Published Nov 30, 2022, Updated Mar 20, 2023
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Learn how to make the perfect pavlova with this simple recipe. It’s crisp on the outside and has a soft, fluffy marshmallow center on the inside. Top it with coconut whip cream and fresh fruit for an elegant dessert that’s sure to impress guests.
Pavlova is a unique desert that I’ve only tried a few times, but I’ve never made one for myself. I thought I’d take a stab at making pavlova at home because every time I’ve had it I absolutely loved it.
Pavlova is a type of meringue that’s made from whipped egg whites. It has a delicate, crisp exterior and a soft, marshmallow interior that’s typically topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit!
Pavlova is the perfect dessert to make for a special occasion if you’re looking to impress guests. And don’t be intimidated by this recipe. It’s actually quite simple to make! The hardest part is definitely waiting for it to cook and then cool in the oven. But trust me when I say, it’s worth the wait!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- You only need 5 ingredients for the base of this pavlova recipe!
- It’s a beautiful dessert that is sure to impress guests at any dinner party.
- The combo of a crisp, crunchy exterior with a fluffy, marshmallowy center is pure perfection!
What is Pavlova?
Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, but its origins can be traced back to the New Zealand and Australian regions where Anna Pavlova toured during the 1920s. Pavlova is made by combining egg whites, sugar, corn starch and some sort of acid which is then cooked in a slow oven until crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. It can be served with a wide variety of toppings, but it’s commonly topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.
- egg whites – the pavlova base and what gives it its marshmallowy texture.
- granulated sugar – the sweetener in this recipe. The sugar also helps to stabilize the egg whites, resulting in a fluffy and stable meringue.
- lemon juice – a key ingredient, as it helps to stabilize the egg whites and keep them from collapsing. It also balances out the sweetness of the meringue and the fruit. If you don’t have lemon juice on hand white vinegar or apple cider vinegar are good substitutes.
- vanilla extract – a flavor enhancer.
- cornstarch – helps to create a light, fluffy center and crisp exterior. Arrowroot flour will also work.
- coconut cream – used for a whipped cream topping.
- fresh berries – for topping! Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are all good options!
- fresh mint – optional, but mint is a nice refreshing and light topping that brings a bright flavor to this dessert.
How to Make
Preheat the oven to 200°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed for about 2 minutes in a medium mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. With the mixer still on, gradually add the sugar and turn the speed to high. Beat for 3-5 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and cornstarch. Gently fold with a spatula.
Spoon the mixture onto the parchment paper and shape into roughly an 8 or 9-inch wide circle, flattening the top and smoothing the sides. Bake for 90 minutes and avoid opening the oven door as much as possible. After 90 minutes, turn off the oven and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven for about 1 hour.
Once cool, top with coconut whip cream, fresh berries, and mint leaves. Slice and serve immediately!
How do I Know When my Pavlova is Done?
A pavlova is done baking when the outside is crisp and firm to the touch and the inside is soft and fluffy. The pavlova should also be a light golden brown in color and should be easy to lift off the baking sheet. If you end up over-baking, the pavlova will likely collapse on itself. This can also happen if you expose it to cool air too quickly, which is why we leave it in the oven to cool down for an hour.
Tips For Success
- Make sure the sugar is dissolved. Undissolved sugar can lead to cracks within the pavlova by creating unwanted air bubbles. This is why it’s important to slowly add the sugar to the egg whites, while also turning the hand mixer to a high speed. This will help make sure the sugar is completely dissolved before baking.
- Avoid overbeating egg whites. If your pavlova comes out grainy you likely overbeat your eggs. If this happens, simply start over again with fresh egg whites. Keep your hand mixer at a medium speed when beating the eggs and beat until thick and glossy.
- Don’t open the oven door. It’s tempting to check on the precious pavlova in the oven, but try to avoid opening the door. When you expose the pavlova to outside temperature too soon, it may crack, or even collapse on itself.
- Avoid baking on humid days. Temperature plays a key role in baking the perfect pavlova. If you are in a humid environment, you may find it difficult for the pavlova to keep its shape.
- Make sure all utensils are dry. Any utensils that are used to mix or shape the pavlova before baking should be completely dry. Even the smallest amount of moisture and you may end up with a runny inside.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to the toppings for this dessert. You can add your favorites to customize to your liking or enjoy it as is. Here are some ideas that would work well:
- Fresh fruit: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, citrus fruits, peaches, mangos and sliced bananas are all great options.
- Flavored syrups or sauces: a drizzle of maple syrup or honey would make for an excellent topping. I bet this date caramel sauce would be delicious. You could also try lemon curd!
- Chocolate: whether it be melted chocolate drizzled on, or a crushed bar of chocolate sprinkled on, you can’t go wrong with adding chocolate!
- Nuts: add your favorite nuts for a slight crunch. Toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans are some great options. For more of a decadent addition you could add candied walnuts or candied pecans.
- Dried fruit: dried berries like goji berries would taste delicious with this pavlova.
- Whipped cream: coconut whipped cream is a great option, but you could go with the classic whipped cream as well.
- Ice cream: a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream to top off this pavlova is a wonderful idea.
How to Store
Store any leftovers in an airtight sealed container at room temperature for 1-2 days. Try to keep it in a dry storage place as this sweet treat is incredibly sensitive to temperatures. I don’t recommend storing the pavlova in the fridge as it will become soggy.
Can You Freeze Pavlova?
No, unfortunately, you cannot freeze pavlova. The structure will lose any crispiness once unthawed from the freezer.
More Dessert Recipes
- Vegan Chocolate Tart
- Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
- Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes
- Creamy Avocado Lime Tart
- Healthy Greek Yogurt Berry Tart
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Easy Berry Cake
Be sure to check out all of the dessert recipes on EBF!
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot flour
- 1 15 oz can coconut cream, whipped, for topping
- Fresh berries, for topping
- Mint leaves, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 200ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a hand mixer beat egg whites on medium speed in a medium mixing bowl until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
- With mixer on, gradually add sugar, turning speed up to high. Beat for 3-5 minutes until stiff peaks form.
- Add lemon juice, vanilla and cornstarch or arrowroot powder and gently fold in with a spatula.
- Pour mixture onto parchment paper and shape into roughly an 8 or 9-inch wide circle, flattening the top and smoothing the sides.
- Bake for about 90 minutes, avoiding opening the oven door as much as possible.
- Turn off oven and allow pavlova to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour.
- Once cool, top with coconut whip cream, fresh berries and mint leaves. Slice and serve immediately!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Can you use a different sugar?
Hi Nancy – I would recommend cane or granulated sugar. I would not suggest making any substitutions in this recipe. I hope you enjoy!
Is there any way to do a pavlova with a different sugar? Coconut sugar or honey or maple sugar?
Hi Kristi – I haven’t tested this recipe with another sugar but coconut sugar might work. The pavlova will be darker with the coconut sugar. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!