Vanilla Meringue Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min. + cooling
Our perfectly crunchy, delicate and sweet meringue cookies can be made with just five staple ingredients.

Updated: Feb. 21, 2024

Meringue cookies are delicate little treats that are almost too pretty to eat! These meringues are the perfect base recipe to customize with colors, extracts and garnishes, but they’re also delicious all on their own.

If making meringues has felt daunting to you in the past, don’t fret. We break down the process with detailed descriptions, plus our favorite tips and tricks. You’ll become a magnificent meringue maker in no time!

Ingredients for Meringue Cookies

Eggs, Vanilla extract and other ingredients on a white marble tableTMB Studio

  • Egg whites: Our two best secrets to making the perfect meringue: Use room-temperature egg whites, and make sure they’re semi-old, not fresh! The perfect egg for egg whites is one that stands on its end when placed in a glass of water. The egg is too old if it floats, and too fresh for meringue if the egg lies on its side on the bottom of the glass.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract adds a delicate floral flavor to these meringues.
  • Cream of tartar: Cream of tartar stabilizes the meringue for the strongest and tallest meringue cookies.
  • Salt: A small dash of salt adds the perfect amount of depth to these meringues.
  • Sugar: Sugar adds stability to the meringue and sweetens it to perfection.


Step 1: Bring the egg whites to room temperature

Place the egg whites in a small bowl. Let them stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250°F.

Editor’s Tip: Rule number one when starting any meringue recipe: Your tools need to be squeaky clean and dry. Any speck of oil or food will inhibit your egg whites from fluffing up.

Step 2: Beat until foamy

vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites mixed in a large bowl with a blenderTMB Studio

Add the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat on medium speed until foamy.

Step 3: Create stiff peaks

A person adding sugar in mixture in a large green bowlTMB Studio

Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed after each addition, until the sugar is dissolved.

Glossy Vanilla mixture foam in a large green bowlTMB Studio

Continue beating the meringue until stiff, glossy peaks form, about seven minutes.

Editor’s Tip: First time whipping egg whites? Our guide on the difference between soft peaks and stiff peaks gets into the nitty-gritty details for you.

Step 4: Pipe the meringues

Vanilla Meringue cookies placed onto parchment-lined baking sheet.TMB Studio

Attach a #32 star tip to a pastry bag. Transfer the meringue to the bag. Pipe 1-1/4-inch-diameter cookies 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

Step 5: Bake

Vanilla Meringue Cookies placed on a cooling tray after bakingTMB Studio

Bake the meringue cookies until they’re firm to the touch, 40 to 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, and leave the meringues in the oven for one hour (keep the oven door closed). Remove the meringues from the oven, and cool completely to room temperature on the baking sheets. Remove the meringues from the parchment, and store them in airtight containers at room temperature.

Vanilla Meringue Cookies served in a baking trayTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Swap extracts: This recipe calls for classic vanilla, but feel free to use other extracts instead, such as almond, lemon, orange, peppermint, coconut, cherry or raspberry.
  • Add color: A bit of gel food coloring will really make these meringue cookies pop! You could also paint gel food coloring along the inside of the piping bag (like we do in our holiday meringue miniatures recipe), add the meringue to the piping bag and gently pipe out your cookie shapes.
  • Dip into chocolate: Melt a high-quality dark chocolate bar or chips, let it cool slightly and dip the meringue cookies in the chocolate. Bonus points if you sprinkle nuts, crushed peppermint or sprinkles on it, too!

How to Store Meringue Cookies

Meringue cookies will last for up to two weeks when stored at room temperature in an airtight container, with parchment between the layers (one of our favorite tips on how to store cookies!). Avoid storing meringues in the refrigerator. This will add moisture, and they will lose their crispy, crunchy texture.

Can you freeze meringue cookies?

Yes, you can freeze meringue cookies, but it’s important to mention that delicate cookies like meringues are best enjoyed soon after making them. While they can be frozen, they may not maintain the same freshness and quality in the freezer as sturdier cookies will.

To freeze, allow the meringue cookies to cool completely to room temperature, then place them in an airtight container with sheets of parchment or waxed paper between the stacked layers. Freeze for up to one month.

Meringue Cookies Tips

Vanilla Meringue Cookie on a white marble TMB Studio

Why are my meringue cookies flat?

Flattened meringue cookies are typically the result of too much air collapsing out of your meringues. To prevent this collapse, make sure that the egg whites are at room temperature before you begin. Start whisking the egg whites in the mixer slowly until they are foamy. Gradually increase the mixer speed, and add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, not all at once. When the sugar is completely added, continue beating to incorporate more air, bringing the mixture to stiff, glossy peaks.

Why are my meringue cookies chewy?

Meringue cookie recipes can turn out chewy if they are not baked long enough. Check the bake time and make sure the meringues stay in the oven according to the recipe directions (commonly until the oven has cooled—no peeking!).

If you still don’t have success, you may be storing them improperly. Meringues can absorb moisture from their environment or other ingredients they are near. To crisp up chewy meringues, pop them back into the oven on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 200° for 10 minutes.

Watch how to Make Vanilla Meringue Cookies

Easy Meringue Cookies

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 40 min
Yield about 5 dozen.


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons clear or regular vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Dash salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar


  1. Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250°. Add vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to egg whites; beat on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition, until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form, about 7 minutes.
  3. Attach a #32 star tip to a pastry bag. Transfer meringue to bag. Pipe 1-1/4-in.-diameter cookies 2 in. apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
  4. Bake until firm to touch, 40-45 minutes. Turn off oven; leave meringues in oven 1 hour (leave oven door closed). Remove from oven; cool completely on baking sheets. Remove meringues from paper; store in airtight containers at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 10 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 5mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Free food.

These sweet little swirls are light as can be. They're all you need after a big, special dinner. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin