This classic strawberry pavlova is a beautiful dessert that never fails to impress! Sweet and light meringue topped with whipped cream and fresh, juicy strawberries will have your guests coming back for more!
With crispy exterior and soft, fluffy, marshmallow-like interior, this eye-catching bake is perfect to serve at any gathering or special occasion.
This strawberry pavlova would make a great dessert on a hot summer day, but it s equally delicious any time of the year! The beauty of this bake is that it is endlessly versatile, and you can use any type of fruit that is currently in season, making it great all year round!
Here's what you need to make this recipe for pavlova:
- Egg whites - I'm using 150 grams of fresh egg whites, which is roughly about 4-5 eggs. (Save your yolks for another recipe).
- White caster sugar - Use caster sugar if possible. Caster sugar has superfine grain which dissolves much quicker.
- Cornflour - Small amount of cornflour is added to the egg whites mixture. Cornflour helps the meringue to stay soft in the centre.
- White wine vinegar - A teaspoon of vinegar goes into the meringue mixture to help stabilise the meringue and retain its shape, while preventing it from collapsing.
- Vanilla extract.
- Fresh strawberries.
- Fresh double cream or whipping cream.
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the recipe card and full list of the ingredients.
Watch the video in the recipe card to see how I made this recipe!
Before you start, make sure that the equipment you are using is clean and free of any fat residues. Using glass, metal or copper bowls will work best, as plastic bowls can be hard to get really clean. You can rub the bowl with half cut lemon, and wipe it really dry with kitchen roll afterwards.
One of the things I always do, when making the meringues, is gently heat the sugar. Warm sugar will dissolve quicker and much better in the egg whites, resulting in grit-free mixture. It will also produce stronger bond in egg whites.
Hint: To heat the sugar, preheat the oven to 200°C (170°C fan). Line the baking tray or sheet with baking paper and pour in the caster sugar, spreading it evenly. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to melt.
Start by placing the room temperature egg whites into the bowl of a mixer. Mix them on medium to high speed for 3-4 minutes until stiff peaks. Once the egg whites have stiffened, start adding the sugar gradually, 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
Keep whisking until all the sugar is used, and you have thick, shiny and glossy mixture and stiff peaks form. The sugar should be completely dissolved and the mixture should not feel or look gritty.
Hint: Test some of the mixture by feeling it between your fingers. If it still gritty, keep whisking it at full speed, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Lastly, add the cornflour, vanilla and white wine vinegar into the mixture and whisk again to combine. Transfer and mound the mixture into the lined baking sheet, and use the back of the spoon or spatula to create the desired look (watch my video in the recipe card).
Once baked, top the pavlova with whipped cream and fresh strawberries and serve immediately.
The oven temperature
One of the most crucial aspects of this recipe for a pavlova is the correct oven temperature. Too hot, and your meringue will break and crack. It will also become darker in appearance. If the temperature is too low, the meringue will simply not bake and be still raw and wet inside.
Make sure to set the right oven temperature before starting this recipe. If you are heating up the sugar before, you will need to allow the oven to cool down. I highly recommend using an oven thermometer (a separate thermometer to the one that your oven has built in), as it will be the most accurate.
My oven is the fan assisted oven, and it has a tendency of running hot, therefore my temperatures are a bit lower. If your oven is running a bit hot, you should also adjust the temperature accordingly.
- White caster sugar - As mentioned above, caster sugar has works great in this recipe as it dissolves more quickly. But you can use granulated sugar instead. Soft light brown sugar will work too (but it will create a darker meringue). Some readers have also reported a success with using an icing sugar/ powdered sugar.
- Cornflour - Replace with cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot. powder.
- White wine vinegar - You can use cider or distilled vinegar instead. Lemon juice will also work.
This recipe can be used and adapted in few different ways. Here are few of my favourites:
- Mini pavlovas - Instead of making one larger pavlova, divide the mixture into smaller portions and shape them into mini pavlovas.
- Vegan pavlova - Check out my Vegan Berry Pavlovas recipe for an egg-free version!
- Add some lemon curd - Make it even more delicious by swirling a tablespoon or two of lemon curd into the whipped cream. Check out my Homemade Lemon Curd recipe, if you want to make your own!
- Chocolate version - Add some cocoa powder or melted chocolate into the meringue mixture to turn it into chocolate pavlova. You can also check out this recipe for Double Chocolate Pavlova from Once Upon a Chef blog.
- Smash it up! - You can smash up your pavlova after baking (especially if it broke or cracked during baking) and turn it into Eton mess or fruit fool.
- Hand-held electric mixer or freestanding mixer with the balloon whisk attachment.
- Baking sheet / baking tray.
- Baking paper.
- Oven thermometer - This is optional, but really helpful when baking meringues. Most of the ovens run hot, and the temperature display is not always very accurate. Special oven thermometer will ensure the temperature is right at all times.
Storage and freezing
Strawberry pavlova is best eaten fresh, on the day it is made. Once it is topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, it should be eaten on the same day.
Make it just few hours before serving, and store (without the topping) in the airtight container in a cool, dry place. Storing the pavlova in the fridge will make it soggy.
Baked and cooled pavlova can also be frozen for up to a month. Freeze it on the baking sheet, and once frozen, wrap in a double layer of cling film. To defrost, remove it from the freezer 2-3 hours before you are planning to serve it. Unwrap it and allow it to sit at the kitchen counter until it has thawed.
What's the difference between meringue and pavlova?
Pavlova is a type of the meringue. Meringue is crispy and and dry throughout, while pavlova is crispy on the outside, but soft and fluffy inside.
Can this recipe be made ahead?
Yes, it can. You could bake it the evening, a day before you are planning to serve it. Once it is baked, turn off the oven, and leave the pavlova inside the oven until the next morning.
Why did my pavlova cracked?
The most notorious issue, when making this bake, is that it can crack and split while it bakes. There could be few reasons behind it.
- The mixture was not the right consistency - Make sure to whip it to stiff peaks before and after adding the sugar.
- The oven temperature - Crucial part of making this recipe. If the temperature is too hot, it will cause the pavlova to expand more quickly and cause it to crack. Sudden change in the oven temperature will also result in cracked surface. Turn the oven off when the meringue is cooked, but leave it inside until completely cool.
- Make sure do not open the oven door while the meringue is cooking.
Why my mixture won't stiffen and doesn't increase in volume?
There could be few reasons for that. Firstly, make sure the equipment you are using is clean and grease-free.
The egg whites have to be stiff before you start adding the sugar to them. So make sure they form stiff peaks and only then add the sugar gradually. If you add the sugar too quickly, the mixture will collapse.
Help, my pavlova is weeping!
If you didn't dissolve the sugar properly, the meringue will ooze the sugar syrup out. Make sure to use the fine sugar, like caster sugar. Heating up the sugar before adding it to the egg whites will help to prevent the meringue weeping.
Why my pavlova is chewy?
Pavlova meant to be on a chewy side. The outside shell should be light and crispy, but inside should be soft, fluffy and almost marshmallow-like.
The nature of this strawberry pavlova recipe is that it often cracks or breaks in places. But even if your pavlova breaks or doesn't look perfect, it will still taste delicious!
To pin this recipe and save it for later, use the button on the recipe card, or on any of the photos above.
If you try this recipe, or any other recipe on Anna Banana, please take a moment to rate the recipe and/ or leave me a comment. I love hearing from you , but it also helps the other readers who are thinking of making the recipe.
- 1 hand-held electric mixer or freestanding mixer with the balloon whisk attachment
- 1 large baking sheet or baking tray
- 1 baking paper
- 1 oven thermometer optional
For the pavlova:
- 150 g egg whites (about 4-5 large eggs) room temperature
- 250 g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornflour or arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 300 g fresh strawberries
- 300 ml double cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- This step is optional: Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan). Line the large baking tray with baking paper and place the caster sugar on it, spreading it evenly over the surface. Once the oven is hot, place the sugar inside for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Drop the oven temperature to 120°C.
- Preheat the oven to 120°C (fan). Using a plate roughly 20 cm in diameter, draw a circle with pencil onto baking parchment, then flip it onto the other side and line the baking tray with it. Set aside.
- Using a handheld electric mixer or freestanding mixer with the balloon whisk attachment, start beating the egg whites on medium to high speed, until they start to form stiff peaks. When the mixture turns into stiff peaks, gradually begin to add the caster sugar, 1-2 tablespoon at the time until the meringue looks shiny and glossy. Rub some of the mixture between your fingers, it should feel smooth, without any sugar grit.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cornflour or arrowroot powder, 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and whisk again. Mound the meringue inside of the circle on the baking paper and smooth the top, creating a small well in the centre. Bake in the oven for 1 hour at 120°C, then drop the temperature to 100°C and bake it for another 40 minutes.
- Turn off the oven (do not open the oven door), and let the meringue sit in the cooling oven for at least a couple of hours (or overnight). It needs to cool down gradually, otherwise it will break and collapse.
- Slice the strawberries into quarters and place them in the bowl. Sprinkle strawberries with 1-2 tablespoon of caster sugar and set aside.
- Whip the double cream with 1-2 tablespoon of icing sugar. Top the meringue with whipped cream and strawberries and drizzle with strawberry juices. Enjoy!
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
- Use metal or glass bowl rather than plastic (they're easier to keep clean and grease-free).
- Make sure to add sugar gradually. If you add it all too quickly, the structure will collapse!
- Storage: This strawberry pavlova is best eaten fresh, on the day it was made. Once it is topped with whipped cream and strawberries, it should be eaten immediately.
- Make ahead: Make it just few hours before serving it and store (without the topping) in the airtight container in a cool, dry place. You can also bake the pavlova in the evening, and leave it in the oven (make sure to turn the oven off) overnight, and serve it the next day.
- Freezing: Unfilled meringue can be frozen for up to a month. Place it in the freezer on the baking tray until it is frozen, then wrap in double layer of clingfilm and store in the freezer. Thaw it at room temperature on the kitchen counter for 2-3 hours.