Macarons are infamous in France, but they have recently started to see a rise in popularity in the United States, too.
Showing up everywhere from five-star restaurants to hipster bakeries, macarons are expensive anywhere you go.
You may wonder why something that seems so simple is so expensive.
Here are 10 reasons macarons are so expensive.
Why Are Macarons So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
The primary reason macarons are expensive is the ingredients they use.
They’re not standard desserts where you only need some flour and sugar.
You need quite a few different ingredients to make macarons.
The list can increase if you want to make something besides standard macarons.
One of the exciting aspects of macarons is the fact that you can make them with almost any type of flavor and texture that you want.
It just means that you’ll need to buy more ingredients.
To make standard macarons, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Almond flour
- Egg whites
- Food coloring
These ingredients aren’t enough to make delicious macarons, however.
They need to be high-quality ones.
Each ingredient needs to come from a great source.
Otherwise, the flavor and texture of the macaron won’t be good.
You can tell the difference between a great macaron and a substandard one.
Not only do they look different, but they also taste different.
Even the texture is different.
Investing in ingredients from high-quality sources can be costly.
For bakers who make a lot of them, they need to invest a lot in their ingredients.
Sometimes they can save a little money by buying wholesale, but even then, not all the ingredients may match the standards they need for their macarons.
Those who make macarons at home will also find that high-quality ingredients are expensive.
They don’t have the option of buying ingredients in bulk because they’re usually not making a large quantity of these goodies.
They have to buy the number of ingredients that they need.
That means they have to buy the ingredients at their marked-up price at the store.
From the very start, macarons are expensive because their high-quality ingredients are expensive.
2. High-End Ingredients
One part of the macaron can really drive up its price.
The filling that you want to use for the macaron can vary.
It can be as simple as vanilla or chocolate.
It can also be extremely expensive.
Certain high-end ingredients like ganache, buttercream, lemon curd, preserves, and even candied fruit are sometimes used as a filling.
The more complex and high-end the filling is, the more expensive the macaron is going to be.
That’s because certain fillings take time to make.
Bakers also need to get their hands on high-quality versions of the high-end ingredient.
That’s because the filling is one of the most important parts of the macaron.
While the shell provides the right structure and texture, the filling is what gives the macaron an explosion of flavor.
If the baker is using low-quality versions of high-end ingredients, then the filling isn’t going to taste good.
Nor is it going to look good.
The color or consistency may be off.
To avoid that embarrassment, bakers invest in expensive high-end ingredients for their fillings.
Since you can make macarons with almost any type of filling, some customers may have wild demands for their fillings.
The more complex it is, the more expensive the macaron is going to be.
Even luxury macarons can include rare fruit fillings or other complex ingredients.
3. Difficult Baked Good
Making macarons isn’t easy.
That’s why they’re so expensive.
It takes a lot of time to make them.
The eggs have to dry out for a few days.
The almond flour needs a few rounds of sifting.
Then there’s the entire process of making the filling.
Bakers even need to wait for at least a half-hour for the entire thing to settle before they can put them in the oven to bake.
Baking is a science.
It requires precise measurements and baking times.
Overlooking even one step can spell disaster for a baked good.
That’s especially true for macarons.
They’re one of the more complex desserts to make.
That’s why only experienced bakers make them.
It’s easy to measure something incorrectly or to lose patience and construct it too soon.
Since macarons take several days to make, they have a naturally more expensive price associated with them.
The baker spends more time on them than they would with other baked goods.
As a result, they’re unable to work on other products in their shop.
To make up for the lack of profit, they have to price the macarons accordingly.
Restaurants that hire bakers or chefs that know how to make macarons will also pay them a higher wage.
That’s because, in the restaurant industry, everything is fast-paced.
A chef needs to be able to make a series of macarons as fast as they can without compromising on quality.
Those types of chefs or bakers don’t come cheap.
To pay their wages, the restaurant has to mark up the complex dishes that require their specific attention.
Macarons are one of those items that receive a higher price.
Its complexity drives up its price.
4. History Of Luxury
Both Italy and France claim to be behind the invention of the macaron.
Although macarons are more associated with France, the fact that it uses almond flour makes its Italian heritage more likely.
Both Italy and France have a reputation for luxury cuisine.
Their desserts, in particular, are works of art.
Macarons fall neatly into that history as well.
Since they’re difficult to make, only the best chefs and bakers in both France and Italy make them.
Since their desserts are higher priced than others, many people associate macarons with luxury.
They are a luxury dessert.
Not everyone can afford them, particularly from the more expensive bakeries.
Since they’re considered a luxury, bakers can also apply a luxury price to them.
This is especially true if the macaron happens to contain unique ingredients that set it apart.
Due to their uniqueness, complexity, and history in both France and Italy, macarons are expensive.
Another reason macarons are expensive is that they’re a trendy dessert.
While they’ve always been present in Italy and France, they’ve only recently become a craze in the United States.
As American tourists discovered them in Italy and France, they wanted to continue to enjoy them in their home country.
Seeing an opportunity, bakers decided to hone their skills to meet the demand.
Besides its delicious flavor, the cute appearance of macarons also appeals to many in the United States.
Some are even calling them the new version of the cupcake.
They’re small, light, and delicious.
As with anything that trends, it carries with it a more expensive price.
When something is trending, that means there’s more attention and interest in it.
If the trending thing is a product, like macarons, then the demand for it is high.
Everyone wants to see what the big deal is.
Everyone wants their moment of fame by being part of the trend.
Since demand for it is high, and macarons are difficult to mass-produce, the supply is always low.
That makes the price for them skyrocket.
They’re also incredibly photogenic.
In today’s world of Instagram, TikTok, and other visual social media platforms, everyone is looking to make the next big trending image.
Eating a colorful or wacky macaron is a method of receiving those likes and followers.
Once macarons fall out of favor and become less trendy, the price for them will also likely decrease a small amount.
Perhaps one of the reasons that macarons are trendy is that they’re gluten-free.
They’re also made with almond flour instead of standard flour, which can appeal to certain health-conscious individuals.
While the egg whites keep the macarons from being fully vegan, there are many aspects of them that are plant-based.
That makes macarons appealing to certain vegetarians.
There are also ways to make them healthier.
Choosing to go fully plant-based can make them vegan.
Using fruits in the filling can make them a healthier option since it adds the nutrients and vitamins from the fruit to it.
The fact that it’s gluten-free also appeals to many people suffering from gluten sensitivities.
It’s one of the few baked goods that can claim to be gluten-free.
While it does contain sugar, macarons are one of the healthier choices when it comes to baked desserts.
Because of that, it appeals to a lot of people who have an interest in enjoying delicious desserts without worrying about their health.
Since it appeals to both a mass-market and a health-conscious market, the demand for them is high.
With supply difficult to maintain, that makes the price of macarons increase.
7. Unique Flavors
While you can buy standard flavors when it comes to macarons, like chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, some bakers go the extra mile.
World-famous bakers and chefs push themselves the extra mile to create unique flavors for their macarons.
That’s because the world of macarons is competitive.
Those who have perfected the art of making them leave little else for the others trying to climb their way to the number one spot.
The only way that other bakers and chefs can compete with famous bakeries is to create unique flavors.
They have come up with rose-flavored macarons, pistachio-flavored macarons, and even olive oil-flavored macarons.
You can find even wackier flavors like bacon and other savory flavors, too.
Each unique macaron flavor makes the bakery stand out from the competition.
That also means that they’re more expensive.
Since they’re not made like the rest of the bakeries’ macarons, they need a bit more time and a few more ingredients to give it whatever its unique flavor is.
It’s also a specialty item.
Not everyone wants to eat a bacon-flavored macaron all the time.
They eat it for the novelty or as a treat every now and then.
Because it’s unique and a novelty, it fetches a higher price.
In the world of macarons, packaging matters.
Expert macaron bakers know that the part of the appeal of the macarons is their color and beauty.
If they arrive in a standard cardboard box, then part of the decadence is missing from the experience.
Bakers trying to grow their name put a lot of thought into the packaging of their macarons.
Not only does the packaging need to keep the product safe, but it needs to be as decadent and luxurious as the macarons themselves.
You can expect their brand name to be on the packaging.
You can likely expect some form of paper to keep the macarons protected and fresh.
They may use a stunning color to further increase the vibrancy of their macarons.
Part of that is because bakers understand the photogenic power of their macarons.
If they make their packaging as photogenic as possible, then their customers are more likely to take pictures of the macarons while still in the packaging.
That means their brand name receives free advertising.
It’s a great way to market.
It also means that packaging is more expensive.
That reflects in the price of the macaron.
If you’re buying macarons from the bakery, then you’ll find that they’re slightly cheaper than buying a box of them.
The box, alone, can run up the price by a few dollars.
9. Luxurious Macarons
One of the most expensive macaron recipes is in Florida.
It’s made with white tea and has flakes of real gold on it.
It’s even served in a Lalique crystal box.
The box costs $9,700.
There are other types of macarons out there that fetch a similar price.
These luxurious macarons are an example of why macarons are so expensive all in themselves.
They use expensive ingredients and materials like gold flakes to make them appeal to those looking for a luxury dessert.
While macarons are appearing in local grocery stores, few can afford these types of macarons.
They’re also made by the best in the business.
While it’s cool to say you ate a macaron infused with gold, it isn’t much of an experience if it doesn’t taste good.
The world’s best make luxurious macarons to ensure it doesn’t just look like one-of-a-kind, but it also tastes like one-of-a-kind.
If you want a seriously expensive macaron, then you can find gold-encrusted versions out there.
No one wants to eat a macaron that has a deformed shell.
No bakery wants to sell a deformed macaron either.
That’s why there’s a major emphasis placed on perfecting the art of making macarons.
If a baker can’t make macarons that taste delicious and look perfect, then they’re not going to have customers asking for them.
Because macarons have a reputation for being decadent, customers expect perfection in them.
You may see discounted macarons that have cracked shells or leaky filling.
Some bakeries will throw them away since they don’t want to associate their bakery with mediocre work.
It’s a waste of ingredients, time, and money.
Out of several batches, there’s always a chance that some of the macarons won’t come out correct.
The others are a waste of money.
To recover their loss, bakeries mark the perfect macarons at a higher price.
This ensures they can cover the loss and still make a profit.
How To Save Money On Macarons
If you want to eat macarons more often, then you need to find a way to make them more affordable.
Otherwise, your macaron habit may eat away at your finances.
Here are a few tips you can use to save money on buying macarons.
1. Buy From The Grocery Store
While you should always support local bakers, now and then, you might want to get your macarons at the store.
There are several store chains like Publix, Costco, and Whole Foods that sell macarons.
Naturally, they can be difficult to find since everyone wants them.
However, if you can get your hands on them, you’ll find that these are a bit cheaper than those you buy at the bakery.
That’s because these macarons are mass-produced in a factory.
They won’t be as fresh or as good as what comes from a bakery, but they can satisfy that itch you have for macarons.
2. Buy Later In The Day
Bakeries make most of their products early in the day, then sell them throughout the day.
They have to be mindful of how many they make because they want to sell their batches before the day is over.
Baked goods are at their best on the first day.
After that, they start to become stale.
It’s why you’ll often find the prices for baked goods are cheaper closer to closing time than earlier in the day.
The gamble is that if you wait too long, there may not be any macarons left.
3. Stick With Traditional Flavors
There are a plethora of flavors for macarons out there.
The unique flavors tend to cost more money.
If you want to save money and enjoy a macaron, then opt for the standard flavor of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.
They’ll be cheaper and taste just as incredible.
Macarons are expensive because they’re difficult to make.
Certain unique macarons fetch a high price because few people can replicate them exactly elsewhere.
You can even find gold-encrusted macarons.
Save money by following the tips above and understanding the reasons why macarons are so expensive in the first place.