Classic English Eton Mess

Classic English Eton Mess

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
575 Calories
27g Fat
80g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 575
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 17g 86%
Cholesterol 84mg 28%
Sodium 72mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 80g 29%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 75g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 77mg 385%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 320mg 7%
*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 / Eric Kleinberg

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

    Whipping cream in large bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Break meringue into large, bite-sized chunks and gently stir into cream. Don't worry if some of the meringue crumbles.

    Break meringue into chunks in a bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Place half of the strawberries into another large mixing bowl and press gently with the back of a fork to break up 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 in a bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Stir strawberries gently into the cream.

    Stir strawberries into cream in a bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  6. Halve and then quarter remaining strawberries.

    strawberries on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  7. Place cream mixture into an 7-inch trifle or glass serving dish.

    cream mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  8. Top with strawberry pieces.

    strawberries on top of the cream mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  9. Chill for 30 minutes in refrigerator, then sprinkle with icing (confectioners') sugar before serving. 

    Classic English Eton Mess in a bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  • 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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