Light and sweet meringue cookies with pecans. Made with beaten egg whites, these meringue cookies are also known as Easter cookies.
- Prep time: 20 minutes
- Cook time: 25 minutes
- Sit in oven time: 3 hours
- Yield: Makes 12-24 cookies, depending on the size.
Pecan Meringue cookies are a classic cookie to make for Easter! Called Easter Cookies or Resurrection Cookies, they’re made with whipped egg whites, sugar, and pecans.
The tradition is to put them into a hot oven the night before Easter, turn off the heat, and go to bed. The next morning you wake up to sweet, light clouds of meringue cookie pecan fluffiness.
They’re crisp on the outside and meltingly light on the inside, and so easy to make!
There are only 3 main ingredients in these meringue cookies — egg whites, sugar, and pecans. We also add a pinch of salt and a little vinegar to help stabilize the meringue cookies so they hold their shape.
How to make pecan meringue cookies
- Before you start, you’ll want to make sure that your mixer bowl and whisk are spotlessly clean. Separate your egg whites and let them sit at room temperature for a while (about 30 minutes), and toast and chop your pecans.
- Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites in the mixer bowl and mix on medium speed until the egg whites foam up to soft peaks.
- Slowly add the sugar, a couple tablespoons at a time, allowing for the sugar to dissolve in the egg whites before adding more. Add a teaspoon of vinegar and beat the meringue on high speed until it is glossy and has stiff peaks.
- Gently fold in the chopped pecans. Don’t over-mix or you’ll deflate the meringue.
- Drop spoonfuls of meringue onto a lined baking sheet. You can also pipe them using a star tip, but I find that the chopped nuts can interfere a bit with the piping so I prefer to just drop them by spoonfuls.
- Bake for 25 minutes at 250°F, then turn off the heat and keep the cookies in the oven (without peaking!) for another 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.
Tips for meringue cookie success
Making meringue cookies is fairly straightforward, but keep the following in mind:
- Whenever whipping egg whites, make sure that your equipment is squeaky clean! Even the smallest amount of residual fat in the bowl may keep the egg whites from whipping properly. Also make sure that there are no bits of egg yolk in your egg whites. Use a piece of egg shell to fish any out if you see them.
- Humidity is not your friend. If it’s a rainy or humid day, the meringue cookies may not crisp up well. If that’s the case you may need to bake them longer.
- Are the cookies browning? Lower the heat. Every oven is calibrated a little bit differently. The heat should be high enough to set the cookie, but not so high that the meringue browns. If you see it starting to brown, lower the temp by 25°F.
- Still a little gooey inside? Let them sit out for a while (assuming low humidity). Or bake them a little longer.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.