Whether your tendency as a cook leans more towards zabaglione, Hollandaise, or salt-cured yolks—or all three—there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself with a few extra egg whites in the ice box at one point or another. And while there’s a time and a place for a virtuous egg white omelette (Pro tip: Go heavy-handed with the heavy cream), there’s no reason to restrict those eggy underdogs to the breakfast table.

Egg whites require little more than a scoop of sugar to whip up into a bouffant of fluffy meringue. On its own, the substance is a purely magical thing. Piled high atop a layer of puckery lemon curd—or folded right into fruity custard for an ethereal chiffon—sweet meringue is a source of levity on dessert menus dominated by heavier confections. When wrapped around ice cream for baked Alaska, set aflame tableside, meringue lends a retro, all-too-lacking note of dining room drama.

Meringue is also the base for luxurious Swiss and Italian buttercreams—among the most elegant ways to coat a cake—as well as the dessert world’s photogenic Instagram darling, the Pavlova. It’s the “îles” in îles flotant (and the “oeufs” in oeufs à la neige). Some even consider it the fluffy crown of shaken, egg-white cocktails like New Orleans’ Ramos gin fizz. However you whip (or shake) them, egg whites are a valuable ingredient, worth saving for any one of these, our very best meringue recipes.

Lemon Chiffon Pie

Lemon Chiffon Pie
Retro and mousse-like, lemon chiffon pie is a diner classic. Just don’t call it meringue. Get the recipe for Lemon Chiffon Pie. Grant Cornett

Lemon Meringue Pie

Modern Snack Bar Lemon Meringue Pie
A cloud of meringue is piled sky-high over lemon-curd filling in this recipe inspired by a diner classic served at the Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue, New York. Landon Nordeman

Celery-Rhubarb Vacherin

Celery and Rhubarb Vacherin
The two stalky vegetables are a surprising but elegant pairing atop crispy-sweet meringue. Joseph de Leo

Easy French Meringues

Easy Meringues
Get the recipe for Easy Meringues » Nicole Franzen

Rainbow Sorbet Baked Alaska

Rainbow Baked Alaska
Five different flavors of sorbet are encased in meringue in this towering cake. Get the recipe for Rainbow Baked Alaska » Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

Îles Flottantes

16 Meringue Recipes for When You Have an Abundance of Egg Whites
Sprinkled on top of these delicate meringues—which float in a vanilla custard—are praline roses, caramel-coated almonds dyed a bright pink. The color’s a bit shocking, but they’re a staple of Lyonnaise pâtisseries and lend a nice crunch and color to this white-on-white backdrop. Get the recipe for Meringue Floating in Crème Anglaise » Matt Taylor-Gross

Cranberry Chiffon Pie

16 Meringue Recipes for When You Have an Abundance of Egg Whites
Fresh or frozen cranberries make the base for this tart chiffon pie. Andrew Ingalls

Vanilla Meringue

Vanilla Meringue
This classic meringue from San Francisco’s Bi-Rite Creamery can be used as-is for a gooey, marshmallow-fluff-like topping or lightly brûléed with a torch for a toasty, s’mores-style shell. To ensure an airy, voluminous meringue, make sure your bowl and whisk are wiped clean and the whites aren’t ice-cold—room temperature is ideal. Matt Taylor-Gross

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska
Layers of ice cream are enrobed in fluffy meringue in a classic baked Alaska. Matt Taylor-Gross

Chocolate-Corn Flake Meringues

Chocolate-Cornflake Cookies
Cornflakes bring a pleasing crunch to these chewy chocolate meringues, a popular holiday treat in Iceland. See the recipe for Chocolate Cornflake Cookies » Ingalls Photography

Ramos Gin Fizz

Ramos Gin Fizz
Even though it’s made with cream and egg white, the classic Ramos gin fizz is ethereally light. Matt Taylor-Gross

Italian Buttercream

Italian Buttercream Frosting
The rich, light-as-air frosting known as Italian buttercream starts with an Italian meringue. The fluffy egg white mixture creates a stable frosting with a silky texture that’s perfect for icing cakes and for filling macarons. Farideh Sadeghin

Lady Baltimore Cake

Lady Baltimore Cake
This striking Southern dessert, with its three rose-water infused layers and Italian meringue frosting studded with pecans, raisins, dried figs, and candied orange peel, seems born for elegant tea parties. Andre Baranowski

Tim Tam Pavlova

Tim Tam Pavlova
Tim Tam cookies are the star of this oh-so Australian Pavlova. Farideh Sadeghin

Thomas Keller’s Coconut Cake

Meringue gives the frosting for Thomas Keller’s Coconut Cake its exquisitely cloud-like texture. Matt Taylor-Gross

Classic Pavlova

The key to a successful pavlova is patience: Allow the meringue to cool completely before transferring it to the plate or cake stand. You’ll prevent any crumbling that can occur when the process is rushed. Get the recipe for Pavlova » Dave Lieberman

Watch: How To Make Meringue