White Christmas Pavlovas


Get into the holiday spirit with fluffy, white pavlovas.

Active Time:
25 mins
Bake Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Stand Time:
3 hrs
Total Time:
5 hrs

Light as clouds and puffy as marshmallows, Ivy Odom's White Christmas Pavlovas will lift your holiday dessert spread to new heights. Let's face it, holiday desserts are notoriously heavy—from dense fruitcake to old-fashioned, spiced gingerbread and mile-high layer cakes, many of our favorite holiday desserts can leave us in a food coma. That's where Ivy's White Christmas Pavlovas come in. These ethereally light, individually-portioned desserts will be a ray of sunshine on your dessert spread. Did we mention that they're gluten-free?

"My make-ahead vanilla Pavlovas can be a fun DIY dessert bar if you set them out with an assortment of toppings, like toasted coconut chips and sliced bananas," writes Test Kitchen professional and Hey Y'all host, Ivy Odom. "The Pavlovas' crackly crusts and marshmallowy centers pair well with my boozy Triple B Milk Punch."

White Christmas Pavlovas

Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

For perfectly round meringues, trace the outline of a 3 ½-inch cookie or biscuit cutter six times on two pieces of parchment paper. Place the parchment (circle side down) on two baking sheets, and use it as a guide for spooning the egg whites. These White Christmas Pavlovas will be a stunning finale to your holiday meal.


  • 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar 

  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

  • teaspoon salt

  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream

  • cups sour cream

  • Toppings: melted white chocolate, chopped macadamia nuts, sliced bananas, crumbled vanilla wafers, toasted coconut chips, sweetened flaked coconut, sliced almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 225°F with racks in upper and lower third positions. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a bowl; set aside. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer running on high speed, add sugar mixture 2 tablespoons at a time, beating just until glossy, stiff peaks form and sugar is almost dissolved, about 2 minutes. (Do not overbeat.) Reduce speed to low, and beat in ½ teaspoon of the vanilla.

  2. Gently spoon about ⅓ cup egg white mixture onto prepared baking sheet in a 3 ½-inch circle. Repeat with remaining egg white mixture, creating 12 circles total on the 2 prepared baking sheets.

  3. Bake in preheated oven until meringues have formed a crust, about 1 ½ hours, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through bake time.

  4. Turn oven off. Let meringues stand in oven with door closed until completely cool with dry and shiny tops, at least 3 hours or up to 10 hours, depending on the humidity of your kitchen. (They should have crisp exteriors and chewy interiors.)

  5. Meanwhile, chill bowl of a stand mixer and whisk attachment for 30 minutes. Pour whipping cream into chilled bowl; beat with an electric mixer fitted with the chilled whisk attachment on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sour cream, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 30 seconds. Beat in remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla until just combined.

  6. Arrange meringues on a serving platter, and top each with about ¼ cup whipped cream mixture. Garnish Pavlovas with toppings.

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