Classic English Eton Mess

English Eton Mess

The Spruce 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
233 Calories
10g Fat
22g Carbs
16g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 233
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 43mg 14%
Sodium 47mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 16g
Calcium 55mg 4%
*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.)

There are some foods which evoke a perfect summer's day, and a classic English Eton mess is one of them. 

This quintessential British dessert must be included in any list of strawberry recipes. The dessert is quick and easy to make and makes great use of ripe strawberries at the height of summer when they are plentiful. Frozen or tinned strawberries simple do not work as it is the freshness and scent of summer ripened fruits which make this dessert so special.

Traditionally the dish was served at Eton College but how it came to have the name is not clear. One story is a Labrador dog sat on a picnic basket in the back of a car and squashed a strawberry and meringue dessert. One thought was the "mess" was a rather delicious dessert, and the name stuck.

Even if this is not true, it is a sweet story.


  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar (or fine sugar)
  • 1 2/3 cups ready-made meringues
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Eton Mess
    The Spruce 
  2. Place the whipping cream in a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, and whip with an electric whisk until the cream is light and fluffy. Do not over whip. The success of the dish requires softly whipped cream. The peaks should stand up with the tips gently falling over for the correct consistency.

    Whipping cream in large bowl
    The Spruce
  3. Break the meringue into large, bite-sized chunks and gently stir into the cream. Don't worry if some of the meringue crumbles just add this too; it will melt into the cream (yum).

    Break meringue into chunks
    The Spruce 
  4. Place half of the strawberries into another large mixing bowl and press gently with the back of a fork to break up the strawberries slightly and release some of the juice. Do not be too heavy handed with the squashing, as you do not want a puree.  

    Mashing strawberries
    The Spruce
  5. Stir the strawberries gently into the cream.

    Stir strawberries into cream
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  6. Halve, then quarter the remaining strawberries.

    Cutting strawberries up
    The Spruce
  7. Place the cream mixture into an 7-inch trifle or glass serving dish.

    Cream into trifle dish
    The Spruce
  8. Top with the strawberry pieces.

    Top cream with strawberries
    The Spruce 
  9. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator the sprinkle with the icing (confectioners') sugar before serving. 

    Chill in fridge
    The Spruce
  10. Alternately, serve in individual sized dessert bowls or glasses. 

    Serve in individual glasses
    The Spruce
  11. Serve and enjoy!


  • Eat Eton Mess on the day it is made as if stored the meringues start to soften very quickly.

Recipe Variations

  • The traditional Eton Mess is made with strawberries, but it is possible to use other fruits. Rhubarb Mess is a great example, and raspberries also work well but be careful not to squash them too much. 
  • For more variation, you can also switch the cream, to a flavored one.

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