Meringue is a light, airy and sweet confection made from whipped egg whites and sugar. There are several types of meringue such as Italian, Swiss and French. Different preparation techniques produce the unique results of each type of meringue. Read this guide to learn how to make a basic meringue for pies or pavlova or to mix with butter to create luscious and smooth frostings.
Basic Meringue Recipe
Basic meringue is a mixture of whipped egg whites and sugar. Follow the steps below to create fluffy, light clouds of meringue to complement any dessert recipe. Use your KitchenAid® stand mixer and whisk/whip accessory to whip your eggs to firm peaks faster.1
1. Compared to SMEG® SMF02PKUS. Based on 4 large egg whites at room temp.
Using a stand mixer with the whisk or whip accessory or a hand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy.
Step 2: Add other ingredients
Next, add the cream of cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract. If you are adding other flavors such as lemon or orange, or if you are adding food coloring to create colored meringue, do so during this step, as well.
Step 3: Continue beating eggs
Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat to create soft peaks.
Step 4: Gradually add sugar
Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until glossy and stiff peaks form.
It is important to add the sugar gradually to ensure that it is dissolved into the egg whites and doesn’t create a gritty texture. Gradually adding the sugar can help ensure the meringue has stiff peaks and reduce the risk of it collapsing.
Step 5: Bake your meringue
The amount of time and temperature at which you bake your meringue will depend on the recipe for which you are making it and your desired results.
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Choose from a variety of sizes, bowl capacities, designs and colors to find the best stand mixer for whipping up your billowy, delicious meringues. Check out the KitchenAid® stand mixer buying guide to learn more about stand mixer options and features.
Tips for Making the perfect meringue
In order to finesse a deliciously smooth meringue, follow the tips and tricks below.
1. Use room temperature eggs
Room temperature egg whites are recommended for making meringue because they will whip up faster.
2. Add an acidic ingredient
Cream of tartar, vinegar, lemon juice or another acidic ingredient can improve the structure of meringue. Acid helps meringue whip up more quickly and remain stable. Without acid, meringue may collapse during or after mixing.
3. Add salt
Salt is known to enhance flavors whether sweet or savory. Make your meringue stand out by including a pinch of salt with your egg whites.
4. Use clean bowls and utensils
Even a bit of fat can prevent egg whites from achieving stiff peaks. Make sure that all bowls and tools are completely clean and dry before beginning.
5. Pay attention to the humidity
Meringue is sticky and can be difficult to whip on humid days. There can be a difference in working with meringue on a dry day as compared to a humid summer day. Opting for a day with low humidity can be helpful.
6. Don’t use a plastic bowl
Plastic bowls and utensils can develop a thin coat of oil over time. Metal, glass or ceramic bowls are preferred.
Can you make meringue by hand?
Meringue can be made with a stand mixer with a whisk/whip accessory, a hand mixer with a whisk attachment or by hand with a handheld whisk. Using a stand mixer can help you effortlessly whip egg whites to stiff peaks, reducing the manual labor involved in making meringue by hand.
Whipping egg whites into stiff peaks can be tricky. For egg white peaks that won’t stiffen, check that no yolk has slipped into the mixture. Clean the mixing bowl and beaters thoroughly, leaving no trace of residual grease, like butter or oil. Do not use a plastic mixing bowl. A pinch of salt or cream of tartar may accelerate the stiffening.
Can you overbeat meringue?
If you overbeat the egg whites, they will eventually go past the peak stiffness and take on a grainy consistency. Once your egg whites are overbeaten, they won't work well in your meringue. Properly-whipped egg whites should look shiny and moist.
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