Sarah's Italian Meringue Buttercream


This is sort of a finicky frosting, but so good. Once you master this type of buttercream, you will never go back to the overly sweet powdered sugar type icing. It's light and fluffy and just the right sweetness. It's the type of frosting found in most high-end gourmet pastry shops. You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe. Makes enough to generously frost a two-layer 9-inch round cake.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
7 mins
Total Time:
37 mins
4 cups


  • 1 cup pasteurized liquid egg whites (such as Crystal Farms® All Whites®)

  • 1 ¼ cups white sugar, divided

  • ¼ cup cold water

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon chunks

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Pour egg whites into the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; beat at medium speed until frothy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.

  2. Combine remaining 1 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook until syrup reaches 244 degrees F (117 degrees C) or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a firm but pliable ball.

  3. Increase mixer speed to high and pour syrup in a slow and steady stream down the side of the bowl, beating until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high and continue beating until meringue is stiff and the sides of the bowl feel barely warm, 3 to 4 minutes more.

  4. Beat in butter 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth. Switch to the paddle attachment, add vanilla extract, and beat on high until buttercream is light and fluffy, 4 to 7 minutes.

Cook's Notes:

If syrup looks crystallized in step 2, it is because it was heated too quickly and you will need to start the syrup over. If buttercream looks curdled in step 4, continue to beat until smooth.

Flavor variations:

Vanilla Bean: Beat in seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean pod

Chocolate: Beat in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate that has been melted and cooled

Raspberry or strawberry: Beat in 1/4 to 1/2 cup raspberry or strawberry puree

Other flavors: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons flavor extract

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

366 Calories
31g Fat
21g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 366
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 31g 39%
Saturated Fat 19g 97%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 38mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 3g
Calcium 10mg 1%
Potassium 11mg 0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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