How To Fix Runny Meringue (And Prevent It)


If you’ve ever been mixing your meringue for what feels like forever and your mixture still seems runny, don’t despair! You can save even the runniest meringue mixtures as long as you have a little bit of patience to work with your batter.

To fix a batch of runny meringue, whisk the meringue for up to 15 minutes, and the meringue should stiffen up. If that doesn’t work, folding an extra whipped egg white in may add enough extra stiffness. You also have the option to add a small amount of corn starch.

This article will outline how to fix runny meringue and give tips for solving some other common issues. With a bit of practice, you can make great meringues every time.

Why Does My Meringue Go Watery?

The number one reason that your meringue is going watery is that your egg whites have not been whipped enough. Meringues get all their volume from the air whipped into an egg white and sugar mixture, and often people underestimate how long a time is needed to whip them.

It’s also possible that you simply whipped your meringue too far in advance before baking it. If a meringue mix is left to sit out for longer than ten minutes, all the air that’s been whipped in during the whisking process will begin to leave it, and the meringue will deflate.

Watery meringue could leave you with a burnt, soupy mess in your oven. Luckily, there’s a simple solution to this problem!

What Do I Do if My Meringue Won’t Stiffen?

The best thing to do when your meringue mixture won’t stiffen and gets loose and watery is to whisk it quickly. You should do this for as long as it takes, which can be up to 15 minutes. This will work even if you’ve already whisked the mixture and the meringue has fallen flat.

This technique will work for all kinds of meringue, including French, Swiss, and Italian styles. When all else goes wrong, whip your mixture, and you’ll find that in most cases, this solves your problem.

What Can I Add To Stiffen Meringue?

If whipping as hard as you can isn’t working, you have a few other options to try before throwing out your meringue mix and starting over, including adding another egg white (for French meringue) or corn starch.

It is possible to overwork the meringue, and it’s better to try another route rather than whisking your mix for half an hour.

Add Another Egg White (French Meringue Only)

If you have another egg white handy, whisk it until it’s frothy and fold it into your meringue mix. This may take some time, so be patient. If your meringue mixture is too loose, adding this extra egg will inject the lift it needs. 

Keep in mind that this will only work if you are making French meringue. For those who aren’t sure whether or not they’re making a French meringue, it is simply egg whites and sugar whipped up with a mixer. These are the most common and easiest meringues to make.

  • Italian meringue is made by pouring boiling sugar into the egg whites as you whip them.
  • Swiss meringue, on the other hand, is made by whipping eggs and sugar over a bain-marie. These methods are slightly trickier to make than French meringue and involve cooking the eggs as they are whipped.

Because of this, you cannot fold another uncooked egg white into a cooked Swiss or Italian meringue mixture to stiffen it. In most cases, though, you’ll be just fine adding that extra egg.

(If you’re worried about French meringue not measuring up to Italian or Swiss meringue, this study from the Journal of Culinary Science & Technology found that French meringue has the highest foaming stability of all three techniques. French meringues are the most sturdy meringues.)

Add Cornstarch

Maybe you live in an exceptionally humid climate, and no amount of whipping or extra egg whites can seem to save your meringue. According to Saveur, adding 1 tsp (5.69 g) of cornstarch to a meringue mixture in a humid climate will help it hold its shape better. Mix the cornstarch well to avoid pockets of powder.

Don’t unnecessarily add cornstarch to your meringue “just in case,” as you can end up with a chewy, grainy, or unpleasant final product if you don’t need it.

How To Fix Other Potential Meringue Issues

Making meringue can be tricky for beginners since it’s not always obvious what this simple mixture should look like. If you’re running into other problems with your meringue, here are some other potential solutions.

How Do I Make My Meringue Thicker?

Maybe your meringue isn’t watery but is consistently coming out thinner than you’d like it, no matter how hard or long you spend whisking it. However, there are a few things you can do to prevent your meringue from getting thin in the first place.

Buy an Electric Mixer or Quality Whisk

If you mix by hand and just aren’t getting the results you want, consider using an electric mixer. These will go much faster and get you the results you want with much more consistency.

If you aren’t ready to invest in an electric mixer just yet, you should make an effort to find a large whisk, like this one, with fine wires instead of small, more compact ones. This will catch the greatest amount of egg yolk as you whip, getting the most air into it.

Use Room-Temperature Egg Whites

Many people assume that they should use their eggs straight out of the refrigerator to get the stiffest meringue, but room-temperature egg whites will achieve much loftier peaks than cold ones. So let your eggs sit out for ten to fifteen minutes before you get started.

How Do I Stop Meringue From Sweating in the Oven?

If your meringue is getting beads of “sweat,” or crystallized sugar, down the sides as your meringues bake in the oven, they are overcooked. To avoid this, check your meringues frequently. Well-cooked meringues will have a light, fluffy consistency to them, and this sweating saps them of some of that moisture.

How Do I Stop Meringue From Weeping on My Pie?

If you’re putting your meringue on a lemon meringue pie and find that a layer of jelly has formed between the pie and the meringue, you probably let your filling cool off for too long before adding the meringue.

To stop meringue from weeping on a pie, you should add the meringue to the top while the pie is at room temperature or slightly warmed. This heat helps mesh the meringue center with the pie and makes sure it’s cooked evenly.

Final Thoughts

Fixing runny meringue is usually as simple as whisking more air into the mixture and waiting for it to develop stiff peaks. You can also add another egg white or a teaspoon of cornstarch to get the mix to the consistency you need. If you run into any problems like sweating or weeping, just make sure that you don’t overcook your meringue, and always add it to pies at a lukewarm temperature.

Fortunately, meringue is simply egg whites and sugar, so if your first three batches are failures, it’s cheap and easy to whip up another batch and try again.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

A Message from Jelly Grandma: Hey y’all! I started a YouTube channel called “Preserving Sweetness” that focuses on sharing tips that I’ve learned over the past 55+ years. Please come subscribe and check out the ridiculously unpolished videos. It would be a HUGE help to me. Thanks!

For more, don’t miss Does Pie Need to Be Refrigerated? | Ingredients Matter.

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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