Basic Meringue

While it may seem daunting, a basic meringue is nothing more than a mixture of beaten egg whites and sugar. It’s a must-have topping for many desserts, everything from a classic Lemon Meringue Pie to a Heavenly Baked Alaska, and if you follow these simple steps you’ll be a master meringue maker in no time.

Prep Time:
10 min
Cook Time:
4 min


  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp ( 1.25 mL ) cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup ( 60 mL ) granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Beat egg whites in medium bowl with electric mixer until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, until sugar is dissolved and stiff, glossy peaks form.
  3. Spread over hot pie filling in decorative swirls.
  4. Bake pie in preheated 425°F (220°C) oven until tips of meringue are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Makes topping for a 9-inch (23 cm) pie.


Instead of cream of tartar, use lemon juice.

Separate the eggs while still cold.

Be sure no yolk slips in with the white when separating the eggs. Yolks contains fat; any fat in with the egg whites will prevent the whites from beating to a good volume.

Let egg whites stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes after separating. They will beat to a greater volume than if beaten when cold.

Use a glass or metal bowl; plastic bowls can have a greasy film which will prevent the eggs from beating to a good volume.

Check whether sugar is dissolved by rubbing a little of the beaten meringue between your thumb and forefinger. If it feels gritty, beat a little longer.