How To Make Meringue Cookies | Easy Recipe With Pictures & Tips!
Meringue cookies are such an easy treat to whip up, and they are not only gorgeous, but are totally delicious, and are easy to make! They are a favorite at our house, and my 5 year old daughter absolutely loves making them with me! She loves that she can really add any colors, sprinkles, and flavors that she wants, making her really feel like the chef of the house!
You may be saying 'I have heard of lemon meringue pie, but what are meringue cookies?'
Meringue cookies are an easy to make, light cookie by mixing only a few ingredients together. Here's how: mix egg whites, sugar then cream of tartar. Mix meringue ingredients in a mixing bowl for several minutes. Add flavor extracts if desired. Then, pipe meringue and bake meringue cookies at a low temperature for a long period of time so the result is a crisp and airy cookie that everyone enjoys! Read on for the details and some tips and tricks to get those meringues perfect!
There are so many variations on how to make a meringue cookie, but the favorite around our house is one that my daughter and I came up with: Unicorn meringue cookies. So I am going to share my basic meringue cookie recipe with you, as well as some tips and tricks for making the perfect meringue cookie, and then I will share some twists that I like to add depending on what kind of meringey mood I am in!!!
Now, let's make some basic meringue cookies. This is your starting off point that every variation of a meringue cookie will be based on.
The Best Meringue Cookies Recipe
Meringue Cookie Ingredients:
- 4 egg whites: room temperature preferred
- 1 cup white sugar (Remember: the best meringue ratio is 1/4 cup white sugar per egg white!)
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Parchment Paper (not wax paper)
How to make meringue cookies: Directions
- Preheat your oven to 225F.
- Start your recipe by separating your egg whites from egg yolks.
TIP: Do not get ANY egg yolk into your egg whites. Your meringue will not fluff properly!
TIP: Make sure that there is absolutely nothing, not even a drop of water in the bowl you are going to mix it in. Give it a quick, dry wipe with a clean paper towel before you start adding your egg whites to mix.
- Then, add your egg whites to your clean mixing bowl and start your mixer. You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer such as a KitchenAid mixer, which I find much easier when making meringues since you will be standing there for severl minutes mixing.
- Start mixing BEFORE adding any other ingredients. Why?? It all comes down to food science!!! See the tips below:
TIP: The science behind whipping egg whites and timing when to add the sugar is soo important, and is often why people have problems with their meringue. Sugar adds sweetness to the meringues, but also just as important, it adds stability. You see, as you mix the egg whites, the mixer is breaking down the proteins, which creates air bubbles.
If you add your sugar too soon, it interferes with the break down of egg white proteins so the air bubbles don't form properly. Then, you only get tiny air bubbles in the meringue, resulting in questions such as "Why are my meringue cookies so crumbly?" and "Why are my meringue cookies dull or not very fluffy?" The answer is, you added your sugar too soon, or, all at once. You need to add the sugar later (read on).
If you add your sugar too late, for example, after the mixture has been mixing for several minutes and is starting to form peaks, you are adding the sugar too late. The sugar will not be able to dissolve and you will get grainy cookies that come out slightly brown.
The "sweet" spot: Now remember this for the next step: When making meringue, add sugar 30 seconds - 1 minute after mixing: when the egg whites are foamy and bubbly, but before you see peaks. This is the optimal time to add your sugar to make the best meringue and meringue cookies. If you do this, you should get perfect meringue cookies! The air bubbles have had a chance to form from the egg white proteins being broken down, and there is still enough time for your sugar to dissolve.
Meringue cookie problems solved, and you will get perfect, airy, sweet, crisp meringue cookies with a great structure, which you will notice when you go to pipe them. See my picture below of what the "sweet" spot looks like!
- After about 1 minute of mixing with your mixer at the highest speed, slowly add in your sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, letting it mix in before adding the next 1/4 cup of sugar until it is all mixed in.
- Add in your cream of tarter after the sugar is all mixed in. You can add a drop of any extract you want at this point: peppermint extract is the perfect ingredient for peppermint meringue cookies, but you can add coconut extract, caramel extract (then a bit of coarse salt on top for salted caramel meringue cookies!) The possibilities of meringue cookie flavors are endless!
- Continue to mix until the meringue looks glossy and peaks form: anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes. See my picture below, this is how the mixture looked when it was ready on my KitchenAid mixer whisk.
- Put meringue into your piping bag or cake decorating tool, and pipe out your meringues onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
TRICK: I have a total meringue cookie hack here you guys... This is a recent discovery that has changed my meringue cookie game. I tried out a cake decorating tool (normally used for icing) and it was SO MUCH EASIER and made so much less of a mess than putting the meringue into a piping bag. Especially when I went to make my marbled "unicorn" meringue cookies because I could add the color and just bang the nozzle down gently on my counter top so the mixture fell easily to the piping end. GAME CHANGER. So if you have one somewhere in a drawer or in your pantry, go get it out! Before I would use a butter knife and try to get the different colors evenly down to the piping nozzle so they would marble, and it was always such a mess. Plus, this tool has an automatic retracting press that allows you to get the meringue out into perfectly swirled shapes!! You can find a great one here. Raving reviews for use in making and piping perfect meringue cookies!!!
- Put parchment-lined baking sheet of meringues into your oven at 225F for 45 minutes, then turn oven off. Do not open the oven door here or take them out, just let them relax in the warm oven for another hour. Imagine it's the cookie day spa... haha. This will dry them out for that perfectly crisp, light meringue texture that you are going for.
Take the meringue cookies out, let them cool and store in an air-tight container. We wrote an article last Christmas about keeping your Christmas baking fresh, but I am going to link it here for you because we did some great research and found some really amazing storage containers that would be perfect for meringue cookies any time of the year. Be sure to check it out!
TIP: If you find the meringue cookies are a bit chewy the next day, then some moisture may have gotten in (maybe they didn't cool completely before putting them in the container, or the container was not super air-tight). You can fix this by putting them back in the oven at 200F for about 10 minutes! Meringue problem fixed!
Meringue cookies are great as party favors and snacks, especially for baby showers and weddings! They are also great if you like to make holiday treats such as Valentine's Day cookies, for example, for your child's class. And I am going to share the best meringue cookie recipe with you below, as well as the best tips and tricks for getting perfect meringue every time!
Unicorn Meringue Cookies (or adding coloring to your cookies to marble them):
- After step 5 above, separate the white meringue mixture into however many portions you plan on adding color to. My unicorn cookies are always white, purple and turquoise, so I have 2 bowls for coloring the meringue, and I portion out some white meringue into a separate bowl.
- Using a spoon, add a few drops of color to your bowls: green and blue for turquoise, red and blue for purple, unless you are able to get your hands on some brightly colored food dye, there is no mixing required, and it highly pigmented!
- Add about a spoonful of colored meringue to your bag or cake decorating tool, and then another color and white, alternating as you go. You can add rainbow sprinkles on top of these cookies if you want!
NOTE: As I was making these cookies for this article, I had my mom visiting who commented that she is not a fan of meringue cookies. She says that meringue cookies are too sweet for her! (gasp, right???) So I told her I bet I could whip her up some that she would enjoy - challenge accepted! So I portioned about 1 cup of meringue aside in a bowl and mixed in about 1/4 cup of Fry's unsweetened cocoa powder.
I was going to make my famous chocolate meringue cookies for her (something I often do). That is the beauty of meringue cookies. You can portion out as many bowls as you want and add in different colors and flavors to each one! So fun!
Here is what you do to make chocolate meringue cookies: mix the unsweetened cocoa powder into the meringue until it is well mixed. I mix mine in with a spoon since the meringue is already whipped perfectly by this point. Then, pipe as usual! Voila! Easy peasy, and feel free to call them "insert your name here's' famous chocolate meringue cookies"! Permission granted ;)
When I made these chocolate meringue cookies, they came out rich, chocolaty and not as sweet, but still light and airy. Very brownie flavor-like! She LOVED them!
TRICK: I always like to make some mini meringue cookies by just piping Hershey kiss-sized drops on a baking tray. They are so cute and are great to just pop one of these in your mouth!
You can serve meringue cookies any way you want, and you can be super artistic with this! I love making small ones and keeping them in mason jars with a cute ribbon for guests, but you can put them in apothecary jars (I own this exact set of 3 and love it!! I serve so many things from them and use them for household decorations at other times!) You can also serve your meringues in china teacups, all different size of martini or wine glasses, tiered cake trays or any way you can think of! It is hard for them to not look adorable!
What do I love about meringue cookies? I began my meringue love affair when I was introduced to lemon meringue pie. I loved watching the meringue brown in the oven as I waited for the pie to come out, just so I could pick the tops of the meringue mountains and feel them melt in my mouth. So cookies made from meringue only made absolutely perfect sense.
I love the crisp crunch of a sweet meringue cookie, especially when I make the bite-sized meringue drops or kisses that you could just pop into your mouth. So light, airy and delicious! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Thank you so much for reading this! I hope you enjoy your perfect meringue cookies!! And If you liked this recipe or my super amazing meringue cookie tips and tricks, be sure to PIN one of the pictures in this article NOW so you can find this recipe again LATER! We would really appreciate that. Happy baking!!
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