Meringue nests are a pretty, make-ahead, naturally-gluten-free dessert! Top them with lemon curd, fresh berries, whipped cream, or anything else you like.
Homemade meringue nests have a light and crispy outer shell, and a marshmallowy, chewy middle. Dairy-free and gluten-free by default, they’re a tasty way to use up leftover egg whites!
We love the look of smaller nests and use the back of a spoon to indent the middle, leaving a border around the edge. Once baked, the middle indent acts as a small bowl, perfect for filling with fruit curd, fresh fruit, jam, ice cream, whipped cream, or anything else you fancy.
This recipe makes ten smaller meringue nests, however, you can change the size if you want. Five, slightly larger nests, or one big meringue shell are good options. Note you will have to keep your eye on the oven as the baking time may change.
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the printable recipe card with full ingredient measurements and complete instructions.
- egg whites
- vanilla extract OR ground cardamom
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 285ºF (140ºC).
Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.
Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuously beating, until the meringue is smooth and glossy.
Divide the meringue into 3 to 4-inch (7 to 10-cm) round mounds on the parchment-lined sheet. Gently flatten and shape the centre of each meringue with the back of the spoon to form small bowl-like indents.
Bake the meringue nests for about one hour and fifteen minutes. Turn off the oven and let them cool inside for a couple of hours with the door propped slightly open. Remove the meringues to a cooling rack and let them sit for one hour so the interiors can cool completely.
Fill the cooled nests with lemon curd, fresh berries, whipped cream, or anything else you like.
Tips & Notes
If you prefer a more uniform look to your meringues, use a piping bag to pipe the nests into neat and tidy shapes.
For softer meringues, reduce the baking time by 15 minutes.
Leaving the oven door cracked open slightly as the meringues cool is said to prevent cracking. We wedge the oven door open with a wooden spoon. If your meringues crack don’t fret! They’ll be covered with fruit, whipped cream, or whichever toppings you choose and will still be delicious.
Humidity plays a huge role in the texture of meringue. Because of this, they generally lose their crispness after a couple of days. Though best eaten the day of they can be stored in a dry, airtight container with a lid for up to three days.
We’re sharing this recipe partly as a great way to use egg whites when you’ve used all the yolks for recipes like our pineapple ice cream. So if you have extra whites left over, make some easy meringue nests! You can also use them for a hibiscus sour if you have more.
With only three ingredients, substitutions are limited, however, you can use raw organic golden cane sugar for white sugar if you like. This adds a nice very slight caramel flavour.
The nests pictured used golden sugar (Alex has had a hard time getting white sugar) which is why they’re a bit darker in colour. If you use regular white granulated sugar your meringues will be very light.
Try These Delicious Toppings On Meringue Nests
- baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Wire rack
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- 3 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 285ºF (140ºC).
- Beat the egg whites and vanilla in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.
- Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuously beating, until the meringue is smooth and glossy.
- Divide the meringue into 8 mounds on the parchment-lined sheet. Gently flatten the centre of each meringue with the back of the spoon to form small nests.
- Bake the meringues for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (for softer meringues, reduce the bake time by 15 minutes).
- Let the meringues cool in the oven with the door propped slightly open for a couple of hours before removing to a cooling tray.
- Fill the cooled nests with lemon curd, fresh berries, whipped cream, or anything else you like.