How to make a glossy and fluffy Italian meringue frosting with this quick and easy recipe. A perfect meringue recipe as a base for all your homemade pastries and desserts, to decorate a pie, a lemon tart, top a cake, and make decadent desserts.
In pastry making, meringue is a basic recipe composed mainly of egg whites and sugar, the whole is whipped for a long time until obtaining a voluminous, white, and glossy texture.
It can then be used in different ways in pastry, in frosting or to fill a cake or a meringue baked version, it gives a meringue with a crunchy texture as in the pavlova recipe.
There are 3 types of meringues, the French meringue where the sugar is directly mixed with the egg whites, the Swiss meringue where the eggs are pasteurized with the sugar in a double boiler before being whipped and this Italian meringue recipe where the whites are whipped with cooked sugar syrup.
The Italian meringue is certainly the smoothest and creamiest of the meringues, it's the one used in the recipe of the lemon meringue tart or its American variation, the lemon meringue pie, or even on a Norwegian omelette recipe (baked Alaska).
Like Swiss meringue buttercream, this meringue is also used to make buttercream frosting, Italian buttercream, but also in several pastries, such as macaron shells, for piping cupcakes or in fruist mousse recipes.
>> See all frosting and filling recipes from the blog
Here are the ingredients needed to make an Italian meringue at home for your desserts, scroll down to see the quantities in the recipe card.
- Eggs: Use fresh egg whites (not cold) rather than several days aged eggs for a very stable and voluminous meringue, especially at room temperature.
- Syrup: A mixture of white granulated sugar and water to make the sugar syrup cooked in a small bowl (244°F - 248°F / 118°C-121°C).
⚠️ You will find the quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of the page.
Useful materials: Stand mixer or an electric mixer and a sugar thermometer.
How to make Perfect Italian meringue
1 - Beat the egg whites
- Place room-temperature egg whites in the mixer bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Mix at medium-low speed while preparing syrup until whites are just frothy or until soft peaks form.
Tip: The egg whites should be just frothy and not stiffly beaten before adding the cooked sugar syrup.
2 - Sugar syrup
- Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan.
- Heat the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil while checking the temperature with a cooking thermometer, which should read at least 244°F / 118°C.
Tip: If you don't have a candy thermometer, I explain below how to know when the syrup is ready.
3 - Add the syrup
- Turn down the speed of the stand mixer and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup over the sides of the mixing bowl containing the egg white mixture.
- Then turn to high speed and process until the meringue is shiny, firm and completely cooled (about 15 minutes).
- Use the Italian meringue immediately in your desserts to make your Italian meringue buttercream or leave it at room temperature and whisk it again before using to give it a smooth texture.
Tip: Beat Italian meringue until it is completely cool, you can touch the bottom of the bowl which must be cold and until stiff peaks form.
How to do without a thermometer?
The cooked syrup should have a temperature between 118°C and 121°C, ideally, you use a candy thermometer to easily measure the temperature. But if you don't have one, here is a tip to know when the sugar is at the right temperature:
First, let the sugar and water cook for about 4 minutes over medium heat, then check from time to time by dipping a fork into the pan and dropping a small amount of hot syrup into a glass of cold water.
If the sugar forms a ball of malleable sugar (soft ball stage) then it's ready, if the sugar forms a filament then it's undercooked and if you have a hard ball then it's overcooked.
How to flavor meringue
Here are some ideas to flavor your Italian meringue and make it tastier.
- With chocolate: by adding melted chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Flavoring: Bitter almond extract, lemon juice or lemon zest, orange juice, rose water, vanilla bean, or pure vanilla extract, etc.
- Fruit purees: Raspberries, strawberries, mangoes, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions about Meringue
The acidity of the white vinegar helps stabilize the whipped egg whites, which keep an airy texture and do not collapse.
Add a few drops of gel food coloring to the meringue and whisk again until the meringue is well colored.
Tips for a successful meringue
- Use clean utensils: Beware of fatty residues that prevent the eggs from rising properly. Clean bowl well under hot soapy water or wipe them with a cloth soaked in white vinegar.
- Fresh eggs at room temperature: Fresh and room temperature eggs rise better and are more stable than aged eggs, which rise faster, but fall back and do not give a stable meringue.
- Frothing the whites: Be careful not to beat the egg whites too quickly before adding the cooked sugar, you just need to have foamy egg whites, not stiff ones
- Add acidity: Fresh lemon juice, white vinegar or cream of tart helps stabilize the whipped egg whites and gives a nice voluminous meringue, even after baking.
- Utiliser un thermomètre : Un indispensable en pâtisserie et il n'y a certainement pas de meilleure façon de réussir un sirop de sucre.
At room temperature: The cooked sugar syrup incorporated into the egg whites allows the meringue to be stored at room temperature, in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 48 hours.
Cooked meringue can also be stored at room temperature for about 2 weeks in a humidity-free storage box.
In the fridge: It can be kept for up to 5 days in the fridge covered with plastic wrap. Due to the humidity, it may become watery in the fridge, so it is best to use it immediately.
More frosting recipes
- Mascarpone frosting
- Chocolate mascarpone frosting
- Buttercream cream cheese frosting
- Vanilla buttercream
- French buttercream
- Russian buttercream
- Chocolate ganache
- Whipped ganache
- Milk chocolate ganache
- White chocolate ganache
- Coconut ganache
More recipes with meringue
- Raspberry and chocolate meringue
- Chocolate macarons
- Lemon meringue cake
- Lemon Meringue Tartlets
- Swiss meringue buttercream
- White chocolate swiss meringue buttercream
- Red fruit pavlova
- Strawberry mini pavlova
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- Total Time: 25 minutes
Recipe for glossy and creamy Italian meringue (quantity for a large pie of 10 inch / 25 cm)
- 2 egg whites - room temperature
- 150 g (¾ cup) Sugar - granulated
- 34 g ( 2 ½ tbsp) water
- Place room-temperature egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Beat on medium slow speed until you have foamy egg whites.
- Meanwhile, cook the syrup by mixing the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Check the temperature with a sugar thermometer which should reach 244°F / 118°C.
- Lower the speed of the mixer and drizzle the hot sugar over the edge of the mixing bowl where the egg whites are.
- Continue mixing at high speed for about ten minutes until you have a shiny, cooled and firm meringue.
- Use the Italian meringue immediately to garnish or decorate your cakes and desserts.
Conservation: Up to 48 hours in the refrigerator under a plastic wrap, the cooked meringue can be kept at room temperature up to 2 weeks.
- Use fresh eggs at room temperature.
- You can add a pinch of cream of tartar or ½ teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to stabilize the egg whites and make the meringue firmer.
- You can add food coloring gels or flavorings to the meringue.
- Check the temperature with a candy thermometer.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: frosting, filling
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Italian meringue, meringue frosting
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