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Creating Italian Meringue Buttercream

Updated: Jul 13, 2019

Buttercream icings are an essential part of any baking business. They are so many to choose from that it can sometimes be confusing knowing which buttercream type to use. (nothing beats trial and delicious error)

Just think about it, there are so many types of buttercreams e.g. Meringue-based (Italian, Swiss), Pastry cream based (Crème mousseline also known as German buttercream) and simple buttercream otherwise known as American buttercream. All different, all unique, all delicious.

Italian meringue buttercream has to be our all-time favourite, aside from our love for meringue (it’s an obsession lol) this buttercream holds a sweet spot in our hearts. It’s light, smooth creamy and delicious, and did we mention DELICIOUS!!


To achieve this creamy goodness that is Italian meringue, there are some basic fundamental things you should know.

What is Italian meringue buttercream made of?

Essentially this meringue-based buttercream is made with egg whites, sugar, water, flavouring, lemon juice and butter! That’s it 6 simple ingredients will get you this cream and delicious buttercream.

How is Italian meringue buttercream made?

It’s important to know that temperature is EVERYTHING when making this buttercream, your butter and egg whites should be at room temperature. Trust us we’ve learned from experience. If your egg whites are not at room temperature, you run the risk of having a large sugar lump at the bottom of you mixing bowl when your sugar syrup is added. ( it is not pretty)

Step One:

Place sugar, water and candy thermometer in a pot on the stove. This is essentially your first step in making this buttercream. As stated earlier, temperature is very important hence the candy thermometer and room temperature egg whites and butter. This mixture is boiled until it reaches a temperature of 118C some even go as high as 120C.

In this stage you are cooking sugar and water that will form a VERY hot mixture that will be poured into your egg whites. When this mixture reaches 110C that’s when you begin whipping your egg whites.

Boiling of sugar and water

Step Two:

As your sugar reaches 110C, this is when you begin to whip your eggs whites. Whip them on medium speed as to not over whip them. The egg whites will be ready by the time the sugar mixture reaches 118C. Keep an eye on the sugar mixture because for some strange reason the temperate will change drastically in a blink of an eye, trust us we know lol. Once the sugar reaches 118C you are now ready to pour it into the whipping egg whites.

Whipping eggs whites

Step Three:

By this time your sugar is at 118C and your egg whites are waiting! Please be careful in this step as the mixture is EXTREMELY hot and we wouldn’t want you getting burned. Also note, your mixer will be on during the entire process so whip it up!

Pour the sugar in a steady stream into the continuous whipping eggs white and watch the magic. Whip the mixture until you are able to touch the bottom of the mixing bowl, in other words it’s cooled. At this point you are able to add the lemon juice and flavour of your choice; the lemon juice helps to stabilize the egg whites and believe it or not it doesn’t give it a lemon flavour.

Pouring sugar into whipping egg whites

Due to the constant whipping you will notice your mixture become a glossy white, the magic is working. Congratulations on making your very own Italian meringue, go ahead get a spoonful, heaven knows we indulge at this stage lol, we already told you we had an obsession with meringue. Once the bowl is cooled to the touch is time to add the butter!

Whipping meringue until cooled

Step Four:

Here comes the butter! Come on what’s a buttercream without the butter? A delicious but boring meringue lol, don’t take our word for it. Now that the meringue is cooled but still whipping, you are able to add butter. If the butter is too soft just stick it back in the fridge for a few to firm up, oh yea the butter should be cut into cube size pieces (clearly, we forgot to mention this) before it’s added to the meringue.

So here’s the deal this part can be very tricky if you’re not used to it. The butter is added to stages and small pieces (hence the cube size), if added all at once there is no telling what would happen (this we haven’t tested lol). If the meringue is still warm while the butter is being added, you could end up with a soupy goodness but not to worry stick it in the fridge for a few then whip it up!

Adding butter

It’s important to note that when butter is added the meringue will drastically deflate and it may even look soupy, but as you gradually add more butter the mixture will thicken. Patience is the name of this delicious game!

Once all the butter is added continue to whip, yep your mixer does not get a break! If your mixture still looks yellow in colour, it requires more mixing. Whip that bad boy up until it’s so smooth you think it’s melting lol.

Whip it real good!


How to use Italian meringue buttercream?

Basically, now that you've made this creamy goodness, it's time to put it to good use! It’s perfect for cakes and cupcakes.

What are you waiting for? No time to waste, put that buttercream to good use. Decorate a few cakes and frost a few cupcakes whatever you do have delicious fun with it!

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