With a bright pop of color from the lemon curd, these lemon meringue cookies will be the most beautiful treats on your counter this spring. Dusted with powdered sugar for some flair, they’re still surprisingly easy and quick to make.
Bright and zesty, these lemon meringue cookies are like cute bite-sized suns on any serving platter. With an explosion of citrus in the meringue and toppings, lemon will surely become your new favorite flavor for all your sweet treats.
Tucked inside a delicate, airy meringue, use your favorite lemon curd to give these cookies an extra pop of color and creaminess. Lemon slices also add natural acidity and a subtle bitterness. Paired with a light crunch, these lemon meringue cookies are an addictive bite.
Don’t worry if you’ve never made meringues before. They’re not as intimidating as they seem! In fact, with a bit of patience to let the egg whites rise properly, you won’t have any issue placing entire batches of these on the table for all your spring gatherings.
What Are Meringues?
Meringues are egg white-based desserts that are often associated with different European cuisines. While the term refers to solid, crunchy, and light treats that come in different flavors like chocolate or vanilla, the word “meringue” is also used to describe the whipping of egg whites until stiff peaks form. The mixture is then spooned or piped into different shapes and baked for its signature crunch.
With egg whites and a couple of lemons, you’re all set to make these lemon meringue cookies. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
For the Meringues
- Egg Whites – Boxed whites are okay too.
- Cream of Tartar – You can leave it out if you’d like.
- Granulated Sugar – Don’t use powdered sugar. Light brown sugar is a good alternative.
- Cornstarch – Don’t substitute this.
- Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed juice is best.
- Lemon Zest – Feel free to leave it out, but the fresh lemon zest adds a ton of lemon flavor.
- Vanilla Extract – You can substitute it for 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract.
- Lemon Curd
- Lemon Slices
- Powdered Sugar – Don’t use granulated sugar. It will add an unpleasant, grainy crunch.
- Candied Lemon
- Fresh Berries
How to Make Lemon Meringues
Making these lemon meringue cookies is easy as long as you get the egg whites right.
- Prepare the tray. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whip the whites. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites and beat on medium speed for 1 minute or until frothy and foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Beat for 3 minutes, until thicker foam forms.
- Combine the sugar and eggs. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Once the egg mixture has thickened, slowly stream the sugar mixture into the egg mixture. Turn the mixer to speed 4 and continue mixing for 2 minutes.
- Continue whipping. Add lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla and whip on speed 6 for 13-14 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
- Fill the tray. Spoon ¼ cup – ⅓ cup of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of the meringue is used. Press a spoon into the center of each meringue to form a bowl shape. Don’t forget to make the well in the center because it’ll keep the lemon curd from oozing out.
- Bake. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Once the time is up, turn the oven off and shut the oven door. Let the meringues cool in the closed oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Don’t open the door before the cooling time is up or your meringues can deflate.
- Cool them. Once cooled, remove them from the oven and place them on a wire rack until they come down to room temperature.
- Add toppings. Divide the curd evenly between the meringues, spooning the curd into the bowl-shaped part of the meringue. Top each with a lemon slice, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.
Tips for Success
Having a clean bowl and being patient as you beat the egg whites will ensure you don’t have any issues with the meringue for these lemon meringue cookies.
- Clean the bowl. Any residual moisture or fat in the bowl will prevent the egg whites from whipping properly. Avoid this issue by cleaning the bowl with hot water and wiping it down with lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it dry fully before using it.
- Don’t rush. Beat the whites over medium-low to build a steady meringue. Doing it over high speed will add too much air and will cause the meringue to collapse or have too many large air pockets.
- Stay away from plastic bowls. Some materials don’t react well with the egg whites, making it more complicated (and even impossible) for them to whip properly. For this reason, avoid plastic bowls, which tend to react negatively to whipping whites. If possible, stick to a stainless steel bowl.
These lemon meringue cookies are an ideal snack. They’re not overly sweet, meaning they go great with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or an in-between.
Dust them with more powdered sugar, but you can also drizzle them with a bit of raw honey or agave syrup for extra sweetness. They are also wonderful with some fresh berries on top!
Once fully cooled, store these lemon meringue cookies in an airtight container or bag for up to 4 days. If you’re adding lemon curd as a topping, I recommend storing them in a container without overlapping them. Otherwise, the curd will stick to the bag’s plastic. Don’t refrigerate them because they’ll absorb moisture and soften.
More Lemon Desserts
- Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
- Blueberry Lemon Braid
- Lemon Strawberry Trifle
- Lemon Lava Cake
- Lemon Bars
- Lemon Mousse Jello Cups
For the Meringues
- 5 egg whites
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Lemon Curd
- Lemon Slices
- Powdered Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment add egg whites and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until small froth/foam forms. Add salt and cream of tartar and beat for 3 minutes, until a thicker foam forms.
- In a separate small mixing bowl combine sugar and cornstarch. Once the eggs have become a thicker foam and while the mixer is still running, slowly stream the sugar mixture into the egg mixture. Turn the mixer to a speed 4 and continue mixing for 2 minutes.
- Add lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla and whip on speed 6 for 13-14 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
- Spoon ¼ cup – ⅓ cup of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of the meringue is used. Press a spoon into the center of each meringue to form a bowl shape.
- Place into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Once the time is up, turn off the oven and leave the oven door shut. Let the meringues cool in the closed oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Once cooled, remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.
- Divide the curd evenly between the meringues, spooning the curd into the bowl shaped part of the meringue. Top each one with a lemon slice, dust with powdered sugar and serve.
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