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Italian Meringue Buttercream

Categories: Desserts
Contributed by: Kelly CA

I like a meringue buttercream because it is not too sweet. Here is the recipe I like to use:


  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 238° on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).

2. Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff but not dry; do not overbeat.

3. With mixer running, add syrup to whites in a stream, beating on high speed until no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes; beat in vanilla. If icing curdles, keep beating until smooth.

This is a great recipe. The ising is smooth and not grainy, the way icings made with confectioner's sugar can be. It is light and creamy and not too sweet.