Vegan Macaron Troubleshooting

Hello friends! Today I bring to you a Vegan Macaron Troubleshooting guide!

It’s been a long journey in order to obtain all the knowledge for this vegan macaron troubleshooting post! The pictures you will see here are all my own, from mistakes I’ve made in the past, and also from purposely trying to make a mistake, in order to get pictures and a visual to be able to show you the issues that can occur when making vegan macarons.

I really hope this guide can be helpful to you. I get so many questions over DM’s, email, and comments here on the blog and on YouTube, so I am familiar with the most common issues, and also how to help you troubleshoot them.

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If you want more information, these are the posts I recommend: Vegan Macaron Guide, Vegan Matcha Macarons (with the best oven tips).

First, I will show you a big graph with the most common issues, and their probable causes. Continue to read below to find out in more detail the fixes and how to troubleshoot vegan macarons.

Also, I will highlight a few more issues down below, at the end of the post that haven’t been covered by the images on this graph.

Vegan Macaron Troubleshooting Guide with 8 different pictures of macaron issues and their probable causes

Will this vegan macaron troubleshooting guide also work for regular egg white macarons?

Yes, as a matter of fact! Except for the lopsided macarons happening from resting too long and low oven temperature. I’ve never seen that happen to regular egg white macarons, it seems to be a trait to the vegan macarons to turn lopsided when the temperature is too low, or when rested too long. When regular egg white macarons are lopsided it’s usually because of uneven heat, and not rotating the tray halfway baking.

I have an egg white macaron troubleshooting guide also posted on the blog, with a lot more information and issues being covered. Check it out here.

Let’s start with our Vegan Macaron Troubleshooting!

Flat and crispy macaron shells

Wrinkly and flat and crispy vegan macaron shells

Flat and crispy macaron shells happen because of:

  • Over mixed batter. Fix: Mix just until the batter becomes runny and of a flowing consistency. (Vegan macarons need way less folding time than regular egg white macarons for comparison)
  • Too much food coloring. Fix: Add less food coloring, specially if you are a beginner. Make sure to use gel or powder food coloring, never liquid food coloring.
  • Too much heat. Fix: Turn the heat down, make sure to have an oven thermometer. Don’t use dark baking sheets, they retain more heat.

Here’s an image in case you would like to pin it for later or save.

Over mixed batter Too much food coloring Too much heat. graph showing troubleshooting for vegan macarons

No bottoms

Why are my macaron shells not forming a bottom?

macaron shells not forming bottoms

Macaron shells without bottoms happen because of:

  • Low oven temperature. Fix: Experiment with higher temperatures, and always have an oven thermometer. Read this post for more info on how to optimize your oven.
  • Using a double pan. Fix: Some people use a double pan and that works for them and their oven, and you may have received that recommendation from someone, or seen it done somewhere. If you are using a double pan and your macarons don’t form bottoms, that’s the culprit.
  • Too far from the heat source. Fix: Understand your oven, experiment with different oven rack levels, try to get closer to the heat source.
  • Underbaked. Fix: Experiment with longer baking times. Again, on this post I explain how to experiment with your oven and find out optimal oven temperatures and baking time to make your vegan macarons.
Explanation of why macaron shells arent forming a bottom: low oven temperature, using a double pan, too far from heat source, and underbaked shells

No feet

Why do my macarons have no feet? (or very tiny feet)

macaron shells with no feet

Macaron shells with no feet (or tiny feet) happen because of:

  • Low oven temperature. Fix: Experiment with higher temperatures, always making sure to have an oven thermometer. Find out how to optimize your oven by reading this post.
  • Resting too long. Fix: bake the shells as soon as they form a skin. Don’t let them sit too long or the meringue may start to lose structure.
  • Too far from the heat source. Fix: Understand your oven, experiment with different oven rack levels, try to get closer to the heat source.
Vegan Macaron Troubleshooting Guide about macarons with no feet

Bumpy Shells

Why do my macaron have bumpy shells? Well, this is one of the easiest issues to fix.

macarons with bumpy shells

Bumpy macaron shells happen because of:

  • Under mixed batter. Fix: Mix the batter enough so it will be flowing. Always be careful not to over mix, but if you pipe the shells and they have a point on top that won’t smooth out, you need to fold the batter longer.
  • Lumpy almond flour. Fix: Always make sure to sift the almond flour using a fine mesh sieve. Try a different brand of almond flour. If the almond flour you use leaves a lot of big pieces behind in the sieve, it’s time to try a different brand.
  • Air bubbles. Fix: Tap the trays against the counter after piping. And use a toothpick to poke any visible air bubbles on the surface of the shells.
macarons with bumpy shells and how to fix them

Cracked Shells

Why are my macaron shells cracking?

cracked macaron shells

Cracked macaron shells happen because of:

  • Not resting long enough. Fix: Let the batter rest until it becomes dry to the touch. If you live in a humid climate, consider turning the ac on, letting the macarons sit by a fan, and not boiling any water while the macarons are resting. If the macarons aren’t drying even after over 1 hour, the batter is most likely over mixed, or the meringue is under whipped.
  • Under whipped meringue. Fix: Whip the meringue until it achieves stiff peaks. The peaks should be shooting straight up. Watch my many videos on YouTube to see what that should look like. Or check out this post.
  • High oven temperature. Fix: Make absolute sure to have an oven thermometer, that’s the only way of being able to tell what’s the actual temperature inside your oven. Consider turning the oven temperature down and experimenting with different temperatures. On this post I explain how to experiment with your oven, and why it’s so important to have an oven thermometer.
cracked macaron shells

Lopsided Macarons

Why are my vegan macarons coming out lopsided? In this vegan macaron troubleshooting guide you will find out how to fix this! Keep reading!

lopsided macarons

Lopsided macaron shells happen because of:

  • Resting too long. Fix: Bake the shells as soon as they become dry to the touch.
  • Low oven temperature. Fix: Bump up the temperature. When baking in the low 200ºF (around 93ºC), the macarons will often turn out lopsided. Bump up to the high 200s.
  • Uneven heat in the oven. Fix: First, it can be beneficial to have more than one oven thermometer, in order to find out if your oven has any hot spots. Secondly, it’s important to rotate your trays about 5 minutes into baking if your macarons are turning out lopsided.
troubleshooting lopsided macarons reasons why macarons become lopsided

Hollow Macarons

Why are my macarons hollow? This is probably the question we get the most in the world of macaron baking. What causes hollow macarons after all? And the answer is: it’s almost a mystery to everyone still!

macarons with hollow shells

Hollow macarons happen because of:

Many things, really. You will find information below that may seem contradictory (such as both under mixed, or over mixed batter being the culprits). Achieving full shells should be your last mountain to conquer when mastering macarons. Once you’ve tackled all the other issues listed here, then move on to conquering full shells.

A lot of times, the shells will fill up once you fill the macarons and let them mature in the fridge for 24 or 48 hours. If that’s still not happening to your shells, here are some things to consider:

  • Resting too long. Fix: Let the shells rest just until they become dry to the touch, and then bake.
  • Oven temperature. Fix: Make sure to have an oven thermometer. Experiment with different temperatures. Find out on this post how to optimize your oven. If the shells are soft and hollow, experiment with higher temperatures. And if the shells are hard and hollow, turn the temperature down.
  • Under mixed batter. Fix: mix the batter until it begins to flow. If your shells are under mixed, it will be easy to tell, because they also won’t be smooth on top.
  • Over mixed batter. Fix: mix the batter just until it begins to flow. This is one of the biggest culprits for people who have perfect shells on the outside but still hollow. Try macaronaging a bit less.
how to fix hollow macarons troubleshooting guide

Feet Spreading Out

Why are my macaron feet spreading out? This is by far the most common issue I see around. And I have the solution for you!

macarons with feet that are spreading out

Macaron feet spread out because of:

  • Over mixed batter. Fix: As soon as the batter begins to flow, stop mixing. When it comes to egg white macarons, you’ll need to fold longer. With vegan macarons, you need way less folding time. This is the number one culprit for feet spreading out.
  • High oven temperature. Fix: Make absolute sure to have an oven thermometer. Turn the temperature down. This is the second biggest culprit for feet spreading out. Read this post to get information on how to optimize your oven.
  • Under whipped meringue. Fix: Whip the meringue until it achieves stiff peaks. The peaks should be shooting straight up, and not bent.
  • Not resting enough. Fix: Let the shells rest until they feel dry to the touch before baking. The wet shells might spread out or crack, or even both.
guide on how to troubleshoot spread out feet

These are some of the most common Vegan Macaron Troubleshooting topics that I see happening everyday, as I reply to messages, questions, DM’s and emails.

Besides these issues I’ve outlined here with photos, here are some more issues you may encounter

  • Porous shells: broken meringue, that either got in contact with grease, water, or was over/under whipped.
  • Soft shells: the oven temperature was too low, or the shells were under baked.
  • Wrinkly shells: oily almond flour, or too much cocoa powder.
  • Hard crispy shells: over baked, or high oven temperature.
  • Feet that are too tall: high oven temperature, or over mixed batter.

I hope this Vegan Macaron Troubleshooting Guide is helpful to you! Thank you for reading!

Click here to pin the Vegan Macaron Troubleshooting Guide on Pinterest!

Vegan Macaron Troubleshooting Guide with 8 different pictures of macaron issues and their probable causes

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  1. Hi, I want to make vegan macarons. What’s oils you recommend if your oven is a convection oven? Thank you.

  2. Hi!
    You convinced me to buy an oven thermometer x)
    Now, I only have one and will try it with that, but still have some questions:
    I think I want to do your coffee macarons, is the recipe updated or did you not change anything besides the aquafaba?
    Also, obviously you list baking temperatures, is that the temperature you heat your oven or the temperature your thermometer shows?
    And what setting do I bake on?
    Ik i will have to figure my oven out but I thought asking in advance wouldn’t be the wrong thing to do either 🙂

    1. the coffee macarons recipe is updated. And I pre-heat my oven to 285F. I have an electric oven so it doesnt have any settings.
      If you are using a convection oven and chose to turn the convection on, experiment with lower temperatures. At least 10% lower, but it will be a matter of experimenting with different temperatures and settings to see what works best for you

  3. Amei amei amei amei! Tem praticamente 1 ano que pesquiso sobre macarons como hábito, leio de tudo, vejo todos os vídeos que existem repetidas vezes, analiso os instas, fotos, apostilas… E as dicas mais valiosas vieram de você! Inclusive nesse post tem um montão de coisas que eu nem fazia ideia que existia! Obrigada Camila! <3

  4. Hi Camila,
    I tried testing and experimenting with my oven but I am still stuck. I had 2 oven thermometers, both shows 20 to 30 deg difference from my oven settings. If I set my oven temperature too high, mostly will be lopsided. When I lowered the oven temperature, it will have dark spots on my macarons. I am desperate and sad. I really want to bake consistent good macarons. But I had also made many many many many fail batches. Can you help me?

  5. Thank you for all your work educating us about macarons 🙂 I’ve watched your videos closely and am so grateful for all your vegan videos, I’m referencing this page almost daily to help me through some failures. Right now working through oven temperature issues and hollow shells. I believe I have the temperature worked out alright but I think maybe I’m undermixing slightly. The videos really stress not to over mix! My shells are lumpy but I also have too-coarse almond flour so as an absolute beginner it’s hard to say if undermixing is evident in the shells. Next steps are to keep practicing and buy finer almond flour when this first bag runs out. 😀 Thank you thank you!

  6. Hi Camila,
    Would you be willing to trouble shoot with me? I finally think I have a good meringue, it’s stiff peaks. And then I even got feet but they are always hollow. I mixed the batter a little longer, following your troubleshooting guide and that helped them settle on the pan better so I think they were a little under mixed but they are still hollow. At 280 they have a nice firm shell but 270 is too soft and brittle. And again no matter what, they are hollow. The last batch that was mixed better/longer and baked for about 20-24 minutes at 270 ish looks a little less hollow (but also soft shell). They got feet but then seemed to just continue and exploded out the sides inside of going up! I am at a loss here. Should I attempt to go lower with the temperature like 250-260 and cook longer? Or go with a higher heat like 300? I am carefully watching oven temp and adjusting as necessary. It runs hot sometimes and cold sometimes so I keep watch. I am baking on a light colored aluminum pan with a silicone mat. Thank you!!

    1. Someone told me they had success combating hollow vegan macarons by adding 1/4 tsp xantham gum to their meringue. Maybe try and see if that works. Do they fill up a bit after maturing in the fridge with the filling?

  7. I have trying the vegan recipe and with higher oven temperature of 250 the feet explode and with lower temperature of 245 they are lopsided. The meringue is stiff and folding until just running and resting until dry about 20 minutes. What would do you suggest?

    1. Have you tried baking the different temperatures with the same batch? Because it could be that the batters were actually different and one was more whipped or less whipped than the other, or over mixed. Resting time can also impact this.
      Next, Id look at the aquafaba you are using, and try a different brand next time, or try reducing the aquafaba to make it more concentrated, which could help the meringue be more stable.

  8. Thank you so much for all of the tips and advice on vegan macarons. I have been practicing for about two weeks and am starting to get consistent results. I use convection and find that 250 to 270 deg F for about 20 minutes (sometimes a bit longer) gives nice results. Most of my shells that turn out looking nice are still hollow, so I am trying some things I have read online. Recently I’ve been adding 5 grams of chickpea flour to the dry ingredients and I’ve found it gives a bit less hollow shells. Still working on some lopsidedness as well, I think it might be due to the way I am piping them.

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