Basic Brown Sugar Meringue

Basic brown sugar meringue

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 18 mins
Total: 28 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
27 Calories
0g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 37mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A meringue topping makes any pie special, and when made with brown sugar, even more so. This easy meringue is made with the typical egg whites and vanilla, but instead of white sugar, brown sugar is used, making the perfect topping for butterscotch, caramel, and banana cream pies.

The process of making meringue is easy, but there are a few tips that need to be followed to achieve success. Make sure to learn the pitfalls and fixes before you begin.


  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, or 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • Pie of your choice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

    Ingredients for basic brown sugar meringue recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy.

    Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy using a hand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until stiff.

    Brown sugar beat together with the egg whites mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Add the vanilla and blend well.

    Vanilla added to the egg and sugar mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Pile the meringue onto a pie filling, spreading to the edges of the crust.

    Pile the meringue onto a pie

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the peaks are browned.

    Basic brown sugar meringue baked

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Variation

For a higher meringue, use 3 egg whites, 3/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar, 5 tablespoons of brown sugar, and about 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Meringue Success Tips

  • For best results, use eggs that are at least three days old.
  • Make sure there is no egg yolk or fat in the egg whites before you begin to beat them. Even your fingers can leave a trace of oil in the whites, which will impede them from becoming stiff, so don't touch them as you separate the eggs.
  • Cold eggs separate better, but the whites should come to room temperature before you begin beating them.
  • If you don't have cream of tartar, use 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice. It's the acidity from the cream of tartar (or lemon juice) that helps keep the meringue from collapsing.
  • Use a glass or stainless steel bowl to beat the egg whites. Copper is very good as well.
  • Humidity can have a negative impact on meringues, so try to make meringue on a dry day.

Why are less-fresh eggs better for meringue?

The proteins in fresh egg whites are tightly knit together, making it harder for them to break apart and foam up and expand; it will take longer and require more whipping to reach the foamy stage. Older egg whites, however, are thinner and can whip easier, creating more volume. Having the egg whites at room temperature also increases the volume of the egg whites, nearly eight times the original.