Virginia has been experimenting in the kitchen for almost 50 years. She loves to share her recipes, cooking tips, and reviews.
How to Make Meringue Cookies
My kids love meringue cookies because of their light, crunchy texture and melt-in-your-mouth sweet flavor. I love that I can make these with two ingredients I always have: egg whites and sugar.
Of course, there are lots of options to add flavor, create shapes, and puff up more, but in a pinch, you can make these fabulous treats with just those two ingredients!
13 Easy Meringue Cookies
- Chocolate chip
- Mint chocolate chip
- Cinnamon and nut
- Date nut
- Meringue kiss cookies in any flavor (using extract) or color (using food coloring)
- Peanut butter
- Toasted oat
- Almond (often made for Passover)
- Orange mini chocolate chip
- No sugar
One Recipe With Many Variations
My favorite part of making meringue cookies is that you can take the basic egg white and sugar batter and make lots of different kinds of treats. We often make a big batch of batter and make at least two of the following recipes.
Check out my chart below the recipe for instructions on how to make these different cookies, and the videos for other ideas, including how to make cookies in different shapes.
Easy Meringue Cookies
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 3 egg whites (make sure there is no yolk)
- 1 cup sugar (white, powdered or brown)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional for flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or other extract (optional for flavor)
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional to help cookies hold shape)
- 3 tablespoons crushed cracker crumbs (optional to help cookies last longer—omit for gluten-free cookies)
- Preparation: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line cookie pans with parchment paper or foil, or use silicone sheets. Do not grease. Separate egg whites from yolks (use yolks for another purpose).
- Mix: Put egg whites in a bowl and beat with mixer until peaks form (1–2 minutes).
- Add: Add sugar slowly and continue to beat until very stiff peaks form. The mixture will not feel grainy when it is fully mixed.
- Optional: Add cream of tartar (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon or 1/4 teaspoon vinegar), salt, and vanilla (or another extract flavor). Beat until mixed thoroughly.
- Optional: Fold in crackers and any additional ingredients for a cookie that you are using from the chart below.
- Put drops of batter on lined cookie sheets or use a pastry tip to make kisses or other shapes. Tip for spacing: These cookies do not rise or spread and will be about the same size you spoon out.
- Bake cookies for about 20 minutes. Cookies are done when very lightly brown on the bottom. The tops will be dry and brittle. Bake an extra 5 minutes if they seem too soft in the middle.
- Store the cookies in a dry, airtight container at room temperature. They last about a week.
13 Cookie Variations
|Cookie Type||Add to Basic Recipe||Instructions|
1/2–3/4 cup mini or regular chocolate chips
Fold into basic batter.
Use only 1/2 cup sugar. Add 1/4 cup Nutella melted in microwave for 30 seconds.
Pour melted Nutella over very stiff batter and fold in just 3–4 strokes. Should look swirled. Drop one inch apart on baking sheets.
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
fold into batter, drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet or make into "kisses" by using a piping bag
Mint Chocolate Chip
1 teaspoon peppermint extract, 3/4 cup mini-chocolate chips or mint chocolate chips
Replace vanilla with mint extract. Fold in chocolate chips. Add a couple of drops of green food coloring if you want.
Cinnamon and Nut
3/4 cup chopped nuts, 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Fold nuts and cinnamon into basic batter in just a few strokes. Drop on cooking sheet and sprinkle tops with cinnamon or cinnamon sugar.
1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts; 1 cup chopped dates (may want to chop small), optional: add 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips
Use parchment paper or grease the cookie sheets.. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla or rum extract. Fold in dates and nuts. Drop on cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for one hour or until dry and set. Cookies will not be brown.
Meringue KIss (any flavor or color)
1 teaspoon extract any flavor, 3–4 drops of food coloring
Use cream of tartar and salt, but not cracker crumbs. Transfer to a pastry bag with large star tip. Pipe 1/2 to 1 inch wide cookies. Bake at 200 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. You can put two together with melted chocolate right before serving.
1/2 cup peanut butter. Optional: chopped peanuts or 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips
Melt peanut butter slightly in microwave (warm not hot). Pour on stiff batter and fold lightly 4–5 strokes). Fold in chocolate chips if using. Spoon onto baking pans and sprinkle with chopped peanuts or mini chocolate chips. You can also melt chocolate and dip half of baked cookie in chocolate.
Substitute brown sugar for white in recipe. Add 1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats and 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Make batter as usual. Add sugar slowly and beat between adding. Fold in oats and pecans. Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes.
1 1/2 cups ground almonds, and 1 teaspoon almond extract
Add almond extract instead of vanilla. Fold in almonds carefully in a few strokes. Drop by teaspoons on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cookies feel firm when you touch them.
Orange Chocolate Chip
1 teaspoon orange extract, 1 tablespoon orange zest, 3/4 cup mini-chocolate chips, optional: orange food coloring
Add orange extract instead of vanilla. Add food coloring if desired. Fold in orange zest and mini-chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour (may need to leave in oven until completely dry)
1 cup regular or mini M&M's
Fold M&M's into batter. Spoon onto cookie sheet and put one M&M on top to decorate. I use these often with holiday colors.
Spenda Meringue Cookies
Substitute 1/2 cup Splenda for sugar
Make in the same way as basic recipe. Add cream of tartar, salt and vanilla. Bake for 1 hour in 250 degree oven.
- Make sure there is no oil or grease in your mixing bowl or beaters or the egg whites may not whip well.
- Don't grease the cookie sheets.
- Add sugar gradually.
- Making these cookies on a humid or rainy day may cause them not to turn out as well. You can try baking them at 200 degrees for one hour instead, or just turn the oven off and leave the cookies in the oven until they are done.
- Meringue is ready when you can take a pinch between your fingers and you don't feel the grains of sugar.
Making Fun Shapes!
Why Cream of Tartar?
Cream of tartar can help to stabilize the meringue and help it whip up and hold shape. Cream of tartar (potassium hydrogen tartrate) is a fine white powder made from grape acid. It is sold in the spices section of the grocery store. Although it helps your cookies to hold together better, some cooks don't think it is necessary with meringues because they bake so firm. If you want, you can also try one of the following suggested substitutes:
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon vinegar
Another way to bake basic meringue cookies is to put them into a preheated oven (300 degrees) and then turn the oven off and leave them there for 5-6 hours or overnight. This is a perfect solution when you've forgotten to make a dessert you need to take to work the next morning. However, this method does tend to make a hollow middle.
One friend of mine used these at Easter. She made a batch with her kids and put them in the oven the night before Easter. When the kids woke up, she pulled them out of the oven and showed the kids that they were sweet on the outside but hollow on the inside, like the tomb of Christ.