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Fine Desserts

The Perfect Pavlova in 5 Simple Steps

4.88 from 49 votes
A marshmallow-like center with a crunchy exterior, there's nothing quite like the Perfect Pavlova — and I'll show you how to make one with 5 simple steps.
Crunchy on the outside, marshmallowy on the inside, my Perfect Pavlova in 5 Simple Steps, completed..

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Hi Bold Bakers!

Pavlova is a dessert that, to my delight, is becoming more popular around the world. Pavlova is a gorgeous billowy meringue that is crisp on the outside and marshmallow-like in the center when made just right. With my 5 simple steps, I’m going to show you how you can achieve the Perfect Pavlova every time!

5 Simple Steps to Making The Perfect Pavlova

1) The eggs you use should be:

  • Room Temperature: Start out with room temperature, fresh egg whites. Room temperature eggs whip up so much better than eggs straight from the fridge.
  • Fresh: Also, the freshness is important as fresh eggs are stronger and will whip up better and hold the air better.

2) Apart from egg whites, you need: 

  • Fine Sugar, castor sugar, or in the States, it’s the regular sugar you use for coffee. Fine sugar dissolves better into the meringue. 
  • Cornflour (cornstarch): Cornflour stabilizes egg whites during baking and prevents weeping. Less is more, however, as too much cornflour can give the meringue an unpleasant chalkiness – like in plenty of store-bought meringues. Generally, one teaspoon per egg white is a good amount to add.
  • White Vinegar: Adding an acidic ingredient also stabilizes the egg white foam and can prevent problems such as a mixture that splits.

3) Whipping your egg whites:

  • Start it on low for 2 minutes until the egg whites start to foam and begin forming bubbles.  Then turn up the speed and whip to soft peaks (see video below). This just gives the egg whites time to stabilize.

4) How to add the sugar:

  • Slow it down: Add the sugar spoonful by spoonful when the meringue is whipped to soft peaks — and only then. Be patient when gradually adding the sugar to the egg white. Each tablespoon of sugar should be dissolved before the next is added. It is ready when it’s thick, glossy, and smooth.

5) Timing and temperature for baking Perfect Pavlova: 

  • Baking: Bake at 250°F (125°C) for 1hr 30min. Then, dry it out in the oven for up to 3 hours. The combination together along with the size of the pavlova will give you the crisp meringue shell and the soft center.

A close-up of the crunchy exterior of my Perfect Pavlova recipe, topped with cream and fruit.

Why Pavlova Can “Weep”

Meringues are full of sugar, so if the humidity is high, they’ll absorb moisture from the air, which can make your meringue weep or go soft and sticky after baking. Reduce the risk by including cornflour.

Why Pavlova Cracks

This is common so don’t feel bad, all is not lost! Often it happens due to the change in temperatures. Pavlova can crack when they cool too quickly. Leave them in the oven after baking with the oven turned off to slow the cooling process and help avoid it breaking.

Also, keep it in the oven to cool down slowly rather than take it out and the temp change cracks it. I leave mine in there overnight.

A top-down view of my Pavlova.

The Perfect Bake-Time For Pavlova

Often people think it’s for hours and hours, but really it just takes about 9 minutes for this large Pavlova. Now, you will want to dry it out in the oven after baking, however, and those instructions are written in the recipe below.

How To Know When Pavlova Is Done

You can tell when a Pavlova is done when it lifts off the parchment paper easily. If it doesn’t come away, keep cooking and keep an eye on it.

How Long Pavlova Keeps — And How To Store It

Pavlova is to be kept in the fridge once you put toppings on it, and because of its soft texture, it is best that once you decorate it that you serve it the same day. After a few hours will it begin to soften and lose its crispness.

Can I Substitute the Eggs in Pavlova?

Often people will use aquafaba for meringue in place of eggs. Personally I have never had good luck baking it. It deflates and doesn’t crisp.  I’d recommend researching it before trying it out. I know people do have success…. just not me.

A look at the interior of my Perfect Pavlova in 5 simple steps.

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The Perfect Pavlova Recipe

4.88 from 49 votes
A marshmallow-like center with a crunchy exterior, there's nothing quite like the Perfect Pavlova — and I'll show you how to make one with 5 simple steps.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 people
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Drying out time 3 hrs
A marshmallow-like center with a crunchy exterior, there's nothing quite like the Perfect Pavlova — and I'll show you how to make one with 5 simple steps.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • 4 large (5½oz/160g) egg whites*, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar* (see notes below)
  • 1 ½ cups (12floz/340ml) heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 20 strawberries, sliced
  • 3 kiwis, sliced
  • 1 passion fruit, scooped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using an electric stand mixer or hand mixer, whip egg whites in a clean bowl for 2 minutes on low speed until bubbles start to form.
  • Turn the machine up to medium-high speed and continue whipping until the egg whites start to reach soft peaks, roughly 2-3 minutes.
  • In a small bowl add the sugar. To this add cornflour and the vinegar. (see video for step by step)
  • Slowly start to add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. You will see the egg whites double in volume and get shiny. Continue mixing for 2 more minutes and then turn off the machine.
  • On the cookie sheet, spread out the pavlova into a 10-inch round. Make the dip in the middle where you will spread the cream.
  • Turn down the oven to 250°F (125°C) and bake the Pavlova for 1hr 30 minutes. After that time, turn off the oven but leave it in the oven to dry out for 3 hours. (or overnight like I do)
  • When you are ready to serve, dollop whipped cream on top of the Pavlova and top with Sliced strawberries, sliced kiwi, and some passion fruit. Keep refrigerated and enjoy within 2 days.

Recipe Notes

*Vinegar: use white, distilled or apple cider vinegar but avoid using malted vinegar. Also you can use lemon juice instead of vinegar. 
*Eggs: Often people will use aquafaba for meringue in place of eggs. Personally I have never had good luck baking it but feel free to try it out. I know people do have success.... just not me.  
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Tricia Mc Dowell
Tricia Mc Dowell
1 year ago

Hi Gemma I have made pavlova before and in the recipe I use it uses vanilla extract does it make a difference, thanks tricia

Joyce Cordova
Joyce Cordova
2 years ago

I have never made meringue before much less something like a Pavlova. But I had a lot of egg whites left from making custard and rather than throw them away, decided to make a Pavlova which I’ve never had before and not something you can just buy locally. Thanks to the easy and detailed instructions in this recipe and the video, I was able to make a Pavlova on the first try! Thank you for sharing this recipe, Gemma. The only caveat I would have for other bakers is to make sure the humidity in your kitchen is in the… Read more »

Xrissi
Xrissi
2 years ago

Love pavlova but never made one so I will have a go.
can we have some ideas what do you do with the 4 egg yolks, please 🙂

Pakialetchumy Thambo Ratnam
Pakialetchumy Thambo Ratnam
10 days ago

Hi…do I use caster or powdered sugar for the pavlova?

Colleen Tait
Colleen Tait
1 month ago

Could you use cream of tartar instead of corn starch?

Náyade de Cumbe
Náyade de Cumbe
1 month ago

Just made it yesterday. Perfect! I used 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar instead of vinegar.
My husband absolutely loved it.

Cristina Zazueta
Cristina Zazueta
3 months ago

Hello! I love pavlova! But this time mine came out like this, as you can see in the picture it doesn’t look crispy and smooth, I don’t know what words to use to describe the texture (I speak Spanish), what I did wrong? Or is it a problem with humidity? Thanks!! I loved your recipe and tips, is so helpful 💕

7878E443-F36C-4C33-B38D-1C06A2B648F7.jpeg
Last edited 3 months ago by Cristina Zazueta
Sarah
Sarah
4 months ago

Pretty pleased with this as a first try, though it did have a sunken centre and cracked a bit it was still fluffy inside. Perhaps it cooled too quickly and I should have left the oven door closed rather than propped open? Another great recipe though, thanks Gemma.

717DB804-B353-411B-A643-8EA46D40A7C2.jpeg
Cynthia
Cynthia
9 months ago

Delicious recipe and it came out so beautifully. My only question, it was crisp on the outside and when cutting, there was a hollow air bubble between top and bottom. Any ideas what I did wrong? Thank you for sharing!!

Isabella Pixis
Isabella Pixis
11 months ago

Hi Gemma, I made your Pavlova today and it came out PERFECT! Everybody raved about it. Next week I want to make it again, this time for 11 people. So I thought about using 1 1/2 times the amount of the ingredients in the recipe. I would like to make ONE pavlova though (the diameter of the meringue will be larger, but it will not be higher). Will the baking time change since it is a bigger meringue? Or will it be the same, since it will be the same height? i would really appreciate your opinion. All the best… Read more »

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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