Eton Mess (A Naturally Gluten Free Dessert)

One of the best no bake summer desserts ever, Eton Mess is a light and luscious blend of berries, whipped cream, and meringue. It’s easy and naturally gluten free!

wine glass filled with eton mess

One of my favorite desserts ever, Eton Mess is also one of the easiest desserts you could ever make. Put together to look like a mess, it’s so refreshing, light, and delicious!


Eton Mess is a traditional British dessert that originated at Eton College, where it was served at annual cricket matches. It’s a mixture of strawberries and/or raspberries, whipped cream, and crunchy meringue. The reason it’s called “mess” is because it’s not a very elegant, well-put-together dessert and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Often served in parfait glasses, it’s similar to a fruit fool but with added meringue. The meringue gives the extra crunch needed when everything else is soft. Eton Mess can be made in a matter of minutes and is always gluten free!

spoonful of eton mess

The Simple Steps

Not all Eton Messes are made the same. The way I like to do mine is first make a thick sauce with frozen strawberries, raspberries, and sugar. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add frozen strawberries, raspberries, and sugar and heat until the mixture comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the berries have broken down and become soft and syrupy. If desired, blend until smooth and strain seeds through a sieve. Chill until cold.

Whip heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

whipped cream in bowl with wire whisk

When ready to assemble, fold all the sliced strawberries into the chilled sauce.

strawberries folded into strawberry and raspberry sauce

Layer dollops of whipped cream with strawberries and sauce, followed by crumbled meringue in dessert glasses. Continue until you reach the top of each glass. Finish with some of the sliced strawberries in sauce.


Can I Use Other Fruit or Berries?

Although the traditional fruit is berries (either strawberries or raspberries or both), I’ve seen Eton Mess made with blueberries, pomegranates, and even passion fruit and bananas! This recipe by Mary Berry is for the latter.

How Far in Advance Can Eton Mess be Made?

Because whipped cream tends to weep as it sits, I wouldn’t recommend making this too far in advance, maximum one hour. Also, the meringue will begin to soften the longer it’s combined with the cream and fruit. You can prepare the fruit sauce a few days in advance, however. When ready to assemble, whip the cream, add the fresh strawberries to the sauce, and assemble!

Can the Recipe be Doubled?

Absolutely! It’s so easy to double this recipe and it’s the perfect thing to serve a crowd.


four wine glasses filled with eton mess

Eton Mess is so easy, so simple, yet so impressive. Make it for yourself, your family, or to feed a crowd. Light and fresh, everyone will love it!

wine glass filled with eton mess

Eton Mess (A Naturally Gluten Free Recipe)

One of the best no bake summer desserts ever, Eton Mess is a light and luscious blend of berries, whipped cream, and meringue. It's easy and naturally gluten free!
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine English
Servings 4 servings, depending on size of serving vessel


  • 1 recipe strawberry & raspberry sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 lb (454 g) fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (31 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 16 meringue cookies (such as Trader Joe's or Krunchy Melts)

Strawberry and Raspberry Sauce

  • 1 lb (about 454 g) strawberries and raspberries, frozen (you can use one or the other or equal amounts of both, which is what I do)
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar


Make the sauce

  • In a small saucepan over medium low heat, add the frozen berries and sugar and stir until the berries begin to release their own juices.
  • Increase the heat to medium and simmer until the berries have broken down, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. You can use a potato masher to help break down the berries if you need to. Cook the sauce until the sugar has completely melted and the sauce is thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes more.
  • Strain into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to release as much of the juices as possible. Discard the solids and seeds. Cover and refrigerate the sauce until cold, at least one hour but up to 3 days.

Whip the Cream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer), whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

Assemble Eton Mess

  • Combine the berry sauce with the fresh sliced strawberries.
  • In a dessert parfait glass or other type of tall glass, such as a wine glass, dollop a spoonful of the whipped cream, followed by the berries and sauce and crumbled meringues. Repeat this until you have reached the top of the glass. My wine glasses will hold 4 crushed meringue cookies each.
Keyword eton mess, Gluten Free
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