This Traditional Strawberry Eton Mess recipe makes a spectacular, but simple dessert made with meringue, whipped cream and strawberries. An easy, no-fuss dessert recipe that is naturally gluten-free!
Have you ever thought about how some desserts have strange names? Apple Pan Dowdy, Raspberry Fool, Blueberry Buckle, Berry Grunt, Death by Chocolate, Dump Cake, and this one . . . Strawberry Eton Mess!
But even if it has a strange name, the taste is anything but! It's just a big wonderful mess of sweet cream, meringue, and strawberries, all mixed together.
❤️ Why you'll love this Eton Mess recipe
- A quick, no-fuss dessert! It's the perfect dessert for those times when you want to make a dessert for a group but don't have the time or the talent to fuss with a fabulous presentation.
- It's naturally gluten-free. No special flours or flour blend is needed for this easy strawberry dessert!
- This dessert has a good balance between sweet meringue, barely sweetened whipped cream, and naturally sweet strawberries.
Here's what you'll need to make this simple strawberry dessert. You'll find the quantities listed in the recipe card below.
For the meringue: 6 egg whites, berry sugar, cream of tartar, cornstarch
For the cream: 1 cup of heavy cream (whipping cream), vanilla extract, confectioner's sugar. Substitute whipped coconut milk for a dairy-free dessert.
For the fruit: 2 cups of berries, optional liqueur such as Gran Marnier for flavour, orange zest.
You'll find complete directions to make this Classic Strawberry Eton Mess in the recipe card. But first, here's a quick overview, followed by helpful tips to make this recipe perfectly every time.
- You'll start by making the meringue. It takes about two hours: 90 minutes to bake and 30 minutes in the oven with the heat turned off.
- Next, you'll prepare the strawberries by slicing and combining them with orange liqueur (optional) and orange zest.
- And finally, you'll whip the cream. Now all that's left to do is assemble the dessert, creating layers that end up looking like a delicious "mess!"
👍🏼How to make meringue for Eton Mess
- Chilled eggs, straight from the refrigerator are easier to separate, but room temperature egg whites will whip to a greater volume. Separate the eggs, then allow them to sit for half an hour or so, if you have time.
- Save the yolks for another use. This recipe for Fresh Fruit Tart with Vanilla Pastry Cream conveniently needs 6 egg yolks! And a double batch of microwave honey lemon curd (which you can freeze) also needs 6. Or make these Cranberry White Chocolate Macaroons!
- Use a large glass or metal bowl, as egg whites will expand in volume when whipped. Make sure it is squeaky clean. A plastic bowl may not work for this recipe because it may hold traces of oil which will prevent egg whites from whipping.
- Spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet (or make small meringue cups about 3 inches in diameter) once you've whipped the egg whites according to the recipe below and they've reached the stiff peak stage.
- Bake according to instructions, then turn off the oven and let the meringue sit in the oven for at least half an hour.
- The finished meringue should have a crisp outer exterior and a marshmallowy interior. It should be slightly chewy.
- The meringue can be made a day or two in advance, making this an easy dessert when you're entertaining.
- For more helpful tips to make perfect meringues, check this article How to Make Perfect Meringues for Pies, Cookies, and More
👍🏼 How to Assemble Traditional Strawberry Eton Mess
- Crumble the cooked meringue into bite-sized pieces. Put the meringues in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. It's okay if it looks messy!
- You may not need to use all the meringue. It is very sweet, so use your judgment as to how much you'd like to add.
- Layer the meringue, strawberries and whipped cream into dessert glasses or a large bowl, repeating the layers as necessary. Garnish with orange zest (don't leave this out!) and serve.
❓Why is this gluten-free dessert called Eton Mess?
Officially, the name Eton Mess originated at, you guessed it, England's Eton College. It was served at their annual cricket match. It seems pretty likely to me that the first Eton Mess resulted from a dropped pavlova that smashed and was rescued and remade into this delicious concoction.
Because that's exactly what happened to me!
I made a large pavlova for a family dinner, had some extra meringue leftover and planned to make mini pavlovas for the following day. When they broke and crumbled, I decided to rescue my disaster.
I mixed them with barely sweetened whipped cream, fresh strawberries, scooped them into dessert glasses, and this Traditional Strawberry Eton Mess came to life.
While strawberries are traditional in this dessert, you can use other fruit that you may have. Try raspberries, blueberries or a combination of fruit. However, it won't be a true, traditional Eton Mess without strawberries!
Want to make it even easier? Use store-bought meringue cookies instead of baking your own!
Looking for more gluten-free dessert inspiration? Check my dessert recipe collection.
This recipe has been popular since it was first published in 2017. I have tweaked the recipe and added new photos and information.
🗒 More gluten-free dessert recipes
When you make this recipe, please leave a comment and a rating below. I love hearing from you. Thanks in advance! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter and have new recipes delivered straight to your inbox.
Traditional Strawberry Eton Mess
For the meringue (pavlova)
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 ½ cups berry sugar, or caster sugar* see Recipe notes below
- 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar or lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the cream
- 1 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 - 3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- 2 cups strawberries sliced
- 1 tablespoon Gran Marnier or other orange liqueur
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- Heat oven to 250°F. LIne a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large squeaky clean glass or metal bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) beat egg whites w until very frothy and white. Gradually add sugar, ¼ cup at a time and beat until very stiff and glossy. Add the cream of tartar and cornstarch. The meringue should be very stiff and the tip should not move or bend over.
- Spread the meringue on parchment paper-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches thick (or form into 3-inch meringue circles, if you like. Reduce the oven temperature to 225°F. and bake for 90 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the meringue sit in the oven for an hour or even overnight.
- In a medium bowl, combine sliced strawberries with Triple Sec or other orange liqueur and orange zest.
- When ready to serve the dessert, whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar and vanilla just until stiff. Roughly crumble the meringue, leaving bite-sized pieces.* See note. Layer the crumbled meringue, strawberries and whipped cream, repeating layers to fill your dessert dishes. Garnish with a light dusting of orange zest.