Though not nearly as heated as the “car-mel” vs “care-a-mel” debate, the confusion over the proper way to say “macaron” is still a pretty hot topic in the food/baking realm. Is it “ma-ca-RON” or “ma-ca-ROON?” Are you even talking about the same thing if you pronounce it wrong? I’m here to answer just that, and by the end of this article, you’ll be able to go and shame all your friends by knowing how to pronounce macaron correctly.

A Short and (Very) Sweet History Lesson

beer, tea, coffee
Jenna Moxley

People automatically associate macarons with quaint French bakeries, but the macaron was actually introduced first in Italy by the chef of Catherine de Medici. Catherine was married to the Duc d’Orleans, who later become King Henry II of France, thus cementing the macaron as the quintessential French cookie.

The term 'macaron' means “fine dough” (as does the Italian word macaroni). The cookies that Catherine ate were a simple mix of almond meal, sugar, and egg whites. The frosting/ganache/jelly-filled macarons we know today weren’t made until the early 20th century, with the help of Pierre Desfontaines, owner of the famous Ladurée pâtisserie.

Common Mispronunciations

cookie, macaroon, sweetmeat, sweet, cake, chocolate, candy
Charlotte Nip

The biggest problem with the pronunciation of “macaron” is that most people confuse it with the term “macaroon,” not realizing the two desserts are very different. A macaron, as we just saw, is a delicate cookie made from almond flour, sugar, and egg whites and is usually sandwiched with some type of sweet filling.

A macaroon, on the other hand, is a little mound of shredded coconut mixed with condensed milk and is often dipped in chocolate. So, whatever you do, don’t say “macaroon” to French person or else you will forever be labeled as the stupid American tourist who can’t say things correctly.

How to Pronounce 'Macaron'

macaroon, sweet, candy, meringue, cookie, chocolate, pistachio, macaron, cake, sweetmeat, cream, pastry
Hannah Linn

Now that we’ve covered the history of France's favorite almond cookie and distinguished it from the coconut cookie we can finally end this debate once and for all. The correct way to pronounce macaron is (drum roll, please) sounding it out and saying it the way it looks (kind of anticlimactic, I know).

According to Merriam-Webster, the proper way to say macaron is “ma-ca-RON,” with the ending pronounced like Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. Saying “ma-ca-ROON” is adding another letter, and saying it any other way is just overthinking the whole thing. So keep it simple, people. Or avoid the problem altogether by making your own macarons, thus never having to use the word in a conversation with the cashier at the bakery. It’s up to you.