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!
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 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.
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.
- Beat eggs Beat the egg whites, lemon juice, and tartar in a mixer with a whisk attachment.
- While beating on medium-high speed, add sugar a tablespoon or two at a time to ensure it fully dissolves.
- Once thick and glossy, pipe the glossy meringue batter onto prepared baking sheets.
- Bake at a low temperature until dry and firm.
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.
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.
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
Grandma’s Meringue Cookies
- 2 egg whites room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ⅔ cup superfine sugar
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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I love Christmas and Christmas cookies. These are my favourite! I call them angel cookies and sometimes mix in Chocolate chips!
That sounds wonderful Margot!
Looks so yummy!!
Can these be made sugar free?
Hi Rita, we have only made this recipe as listed. If you try making it sugar-free let us know how it turns out!
I have made these many times and I add chocolate or peppermint chips.
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!
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.