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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21 Comments

Imogen April 25, 2019
I had to whip for half an hour once with both a kitchen aid and a hand mixer and it was to do with having egg yolk drop in a bit so maybe that is the issue?
 
drbabs April 25, 2019
Yes. Start over with clean bowl and beaters. Make sure you don't get any yolk in the mix. A tiny pinch of salt will also help.
 
宇立 エ. July 31, 2018
Had the same problem with my kitchen aid. Switched to a hand mixer and voila! Perfect peaks. 🤷‍♀️
 
Connie March 18, 2018
You are supposed to beat the egg whites first and add the sugar later,
 
ajo7777 March 18, 2018
Bowl has butter or some sort of fat, or egg whites are cold straight from the fridge.
 
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.
 
Ella S. 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]
 
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.)
 
drbabs November 21, 2014
Whoops, I just noticed that this question is over a year old.
 
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?
 
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.
 
Adena L. 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.
 
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.
 
Summer O. 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.
 
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.
 
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
 
Summer O. 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.
 

Voted the Best Reply!

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?
 
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
 
gillian March 26, 2015
it calls for 3 eggs
 
Summer O. April 18, 2013
10 minutes later, still no luck, it looks like melted marshmallow fluff.
 
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