These meringue cookies are only 5 ingredients, and are perfectly light, airy, and sweet bite sized treats. They’ve got crunchy outsides, and practically melt in your mouth, and they’re a perfect addition to your holiday cookie plates.
Meringues are one of my favorite bite sized treats. I love the crunchy shells, and they’re soft and airy centers.
I never made meringue cookies until this year, but now they’re going to be on repeat. I think I’ll add them to our holiday cookie must makes, along with our other family favorites like ginger molasses cookies, and Christmas sugar cookie bars.
These meringue kisses are not only elegant, and beautiful, but they are also delicious. I love their crispy outsides with their light meltaway middles. They’re lightly sweet, lightly vanilla flavored, and so great for any time of year, but I especially love making them during the holidays.
This is a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need for this Meringue Cookie Recipe. Specific measurements and full recipe instructions are in the printable recipe card below.
- Egg Whites – they mix even better if they’re room temperature, but they separate easier when cold, so separate the egg whites, then let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes
- Vanilla Extract – this gives them a lightly vanilla flavor. Use a clear imitation vanilla if you want their color to be bright white instead of pure vanilla extract.
- Cream of Tartar – this helps to stabilize the egg whites
- Salt – just a dash for flavor
- Granulated Sugar – to sweeten the cookies
How to make Meringue Cookies?
Start by separating your egg white from the egg yolk. Do this one at a time in a bowl, then transfer each to the large mixing bowl. This will help prevent any broken egg yolks from getting into your mixture, so you can throw out an individual egg instead of the whole thing if this happens. Then let them sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes, if you have the time.
Add the cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites. Beat the egg whites on low speed in the large bowl (a bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment works great) but a large bowl with a hand mixer will work too. Beat them on low until they are foamy, then slowly raise the speed to high.
When the mixer is on high speed, add in the sugar, about 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing about 20-30 seconds after each addition.
Once you have added all the sugar, beat until the mixture is thick, and shiny and you have very stiff glossy peaks. You want them stiff peaks, that are stiff enough that they will not fold back onto themselves, and hold their place. This will take several minutes.
Add the vanilla extract to the meringue mixture, and mix it into the mixture until combined throughout. Add any food coloring at this stage too (only a couple drops if adding).
Spoon the meringue batter into a pastry bag, piping bag, or large ziplock bag with a large star tip. Carefully pipe your meringues onto two parchment paper lined baking sheets in small dollops. You can put them relatively close to one another as they won’t spread, but you want a little space (about 1inch between them for air flow). But you want to make sure you can fit them all on your baking pan so you can cook the entire batch at once since it takes such a long time to cook them.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and keep them in the oven with the oven door closed for another hour or two to cool them completely. You want the finished product to have crispy edges, and lift easily from the parchment paper.
Tips and Tricks:
- Separate your egg whites one at a time into a separate bowl before adding them to a mixing bowl. This will keep you from having to discard the whole batch if one of your yolks break.
- Very slowly add the sugar into the egg whites. About one tablespoon at a time, until that is mixed into the egg fully. Let your mixer keep mixing and add 1 TBS of the sugar in every 30 seconds.
- You can test if the sugar is dissolved by taking a small bit of the “batter” and rubbing it between your fingers. If it is still gritty texture keep mixing.
- I prefer using a superfine sugar, called caster sugar, as it helps the sugar dissolve faster, but granulated sugar works great and is what I used for these photographs.
- Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of additional extracts for different flavors if desired. Almond extract, or peppermint extract would be yummy.
- Let your meringue cookie pans stay in the oven for at least 1 to 2 hours after baking. They need a warm dry place to finish drying out.
What if my meringues are chewy?
It is best to make meringues on a dry day, as extra moisture from a humid day can make them turn soft and they won’t get their crispy exteriors.
If you have chewy meringues after baking them, or after storing, you can place them back in the oven on a lined cookie sheet at 200 F for about 10 minutes to dry them back out.
How to prevent cracks in your meringue cookies?
Cracks in meringue happen all the time, and honestly aren’t a big deal if you get some in your meringue cookies. But here are a few tips on how to try and prevent them or keep them smaller in your cookies. (Even mine have some small cracks, I just arranged the cookies well to hide them 😉 )
- Don’t mix your egg whites at high speed when adding the sugar, mix them instead at medium-high speed. The more air that gets mixed into the egg whites the cookies will rise more, which can cause them to have bigger cracks. I only go up to speed 8 on my Kitchen Aid instead of 10.
- Bake your cookies at a lower temperature. I made my first batch at 225 F and they had lots of cracks, since then I bake all my meringue cookies at 200 F for the oven temperature instead.
- Let your meringue cookies cool for at least 2 hours in the oven as they are less likely to crack when they cool slowly. Sudden changes of temperature can cause bigger cracks.
- Remember that even if your meringues do crack, it’s totally normal, and they will still taste delicious!
How to store meringue cookies?
Meringue cookies are best kept in a dry place, so store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They should stay good for about 2 weeks.
They are delicate cookies, so set them carefully into your container if you want to keep them extra pretty without any pieces chipping off. However they do taste delicious even if they don’t look perfect.
This light and crispy, airy, and perfect meringue cookies are a beautiful, and simple cookie that are a must make for the holidays. They’re a great way to mix up your holiday cookie tray!
More easy cookie recipes:
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- 4 large egg whites
- 1 dash salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup granulated sugar (can substitute for caster – super fine – sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking pans with parchment paper, and set them aside.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and add the egg whites to a large mixing bowl. (Discard of the egg yolks, or add them to an omelet, or use them otherwise).
- Add the cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites and mix them together on low speed until it becomes foamy.
- Slowly increase the mixer speed to medium high, and add the sugar to the mixing bowl 1 Tablespoon at a time. Making sure the sugar is completely dissolved before adding the next tablespoon, this will take about 20-30 seconds between each addition.
- Continue to mix until the mixture is thick, shiny, and has stiff peaks. This will take several minutes.
- Add in the vanilla extract and mix it into the mixture until just combined.
- Spoon the egg mixture into a large piping bag with a large star tip.
- Pipe the meringue onto the prepared cookie sheet in small dollops, about 1 to 1.5 inches in size, and each about 1 inch apart, until all the mixture is piped onto the cookie sheets.
- Bake the pans in the oven for 1 hour.
- Turn off the heat, and leave the meringue pans in the oven for 1 to 2 hours without opening the oven door, so they completely dry out. (They should be crisp on the outside, and lift freely from the parchment paper).
- Carefully remove from the parchment paper and serve, or store in an airtight container.