Types of Meringue: Italian, Swiss and French

Though they may seem similar, not all meringue recipes are created equal. Italian, Swiss and French meringues all require their own unique preparation, and understanding the difference between each type will help you create a delicious meringue to add to desserts like pies, cakes, cookies and even soufflés. Use the following guide to explore the different types of meringue.

What Are The Different Types Of Meringue?

There are several types of meringue, with the three most common being French, Swiss and Italian. Each type varies based on preparation, texture and stability. Knowing the difference between the meringues will help you understand when to use each recipe in your baking.

Though there are differences between the three types of meringue, they all need to be rapidly whipped to incorporate air. This can be done by hand, but making meringue can be a quick and easy task with the help of a stand mixer, hand mixer or even a food processor. With the right tools, you can whip up meringue for Mini Strawberry Pavlovas and Green Tea Macarons with ease.

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Red KitchenAid® stand mixer making homemade meringue Red KitchenAid® stand mixer making homemade meringue

Italian Meringue

Italian meringue has a soft and creamy texture that is considered the most stable of the three types. Because it holds its shape so well, you can typically find Italian meringue piped on desserts like baked Alaska or pastries.

Italian Meringue Recipe

This type of meringue is commonly known as the most challenging of the three to master, but with the right technique you can create delicious desserts topped with this fluffy Italian treat. 

Like most meringue recipes, Italian meringue starts with sugar, water and egg whites. The main difference is that the Italian method melts the sugar and water together to create a syrup before slowly adding in the egg whites and whipping the mixture to stiff peaks. Because the egg whites are combined with heated syrup, this meringue doesn’t need to be baked before you can enjoy it.

Mini pavlovas topped with sliced fruit Mini pavlovas topped with sliced fruit

Swiss Meringue

Swiss meringue is glossier and smoother than French meringue, but less stable than Italian meringue, and is often described as having a marshmallow-like taste and texture. This recipe doesn’t yield results as fluffy as other types, but its heft makes it perfect for creating elegant structured desserts like pavlova and lemon meringue pie.

Swiss Meringue Recipe

To make swiss meringue, you need the help of the double boiling method. This heating technique places a heat-safe bowl over a pot of boiling water to gently heat the egg whites and sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved. The mixture is then whipped until stiff peaks are formed. Like Italian meringue, the egg whites in Swiss meringue are heated during the mixing process so you can eat it without baking first.

Meringue cookies topped with cocoa powder Meringue cookies topped with cocoa powder

French Meringue

French meringue is the lightest and least stable recipe of the three. Since it isn't as stable as Swiss and Italian meringue, French meringue is often used for baking treats like meringue cookies and soufflés.

French Meringue Recipe

French meringue is often considered the simplest meringue recipe to make. Unlike Swiss and Italian meringue, the ingredients are combined without any heat. Egg whites are whipped into soft peaks before sugar is slowly whisked in until stiff peaks have formed.

Though French meringue can be made without using heat, it does need to be baked before you enjoy it.

Blue KitchenAid® tilt-head stand mixer Blue KitchenAid® tilt-head stand mixer

Can you make meringue in a KitchenAid® stand mixer?

Yes, you can use your KitchenAid® stand mixer to whip each type of meringue into shape faster than the competitors.1 To achieve the best results, be sure to use the Wire Whip stand mixer accessory2 as it will help to create fluffy and voluminous meringue to top your favorite desserts like this Meyer Lemon and Raspberry Pavlova.

1. Compared to SMEG® SMF02PKUS. Based on 4 large egg whites at room temp

2. Sold separately


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