Madeleines Recipe

Perfect, golden, scalloped madeleines. From a favorite recipe shared with me by a friend and long-time Madeleine baker.


I've been hearing about my friend Lanha's madeleine recipe for years now - no exaggeration. Madeleines are her go-to cookie - she makes them for parties, she makes them as gifts, she makes them when people stop by her house to visit, she makes them when the wind changes direction. She will talk your ear off about the delicious scent of the browning butter, she frets about the appropriate amount of lemon zest in each batch, and she will expound on the merits of traditional metal madeleine pans versus newer silicon molds in the quest for the perfect golden scalloped cookie. I was visiting LA this weekend and it was baking school time for me as Lanha showed me first hand how she makes the magic happen (in her famous Dwell-worthy kitchen!)....

I had to ask her, why madeleines? Of all the cookies recipes in the world, why these? She tells me, "I enjoy making madeleines for Silvio (her French husband) because they remind him of his life in France. I was tired of paying $5 for a couple of cookies in boutique delis and decided to try my sister Kaly's fail-safe recipe. Now that I've made the cookies so much, I can whip out several dozen in less than an hour (the recipe may seem daunting at first, but I promise you, it's easy). Madeleines stacked in a tin make great gifts and also, I've never met a person that didn't absolutely love them!"

madeleine recipe

I second all of Lanha's sentiments - I made a batch on my own after my hands-on lesson, and her madeleine recipe came together beautifully. And a big thanks to her sister Kaly for originally passing down the recipe to Lanha. I've made a few changes/tweaks to the instructions for clarity.

My madeleine pan makes tiny, baby madeleines, it was another flea market find for those of you wanting one like it I found one very similar here. I've flipped the madeleines in the photo at the top so you can see their pretty scalloped bellies.

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Madeleine Recipe

Lanha and I both prefer metal pans to the newer silicon molds. My metal pan brings a beautiful golden hue to the cookies, and to be honest I don't like the looks of the silicon molds - all those zany colors. Madeleines look better baking in metal, I promise.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar

a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan

Special equipment: A madeleine baking pan, regular or small

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it's brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) - you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling.

While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to grease the madeleine molds - get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour. Lanha uses "cooking spray" with flour to simplify this part.

Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until thick - you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume - approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed).

Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 -3/4 full. I use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable, it is easier than using a spoon.

Bake the madeleines for 12 - 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 2 -3 dozen regular madeleines.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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When I first made madeleines, I bought 2 pans, and made only one batch. After that first batch, it was love. I ended up picking up two more pans, and decided to double my batches. I bake 4 pans at once and rotate them in the oven. Since they go no longer than 12 min, the remaining batter is fine, if you let the batter rest more than 30 min, the cakes don't rise as well, and get tough. I like my madeleines without the bump. I have read some say a true madeleine has the bump, and others say no. I like mine on the light golden side and I use cake flour to get a more tender crumb. Also to help them last a little longer than a day, I use tupperware containers and I put the cakes between layers of wax paper. The powdered sugar sinks into the moist cakes and you can't tell it was sugared. I tend to avoid the powdered sugar for that reason. Also if they have gotten stale, say after 3 days, then you dip them in chocolate, and it becomes another lovely treat. Try placing madeleines on a cooling rack over a jelly pan, and drizzle ganache or melted chocolate over them, then sprinkle finely grated sweetened or unsweetened coconut on top and let harden. Lovely treats that last a little longer over the holidays. Buy those inexpensive treat bags at the dollar store or Oriental trading, bag and tag!


VICKY: You could use salted butter but it will change the taste a bit as well as perhaps increase the leavening. However you really cannot use self rising flour, do not even try. The leavening in this recipe comes from the steam and the air beaten into the batter (as well as the bit of salt). Table salt is fine for this recipe. -dr


We love madelines and always buy them at the supermarket. I've always wanted to try making them myself but never get around to do it. You've inspired me to try it out. :)

The lines will only appear only on one side (think of a bundt pan). In the photo above, the madelines were turned over, line-side up (which is how the madelines should be presented) for the sake of the photography.


The grooves will only appear only on one side (think of a bundt pan). In the photo above, the madelines were shown on the groove-side up (which is how the madelines should be served) for the photo.


I'm guessing they don't count as Madelines if I don't buy a Madeline pan, right?

This is going to sound crazy... but how do you get the sea shell look on the part of the Madeleines that isn't in the tin form?

What a wonderful treat. I love simple and tasteful cookies with a nice cup of coffee or dessert wine. Thanks—I can't wait to try.



They are such cute little cookies.

Anyone have an idea of how well the batter holds up if it sits a while? The leavening looks to come from the air beat into the eggs at the start, so i am wondering if the batter will "deflate" if it isn't baked right away (Relevant since I have only one madeline mold, and this recipe looks as if it will make at least 2-3 dozen....)

Bella Blue

i can only imagine the smell these give off while baking... so beautiful and classic too!

I feel dumb asking this question. How do you pronounce this Madeleen, Madeline, Madelain, Madelinn? Thanks.


I've had the madeleines at Starbucks. They're just not anywhere near as good. I tried making them once with different citrus zests, (some lemon, some orange, and some lime) and they were delightful. I learned how to make them when I was in college, studying French, and when I tend to take them to gatherings, they get identified as "cornbreads" by people who don't know. I have to tell them "No, they're madeleines... more like cupcakes than cornbread". I think I may have to pull my pans out again...

Oh thank you so much! My whole family loves madeleines, and I love baking, this is perfect, I can't wait to try it. Plus, I saw a madeleine pan at the thrift shop down the street just yesterday. I hope it's still there!

Madeleines are sold at Starbucks for a dollar each.... According to one story the name "Madeleine" was given to the cookies by Louis XV to honor his father in-law's cook Madeleine Paulmier. Louis first tasted them at the Chateau Commercy in Lorraine in 1755. Louis' wife, Marie introduced them to the court and they soon became all the rage at Versailles. Whatever the origins, they have become inextricably linked with the author Marcel Proust, who described them as "...little shell of cake, so generously sensual beneath the piety of its stern pleating."


Eva - Thanks for the info :)

I used to work in a coffee shop and I was amazed at how many people would pay loads of $$ for little pkgs. of the suckers. It's so much more fun ( and cost-effective) to make them yourself!

Can someone clarify the part where you strain the butter? If the butter is completely melted after 20 minutes, is it necessary to strain?


Yea!! This recipe couldn't have had better timing as I was just thinking I should find myself a recipe for these little beauties after eyeing some pricey madelines in the store. Perfect excuse to buy the pan too. Balaji - a great trick if you don't have a stand mixer is to let the butter soften (but not melt) enough that you can "cream" it with the sugar with a wooden spoon.


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