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If you enjoy sweet treats served at Starbucks with your coffee, then you will want to make this Copycat Starbucks Madeleine Recipe at home. It is a sweet cake-like cookie with a touch of lemon zest and smooth vanilla flavor. The golden-brown madeleines dusted with a bit of powdered sugar will be a treat to your taste buds.

Copycat Starbucks Madeleine Recipe with powdered sugar on them on a cooling reack

What are madeleines?

Madeleines are petite sponge cakes that can be eaten like a cookie, with a distinctive shell-like shape. They get their shell-like shape by being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions. 

Why are they called madeleines?

We do not know for sure where the name of these little cake-like cookies originated from, but there are two schools of thought. 

In the 19th century Jean Avice, who worked as a pastry chef for Prince Talleyrand, was said to have invented the madeleine by baking little cakes in aspic molds. 

Another theory is they originated in Lorraine, a region of northeastern France. It is believed that the Madeleine cookie was first made by a young maid named Madeleine Paulmier, who used to work for the Duke of Lorraine in the late 18th century.

Are madeleines cookies or cake?

Madeleines are cake-like cookies. I know, that doesn’t really answer the question, sorry. The madeleines are backed like mini cakes in a pan with small shell-shaped places to plop your dough in. After they are backed, you can pick them up like a cookie, but they are a bit cakey-er.

What are Starbucks madeleines like?

One of my favorite sweet Starbucks products is a pack of their madeleine cookies. They are a small treat, just right to go with my cup of coffee. These Starbucks seashell cookies are a little French butter cake-like cookie with a touch of lemon zest and smooth vanilla flavor. 

How to serve

It might surprise you to know that these little cookie-like cakes should be eaten with the shell side down. The little puff that is then exposed is supposed to represent a little pearl in the shell.

Equipment needed

Madeleine molds are a special pan used to make the shell-like shape. The Bakeware madeleine nonstick pan allows you to make the perfect French-style Madeleine cookies. The pan surface is coated with Americoat plus, a patented natural non-stick silicone, allowing you to remove your baked goods from the pan easily.

Bakeware Madeleine, Nonstick Baking Pan

What can I use instead of a madeleine pan?

If you do not have a special madeleine pan, you can try to make the cakes in other forms. For example, try a mini muffin pan. Really any small rectangular or round molds would work. 


Madeleines are made with a few simple common baking ingredients. However, the process of creaming the eggs and sugar first to create a light, airy dough is a classic step when making madeleines.

  •   butter divided
  •  eggs
  •  white sugar: note* this recipe calls for two types of sugar.
  •  lemon zest: be sure to only zest the yellow part of the lemon peel. If you get down to the white party it becomes bitter.
  •  vanilla extract: use real vanilla not artifical
  •  all-purpose flour
  •  baking powder: make sure your baking powder is fresh. If it’s old it will not help the dough rise properly.
  •  salt
  • powdered sugar for decoration

How to make pumpkin spice madeleines

If you like pumpkin spice, then make this recipe with one addition of pumpkin spice. Mix 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice when you add the vanilla and lemon zest. Your madeleines will have a smooth, mellow pumpkin spice flavor. You might want to sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on them after they are baked.

What do you eat with madeleines

In France, where they originated, they are often served with afternoon tea or with coffee, similar to BISCOTTI in Italy. They would also be a great light dessert alongside fruit-flavored ice cream.

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Copycat Starbucks Madeleine on a cooling rack with powdered sugar on them
4.10 from 21 ratings

Starbucks Madeleine Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
chill dough: 30 minutes
Total Time: 57 minutes
Servings: 16
It's easy to make this Copycat Starbucks Madeleine Recipe at home. The little shell shaped cookies are a sweet cake-like cookie that has a touch of lemon zest and smooth vanilla flavor.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

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  • Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave or stovetop. Pour the butter into a medium-size mixing bowl and set it aside so it can cool to room temperature.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the eggs and sugar together at high speed for 8 minutes. The mixture will look thicker and pale light yellow. It should cling to the whisk slightly when done.
  • Whisk in the lemon zest and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Remove bowl from the mixer.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.
  • Using a large spoon or spatula, gently fold half of the flour into the egg mixture. Be very gentle with the batter when mixing.
  • Gently mix the other half of the flour with the egg mixture.
  • Using the medium-size bowl that has the melted butter in it, stir 1/4 cup of the batter into the melted butter. Stir slowly and gently until incorporated together.
  • Add the rest of the batter to the butter mixture and stir it gently until combined.
  • Cover the batter and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Do not chill it for more than 30 minutes. If it chills longer than 30 minutes, the dough will be too stiff to flow easily into the madeleine pan, and the butter will start to harden in the dough.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 while your dough chills in the fridge
  • Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a small dish. Lightly brush the madeleine pan with the melted butter using a pastry brush. This step is important because it helps the cookies from sticking in the pan when done baking.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the batter from the fridge. It will be airy and spongey after resting. Carefully spoon 1 tablespoon of dough into each scalloped center of the madeleine pan. Try not to deflate the dough. Don’t worry about spreading the batter all the way to the edges. The heat from the oven will warm the dough, and it will slide into the creases.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. The madeleines are done when the tops spring back after being lightly pressed with your finger. Remove from oven and carefully flip the pan over onto the counter. Transfer the warm madeleines to a wire rack to slightly cool.
  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, before serving.



If you like pumpkin spice then make this recipe with one addition of pumpkin spice. Mix 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice when you add the vanilla and lemon zest. Your madeleines will have a have a smooth mellow pumpkin spice flavor. You might want to sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on them after they are baked.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 80kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 43mg, Potassium: 22mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 36IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: French
Course: Dessert
Author: Gina Dickson

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