Italian Buttercream

This might more correctly be called Italian Meringue Buttercream, because it isbasicallyItalian Buttercream
a mixture of Italian meringue and softened butter.

There are no yolks in an Italian buttercream. The plus is it is lighter. The minus (if it is one) is that the butter flavor stands out even more.

This frosting can be flavored just like the French buttercream.

Italian Buttercream
What You Need
  • 8 oz. sugar
  • 2 oz. water
  • 4 oz. egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 10 oz. butter
  • 1¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • optional: liqueur of your choice--just a splash or two; you don't want your buttercream to be too loose.
What To Do
  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid and cook the sugar to 244 degrees, F.
  2. While your syrup is boiling, whip the whites and salt on medium speed of your stand mixer to soft peaks. This is a timing issue, so watch them carefully. If you overbeat your whites before your syrup reaches temperature, they'll be grainy and dumb. Adjust the speed of the mixer up or down and try and get your whites to the perfect consistency at the same time your sugar reaches 244F.
  3. When the syrup is ready, with mixer on medium low, pour syrup in a thin stream down the inside of the mixing bowl. This will give the syrup a chance to cool off a bit as well as keeping the syrup from getting spun all over the sides of the mixer by the whisk attachment.
  4. Turn mixer to high and whip until whites are completely cool and hold firm peaks.
  5. Add the softened butter, a bit at a time making sure one addition is blended in before adding the next.
  6. Beat in vanilla or flavoring of your choice.
Other Stuff to Know
For chocolate Italian buttercream, whisk in 6 oz. melted and cooled semisweet or bittersweet chocolate after all the butter is incorporated.







  1. Maranda H. says

    Hi Jenni! I still don’t have a scale and I was wondering if you could give me an idea of how many egg whites this is. Sounds like…3? I actually make something probably not too dissimilar when I make my cream cheese mousse frosting. Cream cheese beaten with a little powdered sugar. Heavy cream whipped with a small amount of powdered sugar. Then after folding that together, fold in Italian Meringue. I’ve done it without the meringue added and it’s actually still a great frosting. (In fact, it’s the only way I’ve ever gotten a cream cheese frosting to work for piping.) But I don’t remember if I’ve ever tried it with just the cream and meringue. I assume it would be even lighter than Italian Buttercream, which I also haven’t tried yet. Anyway, thanks for your time!

    P.S. I remember an episode of either America’s Test Kitchen or Cook’s Country that called this Swiss Buttercream. 🙂

    • says

      Swiss is similar, but no cigar, ATK! lol Swiss is heated/whisked over a water bath until all sugar has dissolved and then whipped. Both make lovely meringues. Egg whites are right around 1oz each, Maranda, so that should help. Your cream cheese mousse frosting sounds amazing! Will have to give that a try. =) (and go get a scale. Best $25-$30 you will ever spend. I promise)!


  1. […] Italian Buttercream:  Make a meringue sweetened and stabilized with a cooked sugar syrup (240-248F).  Whip until cool, and then whip in softened butter and flavorings.  Italian buttercream has a fairly neutral flavor, so it can be flavored in all sorts of ways.  Since the meringue is cooked, it doesn’t weep, and, as long as it’s cool, it pipes beautifully. The downside of Italian buttercream is that it needs to be kept cool.  This frosting will literally slide right off a cake if it gets warm and the butter starts to melt.  It is very fluffy and light, so maybe this is the kind of frosting the Question Asker was referencing. […]

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