How to make Italian meringue buttercream

Italian meringue buttercream

This is not only one of the best tasting frostings, but its also great for decorating cupcakes with swirls and covering cakes. The Italian meringue buttercream recipe. I must say though that the cupcakes frosting on the photo did cause me problems, as I had to make it over five times to get it right.

My problem was, when I was adding the sugar syrup to the egg whites. It turned into a milky soup… that have never happend to me before and the only thing that made it ok was simply to buy new fresh egg whites and start over again with the sugar syrup. So it can be a bit tricky to make, but when it’s made it is so delicious.

Italian meringue buttercream (IMBC).

Makes 8 cups.

1/2 cup of cold water (120ml)
2 1/4 cups of caster sugar (530ml / 430gr)
1 cup of egg whites (about 6 egg whites) I use pasturized eggwhites only!
1 1/2 pound of soft unsalted butter (680gr)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Kitchen stand mixer

First set the timer on 7 mins & pour the eggwhites into the kitchen mixer with whisk attachment.

Step 1:
Place sugar & water in a casserole and bring it to the boil and start the timer. Boil it on medium/low temperature. If the syrup starts to darken quickly turn down the temperature a little.

Italian meringue buttercream 1

Step 2:
When the sugar syrup has been boiling for 5 mins. Start the kitchen mixer on full speed and whisk the egg whites for the last 2 mins. When the timer is up the sugar syrup is done. With the mixer still going on high speed slowly pour the hot syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Discard any leftover syrup in the casserole. Be very carefull not to get burned on the hot syrup.

Italian meringue buttercream 2

Step 3:
When all sugar syrup has been added it should look thick and fluffy. Stop the mixer and change for the paddle attachment. To avoid meringue splatter all over your kitchen place a clean kitchen towel over the mixer. Set the timer on 10 mins and beat on high speed. This is how long it takes in my mixer for the mixing bowl to be cool to the touch.
After 10 mins. You should now have a lovely thick meringue like on the photo.

Italian meringue buttercream 3

Step 4:
Now its time to add the butter. Start the mixer on high speed and with a knife cut pieces of the butter and add it to the meringue. When all butter is added it will not take long for mixture to turn into nice thick smoothe buttercream. When that happend slow down the mixer and add 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and start again. I do this two times. You should now have a bowl full of lovely Italian meringue buttercream.

Italian meringue buttercream 4

Note: If the IMBC wont combine just continue to whip whip whip. It will eventually get smooth. If you are still having problems, place both bowl with paddle attachment into the refrigerator and let it “cool” down a bit and then whip it again.
You can easily freeze any left over IMBC. Just remember to let the cold IMBC come back to room temperature before you placing it in the mixer to get it smooth.

Flavour options:

Raspberry: 1/4 cup of raspberry puré or more pr. 2 cups of IMBC

Lemon Curd: 1/2 cup of Lemon Curd pr. 2 cups of IMBC

Chocolate: 2-3 oz of melted chocolate, cooled down to 98 F, pr. 1 cup of IMBC

Coffee: 2 tbsp of instant coffee mixed with 2 tbsp of warm (not boiling) water pr 3 cups of IMBC

In my article “Cupcake decorating part 4” you can learn how to make beautiful swirls on you cupcakes using Italian meringue buttercream.

You can also visit my tutorial section if you want to learn how to make other icings and frostings.

See a video from CakeLove making IMBC here and see how Dyann Bakes make Swiss meringue buttercream here.

Happy Caking!



  1. Ashley says

    I made this tonight, used only 4 egg whites because I had only 6 oz of butter and it was still really good. I’ll add the rest of the butter tomorrow. The first time I made this I didn’t pour the syrup as slowly as I needed to and there were tiny bits of ‘scrambled’ egg whites in it. That was a bummer! This time, I simply poured it extra, extra slow and into the whisk, with my kitchen aid on a 10 speed- it got tempered correctly. WORKED OUT FINE! Sure am happy that this frosting freezes because it makes a very large amount. I’m going to use it sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies!

    Great recipe!

  2. alina says

    Hi i have a few questions hope not to overwhelm you:) i recently started baking cakes and i just dont like buttercream im from belarus so most of our cakes our soft creams that cannot be used under fondant.i been using heavy whipping cream,cream cheese and sugar. Yumi but fondant jc is just too heavy. I have been managing but its so risky is this buttercream tasty and can it be used under fondant. I made buttercream twice and even after cooled cakes it seemec to just melt inti the cakes. So no icing between the layers. Any tips and suggestions. Thank u so much

  3. Candy Miu says

    Great recipe. Ususally I use traditional butter cream for cupcakes and will try this recipe to see the diffences.
    May I know after putting this buttercream on top of the cupcakes, do I have to keep the cupcakes in fridge? or just keep in room temperature is fine?


  4. says

    Okay, after reading over 400 comments I am terrified haha!
    I have been reading the steps over and over and over again and I’m still afraid of wasting that much eggs and butter but I’ll try it anyways, (because I love to bake). I don’t have a candy thermometer (only a cheap one for only meet) but I’ll use it if I get nervous or anything!
    And I will update! 🙂

  5. Chelsea says

    If your buttercream split your whites were probably just a tad bit too warm. Butter melts below body temperature, so you have to make sure you feel NO heat coming from the bowl. Also, if the mixture looks a little curdled after adding all the butter try adding just a bit more!

  6. says

    I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS RECIPE!!! I have made so many variations in flavourings and it comes out a winner every time! Raspberry was to die for, Maple syrup & spice for Pumpkin cupcakes, Turkish delight bits with rose water was a hit, Cola with popping candy rocked. And of course the good old vanilla has replaced my usual vanilla buttercream (which i could never seem to get a smooth consistency). Ym yum YUM!!!!!!

  7. Millie says

    I love this recipe! I have never had a fail! It was always salvagable! I have used this recipe for 2 years now for both my boys cake! Everyone loves this frosting! Thanks for the visual! I truly love it!

  8. natasha says

    I made swiss buttercream but when i refrigerate it it get real hard.
    Does the Italian buttercream gets hard too.

  9. Alana says

    I think maybe your issue w/ the whole soupiness when adding sugar + egg whites was using pasteurized egg-whites. They usually flop in comparison to freshly separated. Other than that it was a great recipe.

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