Learn how to make Pavlova - the egg white meringue dessert named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Served with raspberry sauce.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Please welcome pastry chef extraordinaire Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater who is our guest author for this article on Pavlovas. ~Elise

Pavlova: A History

It’s no coincidence the late Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, for whom the Pavlova dessert was named, is said to have been ethereal, delicate and slightly controversial. Her namesake, this simple confection, is a straightforward enough list of ingredients, but the end result is all about touch, finesse.

It has attracted more than its fair share of controversy. Two distinct neighboring countries take credit for invention and creation.

For sake of staying neutral, we will say both New Zealand and Australia are to blame for the delicious Pavlova; an edible translation of sugar turned into cumulous clouds, it is one of the best low-fat vehicles for seasonal fruit, whipped cream, sorbet, and ice cream.


Whether you hail from Australia, New Zealand or elsewhere, I hope you’ll attempt this gorgeous recipe. It’s a delightful dessert any time of year.

How to Make Pavlova: Working with Egg Whites

Sweet, crunchy, and meltingly soft, Pavlova is a reason for understanding the fickle, hard-working, all-purpose egg white.

You create your best egg white-based confections when you know how to treat this important part of the egg. An egg white is pure protein. When room temperature to begin with, egg whites will grow bigger and stronger with whipping.

For this reason, it’s best to start whipping egg whites on a lower speed, increasing incrementally as you get to the aspired consistency. I like to say I’m cajoling my egg whites into submission.

To achieve room temperature egg whites, take eggs out the night before you need them, or place in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes to take their chill off.

Make sure all bowls, hands, and utensils touching egg whites are as clean and free of random oils as possible. When separating eggs, crack in half and gently toss the yolk back and forth between the eggshell halves, dripping egg white out into a clean container.

If a bit of yolk drops into your pristine whites, fish it out with a clean eggshell. Hint: if a bit of shell gets in, they will sink to the bottom and be easy to spot and hold back when it comes time to use the egg whites.

Not sure what to do with the leftover egg yolks? Most custards like pastry cream or stovetop pudding are egg yolk based.

Pavlova Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes 8-10 individual pavlovas

Adding an acid such as cream of tartar (a dry acid) or vinegar will help give the meringue structure. You can use either. If you are using cream of tartar, mix it in with the egg whites from the beginning. If you are using vinegar, add it with the vanilla extract later in the process.



  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar OR distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces, about 6) large egg whites, preferably room temperature
  • Pinch salt


  • 2 pints fresh or frozen berries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Whipped Cream for topping


1 Prep baking sheet, preheat oven: Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour the vanilla extract and vinegar (if using) into a small cup. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

2 Whip egg whites, cream of tartar (if using), salt, to soft peaks: In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar (if using) and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

How to Make Raspberry Pavlova Egg whites for Pavlova

3 Increase speed, slowly add sugar-cornstarch mixture, then vanilla. Whip to stiff peaks: Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture.

Perfect egg white consistency for pavlova adding sugar to egg white for pavlova

A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn't use cream of tartar.)

Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

how to make pavlova pavlova meringue in bowl

4 Pipe or spoon the meringue into 8-10 large round mounds that are 3 inches wide on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.

spooning pavlova meringue on baking pan pavlova ready to bake

5 Bake: Place baking sheet in the 275°F oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white -- not tan-colored or cracked. The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency.

Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.

cooling pavlova out of the oven cooled pavlova on baking sheet

6 Cool: Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or individually wrapped, for up to a week if your house is not humid.

7 Serve topped with your favorite filling - lemon curd, raspberry or blueberry sauce, and freshly whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from Flo Baker's pavlovas in the San Francisco Chronicle: Fourth of July dessert has roots in Australia

Sauce or Filling Directions

If you want to make a berry sauce, heat a couple pints of fresh or frozen berries in a medium saucepan with about a quarter cup of sugar. Heat on medium heat, stirring once or twice, for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much the berries are falling aprt. Remove from heat and let cool.

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Additional Links:

Chocolate Pavlova with Raspberries here on Simply Recipes

Discussion of the differences between French, Swiss, and Italian meringues from the Occasional Baker

Spiced winter pavlova from Mostly Eating

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Shuna Lydon

Pastry chef Shuna Fish Lydon has worked in such notable kitchens as Gramercy Tavern and Verbena in Manhattan, The French Laundry and Bouchon in Yountville, California, and Citizen Cake and Aziza in San Francisco. Shuna's writing can be found on her highly acclaimed food blog Eggbeater. Shuna is now based in New York City.

More from Shuna

53 Comments / Reviews

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  • HC

    I was searching for what to do with my leftover egg whites from few days ago, and found this recipe and baked some Pavlova today. It was great! I baked for 50 min and I think I could bake for little less than 50 min also. I ate one of them while it was still baking around 40 min, it was so soft and nice inside while crispy outside. But it is still great after fully baked for 50 min, looks beautiful and tastes great. I drizzled lemon glaze on the top of it, my sister also loved it.

    Next time I’ll try cocoa powder to make chocolate version as someone else mentioned in this thread. Thank you!!

  • Manal

    Hi, thank you for a great recipe. I always bake it and turns out beautiful!
    Can I use the same recipe to make meringue kisses?

  • Ann coulas

    what if you cant use cornstarch

  • Sagar Matha

    I have never had any success with meringue. I followed the instructions religiously and got the ‘cream’ looking right but in the baking, it all flopped. I made individual ones, they did colour and were non-sticky to the touch on the outside but soft on the inside – so soft that they would not come off the paper. I think the trick is, as some Kiwis said, to leave it in the oven with the oven off. Sooooo disappointed. I did turn the oven down when they started to colour and that helped a little. What did I do wrong?

    Also, can one leave the cream sitting out if there are two batches of baking to be done?

  • Hui Ning

    The oven must be pre heated 270 degrees Celsius or 270 degrees Fahrenheit? And when baking the pavlova, must the oven be set at 250 degrees Celsius or 250 degrees Fahrenheit? :)

    All measurements on this website are in Fahrenheit unless otherwise noted. ~Elise

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