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Everyone will love these classic Meringue Cookies! This meringue recipe is lighter than air, super crunchy, and naturally fat free! Enjoy them plain, or use them as decorations on cakes, in Eton mess, or on cream tarts.
Perfect Meringue Cookies – Crunchy and Lighter than Air!
Meringue cookies are the best kind of culinary magic trick–you start with egg whites, sugar, and your flavoring extract of choice, and through a bit of kitchen chemistry, they transform into sweet and crispy bite-sized desserts!
Calling meringues “cookies” might spark some debate, as they are a far cry from most traditional cookies. No melty chocolate chips or crackly cinnamon-sugar crust here! But they’re baked on a cookie sheet, they’re a sweet after-lunch or dinner indulgence, and depending on how large you make them, they’re a decent 2-4 bite treat. If that’s not a cookie, then it’s at least a close cousin!
Many people are intimidated at the thought of making meringue cookies, because it involves beating egg whites into a fluffy foam. It’s true that things can go wrong during this process. But I have lots of tips, tricks, and pictures to guide you every step of the way, to make sure you produce PERFECT meringues the first time, and every time after that! Let’s go!
How to Make Meringue Cookies
1. Pour the egg whites into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Make sure the mixing bowl and whisk you’re using are dry and very clean–egg whites won’t beat properly if there is fat or yolk residue anywhere.
2. Whip the egg whites until they are foamy–this means that they should be white and bubbly, but not yet starting to hold any sort of peaks.
3. Add the cream of tartar to the foamy egg whites, then mix on low speed until the cream of tartar is mixed in.
4. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. This means that when you lift the whisk from the whites, the whites form a peak that droops down gently rather than sticking straight up and down. Once you reach this “soft peak” stage, you’re ready to begin adding the sugar!
5. Once at soft peaks, add the sugar a spoonful at a time, while mixing the egg whites at medium-high speed. You don’t have to measure it precisely, but the point is to add it very gradually so it gets slowly incorporated. I wait at least 1-2 minutes between each addition before adding more, to make sure that it really is well-mixed in.
6. Now you can add any flavoring extracts you like! For this recipe, I went with classic vanilla, but any standard extracts will work. Avoid oil-based flavorings, as the oil will cause the egg whites to deflate.
7. Continue to whip the whites until they are very stiff. This means that when you remove the whisk from the meringues, the whites stand up straight and don’t droop down at all–this is called “stiff peaks” stage. The meringue should also not feel gritty or grainy from the sugar.
8. Time for piping! If you want to color the meringue, gently fold in gel food coloring with a spatula and stir just until the color is even. Then place the meringue mixture in a piping bag. You can use a regular round tip for round kiss-shaped meringues, or use a star tip for stars. If you want lots of ridges, a French star tip is what you’re looking for!
9. Pipe the meringues on parchment paper. They won’t spread much, so you can put them fairly close together. I like to make smaller ones (1-1.5 inches) but you can make larger ones if you’d like! You’ll just want to adjust the cooking time and keep a close eye on them in the oven.
10. Once the meringues are baked, turn the oven off and let them cool completely in the oven. Going from hot oven to cold room can sometimes cause your meringues to crack, so gradually lowering their temperature is best for keeping your meringues looking good!
Tips For Making Meringues
Now that you know the basics of making meringues, here are some tips and tricks to ensure your meringues come out perfectly, every time!
Egg Whites 101
For the very best results, your egg whites should be:
- very fresh (don’t use old eggs for this recipe!)
- room temperature
- completely free of any fat or yolk
Wondering how best to separate your eggs so they don’t get yolks in them? Check out my guide to separating eggs four different ways!
They also whip best when they’re room temperature, not cold from the refrigerator, so if possible, let them sit out for 20-30 minutes at room temperature to warm up before making meringues. Egg whites from a carton do not work well when making meringue cookies, so they are not a good choice for this recipe.
Use Super Fine Sugar For The Best Results
Super fine sugar is called “caster sugar” in the UK, and it’s just granulated sugar with a smaller grain. It’s typically used to make drinks and simple syrup, but it’s also useful in baking and candy making, because the smaller grains of sugar dissolve faster. In meringues, super fine sugar dissolves beautifully, and produces a meringue without a grainy or gritty texture.
If you can’t find super fine sugar, you can either make it yourself, by whizzing regular granulated sugar in a food processor until it is finely processed, or just use regular granulated sugar and be very slow and methodical when adding the sugar to the egg whites in the recipe, to avoid any grittiness in the final result.
Monitor the Oven Temperature
A too-hot oven is a prime cause of meringue woes. Cracked meringues are NOT cute, and a $6 gadget can solve your problems! Get an inexpensive oven thermometer (I like this one!) and keep it in your oven to monitor the temp. This way, even your oven runs too hot or too cold, you can adjust the temperature accordingly and maintain a consistent temp for your meringues.
Cream of Tartar is NOT Optional
Okay…technically it IS optional. But please don’t omit it! Cream of tartar adds a lot of necessary stability to egg whites when they’re being whipped for meringue. Adding cream of tartar is like a little extra insurance policy that your meringue will turn out, stiff peaks will form, and all will be right in the world. If you can’t find any and really want to make meringues, by all means, proceed, and just keep your fingers crossed. But if you have easy access to cream of tartar, then you have no excuse not to use it.
Questions About Meringues
Why do meringues crack?
Cracked meringues are probably the most common problem people run into, and there are multiple causes behind it! The most common reasons meringue cookies crack include an oven temp that’s too high (get those oven thermometers!), being cooked for too long, or being over-whipped and having too much air incorporated into the meringue mixture. Fortunately, a cracked meringue still tastes great, it’s just a cosmetic flaw.
The solution to preventing cracks in future batches is to monitor your oven temperature and keep it low, don’t over-bake your meringues, and be sure to only beat your egg whites on medium-high speed, not the highest setting, which can incorporate too many air bubbles and cause cracks to form during baking.
How do I know when the meringues are done?
Your meringue cookies are done when they’re crisp and hard to the touch, and can be easily removed from the parchment paper, but have not taken on any color around the edges. (This is easier to see when baking white meringues vs colored.)
Noooooo! Please don’t refrigerate your meringues! Humidity is the natural enemy of the meringue, and refrigerators tend to be very humid places. Meringues have a naturally short shelf life, and are best enjoyed within just a few days of baking them. If you live in a dry environment, your meringues may last a bit longer, and if you store them in an airtight container in a dry place you may get up to 5-6 days from them. If you live in a very humid environment, their best shelf life may be as short as 2 days.
My meringues are chewy 🙁 Can they be fixed?
Possibly! Chewy meringues can be caused by underbaking the meringues in the first place, in which case they might always be slightly chewy, or by the meringues naturally absorbing moisture from the air over time, in which case they may be able to be crisped up a bit. To try and crisp up your baked meringues, place them back on a parchment-covered baking sheet and put them in a 200-degree F oven for 10-15 minutes. After baking, let them cool then test them–they should be crispy again!
How Do I Make Unicorn Meringues?
When I was testing recipes for this post, I was playing around with different meringue colors and used some extra batter to create these swirled multi-colored “unicorn meringues,” inspired by The Meringue Girls. I posted some teaser pics on Instagram stories, and people went crazy asking how to make them. Fortunately, it’s super easy!
To create these pretty pastel meringue kisses, all you have to do is prepare different colors of meringue batter–in this case I had white, yellow, pink, purple, and teal. I had them in piping bags already, and I just squirted the different colors of batter into a larger piping bag fitted with a round attachment, trying to space the colors evenly around the sides so that they would all come out the opening together. You could also use a spatula to place them in a piping bag. Pipe the batter in dollops on a baking sheet, and you’re done!
🌈More Meringue Recipes
- SEE ALL COOKIE RECIPES
- Trendy Cream Tarts (use them as a topper!!)
- Eton Mess (crumble them up!)
- Blueberry Pavlova
- Raspberry Lemon Meringue Trifle
- Lemon Meringue Teacup Cakes
- Hazelnut Meringue Cake
- Pecan Snowball Cookies
Banana Meringue Cake with Cinnamon-Sour Cream Ganache
Strawberry Rhubarb Pavlova
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 7 oz super fine sugar, (1 cup), can substitute granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Gel food coloring, I recommend Americolor brand
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (90 C). Place the room temperature egg whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. (Alternately, you can use a large bowl and a hand mixer with the whisk attachments.)
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat until the egg whites are foamy. Turn the mixer off, add the cream of tartar, and beat again on medium until the whites have turned an opaque white color and just start to hold soft peaks.
- At this point, start adding the sugar a few spoonfuls at a time with the mixer running. Adding the sugar slowly helps it incorporate and prevents the meringue from becoming grainy. Continue to add the sugar very gradually, and once all of the sugar is added, add the pinch of salt. Beat the egg whites until they are very thick, glossy, and a shiny white color. When you stop the mixer and lift the whisk out of the whites, the whites should have a very stiff peak. This process will take about 5-10 minutes in a stand mixer.
- Finally, stop the mixer, add the vanilla extract, and mix it in briefly. If you want to color the meringues just one color, add a small amount of gel food coloring to the mixing bowl and fold it in to the meringue mixture with a spatula, stirring gently. If you want to make multiple colors, divide the meringue first and work quickly to color each batch your desired color.
- Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop your meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large tip—a star tip or a round tip both work well. Put a dab of meringue mixture under the corner of each parchment sheet to stick it down and make piping easier.
- Pipe stars or kisses of meringues on the baking sheets, about 1 – 1 ½ inches wide. The meringues will barely spread, so they can be piped close together. Bake the cookies at 200 F for 60 minutes. After an hour, turn the oven off, keep the door closed, and allow the meringues to sit until completely cool, for about an additional hour.
- Once the meringues are crisp and room temperature, carefully remove them from the parchment paper.
- Meringues can be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. If they become chewy, you can revive them by placing them back in a 200-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Let them cool completely, then test them—they should be crispy again!
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
I have been wanting to make this for couple of weeks before but I have not found the right recipe. After trying this my whole family fell in love. I’m so glad i made it and i can really rely on site’s recipes thanks 🙂
Hey Mary, I am so glad you found it! It sounds like it worked out perfect for you, I am thrilled!Thank you so much for your feedback!
I made these first time with my kids and turned out very good. Your instructions are very detailed and easy to understand. I will definitely try other recipes from your website. 🙂
Bushra I’m so thrilled to hear that! Thanks for letting me know, and I’m excited to hear what you’ll bake next. 🙂
Can I use liquid (water-based) food colouring? I have a nut allergy and haven’t yet come across a gel food colouring that doesn’t have an allergy warning, so liquid food colouring is all I have to work with. If not then I’ll just make plain white ones!
Yes, definitely! I just recommend gels because they’re more intense so you don’t have to use as much. The only thing to watch for with liquid color is that you don’t want to add TOO MUCH liquid, because that will change the meringue’s consistency. So start small and add gradually. The other thing you can look at is picking up some powdered food coloring. Those are REALLY intense and you need just a bit to get vibrant colors! My favorite are the master elite colors from The Sugar Art: thesugarart.com
Love this recipe! When I piped the “cookies” onto the cookie sheet, they didn’t hold their shape. What did I do wrong?
Hi Vanessa! I’m sorry to hear that! It sounds like the whites weren’t beaten for long enough–they definitely need to be very stiff in order for the piping to work. It’s also possible it was very humid that day, or that there was some fat mixed in with the egg whites–both of these cause meringue to deflate.
Can one add chocolate chips? If so would the oven temp or time change?
Hi Shan! I would recommend mini chocolate chips, as opposed to full size. You shouldn’t need to make any changes to the recipe, but as with everything, ovens and climate vary, so use the recipe as a guide but keep an eye on them.
First time merengue maker here. Easy instructions, followed the recipe exactly and the finished product is superb. I made different sizes, shapes and colors with all my piping tips to experiment a bit and see what size and shape I like best. All of them baked evenly and are crunchy and delicious. Thank you for all the tips. I feel like a merengue pro now.
Thank you, Lucy! I’m so glad to hear it worked out for you and it sounds like you had great results. 😀
Have been looking for a well instructed recipe. Thank you for specific instructions on how to properly make these cookies
You’re welcome, Kathleen! I’m glad you found it helpful.
My 7-year old niece read the recipe, followed the steps, and made magical “angel kisses” for Christmas. I’ve never tried these before, but we had extra egg whites from making pastry cream and these turned out like a DREAM! I will certainly be adding this recipe to the binder!
I’m so happy to hear that the meringues were a hit for you and your niece!
Thanks! I used this recipe to make new years themed meringues, and they turned out perfectly!
I’m so happy to hear that, Samantha! And happy new year. 😀
I have made these twice now. I only have one problem with them. I can’t stop eating them. They are so much easier to do than I thought. Perfect results both times. I did share them with a couple of friends that had never had them and one called them crunchy marshmallows. Thank you for teaching me how to make these.
Haha I love it! That’s a great problem to have. 😀 Thanks for the review, Maggie!
You certainly give detailed instructions. I’ve never made these before but next week I’m gonna try. Thank you!
Haha, yes, it got a little wordy in there! Please come back and let us know how they work out for you!
I love it ! This is my go to recipe now.
I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks Elizabeth! (And excellent name, by the way… 😉 )
This recipe is easy and looks impressive. Light, crispy and beautiful. My only reason for not giving it 5 stars is the sugar. 1 cup is way too much. A half cup makes them quite sweet.
These seemed too wet after adding the vanilla. They didn’t hold the stiff peaks shape super well anymore. Does this mean I should’ve whipped longer before adding the vanilla? I am always afraid of overwhipping and getting it to split.
Hi Haley, If they deflated after adding the vanilla, then I do think you probably should have whipped them more. What kind of vanilla did you use? Regular vanilla extract should be fine, because that is alcohol based. But if you used an oil-based flavoring then that could also be the issue–oil-based flavorings will often deflate meringues. Other causes could be too much humidity or a storm coming in. But if the egg whites were fine until the vanilla, AND the vanilla doesn’t have any oil, then they probably just needed more beating time!
Hola, me alegra mucho que la crémor tartaro no sea “obligatorio” donde vivo no es muy facil conseguirlo. se ven hermosos me dan ganas de comermelos de un bocado
After scrolling through the prologue for five minutes I finally got to the actual recipe which is in itself very unclear and had me burning my meringues. I shouldn’t have to read through half an hour of really boring tips when they should really just be succinctly included in the actual recipe. Really horrible set out.
Hi Margaret, there is a big pink “Jump to Recipe” at the top of the post that will take you directly to the recipe so you don’t “have to” read through anything. That being said, I would be happy to help you troubleshoot if you would like to provide more details about what happened and a description of the problem(s) with the meringues. The meringues are baked at an *extremely* low temperature so it is very difficult to actually burn them unless they are left in the oven for hours.
I havent tried these yet but im planning on using them as decorations for cakes and im planning on making some as lollipops. But do they really only hold for 4 days? Other meringues can hold for weeks. I was thinking about making and selling this summer so im looking for recipes and practicing my technique. I want to make meringue cookies as they seem to be the best choice for what im planning.
Hi Amanda! They can definitely last longer than 4 days. A lot of their longevity depends on the humidity, how they are packaged and stored, etc. I tend to give a very conservative estimate since I can’t know the conditions my readers will make these cookies in, and don’t want anyone to be disappointed. 🙂 If you are looking to make these far in advance, I would recommend buying food-safe desiccant packets and airtight storage containers (you can get the packets easily and cheaply on amazon) and experiment to see how long they stay crisp in your particular conditions. Please feel free to reach out if you have any more questions, and I’d love to hear an update of how they go!
These were so good I’m glad I made them I’ll be posting the finished product photos on my Instagram and hopfully @ a possible Instagram or link to credit the original recipe owner thanks so much !
Thrilled to hear it, Anna! Thank you so much for sharing!
First time I made these, I burnt them. But this was totally my fault, being distracted by kids. I misread and preheated to 200C. Second batch was slightly better but when I removed them from the oven after the mandatory cooling period, they were a bit sticky on the bottom, despite being crispy on top. What could have happened here? They held their shape relatively well but I suspect I may have added the cream of tartar too late or under/overwhipped…? Any pointers?
Hi Candice! I’m sorry to hear about the meringue struggles, as a mom I’ve been there too many times. If they were crispy on top but still sticky on bottom, my guess is they just needed a little more time in the oven. The humidity and temp of the kitchen can have a huge effect on their texture and baking times. I live in a very dry climate so don’t have too much trouble usually, but I have friends in the south who regularly mention how much the humidity impacts their baking times and the textures of meringues and things like that. If they were a bit droopy after piping then yes, maybe they were a little underwhipped as well, but if they held their shape all throughout baking then it’s probably just the baking time you would need to adjust for next time. I hope you were still able to enjoy them regardless!
First time ever making this sort of thing! It was a really fun bake and the end product was amazing! Thank you very much for posting this!
I’m so glad they worked out for you!
Thank you for a very detailed and easily followed recipe. I have successfully made these meringue cookies and really enjoy them. However, now I get to share them at a family reunion this summer. The challenge is that I baked them at sea level, but the reunion is at high altitude (4500+ ft). What changes do I have to make to get the same fantastic results I get a sea level?
Hi Richard! I don’t think you’ll need to make any changes. I actually live at 4700 ft and successfully make these as written. But as with all recipes, definitely keep an eye on them as they bake and use your best judgement if they need more/less time. And please let me know how they turn out!
Turned out wonderful, I think I’ll have to use them for my cake decorations as they are super sweet. I have never had these, but my husband had. He said they were spot on. Thank you
Thanks Dawn! I agree meringues are really sweet. I love them dipped in bittersweet chocolate to add some richness and cut the sugar. 🙂
Can I make chocolate meringues? And how add cocoa?
Also I have seen other recipes that you bake meringues for 20′ what is the difference?mar
Hi Maria! When you say 20′, do you mean 20 minutes? I prefer to cook meringues at a very low temperature for a longer period of time, because I think it helps them not crack while baking. It may be that other people have developed different recipes/techniques that call for a shorter, hotter baking time. 🙂 As far as chocolate, you can add sifted cocoa powder near the end of the beating time. I would recommend about 3 TBSP for the batch–too much cocoa can interfere with the texture of the meringues. This produces a light chocolate cookie, so if you want a deeper chocolate flavor, you could drizzle the cookies with semi-sweet chocolate or partially dip them in chocolate. Hope this helps!
This recipe was so easy and I am pleased as this was my first try at this. Thank you !
Thanks, Lori, I’m glad to hear it!
I just wanted to give a huge shoutout to how easy and well put together this recipe it. Most recipe websites I have to scroll endlessly to get to the recipe. Love how easy this is to navigate, not to mention the overall layout if beautiful and easy to follow. The recipe came out very well – I love that I can print it (Which I did) and also up the quantity. Counting calories and recently diagnosed as gluten-intolerant, so this snack helps me get through the day!
Thank you so much, Wendy! That is so nice to hear, I’m glad you found it useful and that the recipe card features were helpful too. 😀
Have you tried using granulated erythritol? My brother has diabetes and I had bariatric surgery years ago. The holidays are hard to avoid all the surgary treats. Thanks!
Hi Amanda! I haven’t tried erythritol so I’m afraid I can’t say how it would work. I hope you’ll let us know how it goes if you give it a try!
I tried making these last night and they turned out great! However, my oven is super small so I can only do half the portion at once and had to wait 2 hours for the second batch (which still tasted great but shape wouldn’t stand). I am wondering if I can just make 1/2 of the amount by just dividing the recipe ingredients into half? Would it still work?
Yes, definitely! As you experienced, meringues don’t do well if they have to sit awhile before baking, so a half batch is a great alternative, and should work just fine. You will probably find that your mixing time is shorter, so just keep an eye on the egg whites and don’t overmix. 🙂
Thank you for such a nice recipe! I just tried it, and the white meringues turned fine! However, I wasn’t able to make the colorful ones… I used Colour Mill Colorings, and the meringue just deflated when I mixed the colour… Can you pleease tell me what went wrong?
Hi Maria, I haven’t personally used Colour Mill coloring but I believe the problem is because they are oil based. Any kind of oil will cause the meringue to deflate. This includes flavoring oils, cooking oils, and as you discovered, coloring oils. If you are up for trying the recipe again I would try a water based color and it should work much better!
This is actually a great recipe! I used it for my first time making meringues, and they turned out super tasty!
Thank you, I am so happy the cookies turned out well for you!
I have a question! I will not be able to make these in just one day. I was wondering, would these hold up after whipping and leaving in the fridge overnight? If possible, would they hold up after being piped and put in the fridge overnight and baked the next day?
Hi Alicia! I would avoid refrigerating the meringues as they don’t do well with humidity. Meringues have a naturally short shelf life, and are best enjoyed within just a few days of baking them. I would suggest storing them in an airtight container in a dry place for best results!
Thanks Noelle! They are a fun little treat 🙂
I love this recipe, i even made a cherry flavor meringue cookie and they are so good.
Cherry sounds like a great choice! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Could we use a silicon baking mat instead of parchment?
Hi Kelsey! A silicone baking mat should work just fine. Happy baking!
cannot believe this, my very first attempt ever, im also very new to baking, they came out perfect and tasted incredible. also instead of vanilla essence i used strawberry essence and pink colouring. i’m so impressed. thank you.
quick question tho? i have some meringue mixture left, can i leave it in the fridge in an air tight container and for how long?
Hi Noor! I’m so glad they turned out so well for you. That’s fantastic. As for your question about storing the left over mixture, I don’t recommend that. When the meringue mixture is made we purposely add air into it. The air is what gives the meringue it’s unique texture when it is baked. Once the mixture sits, the air dissipates and it will not turn out properly. Sorry about that.
I have made this recipe several times and it works every time. Thanks for making it so easy.
Hi Deb! That makes me so happy! I’m glad this has been a keeper for you. Happy Baking!
Tried this recipe and couldn’t get peaks to form after 40 mins of beating with a hand mixer. Still very soupy. I used carton of egg whites… 2 tbsp quarts to 1 egg white. So I used 16 tbsp (8 eggs) and two cups of sugar. Exhausted and frustrated.
Hi Kaitlyn, I’m sorry to hear of your frustrating experience. I actually discuss carton egg whites in the post and discourage people from using them: “Egg whites from a carton do not work well when making meringue cookies, so they are not a good choice for this recipe.” Egg whites in a carton are ultra-pasteurized and that high-heat process affects how they whip up. They typically do not hold a firm peak so they don’t work for meringues. Please feel free to reach out with any other questions, I would love to help in any way I can.
These were amazing! Definitely use fresh eggs. I used store-bought eggs with my first batch, and they came out chewy. My second batch I used my fresh backyard chicken eggs, and they came out “melt in your mouth” delicious!!
Hi Megan!! Thanks for the recipe review and your baking tip. I’m so glad they worked so well for you with fresh eggs.
I LOVE this recipe!
Mine turned out perfectly in white and a rainbow of colours!
Thanks so much for the re Joe!
Hi Fiona!! Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m so glad they turned out nicely for you. Happy baking!