Delicate, tiny and sweet—French macarons are a classic French dessert. It’s the perfect way to end the night after a delicious meal at one of Chicago’s best French restaurants. These treats are nearly impossible to make and are usually only found at French bakeries. We found the best macarons in the city to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you love macarons, check out the best pies and best cupcakes in Chicago, too.
This macaron-focused spot turns out a fairly solid rendition, with a light texture and nice flavors. The shop offers special flavors every month, so if the basics don't do it for you, the white chocolate peppermint or red velvet might.
The best: Mint chocolate was a totally surprising flavor, which I've never seen in macaron form before, and I don't know why—the fresh mint takes over, so the chocolate doesn't weigh it down. — Amy Cavanaugh
Alliance Patisserie's macarons are among the prettiest options, and they're a pretty solid rendition. Most use a creamy buttercream, but the blueberry has a cream cheese filling and the salted caramel gets points for using a really lovely smooth caramel.
The best: The strawberry tastes just like fresh fruit. — AC
With a nice, soft texture and a lightly crisp shell, these are very basic, straightforward macarons.
The best: The peanut butter sounds like it would be heavy, but was really very light. — AC
You need to plan ahead to get these macarons, since they're mostly available by pre-order. The macarons are on the large side, and while some are a little dense, the flavors are fantastic.
The best: The birthday cake, with a sprinkled edge, is obviously the cutest, and the key lime also has a beautiful, sunny lime flavor. — AC
Offering just a few flavors, Bittersweet’s pretty pastel macarons have a creamy filling and a crisp shell that breaks perfectly as you bite into it. They're all light and delicious, but the lavender and orange varieties boast the fullest flavors.
The best: We like the pistachio, with a touch of nuttiness balanced by the lightness of the macaron. —Elizabeth Atkinson
The French bakery serves some rather interesting flavors—past specials include rose vodka, which managed to taste exactly like a shot—but the classics are best. There's a lightly crisp edge with a nice chew.
The best: I liked the mango-passionfruit, but the simple vanilla, which had a deep vanilla flavor, was the best. — AC
The macarons here are pretty much textbook: crisp shell, creamy filling, great flavor.
The best: What's not to love about a raspberry macaron?
Vanille has two locations, so it's even easier to find some of the best macarons in Chicago. We tried 19 different macarons from Vanille, so they make the most flavors by far. With so many kinds, there were inconsistencies, but the best ones were outstanding, with a delicate exterior and well-flavored filling.
The best: If you love red velvet cake, then you'll love the macaron in the same flavor. But my favorite is the lavender, which is incredibly light and unexpected. — AC
Very light, with a slight bit of chewiness, these macarons nailed the majority of the flavors we tried. Points to the s'more macaron, which looked like a toasted marshmallow.
The best: The bright, beautiful lemon. — AC
These may not be the most photogenic macarons, but the flavors are solid. They’re a little bit heavier than we’d like, but at least they're creative—fruity strawberry lemonade macaron, anyone?
The best: The almond macaron has a strong amaretto flavor, which stands out amid the other options. —EA
Find more of the best desserts in Chicago
Chicago's top pastry chefs know what people want: ice cream, doughnuts and pie. But while they've mastered—and elevated—traditional desserts, the best spots go above and beyond, with s'more macarons and chamomile creme brulee, to name a few. When you have to end your dinner with the best, here's where to find the best desserts in Chicago.