How to Make Eton Mess

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Eton Mess is a strange name for a sweet treat, but I think you’ll fall in love with this British crushed meringue dessert. I’ll teach you how to make Eton Mess, along with some variations you will love!

Eton Mess - meringues, strawberries and cream - in a delicate bowl.

What is Eton Mess?

Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert that is made with a mixture of whipped cream, crushed meringue, and fresh berries. The dessert is believed to have originated at Eton College, a prestigious boarding school in England.

I love how it got its name, since I actually went to an Eton-Harrow cricket match when I lived in England. Apparently at the annual match in the late 1800s, a beautiful meringue and cream dessert was dropped. (Probably after one too many Pimm’s Cups!) 

The dessert was salvaged and served as small cups of crushed meringue, cream and berries. And that is how it continues to be served today.

Close up of Eton Mess dessert in a bowl.

An American Girl in London Cookbook Review

I have been wanting to post an Eton Mess recipe for a long time. So when I was approached by Marissa Hermer (Ladies of London), and asked if I’d be willing to try out one of her recipes from her new cookbook, An American Girl in London, I was excited to find Eton Mess in the “pudding” (aka dessert) section. 

Cookbook opened to Eton Mess recipe.

It took me about 20 seconds to know that was the recipe I wanted to try! 

I was intrigued by Marissa’s title, because I was once an American girl in London too! Marissa is a California girl who now lives in London with her restaurateur husband and three children.

"An American Girl in London" cookbook cover.

There are so many things to love about this book. The photos are gorgeous, the recipes are easy to follow, and I love the stories that accompany the recipes. I also love that she has taken traditional British recipes and given them a California spin. 

Of course you’ll find lots of traditional recipes too. Her mother-in-law’s cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches are next on my list!

How to Make Eton Mess

The traditional recipe for Eton Mess is just three ingredients – meringues, fresh whipped cream and fresh berries. So easy, yet so light and pretty, even if the word “mess” is in the name!

This recipe uses Greek yogurt to lighten the cream, which I was a bit skeptical of at first. But I really love the tang of this Eton Mess with yoghurt. 

Tip: Use real Greek yogurt, as it’s definitely thicker and tastier than regular yogurt. 

The recipe also calls for rose water, which is totally optional, but gives the whipped cream a nice, light, floral undertone. I just happened to have both rose water and rose petals from my mom’s Rose Shortbread, so I was able to follow Marissa’s recipe exactly. 

Here’s what you’ll need for this easy Eton Mess recipe:

  • One batch meringues 
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 teaspoon rose water, optional
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar), sifted
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons freeze-dried strawberries for garnish, optional
  • 1 Tablespoon rose petals chopped for garnish, optional

This dessert is best served in clear glasses or bowls so you can see the pretty “mess.” But any small, beautiful dish will work.

I took the opportunity to pull out Spencer’s grandmother’s Limoges china, which never gets used. Her set just happened to have fruit bowls, so why not? You could also use champagne glasses or small ramekins.

Pretty china bowls and spoons on a table with meringues, cream and strawberries.

While I was assembling the ingredients, I thought it would be fun to put out all the ingredients separately. Put out meringues, whipped cream and a variety of fresh berries and let guests make their own “Mess.” This would be a great shower or Mother’s Day dessert idea!

Can You Use Store-Bought Meringues for Eton Mess?

I’ve got a great recipe for meringues, but if you really don’t feel like making them from scratch, you can purchase store or bakery meringues. Trader Joe’s makes delicious meringues, and you should also be able to find them in your local bakery.

Meringues on a white plate.

Can You Make Eton Mess in Advance?

If you’re making Eton Mess for a party, it is a great recipe to make in advance. The meringues can be prepared up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container.

Wash and hull the berries and refrigerate until ready to assemble. The cream can be prepared several hours in advance, covered and stored in the refrigerator.

What Are Some Eton Mess Variations?

If you’re looking for an Eton Mess dessert with a twist, you can add almost any ingredient you love with the meringues and cream. Try some of these ideas:

  • Use raspberries (or any berry!) instead of strawberries for a Raspberry Eton Mess.
  • Add dark chocolate chips or chocolate sauce for a Chocolate Eton Mess.
  • Try bananas, peaches, mangoes, cherries, or just about any fruit.
Overhead view of strawberries, cream, and meringues in a bowl.
eton mess

Eton Mess with Strawberry Meringues

Cynthia
A traditional British "pudding" or dessert made of meringues, whipped cream and berries.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 8 servings
Calories 180 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 10 meringue cookies
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 teaspoon rose water optional
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar) sifted
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons freeze-dried strawberries for garnish optional
  • 1 Tablespoon rose petals chopped for garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, whisk the cream until thickened.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth, then fold through the whipped cream, vanilla bean seeds (or extract), rose water (optional) and icing (powdered) sugar.
  • Roughly chop the strawberries, reserving a few for garnish.
  • To assemble, roughly break up the meringues. Begin by layering the cream, berries, and meringue in bowls or glasses. Repeat the layering, then garnish with strawberries, freeze-dried berries (if using) and rose petals (if using), and mint.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 180kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 5gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 17mgPotassium: 168mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 443IUVitamin C: 67mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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74 Comments

  1. I would semi-gift this to my eldest son who is aspiring to be a chef/baker/cook ~ said semi because I would be helping him achieve these recipes.

  2. Love how gorgeous it looks too! 🙂

    Thanks so much for linking up to our Sunday LINK PARTY at Bird’s Party Blog!!

    Your gorgeous party is being featured this Sunday!! Don’t forget to stop by and link up some more fun party posts ♥

  3. This looks effin yummy!! I would definitely try this out… This looks like a great alternative for what I am having these days. Getting sick of eating the same ol food. :))

  4. 5 stars
    We made this for a Sunday night dinner with my husband’s coworker who was in from out of town. Hubby had been looking for dishes that were “fancy but simple”. This one fit that bill for dessert with the added bonus that we could prep everything in the afternoon. I especially loved the combination of the whipped cream and Greek yogurt. I’m likely to use that trip on other recipes! (PS – we had to skip the rose water and thought it was just fine without!)

    1. So glad to hear. Yep, the rose water can totally be omitted and the flavor still is great! You can even cheat and use store-bought meringues for an even quicker version!

  5. I’ve not made Eaton mess in ages. It is yummy! This is a completely different version to the one I’m used to.

  6. Being British, Eton Mess is a classic and familiar dessert that we have often in the summer months. I like the addition of strawberry meringues. Mich x

    1. Since we alrea have strawberries in our garden, I decided to make Eton Mess for a family dinner. It turned out great and I served it in lovely antique dishes. Tea towel.

  7. Oh my goodness I have pinned this recipe as it looks amazing 😉 I love strawberry anything and the pictures…. I want to dive into the screen. Thank you for sharing and printing the recipe next 😉

  8. This is perfect for my book club! And I think mini chocolate chips would be a great addition. I would love to enter for the drawing for the tea towel and shortbread.

5 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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