This easy Meringue Cookie Recipe is my go-to goodie when I’m trying to lose weight. At just 17 calories each, these light and airy treats satisfy my sweet tooth without derailing my diet.
For those with celiac disease, this easy meringue cookie recipe is a delicious gluten-free indulgence which doesn’t require pricey alternative flours. Eating low carb? Use the sugar-free alternative below for a zero carb dessert.
Easy Meringue Cookie Recipe
These cookies use simple ingredients: egg whites, vanilla extract, sugar, and cream of tartar. Without food coloring, they’ll come out a delicate white color with faintly golden edges. I was making these to go on a Coconut Cake for Easter, so I added a few drops of food coloring to get pretty pastel colors.
Tips on Whipping Egg Whites
When whipping egg whites, it’s essential the equipment is entirely grease-free. You can accomplish this by wiping your mixing bowl and whisk using a towel lightly dampened with white vinegar before adding the egg whites.
Also, your whites won’t form stiff peaks if there’s any trace of egg yolk in them, so make a point to crack and separate each egg individually into a small cup or bowl before adding the white to the mixer. Or buy a carton of egg whites at the grocery store — they work wonderfully!
When your egg whites begin looking foamy, add the cream of tartar then keep beating. This is the hardest part, really: trusting that they will indeed reach the soft peak stage, you see in the photo above. It takes about 5 minutes on medium speed, and it’s not something you want to rush!
Once the egg whites have reached the soft peak stage, turn the mixer speed to medium-high and slowly add the sugar, or Splenda if you want the low-carb version. You’re aiming for the “stiff peak” stage, which means you need to pause the mixer every minute or so to check.
When you can lift the whisk from the bowl, and the peaks don’t collapse or flop over, you’re there. If using food coloring, now’s the time to add it but take care you don’t overmix the egg whites.
Plop or Pipe
Plop spoonfuls of the meringue mixture onto a greased baking sheet 1 inch apart. For a prettier look, use an icing bag with an open star tip to pipe them onto the sheet. For this recipe, you’ll want two baking sheets which you’ll fill and bake at the same time.
Bake the meringue cookies in a 225°F oven for 90 minutes then turn the oven off. Let the cookies cool in the oven for at least 1 hour — preferably longer so they completely cool. I’ve been known to leave them in there overnight.
Opening the oven door too early will lead to cracks on the sides of your cookies. They’ll taste just as good, though, so if you can’t wait one more minute to enjoy your guilt-free treat I understand!
While these cookies stay fresh for up to 2 weeks, I find it too tempting to have them conveniently sitting around. I mean, sure they’re low calorie when you eat one at a time, but it’s far too easy to lose count. Next thing you know, you’ve greedily devoured the entire batch. Or maybe that’s just me?
Fortunately, they freeze well — pop them into a container with a piece of parchment or wax paper between each layer, and they’ll stay good for up to six months. Thaw them on the counter and let them reach room temperature before serving.
Easy Meringue Cookies
- 4 egg whites room temperature (or 1/2 cup liquid egg whites)
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- food coloring optional
Preheat oven to 225°F/107°C and place rack in center of oven.
- Wipe mixing bowl and whisk with a towel lightly dampened in white vinegar to ensure they're completely grease free.
- Add egg whites to bowl and whisk on medium speed until frothy.
- Add cream of tartar and continue to whisk until soft peaks form.
- Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Add vanilla extract and food coloring, if using.
- Plop by spoonful or pipe quarter-sized cookies using an icing bag onto lightly greased baking sheets about 1 inch apart.
Bake both sheets at the same time for 90 minutes then turn the oven off. Do NOT open the oven door. Let the meringue cookies stay in the oven for at least one hour, up to overnight, until completely cooled.
Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. To freeze, place a sheet of parchment paper between layers in an airtight container. Defrost layers separately on the counter for 1 hour.