Best Madeleines (French Butter Cakes)


Madeleines are sponge cake cookies baked in shell-shaped molds.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
1 dozen
High angle view of a wooden dish with sugar-dusted madeleines (French butter cakes)

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios


  • ¼ cup butter

  • 2 large eggs

  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • teaspoon salt

  • cup white sugar

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • cup granulated sugar for decoration


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter and flour 12 (3-inch) madeleine molds; set aside.

    Overhead shot of greased and floured pan for madeleines

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  2. Melt butter and let cool to room temperature.

  3. Beat eggs, vanilla, and salt in a small mixing bowl at high speed until light. Gradually add sugar and continue beating at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and ribbons form in bowl when beaters are lifted, 5 to 10 minutes.

    Bowl with ingredients being mixed with beaters for French butter cakes, as seen from above

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  4. Sift flour into the egg mixture, a third at a time, gently folding after each addition.

    French butter cake batter in a bowl with flour being sifted in, as seen from above

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  5. Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around the edge of the batter. Quickly but gently fold butter into the batter.

    Overhead shot of a bowl with French butter cake batter with lemon zest and melted butter

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  6. Spoon batter into molds; it will mound slightly above tops.

    Madeleines in a pan ready to be baked

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  7. Bake until cakes are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip, 14 to 17 minutes.

  8. Use the tip of the knife to loosen madeleines from the pan; invert onto a rack. Immediately sprinkle warm cookies with granulated sugar.

    Madeleines on a cooling rack on a baking tray with sugar dusted on top, as seen from above

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios


Madeleines are best eaten the day they're baked. Leftover madeleines are wonderful when dunked into coffee or tea.

Chocolate Madeleine Variation:

Omit lemon zest. Increase sugar to 1/2 cup. Substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for 2 tablespoons of the flour; sift into the batter with flour.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

109 Calories
5g Fat
15g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 109
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 63mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 19mg 0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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