Pecan Meringue Cookies

Notes on working with egg whites. Eggs are easiest to separate when they are cold, and they fluff up the best in the oven when they start at room temperature. So separate the eggs when you take them out of the fridge, then let the whites sit for a while (30 min or so) to take the chill off before beating them.

Make sure that all bowls, hands, and utensils that might touch the eggs are clean and free from oils.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Sit in oven time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Makes 12-24 cookies, depending on the size.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole pecans (preferably lightly roasted - 8-10 min at 250°F)
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

Method

1 Preheat oven to 300°F.

2 Break pecans into small pieces: Place pecans in zipper baggie and beat them with a wooden spoon or roll over them with a rolling pin to break them into small pieces. Set aside.

3 Add salt to egg whites and beat to soft peaks: Put egg whites into a spotlessly clean standup mixer bowl. Add salt. Bea on medium speed until soft peaks start to become visible and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, about 2 to 3 minutes.

slowly add sugar to egg whites to make meringue for easter cookies beat egg whites to soft peaks for meringue easter cookies

4 While continuing to beat the egg whites, slowly add sugar, then vinegar, and beat to stiff peaks: Increase the speed to medium-high, and slowly add the sugar, a couple tablespoons at a time, to the egg whites. Continue to whip the eggs and sugar for a few minutes.

Then add the vinegar to the bowl. Increase speed to high and whip the egg whites until they fluff up and become glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4-5 minutes.

beat egg whites and sugar until they reach stiff peaks for meringue for easter cookies

5 Fold in pecan pieces: Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the pecan pieces.

6 Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

7 Bake: Put the cookies sheet in the 300°F oven, close the door and lower the heat to 250°F. Bake them for 25 minutes at 250°F, then turn the oven OFF. Leave them in the oven for 2 to 3 hours or overnight. When they are ready they'll be crisp on the outside, and light and airy on the inside.

If they are a little marshmallowy or chewy on the inside, just let them dry out for a few more hours.

pecan meringue easter cookies on a making sheet

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Comments

  • Shannon

    My daughter loves meringues. We always bought them at the store. I was making thumbprints and this recipe popped up. Looked at it and thought why not try. I followed the recipe except no nuts (my daughter doesn’t like them) and I added a half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Turned out delicious. I just put my second batch in but this time a used lemon extract. Simple and easy to make!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Ursula

    I make these but use chocolate chips instead, also yummy !

  • Debra

    I used this recipe and they were delicious. I didn’t whip them quite as much as they called for and they were plenty stuff. I also used more pecans then it called for also.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Wendy

    It is VERY important to FOLD in the nuts at the end – and not beat them in like I did! What a disaster! I will try again and do the gentle fold as suggested – clearly the fat in the pecans was released into the mixture, which caused it to collapse completely. That’s how we learn, I guess. Thanks for sharing your recipe :)

  • M

    These merengues were wonderful…this is a perfect way to cook them too! I’ve read recipes that have you do it for hours at 200…those have never worked out for me. This recipe saved energy and turned out just like it should.

    I was making pralines too, so I subbed mini chocolate chips for the pecans. I used 3/4 of a cup of mini ones, but I think next time I’ll use even less than that…maybe 1/3 to 1/2 so the chocolate is more subtle and the merengue really shines as the bold flavor :). It yielded about 22 cookies…no one believed me that I only used 3 egg whites!

    Thank you so much for posting this!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Francesca

    I made the pecan meringues for Easter dinner. They were absolutely the easiest things I have ever made and with very little mess. Guests loved them so much that they want the recipe. I think they are a good substitute for divinity which is another favorite, but more difficult.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Tricia

    Hi, Elise! I’m going to be making these and the peppermint version for a gathering this weekend. Do you have any suggestions for using all the yolks I’ll have left over?

    Thanks!

    I usually make a custard base for homemade ice cream with yolks. ~Elise

  • Sheri

    I had a relative that made these every year for Christmas. She used coloring and flavors as well as chocolate chips. The green were mint, pink/red had a cherry flavor, yellow were lemon and white were vanilla. My father in law used to call them ‘democrat’ cookies. He said it was because they were all puffed up and full of hot air. lol
    I just knew there were merangue cookies and delicious!

  • Jenny

    Hi, I made these for the first time today but it didnt turn out so well. I don’t know if I didn’t preheat the oven for a long time or if I didn’t mix the egg whites too well. The cookies didnt fluff at all and it was more like sugar clumps.

    So many things can go wrong when working with whipped egg whites. Your egg whites must be completely free of any specks of yolk. Your hands, utensils, bowls, must be completely spankin’ clean. Any fat or oil will keep the whites from rising properly. You must not over whip. Etc. etc. All I can suggest is to try again. You might want to try it with a smaller batch (cut the recipe into 1-third), to experiment. ~Elise

  • Debbie

    Hello:
    I tried your recipe and my Husband=== to my surprise== pulled out the following recipe. We made his recipe together and it is wonderful! I wanted to pass it on to you for a try:

    Forgotten Cookies

    2 egg whites
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 cup chopped pecans
    12 ounce package miniature chocolate chips

    Pre-heat oven to 350.

    Beat egg whites until very stiff then beat in sugar. Meringue should be very stiff. Fold in chips and nuts.

    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or aluminum foil). Drop cookies from a teaspoon onto paper. Place in heated oven, close door, and turn oven off.

    Forget cookies overnight or at least four hours.

  • ad

    After many attempts..I finally succeed.
    but, I didnt use any pecans nor vinegar. I used cornflakes and mini semi sweet choc chips and put them in small paper cups to bake.

    It was simply pure heaven!

    And we call them Birds’ Droppings (literal translation).

  • Vickie

    Elise, how good would these ship if I wanted to send them as a gift? I would be sending them overnight FedEx, but wanted your thoughts on this. Thanks so much.

    I would surround them with paper towels and put them in an airtight plastic container to ship. Should work. ~Elise

  • Dara

    My grandmother used to make little meringue cookies like this and I couldn’t get enough of them! She would either put a chocolate chip or crystallized ginger inside. I have taken to making large meringues (which freeze beautifully) and topping them with chocolate mascarpone and strawberries (though any fruit would do). Here’s the recipe:
    http://cookincanuck.blogspot.com/2009/04/meringues-with-chocolate-mascarpone-and.html

  • Tatieva

    Hum, des petites meringues à la française, j’adore ça ! C’est tout léger, on dirait des petits nuages de printemps…

  • Emma

    I don’t yet have a stand mixer, I have some mixing bowls but not sure if they are copper. Is it okay to use a hand mixer to stiffen the whites? Any variations I need to make for this method?

    If they were copper, you would know, so likely not. Yes you can use a hand mixer. Make sure the bowl and mixer blades are very clean. Absolutely no residual oil or butter. Note that it will take several minutes. ~Elise

  • KC

    About the dryness: English meringue deserts are VERY DRY and they use heavy creme or chocolat as sauce.

  • Natasa

    This qualifies as part of my all time favorite “white cookies” selection. They are so festive!

    Pecans, walnuts, almonds are a matter of personal taste. They are a great escape if you are running low on time and/or money, and guests are coming :D Now, I have a few suggestions.

    First, the measure: my version calls for more sugar, but it is all a matter of the inspiration. As egg whites are the most unreliable measure in the kitchen, it is something like
    1 egg-white,
    1.5dl sugar (teacup),
    1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice.
    The measure of nuts is completely as-much-as-I-have like.

    Now, to actually mix in this amount of sugar you cannot use whisk beaters. What you do is to put all the ingredients together at once (sounds impossible to mix, but try, and you’ll see it works out great) and mix it, do not beat it, with a wooden or plastic spoon. Of course, my lazy self had to try with the mixer, and it works out just fine as long as you use the other beaters, usually used for dough. Mix until the sugar crystals are completely dissolved.

    All the mentioned recommendations apply – let the eggs stay a bit out of the fridge before mixing, dry the cookies on 150-50Celsius (put them in 300 Fahrenheit initially and turn off the oven).

    Other delicious adds to the recipe include making the cookies small and then joining each 2 with melted chocolate, or adding a whole nut on the bottom and making the cookie on top of that, or adding minced nuts (a bit less than a full table spoon per egg), mixing well and when done, dry and cool – connecting the cookies with some tasty dense jam.

    Hope it inspires :)
    Best regards

  • chzplz

    Karina – I made these last night and used rice wine vinegar as I didn’t have any white vinegar. I think you’re only going for a bit of acidity rather than adding a specific taste.

    Regardless – they turned out fine. I haven’t tried them with white vinegar, so I’m not entirely sure that there isn’t any taste difference, but these taste great.

  • becky simpson

    I make these same cookies but with coconut and I use the powdered egg whites. One of my daughters teachers said they were the best cookies he ever tasted. We stored them in a plastic bowl with a lid and overnight the cats knocked it to the ground and the dogs helped to get the lid off and they were gone in the morning, stupid cats!

  • unconfidentialcook

    My daughter and I make these taller, in the shape of ghosts and use two mini-chips as eyes–v. cute and, better still…delicious!

  • Don

    For those who want the verses, here’s the whole thing. I’d change the procedure to follow the above recipe.

    Preheat oven to 300 F. Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
    Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.
    Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl.
    Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
    Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
    Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
    So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.
 Add 3/4 c. sugar.
    Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.
    Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa.1:18 and John 3:1-3.
    Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.
    Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.
    Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66.
    GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
    On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt.28:1-9. HE HAS RISEN!

    So that’s the Easter story behind these cookies. Thank you! ~Elise

  • Sarah Field

    I made these last night – turned out great. Thanks for the pictures. This was my first time making meringue. I made a double batch, and everything turned out wonderful. thanks so much for your great recipes. I turn to Elise for all my great meals now – (and your pot roast is fabulous!)
    I wonder how they worked with splenda?

  • Marlys

    Mix in crushed candy canes for that peppermint flavor at Christmas time.

  • Jeanine

    If making these for diabetics, would they work if Splenda was substituted for sugar? In part or in whole? Thanks.

    I have no idea. My guess is not, but if you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  • Cynthia

    Another easy way to shape these beasties (they are my son’s very favorite cookie and he gets them every year for his birthday in November), is to spoon the meringue into a plastic ziplock bag, press out as much of the air as you can and then just cut one corner as large or as small as you like and pipe them in circles on the parchment. I’ve also been known to add a tablespoon or two of really good cocoa powder for chocolate merinques.

  • Lynn

    I love the idea of waking up to cookies fresh from the oven!

  • Lady Amalthea

    This look wonderful and super easy! I’ll definitely keep them in mind for a simple Passover sweet.

  • Farida

    Elise, these look adorable. In Azerbaijan we call meringues Bize (the spelling must be Bizet), and it’s the old time favorite. It’s usually plain, with only eggs and sugar inside, and maybe some food coloring, but here in the US I found more variation with all kinds of flavors. Thanks for posting. I am going to try this one.

  • Sophia

    The deal about beating the pecans w/a wooden spoon is that we supposed to remember that Jesus was beaten by the soldiers. So it’s only significant if you are doing it as part of the Easter Story recipe – otherwise, a chopper makes it go smoother!
    I was a little worried about our egg whites in the kitchen aid – but it all whipped up nicely and the kids responded with surprise at how white and stiff they were! Yay – something worked!!
    Sigh, I also had to substitute walnuts for the pecans — I KNOW pecans would taste much better!
    Our oven is taped up – and the lesson paused until the morning.
    Now, switching ethnic traditions, I am going to make Yakshik, korean sweet rice dessert. Mmmm. And I won’t need the oven!

    Wishing all blessings of the season, whether Easter or Purim or just Happy Spring.

  • Alyssa

    These definitely work using a large star pastry bag attachment – so long as the nuts are small enough. Then when cooled the next day, dip them in melted chocolate, let dry on parchment paper. You could also use food coloring dyes when finishing the beating of the egg whites to make them for any occasion (red, white and blue?!)

  • SC Granny

    Egg whites beat up better by hand than in a mix-master or blender. I think it is because hand-beating brings up all the egg white from the bottom, rather than the circular motion of already beaten egg white that you get with the equipment.

  • aeiou_y

    My husband loved these. They’re a great treat and a real surprise- everyone enjoyed them.
    Thankyou so much !

    PS-changed the name to The_Athesist’s_‘Raisin’, my husband won’t eat anything associated with mythology…

    PPS- finally using those eggwhites from all the wonderful batches of ice-cream

  • Steve-Anna Stephens

    Hi Elise! My mom made a candy like this when we were kids growing up in Alabama – if I remember right, these were my brother Dan’s favorite. The Southern recipe differs a little, and we called it “divinity”. I haven’t tried it in years, but thought I would post it for those who might want to experiment with another version (or, as a gift for you Southern cooks!).

    Here ’tis, by way of the “Cookbook” of the The Women of the Church, First Presbyterian Church, Huntsville, AL:

    Divinity Candy

    2 2/3 cups sugar
    1/2 cup water
    2/3 cup white Karo syrup
    1 tbsp vinegar
    dash of salt
    2 egg whites, well beaten
    1 tsp vanilla

    Mix sugar, water, Karo, vinegar and salt;; put on stove and cook. When comes to a good boil take 1 cup of this; add to egg whites. Let remainder cook until forms a hard ball when spoonful is dropped in cold water, then add to egg whites. Continnue beating until candy is ready to be dropped. Add vanilla when mixture is cool, also finely chopped nuts if desired. Drop by teaspoon onto wax paper. 4 dozen pieces.

    Note: Remember it will not harden in cloudy or rainy weather.

    Enjoy!
    SAS

  • sarah

    Fabulous! I will never make another chocolate chip cookie (disaster) again – this was too easy and too good for the amount of effort required. (I used choc. chips and toasted pecans – and had to use cream of tartar because of the absence of vinegar from my pantry.)

  • Jenne

    We make these cookies every year. They’re the kids’ favorites. There’s a whole scriptural verse reading that goes along with each ingredient to go along with the Easter Season. I prepare the ingredients ahead of time(crush the pecans) because otherwise it would take to long, but the kids symbolically do each part, the salt for sweat and tears shed, the vinegar because they poured it over His wounds, etc….. The overnight method really works, they are sweet and very tasty.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Jenn – you can use cream of tartar. Put it in early, with the egg whites and salt when you first start whipping them. Use 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar instead of 1 teaspoon of white vinegar.

  • Jenn

    Hi Elise, thank you for the recipes & the pictures? I am really eager to try them! Do you know if I can substitute rice wine vinegar for the white vinegar? I don’t usually cook with white vinegar so I don’t have it on hand.

    Also, you mentioned I might use cream of tartar instead. Is 1 tsp cream of tartar = 1 tsp vinegar? Thanks!

  • Karina

    Hi Elise!

    What sweet little beauties! Your recipe is also naturally gluten-free [safe for those with celiac]. Happy Spring! ~ Karina

  • Zara king

    Another variation I had as a child, just make the meringue alone, when ready, slice in halves and place cream in the middle like a sandwich. Oh my, are they good.

  • Carol

    Great recipe, Elise!
    But just a note about the eggs: they separate really easily when they’re cold from the fridge, but beat up beautifully when they’re room temperature. And I was taught to use a stainless steel (although preferably a copper) bowl for beating the whites. It’s about the acid interaction.

  • Sam

    Hey Elf,

    Blender won’t work. You can use hand mixer (7$ at walmart/CVS/Walgreens). If you can’t able to get that, then all you need is strong arms. So, grab a fork and start beating the egg until frothy. :-)

    Good luck

  • Libby

    Hi – These cookies do look good!

    About beating the egg whites with a blender: I tried using a boat motor (immersion) blender once. It didn’t work at all and then when I gave up and used a hand mixer, the egg whites still wouldn’t whip up right. I had to add another egg white in order to get it to work with the hand mixer. I’m not sure if I did something wrong–blenders are harder to get oil-free than mixers–or if there was something else inherently wrong about using a blender.

  • ZooTrouble

    Absolutely delicious.

  • Elise Bauer

    HI Vvg – I think in olden days, cooks used to use a copper bowl and a whisk. The copper helps the meringue firm up. I don’t think I have the arm strength needed to hand whisk the eggs for as long as what is required to get a meringue to form. As for a blender? Who knows? You could try it, though I kind of think that the blender wouldn’t be as easy to control, nor would it reach as much of the egg white as can be accomplished with a mixer.

  • Vvg

    I was wondering, could you still make the recipe if you don’t happen to own a mixer of any kind? (would a blender work? :)

  • Terry

    I have made these many times. Very Good and Easy. But I use 1 tsp of Vanilla!, not Vinegar. Important Item.

    • Elise Bauer

      You can add a teaspoon of vanilla, but it doesn’t replace the vinegar. Either vinegar or cream of tartar, both acids, are needed to help give the meringue more structure.

  • Ang

    Great recipe! I have had something similar but it didn’t have nuts. Instead it had mini chocolate chips which made for very sweet cookies. Could this recipe be adjusted to have the chocolate? I didnt’ know if you’d need a lower temp or not. Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      People do use mini chocolate chips with meringue cookies. Perhaps a reader here could recommend alterations to this recipe to account for the chocolate?

  • Liz

    Can I just use my Mini Prep to chop the pecans? What are the benefits to using a wooden spoon on a bag of nuts instead of a Cuisinart? When I try the bag method I usually end up with a hole in the bag and nut pieces everywhere….

    • Elise Bauer

      Of course you can use a mini prep, if you have one. The bag method works if you use a freezer bag, which is thicker, and a wooden spoon instead of a metal spoon, which will be less likely to pierce the bag.

  • jonathan

    I made meringue cookies (but with chocolate chips) a few weeks ago. Very good (and, very sweet). I didn’t use the overnight method however. I may have to give it a try. I also used a small tablespoon cookie scoop to shape the cookies, but truth be told, egg whites can be tough to work with, so they weren’t the most beautiful things in the world. A pastry chef friend suggested using a pastry bag with a large star tip.

    An inexpensive way to make an interesting cookie.