These classic meringue cookies are light as air, sweet, and so easy to make. These egg-white cookies will melt in your mouth and tempt your sweet tooth like no other cookie.
Meringue cookies are a wonderful addition to holiday plates or a cookie that can be made at any time of year. I like to flavor mine with vanilla, almond, or peppermint. Our girls have even been adventurous and added cotton candy and root beer flavors. They were also very delicious.
- Egg whites This is the key ingredient to this recipe, and having the eggs at room temperature helps when whipping them to stiff peaks, even if you only set them out for 30 minutes before.
- Cream of Tartar The acid in the cream of tartar aids in the stabilization of the egg whites.
- Vanilla extract pure vanilla will cause the cookies to have a slight hint of brown; if you want to keep them bright white, use clear vanilla.
- Sugar Superfine sugar is preferred because it will dissolve into the egg white a little bit easier. If you don’t have superfine sugar, you can add granulated sugar to a blender or food processor and pulse it, but you can also just use granulated sugar and it will be great too.
How to make Meringue Cookies
- Making the meringue mixture In a clean mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high until the whites start to foam. Then slowly add granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and allow the egg whites to form stiff peaks. You can add the vanilla and food coloring now.
- Bake Place small heaps of meringue onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, or I like to place the mixture into a piping bag using a star tip. Bake for 1 hour, then shut off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven for about 2–3 hours, until they are completely dry.
Tips for easy meringue cookies
- Separate each egg white into a small bowl before adding it to a mixer; this way, if some egg yolk gets into the bowl, you don’t need to toss all of the egg whites.
- Drizzle the sugar in very slowly while the mixer is running. I like to add around a tablespoon at a time until it’s combined.
- Use your meringue as soon as it has reached stiff peaks because it will start to lose its consistency if it sits for too long.
- Leave the meringue cookies in the oven for at least an hour and don’t open the oven door; they need to dry out as much as possible.
- Make sure your bowl and your beater are completely clean; even a small trace of oil might ruin your meringue. Sometimes, to make sure there is no trace of oil, I will put some lemon juice on a cloth and wipe everything down.
- If you don’t have the cream of tartar, use 1-1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice instead.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do they last?
Meringue cookies will last up to two weeks at room temperature as long as they are kept dry; keeping them in a sealed container is best.
How do you know when they are done?
When a meringue cookie is done, you will be able to easily lift it off of the parchment paper; they will feel very light and will be completely dry. Remember to bake them at a very low temperature for a long period of time so that they dry out without browning.
Why are my meringue cookies chewy?
Your meringues will be crisp once the oven has dried them out; if it is humid when you make them, they will hold in more moisture and begin to soften. Once you have finished cooking them, allow them to finish drying in the oven.
The Best Ever Meringue Cookies
- any large star tip
- piping bag
- baking sheets
- parchment paper
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar or lemon juice
- Set oven to 200F. Separate the egg whites one at a time into a small bowl then transfer each white to the bowl of your stand mixer.
- Add the cream or tartar and salt to the bowl then begin mixing on low and gradually increase the speed to high.
- Once the egg whites have frothed up you can begin SLOWLY sprinkling in the sugar. This step makes a big difference in your final meringues so remember to take your time and add the sugar in gradually. You can do is a teaspoon at a time or just sprinkle it in slow as slow can be. After the sugar has been added it’s time to beat in some vanilla.
- Your meringue is done once it has a Thick marshmallowy texture and can hold a nice peak. If you are coloring the meringue I suggest you add a SMALL, tiny amount of coloring in with a toothpick or skewer then beat in with the the whisk attachment to distribute the color. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star attachment or with the tip snipped off.
- Pipe your meringues allowing at least an inch of space between each for airflow. Squeeze the piping bag while it’s about 1/2 an inch from the paper, lift as you squeeze then stop squeezing but continue to lift the finish the meringue.
- Place on the center rack to bake at 200 for about an hour then turn the oven off and keep closed for an additional 1-2 hours. The meringue cookies are done when they're are dried throughout. You'll be able to lift them off the baking sheet and they will feel very light and dry.