Have been beating egg whites and sugar for 13 minutes no sign of stiff peaks in sight. What am I doing wrong?

2 cups egg whites lots of sugar. Trying to make a buttercream icing.

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Summer of Eggplant
Summer of Eggplant April 18, 2013

10 minutes later, still no luck, it looks like melted marshmallow fluff.

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Monita
Monita April 18, 2013

2 cups egg whites seems like a lot. How many eggs? and how much sugar? Were your egg whites room temp when you started? Did you add the sugar gradually? If yes - then perhaps the eggs were really old. If not, I would start over with fresh egg whites at room temp

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gillian
gillian March 26, 2015

it calls for 3 eggs

Voted the Best Reply!

HalfPint
HalfPint April 18, 2013

You might have a small amount of fat or some yolk (also mostly fat) in the mixing bowl or on the beaters. Is the mixing bowl plastic? While plastic should not interfere with egg whites, plastic bowls can retain a small amount of grease. It doesn't take much to keep you from getting stiff peaks.

Though 2 cups of egg whites is a lot. Maybe your mixer just doesn't have the horsepower to whip that much egg white AND sugar?

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Summer of Eggplant
Summer of Eggplant April 18, 2013

Egg whites were not room temp but I heated the whites and sugar over simmering bath to melt sugar. Using a standard KitchenAid mixer. Honestly I used egg whites from the carton.

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Monita
Monita April 18, 2013

Maybe HalfPint is right -- too much for your mixer. How about removing half and try beating that and see if it makes a difference

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boulangere
boulangere April 18, 2013

The ratio of EWs to sugar is 1:2. Two cups of EWs weigh 16 ounces, so you'll need 32 ounces of sugar (slightly over 4.5 cups). Ideally, you heated the EW and sugar to 140 degrees before you began whipping them. If you're making a Swiss meringue, it doesn't matter if they are cold or room temp. Unfortunately, I've had similar results with frozen EWs. I can get them to a consistency that is adequate for tuning it into Swiss meringue buttercream, but not stiff enough to pipe or shape for meringues. For meringues, or for topping for a pie, I always use the real thing.

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Summer of Eggplant
Summer of Eggplant April 18, 2013

I have 4 cups sugar 2 cups egg whites, not sure that I made it to 140 though. And, yes, making Swiss meringue. I halved it in the mixer which seemed to help a little. Anyhow, I've stuffed it into the fridge and am hoping for a more congealed product in the AM, if not, well then I guess I start again and if that doesn't work, I will purchase a cake. Ugh - so ready for the kids to be done with chocolate and move on fruit pies or something less messy.

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boulangere
boulangere April 18, 2013

I'm sorry to say that the fridge won't help matters. I remember those days well: "Mom, I signed you up to make cupcakes." Me: "Ok, when?" He/She" "Tomorrow for our (room party, carnival, fair, insert your own event)." When in danger or in doubt, use whipped cream sweetened with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar to 1 cup of cream.

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Adena Leigh
Adena Leigh November 21, 2014

Sometimes, the boxed egg whites just won't cut it! The exact same thing just happened to me, so on the advice of The Meringue Girls, I switched to real egg whites and it yielded a fluffy, gorgeous meringue.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 November 21, 2014

"Egg whites were not room temp but I heated the whites and sugar over simmering bath to melt sugar."

Does that even work. I've always heard that adding the sugar first before still peak stage was bad. Thus why we use confectioners sugar. And what's this heating the whites and sugar together to melt the sugar stuff?

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boulangere
boulangere November 21, 2014

Egg whites and sugar heated to 140 degrees, then whipped until the bowl is completely cool to the touch makes a Swiss meringue, which is much more stable than a cold French meringue. Once soft butter is dotted in in equal proportion to the sugar, it becomes Swiss meringue buttercream.

drbabs
drbabs November 21, 2014

This may be a complete long shot, but I've found that a pinch of kosher salt really helps egg whites to stiffen. (You'll probably need more than a pinch for such a huge amount of egg whites--1/2 teaspoon? Good luck.)

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drbabs
drbabs November 21, 2014

Whoops, I just noticed that this question is over a year old.

Ella Schleicher
Ella Schleicher June 27, 2015

I've come to the conclusion that the reason egg whites now do not stiffen when beaten, has something to do with the additives now being added to chicken feed. I never used to have any trouble and I haven't changed my method of beating egg whites. [email protected]

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David
David March 14, 2018

Many carton-egg whites are pasteurized and will not whip. It should be noted on the carton and will indicate that they are not recommended for meringues and angel food cakes.

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ajo7777
ajo7777 March 18, 2018

Bowl has butter or some sort of fat, or egg whites are cold straight from the fridge.

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Connie
Connie March 18, 2018

You are supposed to beat the egg whites first and add the sugar later,

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宇立 エイパリル

Had the same problem with my kitchen aid. Switched to a hand mixer and voila! Perfect peaks. 🤷‍♀️

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