If you’re someone who bakes a lot, you might already know that it can be tricky to make meringue. It isn’t impossible or anything, but beginners sometimes struggle to get the meringue to turn out perfectly.
One problem that newcomers commonly encounter is that the meringue turns out sticky. Meringue cookies should be delicious and easy to eat, but if the meringue is too sticky, it can ruin the experience.
Why would the meringue turn out this way? Is it an indication that you made a mistake somewhere down the line?
Below, you’ll learn about some reasons why meringue might turn out sticky. This should help you to troubleshoot and figure out where you went wrong.
Once you understand the problem, it’ll be easy to avoid making the same mistake next time. You’ll have the most delicious meringue cookies that you could hope for soon enough.
Too Much Humidity in the Air
One possibility that you need to keep in mind is that the humidity level can impact how the meringue turns out. Is it very humid in your house at the moment?
If you choose to make meringue on a very humid day, it’ll be tougher to get it to turn out perfectly. There’s a good chance that the meringue will come out very sticky.
The sugar in the meringue attracts moisture in the air. You’ll find that the meringue will be softer and stickier than it should be.
It’s much easier to make meringue when the air is dry. If you live in a very humid part of the world, it might be wise to buy a dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers can help you to solve humidity issues. Otherwise, you might want to wait until a different day when things aren’t so humid to make your meringue cookies.
Don’t Artificially Add Humidity to the Air
There are things that you can do in your home that will artificially add humidity to the air. For example, doing laundry can increase the humidity in the house.
Running the dishwasher also has the potential to raise the humidity in the kitchen. It’ll be wise to avoid doing such tasks until after you’ve made your meringue cookies and stored them properly.
Some even recommend ensuring that you don’t have pans with water in them in the sink. Having pans of water in the room will raise the humidity level whether you realize it or not.
Don’t even boil water to make tea while you’re making meringue for the cookies. If you wish to get the best results, you won’t want to add humidity to the air by doing other things.
Store Meringue Cookies in a Dry Spot
Storing the meringue cookies in a dry spot will be important. If you keep the cookies somewhere that is too humid, then the meringue will get stickier.
You might want to put the meringue cookies in a container and then place them in a dry location. This will ensure that they don’t soak up extra moisture somewhere along the way.
The meringue might have turned out perfectly and then taken on extra moisture because you didn’t store the cookies properly. Take the time to find a good dry spot for the cookies.
If you make sure to store the cookies properly, you’ll have a much better experience. Your meringue cookies should be very tasty if all goes well.
Wait to Box the Cookies Until They’ve Cooled
Waiting to box the cookies until they’ve cooled is important. It’s a good idea to store the meringue cookies in a box or container, but doing so too soon can go wrong.
If the cookies are hot and you put them in a closed container, then it’ll trap the moisture. This can wind up making the meringue a bit sticky.
Give the cookies a chance to cool down on the counter for a while. The cookies will lose more moisture as they cool down, and that will keep the meringue from getting sticky.
Once the cookies have cooled, you’ll be able to box them and put them away. Find a good dry spot for the cookies and you’ll be able to eat them whenever you want.
Beat in the Sugar Properly
Beating in the sugar properly is an important part of the process. You want to beat the sugar in until it completely dissolves.
Failure to beat the sugar properly will leave the meringue feeling a bit gritty. This can have a negative impact on many things.
To keep this from happening, it’s recommended to test the meringue by rubbing a bit of it between your fingers. This allows you to check the consistency to see if it feels gritty.
Once you’ve made meringue several times, beating it will become like second nature. You’ll have a good understanding of how long to beat the meringue to ensure that the sugar dissolves properly.
Don’t Bake The Meringue More Than You’re Supposed to
Baking the meringue more than you’re supposed to can ruin everything. Sometimes you might make mistakes and bake the meringue just a bit too long.
When you bake a meringue longer than you’re meant to, it’ll make the meringue tougher than usual. This makes the meringue cookies turn out far worse than you hoped.
Also, baking meringue for too long will cause the egg whites to release moisture. This can wind up causing the meringue to be a bit stickier than it should be.
You wind up having a much worse experience when you bake meringue for too long. Be sure to only bake the meringue for the recommended amount of time.
Always follow the meringue recipe to a tee to get consistent results. Double-check the meringue cookie recipe to ensure that you’re doing everything as intended.
It’s recommended to use a kitchen timer to keep track of the time. Also, you might want to stay in the kitchen and wait for the meringue to finish baking so that you can take it out immediately once the timer goes off.
Cornstarch Might Help
Using cornstarch in the meringue recipe might help to prevent moisture from becoming a problem. Cornstarch can stabilize the meringue by preventing proteins from breaking down while cooking.
You’re meant to bring one tablespoon of cornstarch and one-third of a cup of water to a boil for every four egg whites in the meringue recipe. Keep this in mind to make a meringue that will turn out properly.
Add one tablespoon of this solution into the meringue at a time after beating in the sugar. Every time you add a tablespoon of the solution, you’re meant to beat the meringue until it has stiff peaks.
For many, this idea is going to have a positive impact. It might not always be necessary to bother with cornstarch, though.
You should now understand what causes meringue to turn out sticky. Typically, meringue becomes sticky because it gets exposed to moisture.
Making meringue cookies on a humid day will make it hard to get the cookies to turn out properly. You’ll need to avoid adding humidity to the air artificially as well.
Follow the advice above and it’ll be much easier to get good results. You’ll be eating tasty meringue cookies before you know it.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.