping them straight. 

Of course, you may still end up with a cookie you didn't want if you order at a pastry shop. In that case, just smile and point to the one you want. These words are commonly confused, so no on will be surprised. You might also find our former vs. latter explainer helpful.

A Final Word on Macaron vs Macaroon

The words macaron and macaroon are easy to confuse, and for good reason. Both have the same root French word and come from Parisian origins. However, in modern English, they have different pronunciations.

The macaron is an almond-based sandwich cookie that is tricky to bake. The macaroon is a coconut drop cookie that is not quite as difficult. Both are meringue-based cookies. 

FAQs on Macaron vs Macaroon

What is the difference between a macaroon and a macaron?

A macaroon is a coconut drop cookie. A macaron is a colorful almond sandwich cookie. The name for both cookies comes from the French word maccherone. 

Is it pronounced macaroon or macron?

The pronunciation of macaroon in English is usually with the “roon” sound at the end. the pronunciation of macaron in English is usually with the “rohn” sound at the end. Both are correct because there are two different words.

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