Bags of Italian Meringue Buttercream in a green to pink gradient

How to make Italian Buttercream

This creamy, silky buttercream is perfect for decorating cakes and beyond delicious! It's easier to make than you think and might just become your go to frosting! 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 1 Dessert
Calories 4298 kcal
Author John Kanell



  • 4 egg whites large
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar 267g
  • Pinch kosher salt optional
  • 16 ounces unsalted butter 454g, room temperature cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract optional, 4.9mL
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar .84g
  • 1/3 cup water 79mL



  1. Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar, slowly add in 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.

  2. In a medium saucepan add the remaining sugar and 1/3 cup water then place on medium-low heat.

  3. Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.

  4. Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 235-240F.

  5. Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately.

  6. Run mixer until meringue is cool/tepid.

  7. Switch to a paddle attachment. Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time.

  8. Add the salt and vanilla if using

  9. Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Common Problems: If your buttercream is "soupy," just pop it into the fridge for a couple of minutes, then beat it. It should thicken up. I find consistency problems arise mostly from the meringue being too warm when the butter is added. Chilling it will help improve the consistency. 

If you're adding flavorings (i.e. chocolate, fruit, etc). to your Italian buttercream, I suggest doing this as the very last step. 

Storage:If you're not using your buttercream IMMEDIATELY -- and it will be sitting for a few minutes -- then just keep in mind that you will have to give it a short whip to "bring it back to life" as it loses its consistency quickly. If you want to make the buttercream ahead of time, it can be refrigerated for a few days. Once you're ready to use it, allow it come to room temperature and give it a short "whip." For those people that are used to regular buttercream: Italian buttercream is LESS SWEET and more BUTTERY! You can always add MORE SUGAR SYRUP to your meringue to sweeten it a bit further.

Nutrition Facts
How to make Italian Buttercream
Amount Per Serving (1 batch)
Calories 4298 Calories from Fat 3303
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 367g 565%
Saturated Fat 233g 1165%
Cholesterol 975mg 325%
Sodium 57mg 2%
Potassium 232mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 267g 89%
Sugars 266g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 226.7%
Calcium 10.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.