Looking for Easter Cookie Recipes? These Lemon Meringue Peeps are super simple to make and reminiscent of those yellow peeps from Just Born. Instead of marshmallow, these homemade peeps are crispy, light meringue cookies. They are lemony and bright, but you can make any peeps flavors you like.
These Lemon Meringue Peeps are based on my super simple meringue recipe, with a few swaps for flavor and color. I shaped the cookies with a piping bag to resemble those cute yellow peeps that always seemed to appear in my Easter basket as a kid. However, I have to be honest, I never like those marshmallow peeps. Too gooey, no real flavor and I never liked that crunchy sugar coating. I mean, they were fun to look at — and more fun to blow up in the microwave, but to me, they weren’t food. Crispy little meringue style cookies, however, are!
Ingredients For Meringue-Style Homemade Peeps
- Egg Whites
- Cream of Tartar
- Lemon Paste (or flavored extract)
- Food Coloring
- Dark Chocolate
Peeps Flavors & Colors
Since they are lemon flavored meringues, yellow food coloring makes sense. I mean, lemons are yellow… and yellow is Easter-y. For the flavoring, fresh lemon zest and juice wasn’t really an option. I didn’t want flecks of zest speckled throughout and lemon juice would add too much acidity to the meringue, competing with the cream of tartar. Instead, I used lemon paste from Neilsen-Massey. It’s not really a paste, more of a syrup consistency, with a potent, sweet lemon kick and it didn’t require much to flavor this whole batch of meringues. If you don’t have the paste, you can also use extracts, just be mindful not to add too much, especially if you’ll be using liquid food coloring, too much extra liquid can deflate the meringues and make them less likely to hold their shape.
- Start with half a teaspoon of whichever extract you like and mix it into the whipped meringues.
- Taste to see if the flavor is strong enough and adjust accordingly.
Other Peeps Flavors and Color Options
I used 6 drops of food coloring for this easter cookie recipe, but if you wanted a deeper color, add a few more, however, you need to be careful of adding too much additional liquid. If you’re going to a really vibrant color, you might want to stick with paste colorings. Here’s some additional peeps flavors ideas to go with various colors:
- Orange: Use orange extract, maple extract or pumpkin pie spice extract (yes, they make that)
- Red: Use strawberry extract, cherry extract or raspberry extract
- Yellow: Use Lemon extract, banana extract, or cake batter extract
- Green: Use Lime or Mint extract
- White: (no coloring needed): Use coconut extract or almond extract
When the flavor and color are completely combined, transfer the meringue to a piping bag fit with a large round tip. I used Wilton 2A. Squeeze out the air and get the egg white mixture into the tip.
To Pipe Yellow Peeps
- Pipe a thick layer of meringue onto parchment paper about the size and shape of a lady finger. It should be about 2 1/2″ x 1″ and about 1/2″ thick.
- To make the “head,” place the piping tip at the end of the meringue.
- Pipe a one inch line in the center of the meringue moving away from you, then pull it back over on itself, so that you’re moving the piping tip back toward you.
- Stop applying pressure and gently pull the tip away from the peep.
- You can use a slightly wet finger to adjust the “beak” of the peep, but remember, these are homemade peeps and perfection isn’t required.
- Bake in a preheated, low oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until peeps are set and crispy.
- Cool the Easter cookies to room temperature.
Don’t you just love the look of these little peep chicks? Ok, so some of them might resemble the Penguin from those Batman comics, but I think they have the peep vibe.
Add “Eyes” To Peeps Easter Cookies
- As you know, real peeps don’t have elaborate eye designs, they’re simply two dots on the “face” of the chick. To achieve this, use chocolate.
- Melt a square of baking chocolate (can also use chocolate chips) in the microwave by heating it in 10-20 second bursts and stirring after each until it’s smooth and glossy.
- Use the flat end of a wooden skewer and dip it into the chocolate. You only need enough chocolate to barely cover the tip.
- Identify where you want to place the eyes and simply (gently) tap the chocolate end onto the peep. It’s best not to rub the chocolate in, because it will spread easily. Just touching it to the meringue will transfer enough chocolate to make an eye.
- Let the meringues rest until the chocolate is set.
- Transfer to an airtight container and keep up to 3 days.
These Easter cookies are crispiest on the day you make them. On subsequent days, the interior might start to get a little soft or chewy. That’s not a bad thing, but you should be aware.
Aren’t they the cutest things, ever? I’m not much of a “crafty” person, so if I can make these homemade peeps, I know you can too.
Want more easy Easter treats? Try these:
- No Bake Coconut Rum Cookie Truffles
- Fluffernutter Ritz Cookies
- Ricciarelli Cookies
- Italian Easter Ricotta Pie
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Lemon Meringue Peeps
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon paste (Neillsen-Masssey)
- 5-6 drops yellow food coloring
- 1 ounce dark chocolate
- 1 extra-large round piping tip Wilton 2A
- 1 piping bag
- 1 6-inch wooden skewer
- Preheat the oven to 200°. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the sugar into a mini prep food processor and pulse for 10-20 seconds until very fine.
- Add the egg whites to a bowl and with a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat until foamy and frothy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add sugar a little at a time, beating constantly. Add cream of tartar and salt and mix until well combined. The egg whites should be smooth and glossy. Add the lemon paste and food coloring and mix very well.
- Fit the round tip into the piping bag and fill the bag with meringue mixture.
PIPE THE PEEPS:
- Start piping the peeps by making a 2 1/2″ x 1″ body about 1/2″ thick.
- To make the “head” of the peep, start at the front end of the chick (you decide which is the front) and pipe a bit of meringue about 1/2″ – 3/4″ moving away from you and then returning back toward you (kind of like you’re forming a “C” shape from the bottom, up).
- To get the “beak” twist the piping tip and gently pull away from the head of the peep.
BAKE THE PEEPS:
- Bake the peeps in the low oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the peeps are crisp and easily pull up from the parchment paper without denting. Cool the peeps to room temperature.
- While the meringues cool, place the chocolate in a small bowl and microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring after each, until the chocolate is melted, glossy and smooth.
ADD THE EYES:
- Dip the flat side of the skewer into the chocolate enough to just coat the end. Look down on the peep and figure out where you want the eyes to be placed. Dot the eyes gently onto the meringue — do not smudge or paint — dotting is the best method.
- Let the chocolate dry for 20-60 minutes. Serve or transfer the meringue peeps to an airtight container for 1-2 days until ready to eat.
- NOTE: Meringues can be temperamental and if there’s too much humidity in the air, they’ll go soft and lose their crisp texture. Make them on a day when the humidity is low.