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A cupcake on a mini stand with Italian buttercream piped on top. More cupcakes in the background.

How to Make Italian Buttercream

Creamy, silky, and smooth, this Italian Buttercream is a buttery and not too sweet buttercream that everyone will love. Perfect for decorating cakes or piping, this will be your new go-to frosting!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 436kcal


  • Mixer
  • Medium pot


  • 4 egg whites large, room temperature
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar (267g)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt optional
  • 16 ounces unsalted butter (454g) room temperature cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract optional (4.9mL)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (0.84g)
  • cup water (79mL)


  • Beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar, slowly add in ⅓ cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.
  • While the eggs are getting whipped add the remaining sugar and ⅓ cup of water into a medium pot and place on medium-low heat.
  • Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.
  • Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 235-240F.
  • Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately. At this point the meringue should be at the soft peak stage.
  • Run mixer until meringue is cool/tepid.
  • Switch to a paddle attachment. Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time.
  • Add the salt and vanilla if using.
  • Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.



  • Eggs are easier to separate when cold, but egg whites whip up easier when closer to room temperature. I recommend separating them in advance if you have the time. In addition, allowing the egg whites to sit gives them a chance to relax, which improves their elasticity during the whipping process.
  • It is essential to have a clean and dry bowl for whipping the egg whites. The egg whites cannot contain any egg yolk whatsoever. If the bowl is not completely clean or yolk-free, it prevents your meringue from setting up.
  • If your equipment or bowl has grease on it, wipe down everything with lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Monitor the temperature of your sugar syrup closely, you don’t want it to get too hot.
  • Make sure you are using a medium pot as the sugar mixture will bubble as it heats up and will overflow out of a small pot.
  • If you loved how my IMBC looked in my brown butter orchid cake, check out my how to decorate a cake post for lots of helpful tips and a full how-to video on decorating!


Serving: 1batch | Calories: 436kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 43mg | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 1134IU | Calcium: 11mg