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Why are my mini meringues chewy?

Meringues are a light, airy cookie made from egg whites and sugar. They are beloved for their delicate, crisp texture that practically melts in your mouth. But sometimes, meringues can turn out chewy instead of crispy. If your mini meringues have a dense, gummy texture, don’t worry – we will troubleshoot the possible causes and solutions so you can achieve perfect, crunchy bites every time.

Possible Causes of Chewy Meringues

There are a few common issues that can lead to chewy mini meringues:

Underbeaten Egg Whites

Properly beaten egg whites are key for meringues. You need to beat the egg whites until they form stiff, glossy peaks that hold their shape. Underbeaten egg whites will not expand and stiffen properly when baked, resulting in dense meringues.

Overbeaten Egg Whites

It is possible to overbeat egg whites. If you beat past stiff peaks to the point the whites look dry and clumpy, the meringues can bake up chewy. Overbeating causes the egg whites to deflate.

Too Much Sugar

The sugar in meringue helps stabilize the beaten egg whites. However, too much sugar can interfere with the egg white structure and prevent it from setting up properly when baked. This leads to chewy meringues.

Adding Ingredients Too Early

When making meringues, you need to beat the egg whites first before slowly sprinkling in the sugar, and then fold in any other ingredients very gently at the end. Adding ingredients too early in the mixing process can cause the meringues to bake up dense instead of light and crisp.

Incorrect Oven Temperature

Meringues require a low, slow baking process to properly dehydrate and set. Baking at too high of a temperature can cause the exterior to brown while the interior remains underbaked and chewy. Conversely, oven temperatures that are too low can lead to underbaked, wet meringues.

Storing Meringues Improperly

Meringues are very sensitive to moisture and will lose their crisp texture if exposed to humidity. Storing meringues in an airtight container at room temperature is ideal. Refrigeration can cause meringues to soften over time.

Size of Meringues

With mini meringues in particular, it can be tricky achieving the ideal interior and exterior texture. Smaller meringues have a higher surface area to volume ratio. This means it is easy to overbake the exterior before the interior has time to fully dehydrate and set.

Tips for Crisp, Crunchy Mini Meringues

Follow these tips to help ensure your mini meringues turn out light and crispy every time:

Beat Egg Whites Thoroughly

Use room temperature egg whites free of any yolk or fat. Beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks form and the whites hold their shape when you lift the beater. The whites should look smooth and creamy, not dry or broken.

Add Sugar Gradually

Sprinkle the sugar in slowly, about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, while mixing at medium-high speed. Let each portion fully incorporate before adding more. The meringue is ready when it forms very stiff, shiny peaks.

Sugar Type Amount for 4 Egg Whites
Granulated white sugar 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp
Superfine sugar 1/3 cup

Fold in Other Ingredients Gently

Any additional ingredients like cream of tartar, extracts, food coloring, or finely chopped nuts should be folded in gently with a spatula at the very end after the meringue is whipped and sugar added.

Pipe Smaller Meringues

For mini meringues, pipe rounds no larger than 1 inch in diameter to allow thorough, even baking throughout. Larger meringues tend to develop chewy centers.

Let Meringues Form a Skin

Before baking, allow the piped meringues to sit out at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. This allows a skin to form on the surface, helping the meringues retain their shape better when baked.

Bake at Low Temperature

Bake mini meringues at 200°F to 225°F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The low heat thoroughly dries out the interior before the exterior browns.

Oven Temperature Baking Time
200°F 1 hour 15 mins
225°F 1 hour
250°F 45 mins

Cool Completely Before Storing

Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool down completely inside for 1-2 hours. Then transfer to an airtight container. Do not refrigerate or freeze.

Adjusting Recipe and Technique

If your mini meringues are still turning out chewy, you may need to tweak the recipe and meringue making process. Here are some tips:

Use Cream of Tartar

Add 1/8 tsp cream of tartar per egg white before beating. The acid helps stabilize the egg whites for better volume and structure.

Reduce Sugar

Excess sugar can inhibit meringue structure. Try reducing the amount of sugar by 1-2 Tbsp for a less dense texture.

Add Cornstarch

Gently folding in 1 tsp cornstarch per egg white at the end can help absorb moisture for a crisper meringue.

Check Oven Temperature

Use an oven thermometer to confirm your oven temperature is accurate. Adjust as needed to ensure even baking.

Bake Longer at Lower Temperature

Try baking mini meringues at 200°F for up to 1 1/2 hours until the insides are dry and set without overbrowning.

Bake Directly on Oven Rack

Placing meringues directly on the oven rack increases air circulation for faster moisture evaporation and crisping.

Troubleshooting Density Issues

Dense, chewy meringue interiors point to improper egg white whipping. Here is how to troubleshoot:

Check Equipment

Use a stand mixer or hand mixer with high speed settings. Weak mixing won’t achieve proper volume.

Whip Longer

It can take up to 10 minutes of whipping to get very stiff peaks. Don’t stop too soon.

Check Egg Whites for Fat

Even a hint of fat or yolk will prevent stiffness. Separate eggs carefully and don’t use old eggs.

Beat Egg Whites Alone First

Whip whites until foamy before adding other ingredients so structure develops.

Use Cream of Tartar

The acid stabilizes the whipped egg whites for better stability and rise.

Use Superfine Sugar

Dissolves faster than granulated sugar so the meringue whips up better.

Storing Meringues

To maintain the crisp texture of mini meringues after baking, proper storage is essential:

Cool Completely Before Covering

Avoid trapping steam against meringues by waiting 1-2 hours before covering.

Use an Airtight Container

Plastic containers or tins with tight sealing lids prevent moisture absorption.

Keep at Room Temperature

Refrigeration promotes condensation that softens meringues. Store at room temp.

Place on Shelf Away from Kitchen

Avoid warm spots. The ideal storage place is your pantry.

Check Texture Periodically

Discard any meringues that start to become soft, sticky or limp.

Enjoy Within 1-2 weeks

For best texture and flavor, mini meringues are best enjoyed within 1-2 weeks of baking.


Chewy mini meringues often come down to underbeaten egg whites, too much sugar, or improper baking temperatures. Beating the egg whites thoroughly to stiff peaks, gently folding in sugar, and baking low and slow at 200°F-225°F should yield deliciously crisp, crunchy mini meringues every time. With the right techniques and storage, you can enjoy these bite-sized meringues in all their light and airy glory.