How To Make Madeleines


Transport yourself to the quaint cafes of France with the delicate and buttery perfection of madeleines. These classic French tea cakes are beloved for their distinctive shell-like shape and light, fluffy texture. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of making madeleines from scratch, ensuring your success in mastering this timeless treat.


  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Optional: lemon zest, orange zest, or other flavorings for variation


  1. Prepare the Batter:
    • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and salt, and continue to whisk until well combined.
    • Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture, and gently fold until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in tough madeleines.
    • Slowly pour in the melted butter while continuing to fold the batter until smooth and homogeneous. For added flavor, fold in lemon zest, orange zest, or other desired flavorings at this stage.
  2. Chill the Batter:
    • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight. Chilling the batter allows the flavors to develop and helps achieve the characteristic hump that madeleines are known for.
  3. Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Madeleine Pans:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Meanwhile, generously butter and flour madeleine pans to prevent sticking. Tap out any excess flour.
  4. Fill the Madeleine Pans:
    • Spoon the chilled batter into the prepared madeleine pans, filling each mold about three-quarters full. Avoid overfilling, as the madeleines will expand during baking.
  5. Bake the Madeleines:
    • Place the filled madeleine pans in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the madeleines are golden brown around the edges and spring back when lightly touched.
  6. Cool and Serve:
    • Remove the madeleine pans from the oven and let the madeleines cool in the pans for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
    • Once cooled, dust the madeleines with powdered sugar for a touch of sweetness, if desired. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for later enjoyment.

Serving Tips:

  1. Freshly Baked Enjoyment: Madeleines are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven when they are still warm and fragrant. Serve them alongside a steaming cup of tea or coffee for a delightful treat.
  2. Dress Them Up: Enhance the presentation of your madeleines by dusting them with powdered sugar or drizzling them with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar and lemon juice. Garnish with lemon or orange zest for a pop of color and flavor.
  3. Accompaniments: Pair madeleines with a variety of accompaniments to elevate the tasting experience. Fresh berries, whipped cream, lemon curd, or a dollop of Nutella are all excellent choices to complement the delicate sweetness of the madeleines.
  4. Serve with Ice Cream: For a decadent dessert option, serve warm madeleines alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The warm-cold contrast is simply irresistible, making it a crowd-pleasing finale to any meal.

Storage Tips:

  1. Room Temperature: Madeleines can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. Ensure that the container is tightly sealed to prevent the madeleines from drying out.
  2. Reheating: If your madeleines have lost their freshness, you can revive them by briefly reheating them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C) and place the madeleines on a baking sheet. Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until warmed through.
  3. Freezing: Madeleines freeze well and can be stored in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. To freeze, arrange the cooled madeleines in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer until firm. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. Thaw individual madeleines at room temperature or reheat them in the oven before serving.
  4. Layering: When storing madeleines in a container, layer them with parchment paper or wax paper to prevent them from sticking together. This will help maintain their delicate texture and shape during storage.

Variations of Madeleines:

  1. Lemon Madeleines:
    • Add the zest of one lemon to the batter for a burst of citrus flavor. You can also drizzle the cooled madeleines with a lemon glaze made from powdered sugar and lemon juice for extra zing.
  2. Chocolate Chip Madeleines:
    • Fold in a handful of chocolate chips into the batter before baking for a decadent twist on traditional madeleines. The melted chocolate adds richness and indulgence to every bite.
  3. Almond Madeleines:
    • Replace a portion of the flour with almond flour and add a splash of almond extract to the batter for a subtle nutty flavor. Top the baked madeleines with sliced almonds for added texture and visual appeal.
  4. Orange Blossom Madeleines:
    • Infuse the batter with the delicate aroma of orange blossom water for a floral twist on classic madeleines. A small amount goes a long way, so use it sparingly to avoid overpowering the other flavors.
  5. Matcha Madeleines:
    • Incorporate matcha powder into the batter for a vibrant green hue and earthy flavor. Matcha pairs beautifully with the buttery sweetness of madeleines, creating a unique and sophisticated treat.
  6. Rose Madeleines:
    • Add a few drops of rose water to the batter for a subtle floral flavor that adds a touch of elegance to the madeleines. Garnish with dried rose petals for a beautiful presentation.
  7. Honey Lavender Madeleines:
    • Infuse the batter with dried culinary lavender buds and a drizzle of honey for a delicate and aromatic flavor profile. The combination of floral lavender and sweet honey is simply irresistible.
  8. Cinnamon Spice Madeleines:
    • Add ground cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg to the batter for a warm and comforting flavor reminiscent of spiced cookies. Dust the baked madeleines with cinnamon sugar for an extra dose of sweetness.
  9. Earl Grey Madeleines:
    • Steep Earl Grey tea bags in melted butter and use the infused butter in the batter for a subtle tea flavor with hints of bergamot. Serve with a cup of Earl Grey tea for a perfectly paired teatime treat.
  10. Double Chocolate Madeleines:
    • Incorporate cocoa powder into the batter and fold in chocolate chips for an indulgent chocolate experience. These rich and fudgy madeleines are perfect for chocolate lovers craving something decadent.


  1. What is the origin of madeleines?
    • Madeleines are traditional French tea cakes that originated in the Lorraine region of France. They are named after Madeleine Paulmier, the cook who first created them in the 18th century.
  2. What is the characteristic shape of madeleines?
    • Madeleines are known for their distinctive shell-like shape, which is achieved by baking the batter in special madeleine pans with shell-shaped molds. This shape creates a delicate and elegant presentation.
  3. What texture should madeleines have?
    • Madeleines should have a light and fluffy texture with a slightly crisp exterior. The interior should be moist and tender, with a fine crumb that melts in your mouth.
  4. Can I make madeleines without a madeleine pan?
    • While madeleine pans are preferred for achieving the classic shell shape, you can still make madeleines using mini muffin pans or even regular muffin pans. However, the resulting shape and texture may differ slightly.
  5. Why is it important to chill the madeleine batter?
    • Chilling the madeleine batter allows the flavors to develop and helps achieve the characteristic hump that madeleines are known for. It also helps prevent the madeleines from spreading too much during baking.
  6. How do I prevent my madeleines from becoming dry?
    • To ensure moist and tender madeleines, avoid overbaking them. Bake them just until they are golden brown around the edges and spring back when lightly touched. Additionally, store them in an airtight container to retain moisture.
  7. Can I freeze madeleines?
    • Yes, madeleines freeze well and can be stored in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
  8. What flavors can I add to madeleines?
    • Madeleines can be flavored with a variety of ingredients such as lemon zest, orange zest, chocolate chips, almond extract, matcha powder, or spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations!
  9. How should I store leftover madeleines?
    • Store leftover madeleines in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. If they become slightly dry, you can revive them by briefly reheating them in the oven or microwave.
  10. What is the best way to serve madeleines?
    • Madeleines can be served as a delightful snack with tea or coffee, as a dessert paired with fruit or ice cream, or as part of an elegant afternoon tea spread. Dust them with powdered sugar or drizzle them with glaze for added sweetness and visual appeal.


With this foolproof recipe, you’ll be well-equipped to create delectable batches of madeleines that rival those found in the finest patisseries. Whether enjoyed with a cup of tea as an afternoon treat or served as an elegant dessert at your next gathering, homemade madeleines are sure to impress with their delicate flavor and irresistible charm. Embrace the art of French baking and delight your taste buds with these delightful tea cakes!

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