How to Stiffen Meringue

Meringue is a light, fluffy desert or topping made with sugar and egg whites. When properly beaten, egg whites will expand as the molecules absorb air and fluff up. Meringue is commonly a thorn in the side of many home cooks because it is highly sensitive to moisture and temperature. Proper preparation and handling are important to a stiff, stable meringue.

Start with dry bowls and utensils. Avoid any excess water, including humidity or rainy weather.

Separate the eggs while they are cold. Cold eggs are easier to separate than if at room temperature. Avoid introducing any yolk at all to the whites. The slightest amount of yolk will prevent the whites from stiffening.

Allow the egg whites to come to room temperature before beating them. Beat the egg whites on your mixer’s highest setting. Do not add sugar until soft peaks begin to form. Add sugar slowly to avoid collapsing the whites.