How to keep meringue from getting runny

Updated April 17, 2017

Nothing is as satisfying as creating the perfect meringue. Those white peaks of frothy sweetness are guaranteed to fill any baker's heart with glee, but getting the perfect meringue is not simple. Even experienced chefs can get caught out if they're not super vigilant. Problems include the meringue collapsing and becoming soft or a stream of runny liquid oozing from underneath the meringue. To guarantee the perfect meringue, follow your recipe exactly.

Weigh your ingredients precisely. Small errors in quantities can result in a weepy meringue.

Chill your eggs before separating them. Cold eggs separate much more easily than warm eggs. Don't use today's eggs. Fresh eggs have a thick white that fluffs up less easily than a three- or four-day-old egg.

Carefully separate your eggs. The tiniest bit of yolk will ruin a meringue. If some yolk gets into the whites, remove it using the same shell the yolk came from. If the yolk spreads, discard the whites and start again. Any trace of yolk, oil or water will create a runny, weepy meringue.

Beat the egg whites in a ceramic or stainless steel bowl. Bowls that are made of plastic or wood hold onto grease particles. These particles prevent your whites from reaching stiff peak stage, resulting in a runny meringue.

Add a teaspoon of Cream of Tartar to the stiffen whites before adding the sugar. This will make the meringue more stable. Runny meringues often occur due to moisture seeping from the whites. Don't attempt a meringue on a humid day, as the humidity will create moisture within your meringue.

Ensure other components are piping hot. If you are making a meringue pie, don't chill the base before you add the meringue. Adding meringue to a cold base will result in meringue not cooking correctly. The result will be the dreaded weepy bottom.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass or stainless steel bowl
  • Cream of Tartar
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About the Author

Roxy Freeman has been writing professionally since 2006. She has written for "The Guardian," "The Daily Mail" and "YOU." She also works as a ghostwriter for authors. Freeman holds a National Certificate Training Journalists award from Brighton Journalist Works and a Bachelor of Arts in European politics from The Open University.