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Recipe: Italian Meringue Buttercream

Posted by Kristin Martin on

My Favourite Buttercream icing for piping with Russian nozzles

Italian Meringue Buttercream


2 cups plain sugar

2/3 cup water

5 large egg whites (no. 7)

450 gm butter, cubed, cool but not cold

2 tsp vanilla

Pinch salt (optional)

Pinch of cream of tartar (optional)

For the chocolate variation:

1 ¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate, melted but not hot




  1. Mix half the sugar with the water in a medium saucepan and stir until sugar dissoves.
  2. Boil until mixture reaches 115 C. (If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, test your syrup by taking a tiny bit of syrup on a spoon and dip it into ice water.  If it forms a malleable little ball when you grab it it is ready. )
  3. Whilst your sugar and water is heating, start whisking you egg whites. You can add the pinch of salt/cream of tartar if using.  When the eggs start to look frothy, slowly start adding the remainder of your sugar.
  4. Continue whisking until stiff peaks appear. If your sugar syrup isn’t yet ready, stop beating your meringue so it doesn’t overwhisk
  5. Once your sugar syrup is ready, turn your mixture to high and SLOWLY pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Try and do this in a steady stream and don’t hit the whisk attachment – SUGAR SYRUP IS EXTREMELY HOT and you don’t want it splashing around.
  6. Keeping whipping the meringue until it is very stiff and the bowl has cooled right down (feel the bottom of it). You don’t want to be adding the butter to a hot mixture.
  7. Once the bowl has cooled down, switch the balloon whisk attachment for the k blade/paddle
  8. Start adding the butter, piece by piece, until fully incorporated and the buttercream is smooth and creamy.
  9. Switch back to your balloon whisk and then add any colours or flavourings and beat until light and fluffy.
  10. If you’re freezing or leaving in the fridge for a while, re-beat it with the balloon whisk to fluff it back up.

For the chocolate variation:

  1. Once the butter has been fully incorporated, pour in your chocolate all at once and immediately fold it in with a spatula or beat it in with the paddle attachment.