These ladybug macarons are so fun to make and so cute! They’re filled with vanilla buttercream and decorated with royal icing and candy eyes. And the best part is they aren’t as difficult to make as they may seem!
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Ladybug Macarons Recipe
- Powdered sugar – also known as confectioner’s sugar
- Almond flour – use blanched almond flour so you don’t have any dark bits of almond
- Egg Whites – no need to use aged egg whites, but they should be at room temperature
- Granulated sugar – just regular sugar, but you can also use caster sugar which is a bit finer
- Powdered egg whites – if you have trouble getting a stable meringue, using powdered egg whites can help
- Vanilla extract – adds flavor to the shells
- Red gel food coloring – 5 drops of red gel food coloring
- Black gel food coloring – 3 drops of black gel food coloring
- Candy eyes – mini candy eyes
How Do You Make Ladybug Macarons?
- Prepare dry ingredients – weigh and sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together. Almond flour has a lot of moisture and will not sift well on its own.
- Make the meringue – whisk the egg whites, granulated sugar and egg white powder until you have stiff peaks. (TIP: mix the egg white powder into the granulated sugar before adding to the egg whites so the egg white powder does not become clumpy and dissolves easily).
- Combine wet and dry ingredients – combine the almond flour/powdered sugar mix and the meringue. Fold the batter until you don’t see any dry ingredients. You will need to deflate some of the air in the batter by smearing the batter against the side of the bowl with a spatula a few times. Continue folding the batter until it flows down the spatula and sinks into itself within 30 seconds. Be careful not to over mix the batter.
- Pipe the shells – using a pastry bag and medium sized piping tip, pipe the macaron shells into 3/4 inch circles, about an inch apart.
- Tap the baking sheet – tap the baking sheet about 8 times against the counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Rest the macarons – let the macarons rest until they are no longer sticky. You can usually tell when they have started to dry because they won’t look as shiny on top. This can take anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour sometimes.
- Bake the macarons – bake between 300F-315F for 14-16 minutes.
- Decorate the ladybug macarons – using royal icing, pipe a football shaped outline on the front of the macaron and fill with icing. Place two mini eyes on top of the royal icing before it starts drying. Draw a straight line down the middle of the macaron and pipe small dots on each side. Let dry for about an hour before filling the macarons and refrigerating.
How Do I Make Royal Icing?
- Powdered sugar – no need to sift the powdered sugar, but make sure there are no clumps.
- Meringue powder – I like using meringue powder instead of egg whites to make royal icing especially when making a very small batch since I don’t use a mixer. I just use a spoon to combine all the ingredients, stirring until the icing is smooth and you can’t see any powdered sugar or meringue powder.
- Water – use several drops at a time to get the right consistency.
- Gel food coloring – 3 drops of black gel food coloring.
Combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder and a few drops of water in a small bowl and mix with a spoon until you get a 20 second icing consistency. This means that when you lift the spoon, the icing should fully sink back into itself within 20 seconds. Add a few drops of water at a time so the icing doesn’t get too thin.
If the icing gets too thin, you can add in a bit of powdered sugar until you get the right consistency. Once you have the right consistency, add 3 drops of black gel food coloring.
Decorating Macarons with Royal Icing
When decorating macarons with royal icing, you want the icing to be thick enough for the icing to hold its shape, but thin enough that it sinks back into itself and leaves a smooth finish.
The best way to do this is to start adding a few drops of water a time, checking the consistency as you go.
I’ve found that a 20 second icing is perfect for macarons, because you can do the outline and fill the shapes with the same pastry bag.
More character macarons
More macaron art recipes to try
- Kitchen scale
- Stand mixer
- One 16 inch pastry bag
- Two 8 inch pastry bags
- Round piping tip
- Two silicone mats
- Two half sheet pans
- Oven thermometer
- 90 grams powdered sugar
- 80 grams almond flour
- 70 grams egg whites
- 70 grams granulated sugar
- 2 grams egg white powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 5 drops red gel food coloring
- ¼ cup salted butter (½ stick)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp heavy whipping cream
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Royal icing and decoration
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp meringue powder
- 1 tsp water
- 3 drops black gel food coloring
- small candy eyes (36 eyes)
Prepare dry ingredients
- Weigh and sift the powdered sugar and almond flour using a whisk to break down all the little clumps. (TIP – Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together because the almond flour has moisture and will not sift well on its own)
- Line the baking sheets with the two silicone mats.
- Place the medium piping tip inside the 16 inch pastry bag.
Make the meringue
- Whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed (speed 4) until you start to see small bubbles (this can take as little as 15 seconds sometimes), then slowly add 3 tbsp of granulated sugar.
- Increase speed to medium (speed 6) and continue slowly adding the remainder of the granulated sugar.
- Once you have medium peaks, stop the mixer, scrape the sides and add the vanilla.
- Whisk for about 2 minutes and then add the food coloring.
- Whisk for another 5 minutes or until stiff peaks.
- Add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the meringue and fold the batter until you can't see any of the dry ingredients.
- When folding the batter, slide the spatula under the batter, lift it in a U motion, and go over the top of the batter, and slide it under again. This way you make sure to get the batter at the bottom of the bowl.
- Once fully combined, add in another 1/3 and repeat the process of folding.
- Add in the last 1/3 of the powdered sugar/almond flour mixture and fold until fully combined.
- Once all of the powdered sugar/almond flour mixture has been added, continue folding a few more times to make sure all the ingredients are combined well.
- Now you need to deflate some of the air in the batter by taking the spatula and smearing the batter on the sides of the bowl two or three times, and then folding once or twice.
- Continue this pattern of smearing some of the batter on the side of the bowl, and folding once or twice until the batter starts to run off the spatula in ribbons.
- You can test the consistency by lifting the spatula and letting the batter run down. If it falls in ribbons and sinks into itself within 30 seconds, the batter is ready.
Pipe the shells
- Transfer the batter to the pastry bag with the piping tip. (TIP: before transferring the batter to the pastry bag, place the bag inside a tall glass with a wide opening and fold the sides of the bag over the top. This will make it easier to pour the batter in the bag without the bag folding over)
- Pipe the macarons in ¾ inch circles, about an inch apart, as they will spread a bit.
- Tap the baking sheet against the counter about 8 times to remove any air bubbles.
- Let the macarons rest at room temperature until they are dry to the touch. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending how much food coloring is used or the level of humidity in the kitchen.
- While the macarons are resting, preheat the oven to 310°F.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes.
- Using the stand mixer, whisk the butter for about a minute until creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar and mix.
- Add vanilla and mix until fully combined.
- Add the heavy whipping cream and continue mixing until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the buttercream to an 8 inch pastry bag and cut a ½ inch opening at the tip.
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder and a few drops of water and stir with a spoon.
- Continue stirring adding a few more drops of water if necessary.
- Check the consistency by lifting the spoon and counting how many seconds it takes for the icing to sink back into itself. If it takes 20 seconds, the icing is ready.
- Add 3 drops of black gel food coloring and stir until fully mixed.
- Transfer the royal icing to an 8 inch pastry bag and cut a very small opening at the tip.
- Start decorating the ladybug by first making a football shaped outline at the front of the macaron, filling it in, and adding two candy eyes before the icing starts to dry.
- Pipe a straight line down the middle and then add dots on both sides of the macaron.
- Let the icing dry completely.
- Once the icing has dried, fill the bottom shell with buttercream, place the decorated shell on top, and refrigerate overnight.