Classic Madeleines Recipe

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These homemade French madeleine cookies are light and airy tea cakes dusted with powdered sugar. You can keep them simple for a casual treat or dress them up for the holidays!

If you’re looking for more classic recipes to add to your holiday cookie tray, try these chewy molasses cookies, soft cut-out sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, or butter cookies!

Why You’ll Love This Madeleine Cookie Recipe

Madeleines are a tasty cross between a cake and a cookie. They aren’t hard to make, but they do require a little bit of attention to detail to get them just right. Here’s why I highly recommend giving them a try ASAP:

  • Perfectly buttery. These madeleines are so sweet and buttery – they’re perfect with a cup of coffee or tea!
  • Light and fluffy. For many, the sign of a perfectly baked madeleine is the “belly,” or hump, that they get in the middle when baking. The hump is all about the rise, which should indicate a lighter or fluffier madeleine. With this recipe, your madeleines will rise perfectly every time!
  • Simple ingredients. These madeleine cookies only call for 9 ingredients, and almost all of them are baking basics that you probably already have in your pantry!

What Are Madeleine Cookies?

Are these mini cakes or cookies? They kind of look like cookies, and they’re often referred to that way, but they’re technically little cakes. Unlike many cakes, though, these don’t begin with the usual process of creaming butter and sugar together. Instead, the base of these little cakes is made with whipped eggs and sugar.

At the end of the day, you can call them cakes, cookies, or whatever you like as long as you try them. This buttery dessert is not to be missed!

A big green bowl piled with sugar dusted madeleines.

Recipe Ingredients

My secret ingredient for perfect madeleines is definitely the browned butter. It really intensifies the buttery goodness of the tea cakes and adds amazing flavor. Make sure you don’t leave it out! (If you’re looking for precise ingredient amounts, check out the recipe card below.)

  • Unsalted butter – If you prefer, you can use salted butter – just omit the additional salt listed below.
  • All-purpose flour – It’s a good idea to weigh your flour or use the spoon and sweep method so that you don’t pack too much of it into the measuring cup.
  • Baking powder – To give your madeleines some lift.
  • Salt – You can use kosher salt, sea salt, table salt, etc.
  • Eggs – Bring your eggs to room temperature before you begin.
  • Sugar – Regular granulated sugar is all you need for this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract offers the best, richest flavor.
  • Lemon zest – To give the madeleines their signature tangy, lemony taste.
  • Powdered sugar – Confectioners sugar is an optional topping for your madeleines.
A row of baked madeleines in the scallop pan.

How to Make Madeleine Cookies

This recipe is very straightforward, but madeleines do take a little time and care to prepare. They bake up super quickly with crisp edges and light, buttery insides!

  • Brown the butter. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Continue cooking until you see the browned solids form and sink to the bottom of the pan (about 10 minutes).
  • Set the butter aside. Remove the butter from the heat and pour it into a bowl to cool to about room temperature. You don’t want it to get too cool/solid or it’ll be harder to incorporate later.
  • Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, then set everything aside.
  • Beat the eggs. Add the eggs and sugar to a large mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture has thickened and is pale in color (about 7-8 minutes). It should reach the ribbon stage where it drizzles off the whisk in one continuous, smooth stream/ribbon, rather than being clumpy.
  • Combine the mixtures. Gently fold in the flour mixture in three parts, taking care not to deflate the eggs.
  • Add the browned butter, vanilla, and lemon. Fold in the browned butter, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
  • Chill the batter. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. If you’re looking for that nice rise in the center, I found that the rise was best after at least 6 hours of chill time.
  • Prepare for baking. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease your madeleine pan with non-stick baking spray, or brush the molds with melted butter.
  • Fill the molds. Spoon roughly a tablespoon of batter into the center of each mold. No need to spread it out, it will spread as it bakes.
  • Bake the cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the centers have risen.
  • Let the cookies cool briefly and serve. Allow the cookies to cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack. Dust them with powdered sugar and serve warm.
Madeleines dusted with powdered sugar on a cooling rack.

Tips for Success

Read through these quick tips and tricks to become a madeleine-making pro!

  • Don’t deflate the eggs. If you’ve ever worked with whipped eggs or egg whites, then you know it’s imperative to not deflate the eggs after whipping them when you add the rest of the ingredients. You also want to be sure that the eggs are at room temperature.
  • Don’t skip chill time. I tested these with and without refrigerating the batter, and you definitely get a better rise and texture if you refrigerate it. You can bake them after about 4 hours with great results, but I found they were best after about 6 hours. You can refrigerate the batter for up to 24 hours, but it starts to not rise as well after that.
  • Serve your madeleines warm. These little cakes are 100% best when served warm, a few minutes after baking them. Because of that, it’s nice to make the batter in advance and then bake them as needed. Fortunately, they spoon into the pan easily and bake quickly. After baking, just dust them with some powdered sugar and serve!
  • Get creative. Feel free to have fun with these and experiment with different ways to serve them. They taste amazing dipped in chocolate and covered with sprinkles or crushed nuts!
Ten madeleines on top of a decorative cloth napkin.

How to Store Homemade Madeleines

Madeleine cookies are best if eaten within the first few hours after they’re made, but you can definitely store leftovers for a day or two. Just keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and wait to top them with powdered sugar. The texture won’t be the same after you refrigerate them, so I recommend reserving some of the batter if you want to save some madeleines for the next day.

Can I Freeze Madeleine Cookies?

I would avoid freezing your madeleines. They simply won’t be the same afterward. If 32 is going to be too many for you, you can simply reduce each of your ingredients by half and make 16 instead.

More Easy Cookie Recipes

If you’re a big fan of cake-like cookies, I highly recommend trying the following recipes:

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A Madeleine Tea Cake Broken in Half on a Teal Napkin with Other Cookies Nearby.
Recipe

Classic Madeleines Recipe

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 55 minutes
  • Yield: 32
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: French

Description

Buttery madeleine cookies are light and airy tea cakes dusted with powdered sugar. Make them for an everyday treat, or for the holidays – either way works!


Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (130g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (155g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (58g) powdered sugar, optional

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then reduce heat to low. Continue cooking until you see the browned solids form and sink to the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the butter from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool to about room temperature. You don’t want it to get too cool/solid or it’ll be harder to incorporate later.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. Add the eggs and sugar to a large mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture has thickened and is pale in color, about 7-8 minutes. It should reach the ribbon stage where it drizzles off the whisk in one continuous, smooth stream/ribbon, rather than being clumpy.
  5. Gently fold in the flour mixture in three parts, taking care not to deflate the eggs.
  6. Fold in the browned butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  7. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. If you’re looking for that nice rise in the center, I found that the rise was best starting after about 6 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease your madeleine pan with non-stick baking spray or brush the molds with melted butter.
  9. Spoon roughly a tablespoon of batter into the center of each mold. No need to spread it out, it will spread as it bakes.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the centers have risen.
  11. Allow to cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

Notes

  • You do need a specific pan – I used this one.
  • After testing these many different ways, the best flavor by far comes not only from a little bit of lemon zest and vanilla extract, but also from the browned butter. I wouldn’t tell you to add that step if it didn’t truly make a difference in flavor. Definitely don’t skip it.
  • To store. Madeleines are best if eaten within the first few hours after they’re made, but you can definitely store leftovers for a day or two. Just keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and wait to top them with powdered sugar. The texture won’t be the same after you refrigerate them, so I recommend reserving some of the batter if you want to save some madeleines for the next day.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 79
  • Sugar: 6.6 g
  • Sodium: 25.8 mg
  • Fat: 4.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.8 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 27 mg

Keywords: madeleine cookies, madeleine cookie, madeleines cookies

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Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29