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No Fail Italian Meringue

5 from 13 votes
Total Time: 25 mins

This No Fail Italian Meringue recipe is easy to follow and perfect for hot and humid weather. It is very stable and will not weep, leak, collapse, or be too sticky. Not to mention, it is so fluffy and toasts up beautifully! AND it can be made ahead of time!

No Fail Italian Meringue

Italian Meringue is a whipped mixture made from combining sugar syrup with frothy egg whites. Since it is a cooked meringue you do not need to worry about Salmonella bacteria or the type of egg whites you use. It being a cooked meringue is also one of the reasons why it is so stable.

Disclaimer: Italian Meringue does have a reputation for being the “most difficult” type of meringue you can make. Personally, I think it is the easiest because it requires less work and more babysitting (you will see what I mean).

This no fail recipe has four major steps: (1) Prep for Success, (2) Making the Sugar Syrup, (3) Whipping the Egg Whites, (4) Incorporating Everything Together. With my recipe and tips you will soon be able to make it with your eyes closed!

Toasted No Fail Italian Meringue on a wire whisk.

What is Italian Meringue Used For?

Since this No Fail Italian Meringue recipe is so stable it also makes it adaptable. It can be baked in the oven, toasted with a kitchen torch (like the next picture), or ate as is. Use it as a topping, filling, or base to another recipe which requires meringue. I have included some ideas for you:

Classic Uses

  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Pavlovas
  • baked Meringue Cookies
  • Italian Macarons (base)
  • Baked Alaska

Modern Uses

  • Smore’s Cake filling
  • Key Lime Pie Cupcakes topping
  • Chocolate Meringue Pie
  • Meringue Cookie Sandwiches
  • Baked Meringue Brownies

Be creative with it, the possibilities and flavor combinations are endless with Italian Meringue.

Image of Meringue on Wire Wisk.

Tools Needed

All you are going to need is a stainless steel saucepan, stand mixer with whisk attachment, digital thermometer, and a silicon spatula. I have a few notes about why I recommend these tools. To be honest, in the beginning I failed miserably making Italian Meringue and I do not want you to make those same mistakes.

I do not recommend anything other than stainless steel saucepans for this recipe. Nonstick saucepans crystallized my sugar syrup every single time. Once I bought a stainless steel saucepan and I instantly had success. A stand mixer makes this recipe effortless and consistent. Using a hand mixer made it difficult because I was stuck holding that hand mixer. Digital thermometers changed my world and they are much more accurate than a candy thermometer.

Overhead shot of tools needed for No Fail Italian Meringue including wire whisk, stand mixer and bowl, stainless steel pot, spatula, digital thermometer, vinegar and towel for cleaning the tools.

Ingredient List

There are only six simple ingredients needed to make No Fail Italian Meringue. Each one is important so I do not suggest omitting or substituting as it can result in an unsuccessful meringue. Let me explain:

  1. Egg Whites; room temperature – when whipped, the proteins in egg whites create a foam which creates stability and volume
  2. Granulated Sugar – acts as not only a sweetener but a stabilizer for the whipped egg whites
  3. Water – helps to make the sugar into a thick, sweet syrup
  4. Cream of Tartar – acidic compound which stabilizes the egg whites and contributes to a fluffy, airy meringue
  5. Lemon Juice; fresh – acid which helps the egg whites to hold onto air and prevent collapsing
  6. Vanilla Extract – purely for flavor!
Overhead shots of ingredients needed for No Fail Italian Meringue including sugar, water, egg whites, lemon juice, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract.

Prep for Success

Use white vinegar to wipe down all tools; saucepan, mixer bowl, whisk attachment, thermometer probe, and silicon spatula. Any oily residue leftover will prevent the egg whites from whipping properly.

Measure out all your ingredients and set up your stations. Place sugar and water into the saucepan, egg whites into the stand mixer bowl, and set the cream of tartar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract next to your stand mixer. Set digital thermometer to 240° F (116° C) next to your saucepan.

Pot with sugar water, spatula, and set digital thermometer.

Making the Sugar Syrup & Whipping the Egg Whites

Heat the sugar and water over medium heat for five minutes and DO NOT STIR. Stirring disrupts the sugar from dissolving. Once five minutes has passed gently stir the sugar water mixture with your silicon spatula for one minute. It will look slightly cloudy at this point and no more stirring.

TIP: The lower heat allows the sugar to properly melt and combine with the water. Heating the sugar water too fast causes the mixture to crystalize and the meringue to be grainy. If your mixture is heating too quickly turn down the heat for a few minutes.

Let the mixture continue to heat until bubbles start to come from the bottom of your saucepan, it usually takes another three to five minutes. Once you see these bubbles place your thermometer probe into the saucepan and increase heat to medium-high. The mixture should be clear at this point and rapidly bubbling.

Once the sugar water mixture reaches 230° F (110° C) turn your stand mixer on high to allow the egg whites to whip to peaks. Continue to monitor the sugar syrup mixture and egg whites. Once the syrup reaches 240° F (116° C) remove it from the heat. Allow the mixture to come to a slow to no bubble before pouring into the egg whites. I have found this helps to keep the egg whites from collapsing. It should look like the image below.

Overhead shot of proper Sugar Syrup prior to adding to egg whites.

TIP: Be sure the mixture is clear. If it seems cloudy or is crystallized and you add it to your egg whites, it will cause the meringue to be clumpy, and grainy. Also, your egg whites should be to frothy peaks. If they are overwhipped, separated, or look runny this will affect your meringue. If you find yourself in any of these situations it is best to restart.

Incorporating Everything Together

Keep your stand mixer running on high as you slowly pour an even stream of sugar syrup into the whipped egg whites. Keep the stream of sugar syrup between noodle and pencil thickness. Adding to much too fast can cause the egg whites to deflate.

TIP: Try to avoid the whisk or it will fling the mixture all over the bowl instead of incorporating it into your meringue.

Immediately after the sugar syrup is poured, add the cream of tartar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Allow your meringue to whip until the mixture has cooled, this takes anywhere from three to five minutes. Keep an eye on your meringue because you don’t want to whip too much air into it.

TIP: I test the warmth of the meringue but feeling the temperature of the bowl. Once it is somewhere between room temperature and slightly warm to the touch I stop the mixer. To be safe, I will immediately put it in another glass bowl so the residual heat doesn’t affect.

Overhead shot of completed No Fail Italian Meringue in bowl

Storing Information & Making Ahead

This No Fail Italian Meringue stored covered in the refrigerator for up to five days and at room temperature covered for up to two days. This can include being in piping bag or a covered bowl, etc. Again, the stability is what makes this possible. Please note if you use this meringue as a component to another recipe, the storing information may change depending on how you use it.

TIP: It can be made ahead of time too! Refrigerate it over night and in the morning whisk it for a few minutes prior to using!


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Enjoy Entirely, Elizabeth
Image of Meringue on Wire Wisk.

No Fail Italian Meringue

Elizabeth Swoish
This No Fail Italian Meringue recipe is easy to follow and perfect for hot and humid weather. It is very stable and will not weep, leak, collapse, or be too sticky. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. Not to mention, it is so fluffy and toasts up beautifully! AND it can be made ahead of time!
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 4 cups
Calories 209 kcal

Equipment

  • Stainless steel saucepan
  • Stand mixer with whisk attachment
  • Digital thermometer
  • Silicon spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 3 egg whites; room temperature
  • 1 cup granular sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Prep for Success

  • Use white vinegar to wipe down all tools; saucepan, mixer bowl, whisk attachment, thermometer probe, and silicon spatula. Any oily residue leftover will prevent the meringue from whipping together properly.
  • Measure out all your ingredients. Place sugar and water into the saucepan, egg whites into the stand mixer bowl, and set the cream of tartar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract next to your stand mixer. Set digital thermometer to 240° F (116° C).

Making the Italian Meringue

  • Place sugar and water mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes. Do not stir it at all during this time. The mixture will look cloudy.
  • Gently stir the mixture for 1 minute. There should be little to no granules of sugar left at this point.
  • Once the mixture begins to bubble from the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes, place the digital thermometer in the pot and increase to medium-high heat. Do not stir it at all after this.
  • Allow the mixture to come to a boil and watch carefully. Once it reaches 230° F (110° C) turn stand mixer on highest speed to whip egg whites to peaks.
  • Once the sugar syrup reaches 240° F (116° C), remove from heat and remove the probe. This takes about 4- 6 minutes. Allow the boiling to come to a slow bubble before moving on.
  • Slowly pour sugar syrup (steady stream) into egg whites. Avoid the whisk attachment or it will fling your mixture all over the bowl.
  • Immediately after, add the cream of tartar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
  • Allow mixture to whisk for another 3-5 minutes.

Notes

 
Storing Information: 
No Fail Italian Meringue can be made ahead of time and stored in a piping bag or covered bowl.
  • In the refrigerator covered for up to five days. 
  • At room temperature covered for up to three days.
NOTE: If you use this meringue as a component to another recipe, the storing information may change depending on how you use it.
Keyword BAKE, FALL RECIPE, MERINGUE, NO BAKE, NO FAIL, SPRING RECIPE, SUMMER RECIPE, WINTER RECIPE

If you make my No Fail Italian Meringue, don’t forget to leave this recipe a rating, comment, or like. Tag me on social media using the hashtag #EntirelyElizabeth when sharing your own personal photos making this recipe. I would love to see your version and know your thoughts!

By Elizabeth Swoish on July 29th, 2021

33 thoughts on “No Fail Italian Meringue”

  1. Just made your recipe yesterday and it turned out great and stable. Yours was the 3rd variation of recipe I have tried to get a good meringue. Used it on mini tarts, some toasted, some not.
    Small question- It seems to have a slight acidic taste from the lemon. I may have made a mistake with bottled lemon juice instead of fresh. Is fresh best? or can the amount be reduced slightly without affecting the stability?

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely the best meringue recipe, I used it to top a chocolate pie. I was so worried to make meringue until I found this recipe, super easy and delicious. I lightly toasted mine with a torch after and it held up great.

    Reply
    • Kelsie!

      I am so happy you had success. Meringue is definitely intimidating and I am glad my recipe made it easy for you. And as a side note: your chocolate meringue pie sounds amazing!
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      ~Elizabeth

      Reply
    • Marlene;

      I have done that in the past and have had no issues. I also like to top my pie with the meringue and allow it to chill overnight (this works especially well on lemon and key lime meringue pies).

      ~Elizabeth

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I dont have a sugar thermometer but i cooked sugar until soft ball stage. (Kept on checking it) it worked beautifully. I use it to top the classic tarte au citron. And brown it slightly with a blowtorch. I find that when i sprinkle a little cornflower on the filling before topping with meringue it doesnt separate and reduces moisture between layers. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

    Reply
  4. 5 stars
    Thank you!!!!!!!! First time to ever make Italian Meringue and it is a show stopper!!! I cannot believe how easy this was to make!! It made such a beautiful presentation on my home made chocolate pie! It made glossy and gorgeous peaks. Then I preheated my broiler on high and put in my pie. 20 seconds and it browned perfectly. Literally 20 seconds! I will NEVER NEVER EVER EVER AGAIN make meringues any other way!!!!!

    Reply
  5. 5 stars
    I love meringues and always looking for a great recipe to follow. Definitely will use yours as it looks simple and your instructions very easy to follow, thank you.

    Reply

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