I make meringue a lot, and at the start I struggled to get it perfect each time. But now after countless trials, recipes and egg whites, I believe I have an easy foolproof recipe to get the meringue right every time.
I make meringue kisses from this recipe to decorate my cakes and cupcakes. See here for my easy cupcake recipe.
On below images, I have sprinkled some beetroot powder on some of the meringues to make them pretty and pink! You can try beetroot powder or cocoa powder, or just leave them plain.
I used this method for a long time, as I think it is the most basic meringue recipe.
But every now and then I had issues with the sugar not dissolving by the time the egg whites were fluffy and perfectly beaten.
Timing your sugar syrup to reach 118C and whisking the egg whites 1 minute before you add the sugar syrup. Sometimes, my eggs were whisked and ready for the syrup, but the syrup still took an extra minute, and it is so easy to over whisk plain egg whites. Another time, my syrup was ready but eggs still needed beating, and while I was waiting for the egg to become frothy, the syrup started to caramelize or crystallise.
The meringue comes out fluffy, smooth and glistening. And I use it for mini meringues, pavlovas or macaroons. You can also beat butter into it and make Swiss meringue buttercream which is absolutely yummy!
Cream of Tartar and Vinegar
I always add a pinch of tartar and a splash of vinegar. It prevents the egg whites from over beating and makes it more stable.
In more scientific terms Nadia Arumugamexplains that “When whipped, egg whites (also known as albumen) can swell up to eight times their initial volume. The acidity of cream of tartar helps egg whites achieve their full volume potential, and stabilizes them by helping hold in water and air.”
I bake a lot, and because of that the recipes I use need to be reliable, fast and enjoyable. Any hacks and tricks I find to make it easier the better!
Some people just use vinegar in their meringue recipe, and I have heard you can also use lemon juice. But I always use cream of tartar and vinegar, and that works for me.
But there is no harm testing out different stabilising ingredients to find what works best for you!
Baking Meringue Kisses
For mini meringues or meringue kisses, heat the oven to 100C.
I pipe about 1 inch diameter mini meringues on a baking sheet. I have silicon mats which are great as they are non-sticky and reusable. But you can use baking parchment on your baking tray.
I bake for 90 minutes at 100C. In this way, I get them as dry and crispy as possible and they will keep for months airtight.
After the 90 minute bake, I turn off the oven and leave them in to dry for 30 – 60 minutes.
Store in airtight containers. In this way they will keep for months.
Baking Meringue for Pavlova
Larger meringues for pavlovas are often purposely baked at a higher temperature for a shorter time so they get crispy on the outside but still chewy on the inside.
Preheat oven to 120C.
Bake at 120C for 60 minutes, the turn off the oven and leave the meringue in it for 30-60 minutes to dry.
All ovens are different, and sometimes it takes a few trials to know what temperature works best for you in your home oven.
Ingredients for Easy, Perfect, Foolproof Meringues
If you are looking to bake your meringue, please heat the oven as per instructions above.
Please note, meringue works very well with 1:2 ratio, 1 part of egg white and 2 part of sugar.
It is best to use 3-4 egg whites and weigh them on your kitchen scales. And then use double the amount of sugar in grams.
If you don’t have kitchen scales, use 50g of sugar per egg white. As a minimum I would recommend using 3 egg whites.
4 egg whites, weight out on kitchen scales
Sugar, double the amount in grams of the weight of the egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar (half a teaspoon)
Dash of vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Method for Making Meringue
1. Add egg white and sugar into your mixing bowl, mix them with a balloon whisk. The mixing bowl must be able to sit over a pot of simmering water (bain marie)
2. For the bain marie heat a pot of water until the water simmers on medium heat.
3. Place the mixing bowl containing egg white and sugar mixture on the pot with simmering water.
4. Keep mixing the mixture with the balloon whisk during the bain marie. All the sugar granules must dissolve into the egg white. This will take about 3 minutes.
5. After 3 minutes do the finger test. Take a small amount of of the egg white mixture in between your fingers to feel if it’s grainy or smooth.
Be careful not to burn yourself, you may want to use a small spoon and scoop a small amount of mixture and wait for it to cool a bit before the finger test.
If it is still grainy keep cooking.
6. Once all the sugar is dissolved remove the mixing bowl from heat and place it in to the mixer and start to mix.
7. Mixing takes me about 6 minutes. But be mindful because it can take a bit less or a bit longer also (up to 10 minutes).
Start on medium speed until mixture becomes frothy, then increase to medium high speed, add below ingredients.
After 1-2 minutes add a pinch of tartage and dash or vinegar.
After another minute add vanilla.
Mix on high speed for the rest of the time.
11. Around minute 4 and 5, stop to check the consistency and scrape down sides.
Beat until foamy, smooth and shiny. Some of the meringue should stay in the middle of the whisk but still look foamy and smooth.
Below is a picture how it looks for me. What the picture doesn’t show is that it is also very shiny.
Use a piping bag to pipe mini meringues or for pavlova scoop all the meringue on a baking tray in a shape of a cake, 2-3 inch high or as desired.
See baking instructions here.
Be Careful not to Over Beat
If meringue starts to look wobbly, dry, clumpy, coarse, grainy, unbinding (not foamy and smooth) then it is over beaten. I would start again. If you bake with over beaten meringue, it is most likely to pop and deflate.