Why is My Meringue Runny? – Easy Solutions

Published Categorized as Journal

Spending time baking and preparing pies, macarons, and other delicious goodies with meringues is time well spent.  However, when your meringue is runny and doesn’t turn out as it should, it can be quite frustrating.  If this has even happened to you, you probably were asking, “why is my meringue runny?”  If you want to learn more about what can cause a meringue to be too runny and how to fix runny meringue for macarons, pies, and other treats, keep reading!

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How do you fix runny meringue?

Why is my meringue runny?

If your meringue is runny, there are a few different factors that could be to blame.

Egg Whites Are Not Sufficiently Whipped

Why is my Italian meringue runny?  One common cause of a runny meringue is not whipping the egg whites enough.  You need to continue whipping the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, which can take several minutes.

pink mixer

Meringue was Whipped too Early

Have you been asking, “why is my meringue frosting runny?”  Well, it is possible that you whipped the meringue too soon and let it sit.  If the mixture sits out for too long, it can begin to deflate. 

Don’t mix your meringue too far in advance to try to prevent this problem.

Undercooked

Undercooked meringue will be runny.  Make sure that you follow the recipe cooking times and confirm that the pie or other baked goods are cooked before removing them from the oven.

Overcooked

Believe it or not, an overcooked meringue may also be runny.  Keep an eye on what you’re baking and follow the recipe cook times to make sure it isn’t overcooked.

Humidity

High humidity levels can also make meringue turn out runny.  On a humid day, the moisture content in the air is higher.  The increased moisture may affect your meringues and make them runny.

Residue in Bowl

If there is any soapy or greasy residue in the bowl you are using to beat your egg whites, it could be preventing them from stiffening.  Before cracking your eggs, rinse and dry the bowl and beaters/whisk you plan to use to make sure they are completely clean.

Egg Yolk

If even the tiniest piece of egg yolk gets into the bowl with your egg whites, it can prevent them from stiffening.  The fat in egg yolks will prevent the proteins in the eggs from arranging themselves in such a way that they will be able to stiffen.

How long does it take for meringue to form stiff peaks?

As we shared above, baking runny meringue isn’t a good idea.  You want to be sure to whip the egg whites until stiff to help ensure the meringue will turn out properly.

It would be easy if whipping eggs to make meringue was an exact science, but it isn’t.  We can’t tell you exactly how long it will take to whip the eggs to create stiff peaks when making meringue.  In most cases, it should take about 5 minutes for the peaks to stiffen.  However, in some cases, it could take 10 minutes or more for this to occur.  This is why you need to go by the look and feel of the meringue, not what the clock says.

How long does it take for meringue to form stiff peaks?

How do you fix runny meringue?

If you feel that you’ve been whipping your egg whites for a sufficient amount of time (at least 15 minutes), and they are still runny, you may be asking, “how do I make my meringue thicker” or “how do you fix runny meringue in macarons?”  While there is no guarantee of success, there are a few things you can try to add to a meringue to make it stiffer.  We’ll look at these in the next section.

What can I add to stiffen meringue?

Why is my meringue soft and sticky?  The first thing you need to do is make sure that you’ve given the egg white sufficient time to stiffen.  Remember, that it typically takes around 5 minutes, but may take over 10 minutes, to get the egg whites to form stiff peaks.  If you haven’t been beating them for long enough, then that is the first thing you should do.

Add an Extra Egg White

If you have been whipping the egg whites for quite some time and they still aren’t stiffening, then there are a few options you can try.  Just keep in mind that these ideas may not always work, depending on what is causing your meringue to be runny in the first place.

One thing you can try is to add another egg white to the mixture.  Before adding the extra egg white into your meringue, mix it in a bowl by itself until it turns a bit frothy.  Then, carefully fold it into your meringue and continue whipping.  In many cases, the addition of an extra egg white will help the meringue to stiffen.

You should only try this approach when you are making French meringue, which is just egg whites and sugar.  It will not work when making cooked Italian or Swiss meringue.

Single egg on pink plate

Add Cornstarch

Adding cornstarch may also help to stiffen your meringue.  This can be especially true for those who live in more humid areas, where the higher moisture levels can interfere with the meringue stiffening.

Add about 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to your meringue mixture, if needed.  While it may be tempting to try to put it in during the beginning of the process, adding cornstarch unnecessarily could cause the meringue to end up grainy or chewy.

FAQs

How do you know if you over beat meringue?

If meringue has been over beaten, the foam bubbles in the eggs will be so large that they are not able to maintain their structure.  When baked, these bubbles will then deflate and pop, leaving the meringue extra dry or grainy.  If your meringue has been over beaten, you will want to start over and make a new batch.

Why is my meringue runny after cooking?

Weeping is when a meringue is watery after cooking a meringue pie.  Weeping is a thin layer of moisture that is located between the pie filling and the meringue topping.  This layer of moisture forms once the pie is cool.
So, how to fix watery meringue after cooking?  To prevent weeping, it is important to put the meringue over hot, not cool or cold filling.  Doing this will help provide a seal along the bottom of the meringue to help ensure that it cooks fully, just as the top section of the meringue will.
A few other ideas to prevent weeping include not making a meringue pie on an overly humid day, making sure that you don’t over bake the pie, and making the meringue before the filling to ensure that the filling is hot when the meringue is spread over it.

Can I use runny meringue?

Using runny meringue probably isn’t the best idea. 
If the meringue is runny, then your recipe isn’t going to turn out properly.  If the meringue is already cooked and is still runny, then it may mean that it hasn’t been fully cooked.  In this case, salmonella bacteria may be present.
What to do with runny meringue mixture, then?  If your meringue is runny, try one of the suggestions above to fix it and help the egg whites stiffen.  If these suggestions don’t work, it could mean that there is some egg yolk in the mixture that is stopping the meringue from stiffening.  In this case, the best course of action would be to start over and make a new batch of meringue.

pie with merengue topping

Closing Thoughts: Runny Meringue

Just as you may wonder what you can do with undercooked brownies or how to tell if your cheesecake is undercooked, you came to this article with questions about runny meringue. 

I hope I was able to help you answer these questions and learn what to do with a runny meringue.  Do you feel more confident about making meringue and fixing meringue should it turn out too runny?

Published
Categorized as Journal

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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