This easy Meringue Cookie Recipe is my go-to goodie when I’m trying to lose weight. At just 10 calories each, these light and airy confections 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
You probably already have the ingredients for these cookies in your kitchen: 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 with an Easter cake (recipe coming soon), so I added a few drops of food coloring to get pretty pastel colors.
When whipping egg whites, it’s essential the equipment is completely 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 just 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 left behind 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 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 2 baking sheets which you’ll fill and bake at the same time.
Bake the meringue cookies in a 225°F oven for 45 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 and they come out just fine.
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!
Serves: 3 dozen
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup sugar or ⅔ cup Splenda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- food coloring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 225°F 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 45 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.
Now, while these cookies stay fresh for up to 2 weeks, I find it awfully 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 and, next thing you know, you’ve greedily eaten the entire batch.
Fortunately, they freeze well — just pop them into a freezer 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.