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meringue cookies in serving tray (10)

Meringue Cookies Recipe (with & without cream of tartar)

Meringue cookies are a staple in Christmas baking! These cookies are crispy but melt in your mouth! Find out how to make meringue cookies without cream of tartar and traditional meringue cookies with cream of tartar below. This post also includes detailed tips for how to avoid some common problems while working with meringue.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 60 cookies (approx.)


  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 200°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, and set aside.
  • In a grease free bowl, combine egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar or vinegar/lemon juice. Using a stand mixer (recommended!), electric beaters, or a handheld whisk (don't recommend ... ouch!), beat the egg white mix on medium high speed until it turns an opaque white color and just starts to froth.
  • Gradually add your sugar to the egg white mixture (about 1 tablespoon every 30 seconds) beating well after each addition until all of the sugar is used up.
  • Continue beating the mixture until it turns thick and glossy and you no longer feel any dry granules of sugar. You can test this by rubbing a bit of batter from the bottom of the bowl between your fingers, and it shouldn't feel grainy. The egg whites should be at a stiff peak as well. * (see notes) If using, add your vanilla extract and food coloring, and whisk into the mixture.
  • Transfer the meringue batter to a piping bag fitted with your choice of a large piping tip. Pipe cookies (about 1 inch tall and 1 inch wide) onto your prepared baking sheets, leaving just a small space between each cookie for air to circulate.
  • Bake in the center of your preheated 200°F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the cookies easily slide off the parchment paper and sound hollow if gently taped on the bottom. Turn the oven off, and leave the cookies in the warm oven with the door shut for another hour to dry out.


* To test for stiff peaks, you should be able to hold your beater upright (pictured above) and the batter shouldn't curl or droop down. 
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