Italian Buttercream Frosting

Italian Buttercream Frosting

Italian Buttercream Frosting @createdbydiane

I LOVE this frosting!

It’s so wonderfully rich and creamy.

It’s not an overly sweet frosting, which I really like.

I’ve made a few batches trying to find the combination I liked best.

I found recipes on, all recipes, and King Arthur Flour.

I found many tips on making it and made many batches until I got it just the way I liked it.

Bring sugar syrup to 240 degrees

mix egg whites with cream of tartar

whip egg whites until stiff

Adding the butter in small pieces helps it blend together well.


Ice packs on the motor of the Kitchen-aid Mixer help keep the motor cool, while you are mixing it for 8-10 minutes. You will hear it come together. (could take a little longer depending on temperature of ingredients)

It’s getting there!


This is what it looks like when the butter is being added.


Finished Italian Buttercream Frosting, smooth and creamy.

Italian Buttercream Frosting recipe


Italian Buttercream Frosting is my favorite recipe, I just LOVE the way it tastes. 
Very similar is Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting, which I think is a little easier to make, so you can choose which method you prefer…

And I also have a Chocolate Swiss Meringue Frosting Recipe.

Be sure to check out my post on how to frost roses here.


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5 from 1 vote

Italian Buttercream Frosting


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/4 pounds butter cubed (unsalted)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla


  • Heat granulated sugar and water in a saucepan until it reaches 245 degrees.
  • While the syrup is heating, mix egg whites on low until foamy with a whisk attachment.
  • Add cream of tarter then mix on medium to high until stiff.
  • Pour hot syrup in a slow stream into egg whites while the mixer is on high.
  • Beat for 8 minutes or until the mixture is cool.
  • To help the mixer's motor stay cool and prevent overheating place an ice pack on top of the motor and wrap ice packs around the sides of the bowl. You can tie them on with a thin dish towel.
  • Keep butter in the fridge until this point.
  • Remove the whisk attachment and put the paddle attachment on the mixer.
  • Add vanilla and butter in small cubes a bit at a time.
  • Beat until all butter is combined.
  • If it looks like it's separating or curdled or soupy looking, keep beating and keep the bowl cold if needed. The frosting will come together as long as you don't add the butter while the syrup/egg mixture is warmer than room temperature.
  • The frosting will be smooth and creamy.



    1. Sorry I’m just seeing this now, you message landed in the spam folder for comments.
      I just let it boil, I dont’ stir it.

  1. The images and directions say to place an ice pack around the bowl to keep the motor cool, as well as one on top. What do the packs wrapped around the bowl have anything to do with keeping the motor (which is in the top of the mixer) cool? Does the mixture need to stay chilled while mixing hence the ice packs around the bowl? I’m just really confused as to why ice packs around the bowl keep the motor cool.

    1. This recipe makes about 8 cups, plenty of frosting to pipe onto 24 cupcakes at about 1/4 cup each.

  2. Does this frosting need to stay refrigerated or is it OK to store the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container on the counter for a few days?

    1. the frosting is ok for a few days on counter, I would not however use an airtight container, you will trap in moisture and cupcakes in general get soggy on top where the frosting meets them, cover the cupcakes with a box, or use a bakery box for best results, or just leave them on the counter, the cake portion won’t go stale as the frosting is covering any exposed cake. (Think of a bakery, nothing is in a small closed airtight container) more air, but something to cover if you are worried about dust/bugs/hair etc getting on them. A large box placed upside down over them works well.
      Airtight containers are great for transporting them, but then take them out of the container.
      Italian buttercream stays softer than regular buttercream that crusts when it hardens in the air.

    1. Yes, if you don’t use it within two days, I would place it in the refrigerator and when you need it allow it to come to room temperature and whip it up smooth and creamy to use it. I have not frozen it, but hear others have with very good results.

  3. On recipe it says the butter room temp. then intructions say to keep in frig, so is it fig or room temp.?

    1. sorry about that, I used to keep the butter really cold until I added it. A while ago I adjusted the recipe to reflect that you don’t need to keep it that cold. I must have missed that portion in the instructions to adjust. I now just take my butter out of the fridge as I gather all my ingredients and dice it up and add it as it is, slightly cold. (I’ve adjusted the recipe to reflect the changes I’ve made, it’s easier now)

  4. I made this and it’s very yummy but what would happen if you use half the butter? Almost to much for us for our liking.

    1. I haven’t made it with half the butter. I’m not sure it would come together properly. Meaning the batter will have too much liquid and egg whites for it to be smooth, creamy and able to frost a cake/cupcake. You may prefer traditional buttercream frosting, you can find my recipe for Buttercream Frosting here
      Italian buttercream has a smooth and creamy buttery taste, if you prefer a less buttery more sugary frosting I would recommend a more traditional buttercream frosting.
      If you simply prefer it sweeter, you can add more sugar to the Italian Buttercream recipe and alternatively use salted butter to give it a sweet and savory taste.

  5. Hi, I’m making a raspberry lemon buttercream cake, however i want to use this buttercream recipe, at what point would i add lemon to the cream to give it a slight lemon flavor?

    Also, when you switch to a paddle mixer instead of the beaters could i do that by hand or should i buy a different attachment.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. If you don’t have the paddle, just use the beaters. I would not mix by hand, it would be very tiring. I would add lemon extract to the mixture at the end of mixing. 1-2 teaspoons. You could try adding fresh lemon juice, but be careful and test a small amount first. fresh lemon juice may curdle the mixture, as this is a softer textured buttercream, than traditional. I’d personally use lemon extract.

  6. This looks to be a fairly decent recipe. Others I’ve seen have used shortening — blech! I wanted to make mention that packing the bottom of the bowl in ice will not cool the motor of a KitchenAid stand mixer. The motor housing is in the top arm of the machine. Cooling the bowl whilst pouring in the sugar syrup may bring the temperature down too quickly to heat the egg whites enough to keep them from growing bacteria.

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