Yes, You Can Absolutely Enjoy Macarons On A Gluten-Free Diet

For sweet lovers who observe a gluten-free diet, whether due to intolerance or for personal health reasons, finding baked goods that are both delicious and safe to eat can be a challenge. If you've ever entered a sweets shop and gazed longingly at the brightly-colored display of macarons, wondering whether these specialty French treats are gluten-free, we have exciting news for you. Often confused with macaroons — the shredded coconut treat made with condensed milk that also happens to be gluten-free — French macarons are delicate, gluten-free sandwich cookies that are shaped into perfectly uniform discs and filled with fresh jams, jellies, rich ganache, or buttercream. 

Macarons originated in France in the early 1900s, where the crisp artisanal cookies were first layered with sumptuous fillings. Now they're one of the must-have pastries for any visitor in Paris, made famous by the world-renowned pastry shop Ladurée, which boasts a wide assortment of macaron flavors including caramel, pistachio, and chocolate, as well as a seasonal rotation of scrumptious fruits. What makes these dainty cookies gluten-free? It all comes down to the flour. Traditional macaron cookie shells are prepared with almond flour, making them free of gluten and safe for consumption for those with celiac disease or folks more generally avoiding gluten in their diets.

Macarons are made with almond flour

French macaron shells are made with just four simple ingredients: Egg whites, granulated sugar, confectioners' sugar, and almond flour. Almond flour is one of the most common alternatives for conventional flour as the texture closely resembles the classic cake ingredient. While that texture is largely what makes almond flour a wonderful choice when accommodating dietary considerations, the nuttiness inherent in almonds adds a subtle yet nuanced flavor that enhances any recipe it's added to. Almond flour is entirely gluten-free as it is made by blanching peeled almonds and then grinding them finely into a thin powder. This preparation ensures that almond flour is a safe option for those with gluten sensitivity as there are no traces of gluten in the production whatsoever. 

Because traditional macarons are made with almond flour, the French delicacy is almost always an excellent gluten-free treat to savor, but there are some rare exceptions. Macaron flavors range widely from seasonal fruits to chocolatey creations. Depending on where you procure your macarons, you may encounter some more modern flavors that incorporate other beloved baked goods such as cookie butter or Oreos. While the shells of those macarons would likely still be made with almond flour, the fillings could contain gluten if the baker used ingredients such as cookies within the buttercream. Additionally, any cookie or cake-flavored macaron might be dusted with crumbs, so pay attention to which flavor you select and always triple-check with the shop if you have any concerns.