5 Ingredients or Fewer

Italian Meringue

March 24, 2020
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Makes about 3 cups
Author Notes

My go-to meringue is Italian meringue. I love it because it’s so stable and it whips up so beautifully glossy, thick, and shiny. It’s made by cooking a sugar syrup, then adding that hot syrup to whipping egg whites. Because the sugar is cooked into a syrup, this recipe is also ideal for using other sweeteners, like honey or molasses (see variations, below). It’s ideal for use as a finishing component for cakes, pies, or pastries.

Honey Italian Meringue: Replace ¾ cup (149 grams) of the granulated sugar with ½ cup (170 grams) honey (I particularly like to use wildflower honey here). Molasses Italian Meringue: Replace ½ cup (99 grams) of the granulated sugar with ⅓ cup (120 grams) molasses. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Italian Meringue
  • 4 large (142 grams) egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 3/4 cups (340 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) water
  • Vanilla extract, or other flavoring (optional)
  1. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment.
  2. In a medium pot, combine the sugar and water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the mixture until it begins to simmer, but once it does, stop stirring (agitating the boiling sugar can cause it to crystallize). If any sugar crystals are visible on the sides of the pot, use a pastry brush dipped in cool water to brush them away/dissolve them. Continue to cook until the mixture read 230°F on a thermometer.
  3. When the temperature reaches 230°F, start whipping the egg whites on medium speed—the goal is to get it frothy by the time the sugar syrup reaches 240°F.
  4. When the sugar syrup reaches 240°F, raise the mixer speed to high, and gently pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer—try to pour near the side of the bowl so that it slides down into the mixture—if you hit the whip, it flings the sugar around in the bowl and it doesn’t all get incorporated/can harden. Once all the syrup is incorporated, continue to whip until the meringue holds desired peaks (about 4 to 5 minutes for soft, 5 to 7 minutes for medium, 8 to 9 minutes for stiff). Add the vanilla (or other flavoring, if using) towards the end of mixing. Use immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Betsy Levy
    Betsy Levy
  • Marsha Loewenberg
    Marsha Loewenberg
  • BristanK
  • davidzgeorge
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

4 Reviews

Marsha L. April 16, 2023
The video for this recipe was excellent! Thank you for such clear explanations and demonstrations. I appreciated your information about how things in a recipe work. The recipe turned out perfect!! I was worried about my timing for frothing the egg whites and watching the thermometer, but it all worked out. I found that once the temperature on the sugar syrup gets to about 220 F., it starts rising quickly. I beat the combined ingredients for 9 minutes and then added a teaspoon of vanilla and gave it another beat to combine. This gave me enough to frost the top and sides of a 9" 3-layer pistachio cake. I think this frosting will work well for this cake and not detract from the delicate pistachio flavor. Thank you! I think I need to add a turntable to my baking supplies -- and maybe a blowtorch?!?!
BristanK October 7, 2021
I love how detailed this recipe is and the explanation.
Betsy L. March 4, 2021
The printed recipe is for Italian meringue, but I'm pretty sure the video is for Swiss meringue - ?
davidzgeorge January 15, 2021
Thanks for the fantastic video. After all these years of watching GBBO, finally understanding the differences between the meringues is great. Planning on an Italian meringue for my lime tart!