Lemon Meringue Cookies
These easy Lemon Meringue Cookies are made from egg whites whisked into a stiff meringue and baked until they are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.
Lemon Meringue Cookies
Lemon Meringue cookies are pretty little puffs of baked meringue that have the fresh, bright flavor of lemon. They practically melt in your mouth! Lemon Meringue Cookies are a wonderful spring and summer recipe whether you are making them for your Easter dessert, Mother’s Day brunch, or just as a light dessert for summer parties.
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If you’ve been here awhile you know that I LOVE lemon desserts like my Lemon Berry Napoleon, and this amazing Lemon Loaf. It’s a flavor that makes me think of warm, sunny days, and these pretty Lemon Meringue Cookies just look like spring to me :).
What are Meringue Cookies?
Meringue cookies, sometimes called egg white cookies, are a mixture of whipped egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar (to help stiffen them), and some kind of flavoring, whether it be vanilla, peppermint, or in the case of my Lemon Meringue Cookies, lemon. The mixture is whipped until it forms stiff peaks and then piped on a baking sheet and baked until they are dry on the outside and soft and delicate on the inside.
Tips for How to Make Lemon Meringue Cookies:
- Always Start with a Clean Bowl – To get your egg whites to whip up into a light fluffy meringue you need to make sure there isn’t a drop of water or oil in your mixing bowl.
- Use Room Egg Whites – Temperature does make a difference when you’re making meringue. You get a fluffier meringue if you use room temperature egg whites.
- Watch Out for Egg Yolk! – Speaking of the egg whites, the littlest bit of yolk will ruin your meringue! So crack your eggs over one bowl , separate the yolk from the white (you can save those yolks for a Lemon Icebox Pie!!) , and then pour the white into a separate bowl before cracking the next egg. This way if any yolk drips into the egg white as you are separating it you can throw just that egg away instead of contaminating a whole bowl of perfect egg whites.
- Use Superfine Sugar – The finer the sugar the better it dissolves in the meringue. I didn’t want to go buy super fine sugar for this recipe so I just put my regular granulated sugar in a food processor and pureed it for a minute. Works like a charm!
- Add Flavors at the End – If you are going to add an extract to your meringues you do it at the end. Meringues are such a blank slate you can add just about any flavor you want. Vanilla extract is a classic, or you can use Lemon extract like I did for these Lemon Meringue Cookies, you can even try peppermint, or coconut. Just remember less is more. When you’re trying something new start with a small amount of extract and figure out how much you need.
- Add Color – A classic white meringue is nice but I love adding color to mine. You can drizzle just a little color (gel or regular food coloring works fine) down the inside of your piping bag and then add the meringue. When you pipe it out onto your baking sheet it will have streaks of color in it.
As you make your meringues and add the sugar the mixture will get glossy and begin to stiffen. Once all of the sugar is added you’ll want to test to see when the meringue is able to form stiff peaks (that means it’s ready!). I turn off my mixer and use my whisk attachment to dip in the meringue and pull up. That will make peaks in the meringue, and once the peaks stay up, instead of softly falling over and losing shape, you’re good to go.
I use a Wilton Star Tip 6B or an Ateco 829 Star Tip and a disposable pastry bag (16 inch or 18 inch is best because it holds plenty of meringue) to pipe my meringue on to a lined baking sheet. You can line it with parchment paper but I love my silicone baking mats because they fit my baking sheet perfectly and are reusable.
Pipe the meringues on in small 1 1/2 inch circles and then place them in a 225 degrees F. oven to bake for 45 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there to cool completely, usually about 1 – 2 hours. Some people even leave them in overnight. The important part is DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. I know it is tempting but leave that oven closed during the entire baking and cooling process. The wait is worth it 🙂
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LEMON MERINGUE COOKIES
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Lemon Meringue Cookies
- 4 Egg Whites, large, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon Cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Fine Sugar, if you use granulated run it through the food processor for a minute to make it fine
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Lemon extract
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
- Place room temperature egg whites in the bowl of your mixer and using the whisk attachment beat until frothy.
- Add the cream of tartar and the salt and continue to whisk until the mixture forms soft peaks (when you pull the whisk out the mixture comes up into a peak that falls over and doesn't hold it's shape).
- Continue to mix the egg whites slowly adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time letting it completely dissolve into the mixture each time.
- The meringue will begin to turn shiny and stiffen. Watch the mixture closely and once the sugar has all been added and the meringue forms stiff peaks (when you lift your whisk the meringue forms a peak that stays up and holds it's shape).
- Turn off the mixer and add your lemon extract. You can add more but start with a 1/2 teaspoon and work your way up. Gently fold the extract into the meringue.
- If you'd like to add color let a drop of food coloring run down the inside of your pastry bag in a few places. Then add your meringue to the pastry bag and pipe it on to a lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 225 degrees F for 45 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let the meringues sit in there until it is completely cool 1-2 hours. DO NOT open the oven during baking or cooling!
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.