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French Madeleine Cookies

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A madeleine recipe to take you right to France.

This classic French madeleine recipe makes a tender, delicate sponge cookie that tastes lovely on its own or with a cup of good tea or coffee. Plus: Learn the trick for how to get humps on your madeleine cookies. 

French Madeleine cookies on plate with a cup of tea

What are madeleine cookies? How are they different from cake?

Madeleines are simple little French sponge cake cookies baked in a scalloped shell mold and usually served with tea or coffee. Madeleines have a gentle vanilla flavor and dense but spongy cake texture, making them perfect to dip in a cup of tea or coffee.

Madeleines were perhaps made most famous by Marcel Proust’s 19th-century, seven-volume novel Remembrance of Things Past. In his first volume, Swann’s Way, the author writes:

[My mother] sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called “petites madeleines,” which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake.

It goes on and on, but suffice it to say: Dipping these cookies in tea are a major life moment for the young man, and he writes that they give him a sense of “all-powerful joy.” I’m convinced!

madeleine ingredients butter eggs lemon zest vanilla flour sugar

How to Make Good, Not Dry Madeleines

Madeleines taste best very fresh. These little French sponge cookies become dry fairly quickly due to their relatively low fat content, so you will want to make sure to eat them as soon as possible after baking, or freeze them and defrost them to order.

To make this classic madeleine cookie recipe:

  1. Beat the large eggs and sugar very well in a mixer until the batter is lightened in color and has thickened a bit into a nice ribbon.
  2. Sift your flour and baking powder, and use a spatula to fold the flour mixture and the melted butter into the batter as gently as possible. Do not overmix the batter or it will become tough.
  3. Chill the madeleine batter and the pan fully. This allows the gluten to relax, and also helps get those pretty madeleine humps–the sign of a truly French madeleine.
  4. Make sure to grease well the madeleine molds and dust with flour. Those grooves are a recipe for sticking, so you want to avoid that.

Further, be sure not to overbake your madeleines. Keeping the cookies in the oven too long will ensure a dry madeleine.

madeleine cookie batter in molds ready to bake
Spoon a tablespoon of madeleine batter into the well-greased and floured molds.

Is Madeleine Batter Thick?

Yes. Madeleine batter should be thick, and will thicken even more when chilled. The thickness of the batter helps ensure the density of the finished sponge cookie, and makes it hold its shape in the mold.

Why do madeleines have a hump? Is a madeleine bump good?

French-style madeleines should have a hump! Getting a hump is not a sign of a bad cookie — quite the opposite. A madeleine bump is the sign of a very authentic madeleine cookie. Of course, your madeleine will taste just as good without the hump, but the hump is the more French way.

A madeleine hump results from having a chilled pan and batter, placed in a hot oven. When you chill the batter, it takes longer for heat to begin baking the center of the cookie.

The oven spring caused by the hot oven pushes the center of the batter upward before it can bake and set. The hump will usually form toward the end of baking.

how to get a hump on madeleine cookies

How to Make Classic Madeleine Cookies With Humps

Gather the ingredients and a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. You will need:

  • large eggs
  • sugar
  • kosher salt
  • lemon zest
  • pure vanilla extract
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • butter

Next, mix the batter and bake.

  1. Chill the greased and flour-dusted madeleine molds well. You may even want to freeze them.
  2. Mix the batter according to the recipe directions.
  3. Chill the batter for at least one hour, or up to 12 hours. The batter will thicken.
  4. Use a hot oven. I bake the madeleines at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (about 220 Celsius). You can also place your filled madeleine mold on top of a hot sheet pan for extra oomph.

Enjoy these lovely little cookies on their own, preferably warm from the oven, with a cup of tea or coffee.

madeleines

Love this classic madeleine cookie recipe? Enjoy more French desserts:

Real French Madeleine Cookies: The Recipe

French Madeleine Cookies

A classic French madeleine recipe. This is the sweet vanilla sponge cookie that you deserve to dip into your cup of tea. Plus: learn how to get that classic madeleine hump.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Chilling Time2 hours
Course: Dessert, Snack, tea
Cuisine: French
Keywords:: classic madeleine cookies, cookies, dessert, easy, French, madeleine cookies recipe, madeleine cookies with hump, madeleines, sponge cake, tea cakes
Servings: 18 or so standard madeleines
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Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
  • Zest of one lemon, optional
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Powdered sugar to garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Grease well and dust with flour your madeleine pans or molds. Chill in the freezer or refrigerator until ready to use.
    PRO TIP: The cold molds will help form the classic madeleine humps thanks to a well-developed oven spring.
  • Beat the eggs, sugar, salt, lemon zest (if using), and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high until light and somewhat thickened.
    PRO TIP: Need to bring your eggs to room temperature in a hurry? Place them in a bowl of very warm water for about 10 minutes.
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder, and use a spatula to stir in the flour mixture by hand or with the mixer on low, until mostly mixed in. Add the melted butter in several additions, adding the next addition when the previous butter is incorporated. Stir just until fully mixed.
    Cover and chill for 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. If desired, stick a half-sheet pan in the oven to preheat. (You will place the madeleine mold on it to help the madeleine hump form.)
  • Spoon the very chilled batter into each of the madeleine mold shells about 3/4 full.
    TIP: Do not fill the cookie batter to the rim, or they will overflow.
  • Place the filled madeleine molds in the oven (on top of the sheet pan, if using) and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until they turn a light golden brown, especially at the rims.
  • Cool in the shells for a few minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack.
  • Dust with powdered sugar and serve slightly warm.

Notes

Madeleine cookies are best the day you bake them: the sooner out of the oven, the better.
Freeze leftover madeleines in an airtight container, and let them come to room temperature as desired.

10 comments

  • Fiona Burdett

    5 stars
    These are lovely and the recipe worked great. You must chill the dough as directed for the proper result. Thank you/merci 🙂

  • 5 stars
    I was so pleased with these! I chilled the madeleine pan and got a hump on my cookies just like I’ve seen in photos. I have made madeleines before and they’ve been flat, so this was such a fun bonus. Thank you!

  • Has anyone made these with silicone mini madeleine pans? If so, how long did you bake them?

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, there! Great question. Mini madeleine molds are so lovely, aren’t they? You can definitely make this recipe in a mini mold. The bake time will be about halved, but as ovens all tend to have their own “personalities,” I would mostly just go by look and feel: the madeleines should look light gold on top, and feel spongy on top — not sink when you press lightly. As for silicone molds, those will work, with a couple of caveats. Silicone is a strong insulator, so you might not get as much oven spring of the batter, which helps get those humps on top. I also recommend greasing the molds, even though silicone is often considered nonstick. This will help get a nicer clamshell appearance when unmolded.

  • 5 stars
    My new recipe!!! This is a very nice recipe. No substitutions. Be sure to chill the dough if you want the hump.

  • NC Gran

    5 stars
    Easy to follow, came out well. Like the chilled pan trick!

  • Rachel S.

    5 stars
    Lovely little cookies. I froze the rest so they would not get stale.

  • 5 stars
    A wonderful go-to Madeleine recipe that I will use again. Thanks.

  • 5 stars
    Tres bien. Merci!

  • Alyssa Westerberg

    5 stars
    Yea!! I made them and they turned out very well and got the bump and everything! Added a bit of lemon zest.

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