How to make merengue

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How to Make Perfect Meringues for Pies, Cookies, and More

Melt-in-your-mouth homemade meringue is an ethereal delight, whether it’s piled high on a pie, baked into crispy cloud-like cookies, or cradling fruit for a delicate Pavlova. Here are all the tips and tricks you need to whip up perfectly light and airy egg white meringue from scratch. And yes, you can even make vegan meringues.

Image zoom Photo by Meredith

Try this recipe: Authentic French Meringues

Meringue 101

In its simplest form, meringue is made up of just egg whites and sugar. The ratio of egg white to sugar and how you handle those two ingredients makes all the difference in the outcome. Here’s what you need to know before you get started:

  • Use the right bowl. Make your meringue in a clean, dry bowl made of glass, ceramic, stainless steel, or copper. Plastic is generally not recommended because it can hold traces of oil, which might affect how your meringue turns out (more about that below). Egg whites expand in volume when air is whipped into them, so be sure the bowl you use is larger than you’d think you’d need.
  • Egg temperature. Room-temperature egg whites whip to a higher volume, but it’s easier to separate the yolks from the whites when the eggs are chilled. The solution is to separate the yolks and whites while the eggs are cold, then set the whites aside for 10 to 15 minutes to bring them to room temperature.
  • Sugar and sugar-to-egg ratios. You can use regular granulated sugar when you’re making a meringue, but many cooks swear by superfine sugar because its ultra-tiny crystals dissolve more easily and completely when you whip them up with the egg whites. How much sugar you add depends on your recipe: Soft meringues used to top pies or baked Alaska, or to fold into batter have about 2 tablespoon sugar for every egg white. Hard meringues you can pipe into shapes have about ¼ cup per egg white, and usually contain an acid such as cream of tartar or lemon juice.
  • Optional stabilizers. To make a sturdier meringue, your recipe may direct you to add an acidic ingredient such as cream of tartar, white vinegar, or lemon juice. Caution: Don’t use a copper bowl if you’re adding acid to stabilize your meringue; it will react with the copper and discolor the egg foam.
  • Humidity hurts. Choose a dry day to make your meringues, otherwise they’ll suck up whatever moisture is in the air and never quite set up properly.

Step-by-Step Meringue

1. Using chilled eggs, separate the egg yolk from the egg whites. To ensure no broken yolks get into your whites, separate each egg into two small bowls — one for the white and one for the yolk — and then add the white portion to a large bowl. Let the whites sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Optional: add cream of tartar (about 1/8 teaspoon per egg white), or lemon juice or white vinegar (about 1/2 teaspoon per egg white) before beating.

Image zoom Photo by Meredith

3. Using an electric mixer, start beating the egg whites on medium-low speed, then increase to medium speed until they expand in volume and soft peaks form. At that point, you can switch to high speed, adding sugar very gradually, about a tablespoon at a time. Be sure to move the mixer around the bowl to evenly incorporate the sugar into the egg whites to help stabilize the foam. Continue to beat until egg whites are glossy and hold a firm peak that doesn’t fold back onto itself.

4. Test the mixture to make sure all the sugar has dissolved. Rub a small amount between your fingers to feel for any grittiness. If it’s smooth, you’re done. If it’s gritty, continue to beat and test until the sugar is completely dissolved and the meringue mixture is silky smooth.

Cooked Meringues

Cooked meringues are ideal for making buttercream frostings, topping baked Alaskas, or decorating meringue pies because the egg whites are cooked to at least 140 degrees F (60 degrees C), effectively killing bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. Note that cooking—or pasteurizing—egg whites is not a concern when the meringue will be baked longer than ten minutes in a moderate oven (350 degrees F/175 degrees C). Some supermarkets do sell pre-pasteurized egg white, but these require a much longer whipping time to reach the desired volume for a meringue.

There are two kinds of cooked meringues: Italian and Swiss.

Italian Meringue
Italian meringue is made with a sugar syrup boiled to the soft-ball stage (248 degrees F/120 degrees C) and carefully poured in a thin stream into egg whites that have been whipped with cream of tartar; the mixture is then further whipped until stiff peaks form and the mixture cools. Caution: Because of the constant whipping, the bowl cools quickly, and the egg whites may not reach pasteurization temperature; you can use an instant read thermometer to check the meringue’s temperature after the first minute or so of whipping. Try this recipe for Unbaked Meringue.

Swiss Meringue
Swiss meringue is made by combining sugar, cream of tartar or other acid, and egg whites, and heating them in a double boiler over boiling water. To prepare a Swiss meringue, whisk the sugar and egg whites enough to break up the whites, but not so vigorously that they form an airy foam. The sugar will melt and act as a protective shield against coagulation of the egg whites; heat and whisk constantly until the temperature of the whites reaches 120 degrees F (49 degrees C) or hotter. Remove the bowl from the heat, and beat the warm egg whites until they form stiff, glossy peaks. Try this recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Read more about making cooked Swiss meringues.

Troubleshooting Meringues

There is an art and a science to making perfect meringues, and common challenges that can arise. Let’s take a look at the problems and their solutions.

Meringue Problems and Solutions

Beading is the formation of sugary water droplets on the surface, caused by overcooking.
Solution: Bake your meringue pie at a high temperature with a short baking time. This prevents overcooking the outer layer of meringue, so beading is avoided. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 4 to 5 minutes.

Weeping: is the pooling of water between the meringue and the pie filling, caused by undercooking.
Solution: Make sure the pie filling is hot before you spread meringue over it, then spread to the edges to seal. Hot filling ensures that the inside of the meringue cooks, preventing weeping. Sprinkling fine cake crumbs, vanilla wafer crumbs, or soft white bread crumbs over the filling will absorb liquid between the meringue and the pie filling, which will also prevent weeping.

Shrinking is a loss of volume during baking.
Solution: For every 2 egg whites, dissolve ½ teaspoon cornstarch in water and heat it before whipping it into the beaten egg whites. See the Never-Ever-Fail Meringue recipe for an example of this technique.

Note: Swiss or Italian meringues are less prone to shrinking and weeping since they are already cooked.

Meringue FAQ

Q: Does a trace of oil or egg yolk really ruin your meringues?
Maybe not.The presence of a tiny bit of oil or a drop of egg yolk will increase the time it takes to whip the egg whites to the point where they can hold peaks, but it’s not necessary to throw out a batch of whites because a mere trace amount of oil or yolk sneaked in. But if you want to play it safe, start with ultra-clean equipment and pristine whites.

Q: Can you make meringue without adding cream of tartar?
Yes, but the acid in the cream of tartar makes for a sturdier meringue that is less prone to weeping. If you’d rather use lemon juice as an acidic ingredient rather than cream of tartar, add about 1/2 teaspoon juice for every egg white in your recipe.

Favorite Meringue Recipes

Making meringue might sound intimidating, but it’s easier than you think. These videos will show you how it’s done.

Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie

“Excellent recipe! Nice and lemony, not too sweet with good proportions of curd and meringue.” — AUDREY25

Get top-rated recipes for lemon meringue pies

Authentic French Meringues

“I am in school for baking and pastry and this is the closest thing I have seen yet to how I have learned to make meringues properly.” — Chef in Training

Love meringue cookies? You know we’ve got the recipes you need.

Easy Pavlova

“FANTASTIC. Growing up in Australia this dish was part of our national identity, but here in the US I could just never get it right. This recipe is just as it should be. We always let this dish cool in the oven – just turn the oven off at the end of the cooking time and leave it there (even overnight!). ” — tassygirl

Everyone’s going to bow to your awesomeness when you bring a sumptuous Pavlova to the table. Get tips to make the best Pavlovas.

Vegan Meringues

Vegans can enjoy meringues, too. Here’s how to whip up meringues from aquafaba — the liquid from a can of chickpeas.

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Meringues have a reputation for being tricky to make, but once you’ve read our guide you’ll be confidently whisking up big, billowing meringues like a pro!

1. Cold eggs, warm start
Room temperature egg whites are much easier to whisk up, so before you begin, pop refrigerated eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for a few mins to take the chill off them.

2. Weigh to go
Commit this rule to heart, and you’ll always be able to meringuify leftover whites without a recipe and without having to take into account the size of the eggs:

Before you crack your eggs, put a mixing bowl on a measuring scale. Separate the whites into the bowl and take a note of the weight (you can do this in imperial, but you will get a better result using grams). Double this number to get the exact amount of caster sugar needed for basic meringues.

3. Slow and steady wins the race
Unless you want a workout, stick to an electric handwhisk. Don’t rush and click on the fastest setting – start on the slowest until the whites turn opaque, then speed up. Egg white contains chains of proteins that need to stretch slowly so they trap optimum air – too fast and you risk snapping some of the chains permanently, making an unstable foam that’s likely to collapse when you add the sugar.

4. Perfect peaks
A lot of people wonder “why is my meringue runny?” It’s all in the whisking. The ideal point to whisk to is stiff peak, where the whites stand in a rigid point that doesn’t fall back down on itself when the beaters are lifted. If the peaks are too soft when you add sugar, the meringue mixture risks being sloppy and will never thicken.

A word of warning though: if you whisk past the stiff peak stage, the proteins will start to break up, making a watery mess that can’t be saved.

MORE: STRAWBERRY MERINGUE KISSES

4. Bit of a yolk
If your yolk breaks whilst separating the eggs, don’t panic. Contrary to popular belief, egg whites still whip up if you’ve got a tiny trace of egg yolk in them – it might just take a little longer. As long as there’s not lots and you’ve tried to remove as much as you can, you’ll be fine.

5. It’s oil good
The same goes for oil. Although you should always start with clean equipment from a hygiene perspective, you don’t need to go to elaborate lengths to degrease your bowl and whisks. We tested this by lightly oiling our mixing bowl and beaters beforehand, and we still made a cloud-like pavlova to be proud of.

6.The best bowl
Don’t buy into the hype that you absolutely have to get a copper bowl for meringue-making. Whilst there is some science behind it – mostly to do with stopping overwhisking – glass, ceramic and stainless steel mixing bowls work just fine.

7. Strong and stable
It’s not necessary, but if making meringues makes you nervous, a little pinch of cream of tartar or a few drops of lemon juice added to the whites help to strengthen their structure and prevent overwhisking.

MORE: COFFEE CLOUD MERINGUES

8. Why are my meringues stuck?
Because of their sugar content, meringues want to glue themselves to whatever you put them on, so the type of baking paper you choose needs to be on point. Non-stick parchment or silicone oven liners are essential – use plain greaseproof paper or a bog-standard baking tray and you’re likely to be scraping crumbled meringue mess off them.

If they’re stuck to non-stick baking parchment, then they just need to cook for a bit longer.

Pro-tip: to stop the parchment slipping around when you spoon or pipe your meringue on, dab tiny blobs of the mixture on to the corners of the baking paper, then turn it over to stick it to the tray.

9. Caster spell
The best kind of sugar for snowy meringues that are crisp-on-the-outside, and melting-on-the-inside is white caster. You’ll see some professional meringue makers heat their sugar in a roasting tin in the oven before adding it to the whisked whites too. This isn’t essential, but it allows you to add the sugar at an earlier stage, makes a mixture that is very stable and bakes quickly, but the resulting meringue is a little chalkier.

10. A spoonful of sugar
Whatever you choose to do, make sure to add your sugar a little at a time and whisk it in well. Put the sugar in a jug to make it easier to add with one hand, whilst you continue to whisk with the other.

11. Low and slow
Unless you’re making a meringue pie or a baked Alaska, the general rule of thumb is to use a low oven temperature (between 140°C/120°C fan – 110°C/90°C fan).

Bake the meringues for at least an hour, or until they peel easily away from the parchment. If your oven is too hot, they lose their pristine whiteness and turn a sad shade of beige.
MORE: OUR BEST MERINGUE RECIPES

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Meringue: Guaranteeing Success

Mastering meringue ultimately takes the finessing that comes only with experience. Still, the foolproof tips and techniques explained below can shorten your learning curve. Remember, practice plus patience makes perfect, and if you have to start over, keep in mind, it’s just eggs and sugar.

Eggs

The smallest fleck of fat can be the downfall of an entire meringue. (Fat causes the light, airy beaten egg whites to deflate.) If this happens to you, the most likely culprit is a piece of yolk from imperfectly separated eggs. A few egg-related precautions:

  • Cold eggs are easier to separate, but room-temperature whites attain more loft when whisked. Separate the eggs while cold, and then let the whites stand, covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before beating.
  • Crack eggs on a flat surface, such as your countertop, rather than the edge of a bowl. This reduces the chance that a shard of shell will puncture the yolk.
  • Carefully separate 1 egg into two small bowls — one for the yolk, one for the egg white. Evaluate the egg white to determine if it’s free of impurities before adding it to a larger mixing bowl. Repeat process, working with 1 egg at a time. With this strategy, if a little yolk lands in a white, you’ll contaminate only one white, rather than the entire batch.

Equipment

Make sure your bowl and whisk are clean and dry. Plastic bowls may retain hidden traces of fat from previous uses, so it’s best to use a copper, glass, or metal bowl. Many chefs prefer using copper bowls because a chemical reaction between the copper and egg whites tends to produce a fluffy, more stable foam. Just before using a copper bowl, clean it with salt and lemon juice or vinegar, then rinse with cold water and dry thoroughly.

Sugar

Sugar not only sweetens the egg whites but also helps to create a thicker structure than what egg whites alone could achieve. (Individual sugar molecules help support and stabilize the proteins in the delicate egg whites. Superfine sugar dissolves more readily than granulated and is preferable. Make your own by processing granulated sugar in a food processor until powdery, one to two minutes.)

Added Reinforcements (Optional)

Some meringue recipes call for a pinch of cream of tartar. This small amount will mimic the chemical reaction that occurs when egg whites are whisked in a copper bowl. While not necessary, it makes the meringue stronger and less likely to deflate.

Whisking

It may take a while to coax egg whites to a frothy, cloudlike consistency. Beaters with many tines, such as standing mixers’ whisk attachment or a handheld balloon whisk, will incorporate air into the mixture faster and more efficiently than a standard whisk. A standing mixer also tends to yield a more stable meringue. If beating by hand, use the biggest, finest-wired whisk you can find. Many chefs believe that hand-whisking whites in a copper bowl will not only lead to fluffy, more stable whites but also will reduce the likelihood of overbeating.

Piping

Hold the bag at the top and squeeze lightly so you don’t deflate the meringue mixture. (If the meringue doesn’t peak, it was probably overwhipped.) And don’t touch the tip of the bag to the parchment paper or you’ll lose volume.

Beading

Meringue sometimes forms beads of moisture or liquid on its surface. This usually results from overcooking. Try increasing the oven’s temperature and decreasing the baking time (this prevents the internal temperature from becoming too hot). Keep in mind that too high a temperature may cause the meringue to brown slightly.

Weeping

Sometimes a small pool of liquid forms between the meringue and another layer of a dessert, such as a pie filling; this is referred to as weeping. To prevent this, never spread meringue over a cold filling.

Instead, spread the meringue over the filling while it’s still hot. The filling’s heat will help cook the center of the meringue.

Shrunken Edges

Meringue that’s smoothed over pie filling sometimes shrinks from the edges after baking. Be sure to anchor the meringue by spreading it all the way to the crust.

Is It Done?

To determine exactly when a baked meringue is done, lift it off the baking sheet. If it pulls up easily, it is ready. If not, continue baking, checking for doneness every few minutes.

Lightening

Meringue can be folded into cake batter, mousse, curd, or a semifreddo to lighten the texture. Tip: Fold in the meringue in portions, rather than all at once. Gently whisk in one-third of the meringue until it is completely combined (this is called lightening the batter). The remaining meringue will then fold into the lightened batter more easily.

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Browning

To give meringue a golden, crisp exterior and a soft, warm, marshmallow-like center, whether atop a pie or lemon-meringue semifreddi, toast it lightly with a handheld torch. Alternatively, place the desserts (be sure to use heatproof dishes) in a 500-degree oven, and bake just a couple of minutes until the meringue begins to brown. You can also broil it until browned.

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The Weather

Avoid making meringue on humid days. The sugar in the delicate egg-white mixture readily absorbs moisture from the air, which makes it soft and impossible to achieve thick, stiff peaks. Humidity may also cause some soft meringues to weep or crisp meringues to soften once baked.

  1. Heat the oven to 110C/ 100C fan/gas ¼.

  2. Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick liner or parchment paper (meringue can stick on greaseproof paper and foil).

  3. Tip 4 large egg whites into a large clean mixing bowl (not plastic). Beat them on medium speed with an electric hand whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted.

  4. Now turn the speed up and start to add 115g caster sugar, a dessertspoonful at a time. Continue beating for 3-4 seconds between each addition. It’s important to add the sugar slowly at this stage as it helps prevent the meringue from weeping later. However, don’t over-beat. When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy.

  5. Sift one third of the 115g icing sugar over the mixture, then gently fold it in with a big metal spoon or rubber spatula. Continue to sift and fold in the remaining icing sugar a third at a time. Again, don’t over-mix. The mixture should now look smooth and billowy.

  6. Scoop up a heaped dessertspoonful of the mixture. Using another dessertspoon, ease it on to the baking sheet to make an oval shape. Or just drop them in rough rounds, if you prefer.

  7. Bake for 1 ½-1 ¾ hours in a fan oven, 1 ¼ hours in a conventional or gas oven, until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath and are a pale coffee colour.

  8. Leave to cool on the trays or a cooling rack. (The meringues will now keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for a month.) Serve two meringues sandwiched together with a generous dollop of softly whipped double cream.

Sometime in the last decade, meringues morphed from a frothy, slightly naff, 1980s dessert associated principally with Charlene Robinson’s wedding dress, to a chic edible accessory; the natural heir to the cupcake craze of the turn of the century, and the macaron of recent years. The great, towering, glossy confections created by Yotam Ottolenghi, so impressive they stop pedestrian traffic outside his north London shop, can be held to some extent responsible – they look about as much like the chalk-white nests of yesteryear as Kylie Minogue resembles that fresh-faced, poodle-permed teenager.
Meringues have the reputation of being difficult to make, but actually, as long as you follow a few cast-iron rules, they’re a doddle. (I say that as someone who has disregarded these rules in the past, and paid the price. As with so many baking recipes, creativity with the basics will not pay off here.) Egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks, are obviously a must, plus sugar. But here things get surprisingly complicated for a dish containing just two ingredients.

Stabilisers

Egg and sugar – a meringue in waiting. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

One of the golden rules of meringue making is that all of your equipment must be scrupulously clean, without a speck of grease, or it will be much more difficult (although not impossible, as is often claimed, according to the food chemist, Hervé This) to produce the desired foam with your ingredients. Marcus Wareing suggests rubbing your mixer bowl with half a lemon before beginning, to eliminate any last specks of fat before you beat the egg whites, which is an excellent idea. There’s nothing sadder than a baking failure.

There are other tricks the cunning chef can employ to improve the chances of achieving a stable foam. The most common is adding a little acid, such as vinegar, more lemon juice, or cream of tartar, to the mixture, after the sugar. According to Larousse Gastronomique, this also helps to make it “crisp on the outside, soft and sticky on the inside”.

Cream of tartar meringue. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Using Marcus Wareing’s “perfect” recipe as my control, I make two batches of meringues. Both use the whites of 3 large eggs, whisked to soft peaks in the food mixer (unless you’re a masochist, meringues are not something to be attempted by hand), and 200g caster sugar, added in spoonfuls between the soft and stiff peak stage. One is finished off with a pinch of cream of tartar, as suggested by Leiths Baking Bible, then both are spooned onto lined baking trays, and go into the oven at 100C for an hour and a half, until crisp. The cream of tartar meringues seem to have slightly stiffer peaks, and, when cooked, are more uniformly crunchy.

Angela Nilsen recipe meringue. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Caster sugar is the usual option for meringues – the small grains dissolve easily in the foamy mixture. However, Angela Nilsen of BBC Good Food magazine has taken this a step further, by using half caster and half icing sugar, which is, of course, even finer. The resulting meringues are very light indeed, but to my mind, taste curiously of sherbet – one-dimensionally sweet. They’d be good for a pavlova, but not as a stand-alone treat. This gives me the idea of using golden caster sugar instead, however, which gives a slightly caramelised flavour, and a lovely golden colour.

Technique

Whipping meringue. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Most recipes call for the sugar only after the whites have been whipped to soft peaks – add it too early and you can kiss goodbye to a good strong foam. Yotam Ottolenghi, the capital’s supreme meringue maker, has a different suggestion, however. In his first book, Ottolenghi, he gives a recipe which calls for the sugar to be heated to 100C before being added to very lightly whisked eggs which have “just begun to froth up”. The whole is then whisked on top speed for 10 minutes, until the mixture is cool, and holds its shape.

It takes me a couple of goes to master this technique, which is like a cross between a French and an Italian meringue – my sugar keeps caramelising, and thus solidifying in the mixer bowl, but a few sacrificed eggs later, I think I’ve cracked it. The meringues on the baking tray look magnificent: as craggy and towering as the much-admired originals, but when I take them out of the oven, they’ve gone an odd shade of orange. They taste good, and they’re easier to shape than the traditional recipe but the colour is very definitely off.

Using white sugar improves matters slightly, but they’re still not fit for a shop window. (Interestingly, with this recipe, I can’t detect a difference using cream of tartar, presumably because the make-up of the foam is slightly different when hot sugar is used.)

Temperature

Advice online suggests that my orange meringues may simply have been on a too high a temperature. Wedging the oven door open with a rolled-up tea towel or a wooden spoon, to prevent it overheating, is apparently one solution. Inconveniently, I seem to have the kind of oven that doesn’t much feel like cooking when the door is open, so I’m not sure what to do.

I explain my dilemma to Peter Tar, a pastry chef for Tom Aiken, and meringue connoisseur. He shakes his head. “100C is too high. You need to put them in at 60C, 70C, overnight.” You don’t cook meringues so much as dry them out, apparently; evaporating the water to leave only the rigid structure of the egg and sugar mix, and the air bubbles in between. I try Ottolenghi’s method, in the oven at its lowest setting, leave them for six hours, and the results are positively snowy. I feel extremely proud of myself: a proper meringue is a beautiful thing.

Conclusion

Meringues need clean equipment, good sugar, and, most important of all, a low oven. If you don’t have an oven thermometer, and you suspect your oven is too hot, try turning it down to the coolest setting, and leaving the meringues to it. They’re too good to hurry.

Perfect meringues – with thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi

Felicity’s perfect meringue. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Makes about 10 large ones.

300g caster sugar (golden if you prefer a more caramelised flavour and colour)
5 eggs, whites only, at room temperature
Lemon slice (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 200C. Spread the sugar over an oven tray lined with baking parchment and cook until it has just begun to melt at the edges, but not caramelise (about 8 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, crack the eggs, being careful not to drop any yolk into your whites. If you lose any bits of shell, scoop them out with a clean spoon rather than your fingers.

3. Wipe the inside of your mixing bowl, and the whisk, with the cut side of the lemon and add the eggs. As soon as you spot the sugar beginning to melt at the edges, set the mixer to whisk at high speed while you take the sugar out of the oven.

4. The mixture should be just foamy by the time you add the sugar. Wearing oven gloves, pick up the baking parchment with oven gloves and tip the hot sugar slowly into the still-whisking mixer. Continue whisking until the mixture has cooled, and is glossy and will hold its shape. Turn the oven down to its lowest setting.

5. If you want to fold through any spices or other flavourings, or roll the meringues in nuts or another topping, this is your moment – but they’ll be pretty good as they are.

Perfect meringues ready for the oven. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

6. Line a baking tray with parchment, and spoon the meringue on in great gorgeous blobs – remember they’ll increase in size as they dry out. Put them into the oven and bake until they are crisp on the outside, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom: depending on their size, this could take six hours, so don’t wait up.

7. Turn the oven off and leave them in there until it has cooled, then immediately transfer to an air-tight container.

Meringues – are they the sweetest of treats, or a pointlessly pretty waste of time? What are your favourite flavourings and toppings: can anything beat whipped cream and sour berries?

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Meringue Recipe

Easy Meringue Recipe with tips to make it perfect and fluffy every time! This favorite recipe makes the best meringue for topping pies, puddings and more.

This meringue recipe makes me happy. Seriously. It also brings back so many memories of watching my Mama and Grandmothers making meringue to top their pies or chocolate pudding. I love that!

A smooth, glossy fluff of meringue on top a dessert immediately grabs my attention. I can’t wait to dig into a scoop of banana pudding or a favorite pie just for the feel of the airy topping melting in my mouth just as soon as it touches it.

But you know, meringue is really one of the easiest things in the world to make if you just know a few tricks when preparing.

Meringue Recipe Tips

1. Separate your eggs while they are cold and then allow them to come to room temperature for the fluffiest meringue.

2. Always make sure the bowl you are using to make your meringue is scrupulously clean. Wash it and then wash it again just to be certain if you have to.

3. Take care not to over whip your meringue. It should have a smooth and glossy look.

4. Use cream of tartar to help stabilize the meringue to hold its form.

5. Place meringue about 4 inches under the heat and bake for about 10 minutes, just until the peaks have turned golden brown.

Here’s my family’s meringue recipe. I think you’ll love it.

An easy Meringue Recipe filled with tips for that perfect, fluffy, meringue to top all sorts of pie recipes, puddings, and other treats. Get this perfect meringue recipe you are sure to love. 4.77 from 17 votes

Save Recipe Review Recipe

Prep Time10 mins Cook Time10 mins Total Time20 mins Course Dessert Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Remove eggs from the refrigerator and separate, as they will separate best cold.
  • Allow egg whites to reach room temperature to allow them to whip to their fullest.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pour eggs whites into a spotlessly-clean bowl.
  • Whip the egg whites until they are glossy and smooth, then add the cream of tartar to help the egg whites hold their form.
  • Slowly add the sugar to the egg whites about a tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until the sugar is incorporated. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  • Spread meringue on top of pre-baked or no-bake dessert, place about 4 inches under the heat and bake for about 10 minutes, until golden.

Save Recipe Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

These baked meringue cookies are crisp, sweet, & light as a cloud! Plus, lots of tips on how to make meringue that’s stiff and fluffy as can be.

Hey happy Friday!

I’m out of the office all day today, chaperoning my 10-year old’s class trip to Harrisburg and Hershey. So I put this post together for you yesterday. I really wanted to get it out before the end of the week!

You see, I have a lot of recipes here on this site that begin with meringue. Recipes like chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, angel food cake, and coffee macarons. It may seem pretty simple to whip egg whites and sugar together until fluffy and stiff, but it can actually be kinda tricky if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

And I get a lot of questions about it! So I thought it was about time I put together a comprehensive guide for how to make meringue. And these cutie-patootie baked meringue cookies are the perfect place to start!

HOW TO MAKE MERINGUE

The overall idea of meringue is pretty simple. It’s really just egg whites and sugar whipped together until fluffy and stiff.

I like to add a few other ingredients as well, such as cream of tartar to make the meringue more stable, vanilla extract, and salt to balance the flavors.

If you want to make meringue without cream of tartar, just sub in a few drops of lemon juice or white vinegar. They all pretty much do the same thing.

And you can get creative with flavors too. Vanilla isn’t the only option! Try adding almond extract, rosewater, lemon, or orange blossom water for example. You could even fold in freeze dried fruit (like raspberries) that’s been ground to a powder in the food processor.

TIPS AND TROUBLESHOOTING: WHY WON’T MY MERINGUE STIFFEN?

While the ingredients may be simple, the technique could really make or break you.

The most important thing when making meringue is timing. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Add the sugar in too early and your whites might never get fluffy enough.
  • Add it in too late and your meringue might weep because the crystals didn’t have time to dissolve.
  • Add it in too fast and it could deflate all the air out of the meringue.

It’s a really delicate balance! But if you start adding the sugar when the whites are starting to look foamy and a little white, and keep it going in S-L-O-W-L-Y (I’m talking like 1/4 teaspoon at a time!) you should be ok.

There’s one other thing that is SO important when it comes to making meringue, and that’s to make sure that everything is SUPER clean!

Make sure your bowl and your whisk are 100% free of any trace of fat. If any of your tools are at all greasy, your whites won’t whip up properly. Wash everything in very hot, soapy water and dry it well. Even the most microscopic trace of fat could make it impossible for your meringue to reach that critical stiff peak stage.

And do you know what contains fat? Egg yolks! So be really careful when you separate the eggs too. If you accidentally pierce the yolk you can forget about ever making a proper meringue.

BAKED MERINGUE

For these meringue cookies, we aren’t so much baking the meringue as drying it out.

These bake at a really low temperature (only 200 degrees F), for a long time. This gets them nice and crisp all the way through, without browning at all.

OTHER USES FOR MERINGUE

These little meringue kisses are super cute and fun to snack on by the handful. But once you have meringue making mastered, there are all sorts of things you’ll be able to make with ease. Here are a few examples:

  1. Pipe the meringue into a cup or nest shape, and it can be filled with lemon curd, berries, or ice cream.
  2. Try your hand at Pavlova– it’s baked a little faster so it remains soft and marshmallow-y inside.
  3. Top a lemon meringue pie or baked Alaska– the meringue that tops these desserts doesn’t get baked at all; instead it’s toasted with a brulee torch or under the broiler.
  4. If you can make a proper meringue, you’re halfway to making French macarons!
  5. You can also make my favorite ever frosting: Swiss meringue buttercream!

CAN BAKED MERINGUES BE MADE AHEAD?

You might be able to get away with baking meringues ahead, but you’d be taking a big chance.

If it’s a dry day, that’s probably your best bet. But if it’s at all rainy or humid, you’re going to have trouble. They might come out of the oven just right, but over time they will re-absorb moisture from the air and become sticky.

I’ve had this problem a few times before and it’s so frustrating. You will be so much better off if you make them just before you plan to serve them.

HOW TO STORE MERINGUE KISSES

If you live in a really dry environment, and you want to take your chances, place the meringue cookies in an airtight container and seal it tightly to keep the humidity out. They can last for a few days at room temp without spoiling, but they may become a bit sticky.

Hopefully this info will come in useful for you the next time you need to make a meringue-based confection! And if you have a question I didn’t cover here, feel free to leave it in a comment below, and I’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as I can.

Have a great weekend!

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5 from 4 votes Meringue Cookies Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins

These baked meringue cookies are crisp, sweet, & light as a cloud! Plus, lots of tips on how to make meringue that’s stiff and fluffy as can be.

Course: Dessert, Snack Cuisine: American Keyword: baked meringue, baked meringues, how to make meringue, meringue kisses Servings: 60 1-inch diameter cookies Calories: 10 kcal Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites (large)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract**
  • 1 drop icing color (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

  2. Place the egg whites in a large, clean mixing bowl, and add the cream of tartar and salt.

  3. Whip the whites on medium speed until foamy and just beginning to turn white.

  4. While continuing to whip, add in the sugar very slowly (about 1/4 teaspoon at a time).

  5. When all the sugar has been added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whip until the meringue is glossy and very stiff.

  6. Stir in the vanilla extract, then fold in the color (if using).

  7. Transfer the meringue to a clean piping bag fitted with a French star tip, and pipe 1-inch diameter kisses onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  8. Bake the meringues in the warm oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until light and crisp (do not brown).

  9. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

*A few drops of lemon juice or white vinegar can be substituted.
**Other types of extracts can be substituted to taste.

Nutrition Facts Meringue Cookies Amount Per Serving Calories 10 % Daily Value* Sodium 13mg1% Potassium 5mg0% Carbohydrates 2g1% Sugar 2g2% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you’ve pressed your nose against the dessert case of any self-respecting bakery, you’ve seen meringue. Meringue takes on many roles, sometimes forming a sweet crunchy cookie, sometimes topping a creamy pie, sometimes decorating the exterior of an ice cream cake. Meringue may look like it’s made of marshmallow fluff, but it’s actually a sweet foam made mainly from egg whites.

In its most basic form, meringue is composed of two ingredients: egg whites and sugar. Incredible right? Those ingredients are beaten together and like magic, they transform into a silky smooth shape-holding state that’s pliable enough to pipe or mold.

For foolproof meringue, follow these tips:

Tip 1: Use old eggs

Fresher isn’t always better. Older eggs actually produce fluffier and higher meringues. A simple trick to test how old your eggs are is by gently placing an uncracked egg in a glass of water. If it stands up on its end, it’s gonna be great for meringue. (If it floats, it’s actually too old—toss it. If it lies on its side on the bottom, it’s very fresh.)

Psst: Or, you could check the secret code on your egg carton. Here’s how to crack it.

Tip 2: Bring eggs to room temperature

Separate the whites from the yolks while the eggs are still cold from the refrigerator. Then let the whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before beating. This’ll help you whip your eggs to lofty heights.

Tip 3: Use a clean bowl

For the greatest volume, place whites in a small, clean metal or glass mixing bowl. Even a drop of fat from the egg yolk or oil—or the grease film sometimes found on plastic bowls—will prevent egg whites from foaming. So be sure to use clean beaters, too.

Tip 4: Don’t forget the secret ingredient

For the strongest and most stable meringue, add 1/8 tsp. of cream of tartar for every egg white before beating. It’s an acid that stabilizes the egg white—here’s more about this magical ingredient. If you don’t have any on hand, use ½ tsp. lemon juice for every egg white. (If you happen to have a copper-lined bowl, it’ll produce the same effect.)

Tip 5: Take your time

As you beat, don’t rush adding the sugar. The slower you add your sugar, the better it’ll dissolve into the whipped whites. We recommend pouring in 1 tablespoon as a time. This’ll help you achieve a silky smooth texture instead of a gritty one.

Tip 6: Take weather into account

It’s best to make meringues on a dry day. On humid or rainy days, they can absorb moisture and become limp or sticky.

How to Make Stiff Meringue

Stiff meringue is great for making cookies or pavlova. .

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar or ½ teaspoon lemon juice

A note on equipment: If you’re whipping up meringue on the reg, it’s time to invest in a quality stand mixer. Out of all of the brands on the market, our Test Kitchen recommends this model from KitchenAid ($200) for its powerful motor that stirs even the stiffest of cookie doughs and kneads homemade breads like it’s whipping air. Learn why we’re proud to call it our Best Loved Brand.

Step 1: Beat egg whites

In a large bowl, combine egg whites with cream of tartar and beat until foamy. You can do this with a stand or hand mixer on medium or with a handheld whisk. (If you go the latter route, you’ll get an arm workout, for sure.) Try not to overbeat the eggs at this point or they’ll have a harder time combining with your sugar. Once the whites are foamy, kind of like soap bubbles, stop.

Step 2: Slowly add the sugar

Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat well after each addition to combine.

Test Kitchen tip: Once the sugar has been added, you can stop worrying about overbeating. You can continue whipping the meringue for a long time, even if that means stepping away from your stand mixer for a few minutes.

Step 3: Beat until stiff peaks form

Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form. How can you tell it’s right? Test by lifting the beater from the bowl. The peaks of the egg whites that rise as you lift should stand straight up, and the ones on the beaters should stick out too. Also, if you tilt the bowl, the whites should not slide. You shouldn’t see any clear watery egg at the bottom. Double check to make sure the sugar is dissolved. Pinch some meringue between your fingers. It should feel silky smooth to the touch.

Test Kitchen tip: Once you stop whipping the egg whites, it’s best to move quickly. The longer they sit before they get to the oven, the more they will sink and sag.

How to Make Soft Meringue

Opt for soft meringue when you’re topping a pie with its pillowy crown. Try stiff (more sugary!) meringue if you’re making cookies or pavlova.

  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 1: Combine Sugar and Cornstarch

In a saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in the cold water. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture turns clear. Then transfer it to a bow, and pop it in the fridge to cool.

Step 2: Beat It

In a large bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Lastly, beat in the reserved cornstarch mixture on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.

Pro tip: Don’t have vanilla extract on hand? Opt for another complementary flavor for your dessert to make it your own.

What to Make with Meringue

  • Pavlova: The meringue creates the base for this fancy dessert. Top with fresh strawberries, blueberries and kiwi.
  • Cookies: Pipe the meringue into 1-inch drops and bake for sugary-sweet bites.
  • Pie: Top your lemon or any other citrus-y pie filling with clouds of newly whipped meringue and bake for a golden topping.

Our Best Meringue Recipes 1 / 31

Meringue Shells with Lemon Curd

We love a dazzling dessert of meringue shells filled with lemon curd. It’s sweet and tart, crunchy and fluffy. Top it with whipped cream and berries. —Kris Brill, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Get Recipe

Mile-High Cranberry Meringue Pie

Your holiday crowd will be blown away when they see this pie with towering meringue on top. Let it sit in your refrigerator for at least four hours for best results. —Marcia Whitney, Gainesville, Florida Get Recipe

Chocolate S’mores Tart

I created this tart for my kids, who love having s’mores on the fire pit. It’s truly indulgent. We simply can’t get enough of the billowy marshmallow topping. —Dina Crowell, Fredericksburg, Virginia Get Recipe

Lemon Meringue Angel Cake

I’ve been told that this dessert tastes exactly like a lemon meringue pie and that it’s the best angel food cake anyone could ask for. I’m not sure about all of that, but it is delightful to serve, and each slice is virtually fat free. —Sharon Kurtz, Emmaus, Pennsylvania Get Recipe

Chocolate-Dipped Meringue Sandwich Cookies

These light, airy morsels are twice as nice with two meringue cookies and velvety ganache in between. —Donna Pochoday-Stelmach, Morristown, New Jersey Get Recipe

Meringue Snowballs In Custard

My family has passed down this elegant dessert generation by generation. It started with my Russian great-grandmother, who traveled to America more than 100 years ago. I love continuing the tradition with her recipe. —Tonya Burkhard, Palm Coast, Florida Get Recipe

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Meringue Roses

Eat these pretty treats as is, or crush them into a bowl of strawberries and whipped cream. Readers of my blog, utry.it, went nuts when I posted that idea.—Amy Tong, Anaheim, California Get Recipe

Strawberry-Hazelnut Meringue Shortcakes

In summer the strawberry farms are open for picking. I serve strawberries with a crunchy hazelnut meringue cookie. —Barbara Estabrook, Rhinelander, Wisconsin Get Recipe

Tart Cherry Meringue Dessert

I’ve made this cherry dessert for years to serve at baby showers, birthday parties and other special occasions. People really enjoy the tender crust, cherry filling and melt-in-your-mouth meringue. Every time I serve it, someone asks for the recipe. —Kathryn Dawley, Gray, Maine Get Recipe

Mint Twist Meringues

Light and airy, these delicate meringues give you a refreshing burst of peppermint. I sprinkle them with crushed mint candies and baking cocoa. —Cheryl Perry, Hertford, North Carolina Get Recipe

Peach Blackberry Pavlovas

It’s hard to decide whether it’s the presentation or taste that makes this pretty dessert tops. Fresh berries rest on a pillow of homemade meringue for a finale that sums up why we love summer in one delicious bite. —Charlene Chambers, Ormond Beach, Florida Get Recipe

Irresistible Coconut Cream Pie

My husband and I grow 500 acres of wheat on the farm his family homesteaded in 1889. I grind my own flour and love to use it in this recipe. The easy, pat-in crust has a rich grain flavor. It’s irresistible filled with old-fashioned coconut cream and topped with a fluffy meringue. —Roberta Foster, Kingfisher, Oklahoma Get Recipe

Lemon Meringue Muffins

These muffins taste like a favorite pie of mine. The meringue adds a unique flavor.—Nancy Kearney, Massillon, Ohio Get Recipe

Vanilla Meringue Cookies

Want to learn how to make meringues? This meringue cookie is light, airy morsels and the perfect fat-free treat to really beat a sweets craving. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Get Recipe

Strawberry-Chocolate Meringue Torte

I make this rich and delicious torte whenever I’m asked to bring dessert to any occasion. Use reduced-calorie whipped topping to create a lighter version. —Christine McCullough, Auburn, Massachusetts Get Recipe

Chocolate-Candy Cane Meringue Wreath

These stunning meringues melt in your mouth. Set the minty masterpiece in the center of the table to accent your spread, then enjoy it for dessert later. —Nicole Tran, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Get Recipe

Key Lime Marshmallow Meringue Tarts

After spending time last winter in Key West, my husband and I became obsessed with Key lime pie. This is my downsized version of one we tried while spending time in that area. Marshmallow creme is the extra special touch. —Barbara Hahn, Park Hills, Missouri Get Recipe

Snow-Puffed Meringues

My family and friends like a nice pick-me-up dessert after a big holiday meal. These feather-light morsels fit the bill perfectly. To make six dozen cookies, or to make them easier to ship, skip the Nutella and dust with cocoa instead. —Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario Get Recipe

Raspberry-Chocolate Meringue Squares

My family loves all sorts of cookies, like this luscious treat with a buttery crust, raspberry jam, chocolate and meringue. Bake it for a buffet, party or household treat. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada Get Recipe

Cranberry Meringue Cake

A fan of Southern cooking and baking, I love to exchange recipes when I’m working in my beauty salon. I discovered this amazing cake in an old cookbook. —Sandy Thomas, Guntersville, Alabama Get Recipe

Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie

This pretty pie has it all—a graham cracker-pecan crust that’s layered with vanilla ice cream and lemon curd and then frozen. Golden-brown meringue adds the finishing touch.—Dana Hinck, Pensacola, Florida Get Recipe

Florida Citrus Meringue Pie

Why limit a great dessert to just one kind of citrus fruit? Thanks to orange and lemon, this lovely pie packs a bold sweet-tart flavor! —Barbara Carlucci, Orange Park, Florida Get Recipe

Meringue Cups

These crunchy meringue shells with a lemon curd filling will make guests stop to “ooh” and “ahh” at your dessert table. Topped with fresh fruit, they’re especially pretty when served with a spring meal. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen Get Recipe

Favorite Coconut Meringue Pie

We usually have a good selection of pies at our neighborhood get-togethers, but I always come home with an empty pan when I bring this classic. Friends line up for a creamy slice, topped with golden meringue and toasted coconut. —Betty Sitzman, Wray, Colorado Get Recipe

Surprise Meringues

These crisp, delicate cookies are light as a feather. Mini chocolate chips and chopped nuts are a delightful and yummy surprise in every bite. Mom knows this fun dessert is a fitting finale to a big meal. —Gloria Grant, Sterling, Illinois Get Recipe

Meringue Torte with Peppermint Cream

The mother of my brother-in-law, Bill, often made this melt-in-your-mouth torte. A few years after she passed away, I surprised him by serving it at Christmas. He was delighted.—Christine Venzon, Peoria, Illinois Get Recipe

Tasty Lemon Meringue Pie

The recipe for this yummy lemon pie comes from my grandmother. It’s a lovely, special dessert that feels like home.—Merle Dyck, Elkford, British Columbia Get Recipe

Meringue Kisses

There’s a nice chocolaty surprise inside these sweet kisses. They’re my husband’s top choice each Christmas.—Tami Henke, Lockport, Illinois Get Recipe

Contest-Winning Rhubarb Meringue Pie

My husband’s grandmother was a great cook but didn’t always share her secrets, so we are fortunate to have her recipe for rhubarb cream pie. I added one of my favorite crusts and a never-fail meringue. —Elaine Sampson, Colesburg, Iowa Get Recipe

Peanut Butter Meringue Pie

My four sons clamor for the peanut butter pie. My mom found the recipe from a farmwife magazine in the 1960s, and now I’m teaching our sons’ wives to make it. —Judy Hernke, Mundelein, Illinois Get Recipe

Peppermint Meringues

These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are super as a Christmas gift or to pass around when guests drop in. —Dixie Terry, Goreville, Illinois Get Recipe

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How To Make Hard Meringues

Insider Info

Enjoy

This easy meringue recipe demonstrates the ingredients, proportions and techniques you’ll need to make basic hard meringue, a component of many popular desserts. Hard meringue is also known as Swiss Meringue.

Use it to make Meringue Pie Shell for angel pies, such as Key Lime Angel Pie, or to make individual tartlet shells for meringue glacés filled with ice cream.

Popular confections such as Meringue Kisses and meringue mushrooms are made from hard meringue.

Baked in round, square or rectangular layers and stacked with creamy fillings and cake layers, hard meringue is part of many elegant desserts, such as Pavlova, Schaum torte and dacquoise.

Basic hard meringue can be flavored with cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, extracts or ground spices. Ground nuts such as almonds and pecans are often added.

Insider Tips on How to Make a Perfect Hard Meringue

Choose a dry day. Humidity is a critical factor in making hard meringue. Because sugar is hygroscopic (moisture-absorbing), hard meringues made on a humid day can become limp and sticky.

Bowl size (and shape) matters. For proper aeration, a small mixer bowl is best for up to 3 egg whites; a large mixer bowl for 4 or more egg whites. When beaten, egg whites increase as much as 6 to 8 times in volume. The bowl should be large enough to hold the expanding whites, but not so large that the whites are spread too thin. The bowl should be deep enough for the beaters to make contact with as much of the whites as possible.

Keep the yolks separate from the whites. Fat from egg yolk will prevent egg whites from beating up properly. When separating eggs, take care that no yolk gets in the whites. To avoid an accident, separate each egg white into a cup or small bowl before transferring it to the mixer bowl. Discard any white that has even a speck of yolk in it.

Equipment: Beaters and bowl should be spotlessly clean. Any residue of fat will prevent egg whites from beating up properly. Use a stainless steel or glass bowl. Plastic bowls can retain a film of grease.

Egg temperature: It’s easiest to separate eggs cleanly when they are refrigerator cold. However egg whites whip up to greater volume when they’ve had a chance to warm up a bit, 20 to 30 minutes. Always begin by separating the eggs. Let the whites stand at room temperature while you prepare the baking pan, equipment and other ingredients.

Cream of tartar: The air beaten into egg whites can be lost quite easily. A small amount of acidic ingredient, such as cream of tartar, acts as a stabilizing agent. A bit of lemon juice or vinegar will also work.

Salt decreases egg-white foam stability, so it is not used in hard meringues.

Add sugar gradually. For optimum volume and smoothest texture, sugar should be added gradually, beginning only after the whites have been beaten to the foamy stage (about double in volume). Adding some or all of the sugar before beginning to beat will result in less volume.

To check if sugar is dissolved: After each addition, whites should be beaten until the sugar has dissolved before adding more. To test, rub a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger. If sugar is dissolved, it will feel completely smooth. If it feels grainy or sandy, continue beating. Undissolved sugar can cause sugar spots on the hard meringue surface.

What’s a stiff peak? Hard meringue should be beaten until it appears glossy and stands in tall peaks that do not curl at the tips when the beater or whisk is lifted.

Sugars: Hard meringue is made with a ratio of 4 Tbsp. sugar per egg white. It can be made with any sugar. One cup of superfine sugar or packed brown sugar is equal to 1 cup of granulated sugar; 1-3/4 cups powdered sugar equals 1 cup granulated. Superfine sugar may dissolve more readily and produce a smoother glossier meringue, but volume will not be as great. Powdered sugar contains cornstarch, which may produce a drier meringue.

Mixers: Using an electric portable or stand mixer on high speed is easiest. Hard meringue can be beaten with rotary beater or balloon whisk, but requires more than average arm strength and endurance.

Shaping: Pipe meringue through a pastry bag for fanciful shapes or fluted edges, or simply spread and shape it with the back of a spoon or a spatula.

Prepare the surface. Baking sheets and pans, even those with nonstick surfaces, should be lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil or lightly greased and floured. Hard meringues are less likely to stick on lined equipment.

Baking is a misnomer. Hard meringues are not actually baked, but are dried in a 225°F oven for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. They are left in the oven after it is turned off to continue drying without browning.

Chewier texture: If you prefer a chewy marshmallow-like center, reduce baking time. After 45 to 55 minutes, begin testing the texture by inserting a wooden pick into the side of the meringue. When baked to your liking, check with an instant-read thermometer to see that the internal temperature has reached 160°F. Turn oven off and let meringue cool with the door closed.

Lightly browned: If you prefer meringue with some color, increase the oven temperature to 250°F and bake for 50 minutes or until color is delicately browned and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. When baked to your liking, check with an instant-read thermometer to see that the internal temperature has reached 160°F. Turn oven off and let hard meringue cool with the door closed.

To store: Place baked hard meringue in tightly sealed container, with waxed paper between layers. To re-crisp: If stored hard meringues lose their crispness, bake in 200°F oven 15 to 20 minutes.