Recipe Review

I Tried the Trick for Making Meringues in 40 Seconds, and It Honestly Blew Me Away

updated Mar 29, 2021
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Credit: Patty Catalano

The light, crisp texture of a sweet meringue cookie is unmatched among culinary confections, but it’s not exactly easy to achieve. Sure, the ingredient list is simple, but meringues can take hours to prepare — the cloud-like texture usually comes from long baking and cooling times at a low temperature — and did I mention the weather has to be just right, too? Humid days often produce dense and gummy cookies rather than airy meringues.

Considering I live in Atlanta, where it’s hot and sticky most days of the year, you can imagine my excitement when I came across a video from 2015 by Crumbs Food demonstrating how to make meringues in less than a minute. After a bit of trial and error, I filled a platter with bright white, crisp meringue cookies and used only a single egg white to do it. Here’s what you need to know.

Credit: Patty Catalano

How to Make Meringues in a Minute (or Less)

Begin by separating the yolk and white from one large egg. Discard the yolk or reserve it for another use. Place the egg white in a medium mixing bowl and sift in confectioner’s sugar. Mix with a spoon or rubber spatula until a very stiff dough forms, kneading the dough to incorporate all of the sugar. Weigh out a small, marble-sized portion of dough and roll into a smooth ball. Place two rounds onto a parchment-lined, microwave-safe dinner plate, then microwave until the cookies are puffed and dry, about 40 seconds. Cool for 30 seconds before serving.

Credit: Patty Catalano

My Honest Review of Minute Meringues

Imagine “baking” 35 meringue cookies out of a single egg white, with no whipping of the whites required! These minute meringues are truly magical — the fastest and easiest meringues I’ve ever made. The cookies come out perfectly bright white, with no hint of browning, which is typical with oven-baked meringues. They’re very sweet because of the large proportion of confectioner’s sugar required, but it’s nothing that can’t be remedied with a dip into dark chocolate dip or by pairing with fresh fruit. In fact, the only downside is that you can’t really control the shape or the final appearance of the meringues.

The only issues I had were figuring out how much powdered sugar to use, and how big to make the cookies. The original recipe calls for 150 grams of powdered sugar (which is about 5 ounces). At this proportion, the uncooked meringue has a scoopable texture of very thick royal icing, which led to excessive spreading, and very flat cookies. The video hosts went on to add another 50 grams of sugar, and I did the same. This worked much better. If you don’t have a scale, watch the video and eyeball it — the ideal dough is very firm, and stiffer than Play-Doh.

As for how big to make each meringue, I learned 15-gram portions produced cookies that were too large for single servings. So I broke off a very small piece of dough, just 7 grams, and placed two on the parchment-lined plate. The cookies were puffed and dry after 40 seconds in the microwave — perfection!

As the mom of two young kids, I’m always on the lookout for the holy grail of kids’ cooking activities — ones that require just a few ingredients and can be completed in one sitting. The set-up for this project is easy, and the entire activity entertained my kids. Minute meringues are a win on every level.

Credit: Patty Catalano

5 Things to Know Before You Make This Recipe

  1. The dough should be stiff. Add enough powdered sugar to make a very stiff dough: about 9 ounces confectioner’s sugar per 1 large egg white. The sugar and starch in the confectioner’s sugar in proportion to the egg white keeps the meringues from spreading.
  2. Monitor microwave timing. Since microwave heating power can vary greatly, your cooking time may differ from mine. Test a single portion of meringue dough in the microwave for 40 seconds. If the cookie burns, try again for 30 seconds. If the cookies are wet or chewy, increase the time slightly.
  3. Add salt. These meringue cookies are very sweet, so a pinch of salt is necessary to balance the flavor.
  4. Dress them up. Add a few drops of vanilla or peppermint extract to change meringues’ flavor or dip the bottoms into melted dark chocolate.
  5. Make them bigger. I was thrilled to learn that you can make a pavlova using this technique, too. Roll a large portion of the dough into a ball and place on the parchment-lined plate. Microwave until the dough is puffed and dry, about 1 1/2 minutes. Enjoy as a base for whipped cream and fruit.

Have you ever tried making meringues in the microwave? Let us know in the comments!