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Home » Cuisines » American » Lemon Meringue Cookies Recipe

Lemon Meringue Cookies Recipe

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Attention lemon dessert lovers, these Lemon Meringue Cookies are just for YOU! These bite-sized cookies are a delicious, light dessert that combines zesty citrus flavors with light and airy meringue, and they practically melt in your mouth. Lemon meringues are light, crispy little puffs that make the perfect dessert to end any meal. 

Several lemon meringue cookies on a plate.

Easy Meringues Cookies

We had fun with these little meringue kisses by hiding a miniature chocolate truffle in the center of some cookies. It is an optional step but an indulgent one! The chocolate truffle complements the tart lemon flavor and adds an unexpected surprise to each bite.

What Are Lemon Meringues?

These heavenly little bites are sometimes called lemon meringue kisses or egg white cookies. They are a mixture of egg whites, sugar, and flavoring that get whipped until stiff peaks form into a fluffy meringue. The mixture gets dropped in little mounds on baking sheets and baked in low heat until they become light, crisp, and airy.

Lemon meringue cookies are like a ray of sunshine in dessert form! If you’re full after a hearty meal but still need to satisfy your sweet tooth with something light, these lemon meringues are exactly what you’re looking for.

So treat yourself to one (or three or seven) of these zesty delights and savor the sweet, tangy goodness. Try a fun variation and fill them with mini chocolate truffles or chocolate kisses.

Why This Meringue Cookies Recipe Works

  • Easy to make with only 5 ingredients.
  • Baking the meringue kisses low and slow gives them time to dry out and get crispy without burning.
  • Adding the sugar too early will inhibit the egg whites from forming a strong protein network. Many recipes have you add the sugar when the egg whites reach soft peaks, but that does not give the sugar time to dissolve.
    Adding the sugar when the whites get foamy allows them time to form protein bonds and provides time for the sugar to dissolve. 
A lemon meringue kiss on a marble counter.

Ingredients For Lemon Meringue Drops

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for these lemon meringues. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  • Large egg Whites. Make sure they’re at room temperature. This allows them to whip up faster and easier.
  • Cream of Tartar. Cream of tartar changes the pH and gives the egg whites more structure and stability. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can use 1 teaspoon of vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
     
  • Salt. A pinch of salt balances the sweetness and enhances the flavor.
  • Lemon Extract or Lemon Oil. Lemon oil has a higher concentration of lemon flavor than the extract, so you will see a different amount for each of these ingredients. 
  • Sugar. To prevent the lemon meringues from having a grainy texture, use Superfine Bakers sugar, as it dissolves more easily. If you don’t have superfine sugar, the recipe still works with regular granulated sugar, but make sure you whip the egg whites until the sugar dissolves. 
  • Yellow Food Coloring. Optional, but festive!

Tip: since this recipe only uses egg whites, you can use the egg yolks to make egg yolk lemon curd, a tart apple curd, or our egg yolk chocolate chip cookies. If you would prefer something on the savory side, you can make blender hollandaise sauce for eggs benedict

Egg whites, salt, sugar, cream of tartar, lemon extract, yellow food coloring.

How to Make Meringue Drop Cookies

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with these egg-white cookies. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

Adding egg whites and cream of tartar to a mixing bowl then slowly whisking in sugar.

Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk attachment to beat the whites until they get foamy then slowly start streaming in the sugar.

Showing egg whites that are at stiff peaks.

Continue beating the egg whites until all the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites reach stiff peaks.

Mixing yellow food coloring in a bowl of meringue then adding some to a piping bag.

To give the meringue cookies a yellow stripe, spoon ¼ cup of the meringue into a separate bowl and fold in the yellow food coloring.

Fit a large decorating bag with a star tip. Use a knife to smear lines of the yellow meringue down the sides of the piping bag. 

Yellow and white meringue in a piping bag.

Fill the bag with some of the meringue and twist it closed.

Left photo shows piping meringue on a baking sheet and the right photo shows how to spoon meringue on a baking sheet.

Pipe 1-inch mounds of meringue onto the baking sheet. If you don’t have a piping bag, just use a teaspoon to plop dollops of meringue on the baking sheet.

Adding a mini chocolate truffle inside a lemon meringue.

If you want to add mini Nestle truffles inside some of the lemon meringues, place a truffle on a drop of meringue, then cover it with more meringue.

Bake the meringue kisses in the oven for 1-½ hours, then turn the oven off and let them cool down slowly with the oven door closed.

Try our empty tomb meringues if you want another fun variation for meringue cookies. 

Tips for Success

  • As we mentioned above, superfine sugar works best, but you can make these lemon meringue kisses with regular granulated sugar or powdered sugar. 
  • Make sure you have a clean bowl and clean beaters. If there is any greasy residue in the bowl (or broken egg yolks), the egg whites will not whip up properly. 
  • Use a glass bowl or a metal bowl. Plastic bowls tend to retain grease, which will prevent the egg whites from whipping. 
  • Use room temperature egg whites because they whip up to higher volumes than cold egg whites. 
  • Lemon zest and lemon oil will add a fresh lemon flavor but don’t use too much, or it will have an overpowering flavor. 

More Lemon Recipes 

 Variations

These lemon meringue drops are little clouds of sunshine on a plate. They are delicious as is, but we have some fun variations that are worth trying. 

  • Sandwich the meringue kisses with lemon curd or pipe the meringue into little nests and spoon the curd into them after they finish baking. 
  • Dip the bottoms of the lemon cookies in melted chocolate.
  • Hide a Nestle chocolate lava truffle or a chocolate kiss in the center of each meringue.

 Storage 

Let the lemon meringues cool completely, then store them in an air tight container. They do not need refrigeration and tend to pick up moisture if stored in the fridge. They will lose their crispness and become chewy if moisture gets to them. 

You can freeze meringue kisses for up to 6 months if you store them in a freezer-proof container. 

A lemon meringue cut in half and showing a chocolate truffle in the center.
A lemon meringue kiss cookie filled with a miniature chocolate truffle.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What is the secret to great meringue?

The secret to great meringue is in the technique. Start with clean, dry equipment and room-temperature egg whites. Add the cream of tartar before you begin whipping for extra stability, and make sure to add your sugar gradually while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.

Is meringue better with cream of tartar or lemon?

In our testing, cream of tartar works slightly better than lemon juice. If you use lemon juice, you will need twice the amount.

Why did my meringue cookies turn out chewy?

Underbaking the lemon meringues will make them chewy in the center. They will still taste delicious when they have a little bit of a chewy center, but if you want them crispy, make sure to keep them in the oven to dry out completely.

These delectable little Meringue Cookies are the perfect light and airy treat for any occasion. Whether you have a sweet tooth or want to make a delicious gift for someone special, these lemon meringues will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

⭐️ Helpful Tools

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More Recipes You Will Love:

Lemon Curd Cake is sweet and tangy, with moist lemon sponge cake layers between rich lemon curd. It’s topped with a silky and fluffy Italian meringue buttercream!

This Chocolate Sponge Cake is an Italian genoise, a light and airy sponge cake featuring a sweet raspberry filling and a silky chocolate ganache.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Cheesecake combines two classic desserts (blueberry muffins and cheesecake) into one tasty treat. This dessert is perfect for sharing at brunch or as an after-dinner treat.

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Lemon meringue cookies on a blue plate.

Lemon Meringue Cookies

Yield: 36 to 40 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 hour 46 minutes

These lemon meringue cookies are crisp airy puffs with a citrusy lemon flavor. They are perfect for parties or a light dessert after dinner and make great gifts! The bite-sized meringue kisses will melt in your mouth like a flavor explosion, and you'll be hooked.

Try a fun variation and fill them with mini chocolate truffles or chocolate kisses. Read the notes for more fun ways to make these little meringue kisses.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon lemon extract or ½ teaspoon lemon oil
  • 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • Optional: zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 to 4 drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F and move the rack to the lower third position of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk attachment and beat the whites on medium high speed until they reach the soft peaks stage (the peaks will flop over when you lift the beaters).
  3. Beat in the lemon extract or lemon oil. With the mixer running, slowly stream in the sugar (it should take 60 to 70 seconds to finish streaming in the sugar). 
  4. Continue mixing until you see stiff peaks form (they will look shiny and have pointy mounds that will stand upright when you lift the beaters). Fold in the lemon zest (if using). 
  5. If you want yellow stripes in the cookies, spoon ¼ cup of the meringue into a separate bowl and fold in the yellow food coloring. Fit a large decorating bag with a star tip, (we used #827 tip). Use a knife to smear lines of the yellow meringue down the sides of the piping bag. 
  6. Fill the bag with some of the meringue and twist it closed. Pipe 1 inch mounds of meringue onto the baking sheet. (See the notes if you don’t have a piping bag).
  7. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 1-½ hours. Turn the oven off but do not open the door. Leave the meringues in the oven for 2 to 3 more hours.

Notes

  • You can use regular granulated sugar in these meringue cookies, however using extra fine baker’s sugar will give the meringues a better texture and shinier coat. 
  • Make sure your bowl and beaters are perfectly clean. If you have even a small amount of grease or residue on the beaters or bowl, the egg whites will not whip up properly. Use a glass or metal bowl because plastic bowls are susceptible for retaining unseen grease.
  • To maintain the texture, as soon as the lemon meringue cookies cool, store them in an airtight container. They do not need to be refrigerated. The interior will get slightly crisper each day you store them unless they come in contact with humidity. Humidity will make them wet and sticky.
  • Stiff peak stage: Egg whites will be at the stiff peak stage when they look shiny and you can see pointy peaks stand up straight when you lift the beaters. 
  • If you don’t have a piping bag, use a spoon to plop walnut sized mounds of meringue on the baking sheet. Use a small ½ teaspoon measuring spoon to place a drop of yellow meringue on top of the mounds then swirl it in a circular motion to give it a swirled pattern. 

Variations: 

  • Sandwich the meringue kisses with homemade lemon curd or pipe the meringue into little nests that you can spoon the curd into when the meringues finish baking. 
  • Melt some chocolate and dip the bottom of the lemon meringues in the chocolate, then transfer to wax paper until the chocolate sets up. 
  • Add a Nestle chocolate lava truffle bite or a chocolate kiss to the center of each meringue by piping a small amount of meringue on the baking sheet, then topping it with a truffle. Pipe more meringue over the top to cover the truffle. 

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 40 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 25Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 19mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandson or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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