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What is Meringue Powder?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Meringue powder is a pasteurized egg product that is designed to replace beaten egg whites in recipes. The primary advantage of this powder is that, since it is pasteurized, it does not contain potential sources of foodborne illness, such as salmonella. This trait makes it ideal for recipes that call for uncooked egg whites. Many baking supply stores sell this product, and it can sometimes also be found at more general markets.

This powder is made by drying egg whites and mixing them with cornstarch and gum. When moistened, the cornstarch and gum help the meringue bind together, creating a passable substitute for fresh raw egg whites. Flavorings like vanilla are often added as well, partially to cut down on the slightly starchy taste.

As long as meringue powder is kept in a cool dry place, it has a fairly long shelf life. To use it, cooks simply measure out the desired amount and rehydrate it. Many recipes that call for beaten egg whites have specific measurements for the powder, although these recipes may require some tweaking to come out just right, as different brands rehydrate differently.

One of the most common uses for this product is in royal icing, a glaze that is sometimes used for cookies. It can also potentially be used in egg nog and in other recipes that call for beaten egg whites, although it may depend on the recipe. The powder cannot be used as a replacement for whole eggs in recipes, merely for beaten egg whites, and despite the name, this powder does not actually make very good meringue.

Cooks may want to experiment with meringue powder a bit before committing to it because it can behave strangely in some recipes. If a cook knows that he is going to be making something like cookies for people with compromised immune systems, he should plan on mixing up a couple of batches of icing before finding one that works perfectly. Cooks should also be prepared to adjust the levels of spicing in the recipe to help cover up the flavor of the powder, which can sometimes be quite strong.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon324649 — On Mar 11, 2013

Spotting is moisture (water) concentrated in different locations. Either the batch of icing contained too much water or the environment in which the iced cookies were stored was humid - in either case, the icing did not dry properly. I have found that after the initial 12 hours or so after the icing is applied, the icing must dry adequately or spotting occurs (consistently).

I live in northeast Ohio and it is pretty wet on a regular basis. I purchased a small dehumidifier to operate within the cover of my baker's rack to assist with the drying process after my cookies are iced.

By anon168685 — On Apr 18, 2011

Spots on royal icing are caused by humidity. Only ice on a dry day/week.

By anon136624 — On Dec 23, 2010

I have a 16 oz. canister of Wilton meringue powder which has never been opened. I don't remember when I bought and the can doesn't have an expiration date on it and I was wondering if it would still be good to use. There is a yellow sticker on the can with several code number. After reading some of the numbers to the Wilton representative, he seemed to think the canister may be over two years old.

By googlefanz — On Dec 22, 2010

I love using meringue powder for baking -- it's one of my go-to baking ingredients, actually. You can really do so much with it.

Besides your regular old meringue cookies, you can get creative with royal icing, or even use meringue powder to replace ingredients in another recipe.

For instance, my aunt makes the greatest low fat chocolate chip cookies with meringue powder -- but you would never guess that that's her secret ingredient. So seriously, get creative with it. You can just google "meringue powder recipes" and you'll be shocked at how much comes up.

By closerfan12 — On Dec 21, 2010

Has anybody ever tried the Miss Meringue cookies? I love those things, and I have tried (and failed) to bake a decent imitation. I recently heard that they are going to start offering a meringue cookie recipe that includes meringue powder, and I was wondering if that could have been what I was missing when I was trying to make my own version.

And here I thought it was something to do with my vanilla powder or cream of tartar...

Anyway, has anybody else heard rumors like that flying around, or have managed to make your own version of Miss Meringues? I would love to get the recipe if you have!

By TunaLine — On Dec 21, 2010

I know that I may come across as totally snooty for saying this, but I can't stand using recipes that feature meringue powder ingredients, whether that's meringue cookies or royal icing or whatnot.

As far as I'm concerned, when you're making something, using the correct baking ingredients makes a huge difference. I grew up cooking a lot, so I know that it can be a little more time consuming to use the "real" things, but you really do get such a better taste when you do.

And besides, it's really not that hard to make your own meringue. Just find a good, classic meringue recipe, link up your ingredients, and you'll do fine -- and be able to skip out on that terrible starchy meringue taste!

By anon130677 — On Nov 29, 2010

I bake custom cookies. A day after I royal ice, a spotting appears on the cookie. It gets worse with time. What is causing this?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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