Meringues

King Arthur Test Kitchen

Crunchy-crisp, feather-light and sweet, meringues are very easy to make, they're nonfat and fairly low in calories, and they add an elegant — and gluten-free — touch to the cookie plate. Leave them plain, flavored simply with a hint of vanilla, or bake them with grated bittersweet chocolate or nuts folded in. Try our variation in the baker's tips below, and flavor some of the meringue with freeze-dried fruit for a naturally colorful, fruit-flavored take on this classic. 

Prep
20 mins
Bake
2 hrs to 2 hrs 30 mins
Total
2 hrs 20 mins
Yield
36 to 48 meringues
Meringues

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 250°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment, or lightly grease and flour them. If your baking sheets are dark, nestle another pan underneath it to create a layer of air, which will minimize dark-bottomed meringues.

  2. In a medium bowl combine the two sugars and set aside.

  3. Place the room-temperature egg whites into the bowl of a mixer. Add the cream of tartar. Beat on slow speed until the cream of tartar is dissolved and the egg whites are foamy, about 2 minutes. Add the salt.

  4. Slowly increase the speed of the mixer. When the volume of the eggs has doubled and they begin to look opaque, sprinkle in sugar by the tablespoon. Continue to beat, until the whites are glossy and getting stiff. Slowly (over 4 to 5 minutes) add the remaining sugar and mix until it's evenly distributed and the whites hold a stiff peak.

  5. Fold in the flavoring and coloring of your choice, and nuts or chocolate.

  6. Drop the mixture by the tablespoonful onto the prepared pans, or fill a pastry bag and use it to pipe out any design you wish. Top them with more nuts, chocolate, sparkling white sugar, sprinkles, or other decoration.

  7. Place the meringues in the oven. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven heat to 225°F, and continue to bake for another 1 to 2 hours. For a chewy meringue, bake for the shorter time (about 1 hour). When the cookie is finished, its center will measure 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. For crunchy meringues, bake them for the longer time (about 2 hours). To test if they're done, pick one up; it should feel very light. Tap the bottom; it should feel hollow. Break one open; it should be dry. Taste the broken one while it's still warm; it should melt in your mouth. When the meringue is finished it should be almost white, with just a hint of color around the bottom. Turn off the oven, prop the door open and allow the meringues to cool on the pan in the oven for 30 minutes.

  8. Remove the meringues from the pans, and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers for up to several weeks.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Eggs are easiest to separate when cold, but the whites should be at room temperature when you beat them so that they'll achieve maximum volume. The easiest way to do this is to separate the eggs straight from the refrigerator, then place the bowl with the egg whites into another bowl filled with warm water. Use a fork to break up the whites. After about 10 minutes, the whites will be warm enough to use.
  • Baking vegan? A good substitute for the egg whites in this recipe is aquafaba, the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas. Surprisingly, it whips into peaks just like egg whites! Substitute 2 tablespoons aquafaba for each large egg white; for specifics on the technique read our blog post, A guide to aquafaba.

  • To make flavored meringues: Add one of the following flavor options with the color of your choice to each batch:
    — 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
    — 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil
    — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring (plus 1 cup toasted coconut)
    — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon orange oil
    — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
    — 1 to 2 teaspoons almond extract (plus 1 cup toasted/chopped/sliced almonds)

    To make naturally-colored, fruit-flavored meringues: Combine 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (128g) of recipe's confectioners' sugar and 1/2 cup (15g) lightly crushed freeze-dried peaches in the bowl of a food processor. Process until powdered, then whisk the mixture through a strainer to remove any lumps. Stir a tablespoon of water into the mixture, then fold half the whipped meringue into it. Place both meringues into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, alternating the colors as you fill the bag. Pipe and bake as the recipe directs.

  • If you want a striped effect, divide the egg white mixture in half, and add the color to one half. Fold the white and colored meringues together, just until stripes form.