How to make a French meringue with this easy and foolproof recipe, for a smooth and firm meringue texture, perfect to fill or cover a cake, to decorate a lemon meringue pie, or make a berry pavlova recipe or small meringue cookies.
The French meringue is a basic recipe and a classic in French pastry, used as a frosting or as a filling in cakes, or as a baked version for small crunchy meringue cookies perfect to decorate your pastries.
Among the 3 types of meringues known, this one is the easiest, because unlike the Swiss meringue or the Italian meringue which are more technical, here we simply whip sugar and egg whites until we obtain a shiny meringue with firm peaks.
This is a very simple and quick recipe, follow my advice and tips to have a perfect and firm meringue and small crunchy meringues without cracks.
Why we love this recipe
- Step-by-step recipe with all my tips for success.
- The easiest and fastest!
- Easy to remember ratio = 1:2 (double the weight of the whites to get the amount of sugar to use).
- Perfect for baked meringue and as a filling or frosting in your cakes and desserts.
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed to make this French Meringues recipe, scroll down to see the quantities in the recipe card.
- Egg whites: room temperature egg whites without any trace of egg yolk.
- Sugar: Use extra fine granulated sugar, preferably not powdered sugar or flavored sugar.
- Cream of tartar or white vinegar: As an option, the acidity helps stabilize the egg whites, for a more stable meringue that stays fluffy.
- Chocolate: add cocoa powder for a chocolate meringue version.
⚠️ You will find the quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card
How to Make an Easy Meringue Recipe
Whip egg whites until stiff
- Beat the egg whites in the mixing bowl (glass or metal bowl) of your hand mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed for 5 minutes until they start to bubble.
- Increase the speed of the mixer a little and beat again until you get soft peaks.
Tip: Egg whites should be at room temperature and whip gradually until soft peaks form.
- Add the caster sugar to the egg whites in small batches while keeping the mixer running at medium speed.
- Continue mixing for another 10 minutes until the sugar is fully incorporated.
- Then whip the meringue at high speed until stiff peaks form with a glossy and shiny texture.
- Use the meringue mixture immediately to fill or decorate cakes and pies or follow the baking step below to make baked meringues.
Tip: Use extra fine sugar so that it blends in better, if after 10 minutes you still have grains of sugar, then extend the mixture for another 5-10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 212°F / 100°C and prepare a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
- Pipe your meringue with a piping bag and a decorating tip directly onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the meringues for about 1 hour, until they come away easily from the parchment paper.
- Let them cool completely in the oven with the door open before placing them in a jar or using them for your desserts.
What to do with meringue
Here are some ideas for delicious recipes to make with this easy meringue recipe:
- Berry pavlova or strawberry mini pavlovas
- Cover a lemon meringue cake.
- Decorate a lemon meringue tart or lemon curd tartlets.
- In a glass jar, small baked meringue cookies with whipped cream and fruit.
- In your ice creams or frozen desserts like vacherin.
Tips and Recipe variations
Room temperature: Baked meringues can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container box with a tight-fitting lid or a glass jar for several weeks.
Use room temperature eggs: Essential to have a voluminous meringue. Separate your whites from the yolks when they are cold, then leave your whites out of the fridge to make the recipe.
Clean your utensils properly: Any traces of grease in the bowl or whisk can prevent the whites from rising properly, so wipe them with a cloth soaked in white vinegar or wash them in hot soapy water.
Use extra fine sugar: the sugar should ideally be completely incorporated into the whites to prevent the meringues from cracking or leaking during baking.
Heat the sugar in the oven: at 392°F / 200°C for 5 minutes, and spread it on a baking sheet so that it melts more easily into the whites.
Whip gradually: If the whites are whipped too quickly they will fall off as soon as they are baked. Whip gradually to get a nice shiny meringue with firm peaks.
Add acidity: Meringue doesn't like fat but it likes acid! That's why you can add lemon juice (1 tsp for 100g of whites). Cream of tartar (1 pinch for 100 g of whites) or white vinegar (hence the advantage of cleaning the bowl with.
Frequently Asked Question
Add natural or artificial flavors like vanilla extract, lemon juice, cocoa powder, coffee etc.
By adding a few drops of food coloring gel or in powder form directly into the meringue.
The sugar is not completely incorporated into the meringue, under the effect of heat the sugar melts and flows.
There are many reasons why a meringue may crack during baking, your oven may be too hot, you may have beaten the meringue too quickly or there may be a temperature shock at the end of the baking process.
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