Meringue cookies are light and crisp cookies made with only 4 ingredients.
Meringue cookies, or meringue kisses, are perfect to make when you have some leftover egg whites. Of course, the egg whites must be fresh since only fresh egg whites will give the desired firmness of the meringue.
Meringue cookies are one of my favorite cookies to make. There is something special in their shape, flavor, and simplicity of ingredients. I tend to make these all the time, and especially during the holidays.
Can you make meringue cookies without cream of tartar?
Traditionally, meringue cookies are usually made with cream of tartar.
What is cream of tartar? Cream of tartar is also known as a potassium tartrate, or a powdered form of tartaric acid.
This organic acid is found naturally in many plants and also during the winemaking process.
Cream of tartar helps stabilize the egg whites, prevents sugar from crystalizing, and as a leavening agent for baked goods.
If you’re out of cream of tartar and want some for the future, you can actually buy my favorite cream of tartar online.
How do you substitute cream of tartar?
Although being an ingredient with versatile use, it is not so easy to find cream of tartar in all store.
So what to do when you do not have cream of tartar but are craving meringue cookies? Here is what you can use to substitute cream of tartar:
- Lemon juice – Lemon juice is probably the most popular cream of tartar substitute. Lemon juice provides the same acidity as the cream of tartar, helping to form stiff peaks when you are whipping the egg whites.
- White vinegar – White vinegar works like a charm as an egg white stabilizer. Simply use the same amount of vinegar in place of cream of tartar when you are whipping the egg whites.
There are some other substitutes, but not all are good to combine with the egg whites. If you do not have the cream of tartar, use lemon juice or vinegar, or just leave it out.
How do you add flavors to meringue cookies?
Meringue cookies can be made with simple vanilla extract, but did you know you can add different extracts?
You can make mint meringue cookies by adding peppermint extract or lemon meringue cookies by adding a few drops of lemon extract.
For a version with a nutty flavor, try adding some almond or hazelnut extract. I like these in particular during the winter season as they bring some warmth and comfort in dull and cold days.
If I’m not in the mood to cook, I actually love buying these chocolate chip cocoa meringues from Amazon.
How do you make meringue cookies?
Meringue cookies are very easy to make in theory. However, since they do not have any flour and are just made with simple yet finicky ingredients, many things can go wrong.
Here are my best tips on how to make the perfect meringue cookies:
1. Use the freshest egg whites – Fresh eggs are gently acidic and will only need a bit of lemon juice to stabilize them. Once stabilized, the egg whites are good to be baked as they are firm and have the right consistency.
2. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature – I used to make meringue cookies with the egg whites from the fridge. However, I learned through trial and error that the egg whites need to be a room temperature. Egg whites at room temperature will beat perfectly.
3. Make sure no egg yolk gets in the way – I cannot emphasize how even a tiny bit of egg yolk can ruin your egg whites. So, when separating eggs, make sure you do it carefully.
4. Do not add sugar too soon – Add sugar gradually. When making meringue, you do not want to go crazy with the sugar. Start beating your egg whites, and when you reach the soft peaks, add the sugar tablespoon by tablespoon, beating after each addition. The sugar has to dissolve in the egg whites before you add the next tablespoon.
5. Avoid over whisking – As mentioned above, whisk until the sugar is dissolved and stop immediately at that point.
6. Use a cold bowl – This is a trick I picked up from the pastry chefs. They use a chilled glass bowl (place one in a fridge 30 minutes before use). The cold bowl will help to create nice tiny air bubbles and make the egg whites firmer. Avoid plastic bowls, and choose either metal or glass.
By the way, did you know you can actually freeze meringue for later?
How To Make Meringue Cookies Without Cream Of Tartar
Gather your ingredients and heat oven to 220F.
Place eggs in a bowl. Whisk the egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form.
Once the egg white peaks form, it is time to start adding sugar, one tablespoon at the time, whisking well after each addition.
Once all the sugar is used, in the last addition add the lemon juice. This will ensure you have a firm mixture.
Spoon the egg whites into a piping bag.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe the meringue onto the baking sheet.
Bake the meringue for 1 hour. After the baking is done, leave the cookies in the oven so they can dry out completely.
Serve and enjoy.
Transfer any leftover meringue cookies into an airtight container.
- 2 egg whites
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sugar
- Few drops lemon juice
- Heat oven to 220F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place eggs in a bowl. Whisk the egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form.
- Once they form, it is time to start adding sugar, one tablespoon at the time, whisking well after each addition.
- Once all the sugar is used, in the last addition add the lemon juice. This will ensure you have a firm mixture.
- Spoon the egg whites into a piping bag.
- Pipe the meringue onto the baking sheet.
- Bake the meringue for 1 hour. After the baking is done, leave the cookies in the oven so they can dry out completely.
- As soon as they are cooled, transfer the meringue cookies into an airtight container.
Meringue cookies do not like moisture. If you are making a double recipe and have a lot of cookies, make sure they are stored properly.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 28mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 0gSugar: 38gProtein: 2g