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Meringue Swirls


Food editor Kristina Kurek mixed fresh vanilla bean seeds and citrus zest into a meringue cookie. The result -- a sweet, swirly cloud that tastes as good as it looks.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 25

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2012


  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Large pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
  • Gel-paste food coloring, in orange


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Add vanilla bean seeds. Set bowl over a pot of simmering water, and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm, about 3 minutes. Add salt and cream of tartar.

  2. Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and meringue is mostly cooled, about 7 minutes. Beat in zest.

  3. Using a small paintbrush, paint 3 vertical stripes of food coloring inside a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip (Ateco #805). Fill bag with meringue, and pipe 1 3/4-inch circular shapes (they don't need to be perfect rounds) 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. As you finish piping each shape, apply less pressure to pastry bag, and swirl the tip off in a circular motion.

  4. Bake meringues until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.


On "Martha Bakes," Martha used one whole vanilla bean and eliminated the orange zest. You may use any color of gel-paste food coloring you like.

Cook's Notes

The orange zest and orange food coloring in these cookies can be swapped out for lemon zest and yellow food coloring. If you want to mix colors, make one batch of each rather than splitting the recipe.

Reviews Add a comment

  • cardigan39
    25 OCT, 2013
    This is a WONDERFUL recipe! They turn out beautiful; light and airy just the way they should be. I made them using purple & green stripes for a baby shower and they got rave reviews. I think I'll try them for Christmas using red & green coloring and peppermint extract. YUM!
  • Pauline 2013
    24 FEB, 2013
    The oven is 200 degrees fahrenheit not centigrade. It is 93 degrees celsius. This is a very slow oven and cooks the meringues just perfectly.
  • meringue lover
    6 DEC, 2012
    Just pulled the meringue's out of the oven - burnt and revolting. Followed the recipe exactly trusting martha all the way. Suprised how high the oven was. DISASTER
    29 AUG, 2012
    Is it possible to make these in advance and freeze?
  • nanarob2
    1 JUN, 2012
    Wow, this recipe sounds marvelous! Do I need to use the vanilla bean seeds, or can I use a tsp of pure vanilla?
  • CookParadise Cuisine
    1 JUN, 2012
    Hello Martha Swirl meringue recipe, that is what you call cream pie? and the gel paste food coloring? are found in France? thank you. Valerie for COOK PARADISE France.
  • CookParadise Cuisine
    1 JUN, 2012
    Hello Martha Swirl meringue recipe, that is what you call cream pie? and the gel paste food coloring? are found in France? thank you. Valerie for COOK PARADISE France.
  • julianne0009
    23 MAY, 2012
    I made these yesterday and they turned out great. HOWEVER, I changed the cooking time a lot. I've always known meringues to be ready when you can touch them in the oven and they feel dry. So I cooked them at 200 degrees for 1 hour 50 minutes to get there. They turned out dry all the way through (not soft on the inside like the recipe suggests), but I like crispy meringues. I think I'll try 1 hour 35 min. next time. Used lemon zest 'cause I had it, but curious to try orange.
  • bumpslip1
    16 MAY, 2012
    I followed the receipe to the letter, but I have a major problem with the after effects. Once cooled, they become very soft and stickty. I cooled them down in the refrigerator and they still are very soft and sticky. Does this mean that maybe they have to be cooked longer than 1hr. and 15 minutes?
  • SMerrigal66
    23 APR, 2012
    I've made this recipe twice. They are delicious, but they don't dry completely on the outside and are sticky. I baked at 200 in a convection oven for about 1 1/2 hours. The inside is perfect, but there's no way I could put together in a package without them becoming one big blob. I live in Florida and thought maybe the humidity is a factor, but it's not bad right now. Any suggestions? Thanks!