Meringues are beautiful and delicious and so easy to make! I’ll show you how to make meringues that are crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. In this tutorial you'll learn how to:
make meringues: every step from mixing to baking
flavour and colour meringues
make 5 different shapes like kisses, animals and roses
attach meringues to cakes
store meringues so they don’t get sticky or soggy.
How to make meringues
To make meringues you’ll need a whisk, salt, sugar, and egg whites. The full recipe in cups and also in grams is at the bottom of this tutorial.
Start by cracking the eggs and separating them. Pass the yolks back and forth between the shells, letting the egg whites fall down into a bowl. Drop the yolks into a separate bowl or a Tupperware. You can use these for lemon curd or custard or another dessert.
Bring about two inches of water to a boil in a saucepan.
Pour the egg whites, sugar, and salt into a metal bowl. If the bowl of your mixer is metal, use that to reduce clean-up. Lower the bowl onto the pan of water, making sure the bottom doesn't touch the surface of the water. Turn the heat off and whisk the mixture together for two minutes. It will get frothy and after two minutes, pinch a bit between your fingers. If it’s smooth, it’s ready. If not, whisk it for another 30 seconds.
Take the bowl off the heat and now you’ll need a whisk or the whisk attachment for your mixer. Whisk the egg white mixture for 9 minutes on high speed. You’ll notice them go from yellow and frothy to bright white and silky. They’ll expand with all of the air you’re incorporating into them.
You’ll see lots of texture left behind in the meringues by the whisk. When you lift up the whisk, the meringue will hold its shape. These are called stiff peaks. Once you whip the meringues to this stage they'll hold their shape when you pipe.
How to flavour and colour meringues
When your meringue mixture reaches the stiff peak stage, add whatever flavour you like. My favorites are vanilla or almond or lemon extract. Mix the meringue just enough to incorporate the flavour extract.
Add colour to the meringue now if you want to tint the entire batch. To tint it different colours divide the meringue into separate bowls. Gel colours are more concentrated than liquid colours so I recommend using those to tint meringue so that you don’t water it down and make it runny. Fold the colour in, mixing as little as possible so you don’t knock the air out of the meringue.
How to pipe meringues
Drop a tip into a piping bag and push it down to the end. If it's a new piping bag, score a line around the midpoint of the tip. Push the tip up out of the way and then cut along the line you scored. Then push the tip back down and it will be snugly inside the piping bag, ready to use! Check out this tutorial for 15 piping hacks for cake decorating!
Meringue is very sticky but try this method to avoid mess! Fold the piping bag over a glass to hold it open and then spoon the meringue into it. When you unfold the bag and pipe with it, you won’t get any of that meringue on your hands.
Line a baking tray or sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and now let’s pipe some meringues! I'll show you how to make meringues in five different ways, which you can use for cake decorating or to serve as a snack, treat, party favour or dessert!
#1 Meringue rosettes
I’m starting with a large, open star tip called an 8B to pipe some rosettes. Hold the tip so it’s slightly above the tray and squeeze the piping bag to make the meringue bulge out. Stop squeezing at the same time as lifting the bag and that will leave a neat peak on the rosette.
To use the same piping tip with another colour, squeeze the first colour out of the bag. Push the piping tip out and wash and dry it. Then put it in another bag that you fill with the second colour.
Couplers are a much quicker and easier method to use the same colour of meringue with different piping tips. You can switch between colours effortlessly and you won’t have nearly as much to clean up at the end! Drop a coupler into a piping bag and place a piping tip on it on the outside of the bag. Then screw the coupler ring on to hold the piping tip in place.
#2 Striped meringue kisses
I love gel colours to tint my 4 Minute Buttercream and also for meringues. You can mix gels into meringue to tint it but try this for really bright striped meringues. Hold the piping bag open and use a paintbrush to paint stripes of colour along inside of the bag. You only need a tiny amount because gels are so concentrated.
Fill the piping bag with meringue and then pipe whatever shapes you like. The ruffly rosettes above are piped with a 1M star tip. For meringue kisses or dollops like the ones below you can use any round tip. I used a 1A.
The colours are much more vivid than if you mix them into the meringue. For example, compare the bright orange to the pale orange you can see in the second row of meringues on the tray above. That orange was made by mixing gel into a bowl of meringue before piping.
#3 Meringue pops
Another way to use a 1M tip is to pipe these swirls, spiraling outwards. You can place these straight onto a cake or prepare them on straws.
Wondering how to make meringues that can be used as cake toppers? Pipe a tiny bit of meringue onto the tray and press a paper straw into it. The meringue will hold the straw in place. Then pipe over the top of the straw. After baking these you can use the straw to push the meringue into the cake as a cake topper.
#4 Meringue animals
Intricate and adorable, a fun technique is how to make meringues shaped like animals! Draw or trace or print an outline or design and put it under parchment paper or a clear silicone mat. Then trace it with meringue. This is a medium round tip, a #12, and this is going to be a flamingo. Use a toothpick to smooth out any textured markings.
I don’t recommend using just a round tip because with stiff meringue it’s difficult to get a neat, smooth surface. You can add lots of amazing textures using different piping tips. If you're not using couplers, squeeze the leftover meringue from one piping bag into another piping bag with a different tip.
This is a leaf tip called a #352, which I’m using to pipe feathers onto this flamingo. Hold the two points of the tip above each other, like jaws, and squeeze to form a bulge. Pull the tip away to leave a point on the feather.
If you’re piping a shape for the first time, it’s a good idea to make more than one. Try different techniques to make different versions. It only adds a few seconds now, compared to having to start all over again after baking one that you don’t need up liking.
To make black meringue you'll need black gel. Since it's very concentrated you won't need more than a few drops to make jet black meringue. For tiny details like flamingo beaks, a sandwich bag works really well. Push the meringue down to a bottom corner of the bag and cut a tiny piece off the corner. Squeeze the bag to pipe the meringue. I’m making two flamingos so I can choose my favourite after they bake.
Use a toothpick to manipulate the meringue to make the shape you want and to smooth the texture in the piped meringue.
To draw lines for the eyes you can dip a toothpick into meringue and draw with that. The other way is to wait until the meringues are baked. Then you can use an edible marker to draw the line. I find this way to be a bit neater than the toothpick method. To use meringue designs as cake toppers, pipe them onto a straw or poke a straw in carefully after piping but before baking.
#5 Meringue roses
You can pipe flowers with meringue just like you would with buttercream. You’ll need a petal shaped piping tip, a little square of parchment paper and a flower nail. Squeeze some meringue onto the head of the nail and press the parchment onto that to attach it. Pipe a blob of meringue onto the middle of the parchment to start the rosebud.
Then hold the narrow end of the teardrop shape of the petal tip pointing upwards. Squeeze the bag and spin the nail to pipe a spiral of meringue that wraps around the blob you just piped.
Now pipe petals around the rosebud, overlapping each one. Angle the top of the tip inwards to keep the petals tight.
Continue wrapping the petals around the flower. Gradually angle the top of the tip further out so that the petals start to fan out. When the rose is as big as you want it, pinch the parchment and slide it off the flower nail. Balance it on your fingers underneath the parchment and lower it onto the baking tray.
How to bake meringues
Bake meringues at 200F or 95C for 85 minutes. Then turn the oven off but leave the tray in for an hour before you take it out. The gradual heating and cooling will prevent the colours from yellowing and also prevent cracking of the meringues.
These meringues are crispy on the outside but when you bite into them, the centers are soft and slightly chewy. In a second I’ll show you how to store them to keep them like this!
How to make meringues stick to a cake
Here are three ways to attach meringues to a cake. You can push them into a drip while the drip is still sticky, before it sets, and they’ll attach easily.
If you baked a meringue on a paper straw you can push the straw into the cake. This makes the meringue stand up on top of the cake, like this flamingo. Leave some of the straw visible or cover it up with more meringues. To hide the straw, push the meringue all the way down into the cake. Don't push directly on the meringue because it will crack. Instead, use scissors or tweezers to grip onto the straw and push it down.
To attach meringues to a cake after the frosting has set you'll need someone to act as glue. I like to pipe or spread a tiny bit of fresh frosting onto the cake wherever I want to place a meringue. You can pipe or spread it onto the bottom of each meringue instead. Then push the meringue gently onto the frosted cake to attach it.
This works on the top of the cake but also on the sides! When the frosting dot sets it will keep the meringue securely in place. Isn't this cake gorgeous? Visit my cake school for online courses on hundreds of cake designs and techniques and sign up for my free course in the menu at the top of this bar!
How to store meringues
You can make meringues ahead of time and store them at room temperature or in the fridge or freezer. They should be separated by wax paper or parchment paper so that they don’t stick to each other. Use an airtight container like a Tupperware, which keeps them crispy. This way they won’t get soggy or sticky. You can store meringues at room temperature or in the fridge for two weeks or in the freezer for a month.
I can’t wait for you to try these meringues! Here's the recipe and you can convert between US measurements (cups) and Metric (grams and ml) by clicking at the top right of the recipe.
Meringues are beautiful and delicious and easy to make! They make yummy treats and gorgeous cake decorations.
4 egg whites (160g)
1cup granulated white sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon flavour extract
optional: gel colours
Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a small saucepan.
Pour egg whites, sugar and salt into a metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan and turn off the heat. Whisk for two minutes, until the mixture feels smooth when you pinch some between your thumb and finger.
Whisk the mixture on high speed for nine minutes, until it turns bright white and shiny. The whisk will leave texture behind in the meringue as it whisks and when you lift the whisk up, the meringue will hold its shape and make stiff peaks.
To tint the entire batch, add gel colour now. Add flavour and mix until combined.
To make different colours of meringue, divide the meringue into separate bowls and add gel colours to each bowl. Gently fold the colour in using a spatula.
Spoon the meringue into piping bags and pipe shapes onto a baking tray lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Bake at 200F or 95C for 85 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues inside for one hour to cool gradually.
Store meringues in an airtight container for two weeks at room temperature or in the fridge or you can freeze them for one month.
To make meringue pops you'll need a paper straw for each meringue. Pipe a dot of meringue onto the parchment or silicone mat, press the top of the straw into the dot, and pipe over it.