Dainty and delicious, these Meringue Cookies are my grandma’s recipe.

With just four ingredients, these cookies are airy bites of lemony sweetness. They dissolve the minute you pop them in your mouth.

If you’re looking for an easy naturally gluten-free dessert, this flourless meringue recipe is just the thing!

a bowl of white French meringue cookies

What Are Meringue Cookies?

Also known as French meringue cookies, these pillowy clouds of sweetness taste almost like candy. The texture is light and airy with a crisp outside.

They are made from egg whites whipped with cream of tartar and superfine sugar with a little lemon juice for flavor. The stiff meringue is then piped into bite-sized rounds on a cookie sheet and baked at a low temperature until dry and crispy, but not browned.

Italian meringue is different from these cookies, it’s a soft frosting made with whipped hot sugar syrup to produce a glossy cake frosting.

ingredients to make Grandma's Meringue Cookies with labels

Ingredients in Meringue Cookies

Egg Whites – Use the whites from freshly separated eggs or use boxed whites. Ensure that there are no bits of egg yolk in the whites (and no oil residue in your bowl or utensils) or the whites will not beat properly.

Sugar – This recipe works best with superfine sugar (also called bakers sugar, caster sugar, or berry sugar). This sugar has a finer consistency than granulated sugar so it better.

If you don’t have any on hand place some sugar into a food processor and pulse several times until uniformly fine-grained, but not powdered.

Cream of Tartar – Cream of tartar is acidic and it helps to stabilize the egg whites and add volume. It creates light fluffy and glossy meringue. You can find cream of tartar online, in the baking aisle, or often in the bulk section of a grocery store. (If you have some leftover, it’s also used in snickerdoodles).

If you don’t have cream of tartar, be sure not to skip the lemon juice or to add a bit of white vinegar to the egg mixture.

Lemon Juice – My Grandma always added lemon juice to her meringues. The flavor it adds is mild and light and the acidity is an added stabilizer. If preferred, you can skip the lemon juice and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in place.

Meringue in a mixing bowl

How to Make Meringue Cookies

Meringues aren’t difficult to make but do follow the recipe directions carefully because that will produce the best texture.

  1. Beat eggs Beat the egg whites, lemon juice, and tartar in a mixer with a whisk attachment.
  2. While beating on medium-high speed, add sugar a tablespoon or two at a time to ensure it fully dissolves.
  3. Once thick and glossy, pipe the glossy meringue batter onto prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake at a low temperature until dry and firm.

Variations

Color Add a little bit of gel food coloring to make the meringue cookies extra pretty.

Flavors Flavoring of all kinds can also be used. Almond, lemon, peppermint, coconut, and vanilla extracts all make very tasty meringues.

Meringue cookies on parchment
How Long Do Meringues Last?

For all you bakers who make your Christmas cookies in advance, meringues are the perfect recipe for you. Meringues store for up to three weeks in the pantry or fridge, and for 4-5 months in the freezer.

How to Store Meringue Cookies

Humidity will make your meringues sticky and chewy because sugar absorbs moisture. To keep your cookies dry and crisp, store in air-tight containers or ziplock freezer bags.

Classic Christmas Cookies

a bowl of white French meringue cookies
5 from 15 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Grandma’s Meringue Cookies

These airy bites of lemony sweetness shatter and dissolve the second you pop them in your mouth!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 35 cookies

Ingredients  

  • 2 egg whites room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • cup superfine sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 225°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix egg whites and lemon juice until foamy. Add tartar and set mixer to medium high.
  • Beat in sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing after each addition. Continue mixing until shiny and stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Ensure the sugar is dissolved.
  • Fit a large star tip onto a piping bag and fill with the meringue mixture. Pipe into 1-inch kisses. Add sprinkles if desired.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until firm. Turn the oven off and leave meringues in the oven at least 3 hours or overnight.

Notes

Ensure the egg whites are at room temperature. Mix the sugar a little bit at a time to ensure it is fully dissolved, this keeps the meringue cookies from weeping.
Any traces of oil, fat or egg yolk will keep the egg whites from beating to stiff peaks. Ensure the mixing bowl and utensils are clean with no traces of oil.
Leave the meringues in the oven to cool slowly, this will keep them from cracking.
To keep the cookies dry and crisp, store them in an air-tight container on the counter. 
5 from 15 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 16 | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American, French, Italian
top view of Grandmas Meringue Cookies in a bowl with a title
bowl of Grandmas Meringue Cookies with a title
plated Grandmas Meringue Cookies with writing
Grandmas Meringue Cookies on a baking sheet and plated with a title
Meringue cookies on a baking sheet and on a marble board with a title
Meringue cookies in a blue bowl with writing
Meringue cookies on a baking sheet and on a marble board with writing

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I love Christmas and Christmas cookies. These are my favourite! I call them angel cookies and sometimes mix in Chocolate chips!5 stars

    1. Hi Rita, we have only made this recipe as listed. If you try making it sugar-free let us know how it turns out!

  2. Hi, if I want to make these with a peppermint flavor, do I drop the lemon juice and use 1 Tbsp. peppermint flavoring?
    Love your recipes!

    1. Yes, I would suggest skipping the lemon juice. Peppermint extract is more concentrated so you’ll likely only need ¼ teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon. I would suggest adding the extract after the eggs are beaten.