Gluten Free Meringue Buttercream Frosting – Italian Buttercream – Italian Meringue (Silky & Corn-Free)

Many people are seeking to find a gluten free buttercream frosting recipe that is silky smooth. True buttercream frosting (homemade at least) is usually naturally gluten free. The recipe below is made in a professional manner, versus the quick type we tend to make with only butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla/flavoring. This meringue buttercream frosting recipe (see below) does not use powdered sugar, making it corn-free. However, you can find corn-free powdered sugar (Trader Joe’s Organic), I find that meringue buttercream is not only silky, but it lacks that powdery taste that traditional buttercream creates.

I explain how you can flavor the frosting besides using extracts. Fruit purees are wonderful in buttercream frosting. They not only provide flavor but natural coloring, as well. What do you like to add to yours?

Don’t miss the video How to Add Butter to Italian Buttercream.

Gluten Free Buttercream Frosting

Yield: Makes enough frosting for 1 dozen cupcakes

Gluten Free Buttercream Frosting

A gluten free buttercream frosting made from stiff egg whites, a sugar syrup, butter and the flavoring of your choice. Add fruit puree, extract or melted chocolate.


  • For the Syrup:
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • For the Meringue:
  • 4 large fresh egg whites (not carton egg whites)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter (or more to taste and texture*), at room temperature, each tablespoon cut into four pieces
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract - not imitation (or almond extract, 10 oz. melted and cooled gluten-free chocolate, coconut flavoring, espresso powder added to syrup, or 6 tablespoons fruit puree)
  • Food coloring (optional)


    To Make the Syrup:
  1. Add sugar to a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the water slowly into the pan, avoiding splashing any sugar on the sides. If you do, wipe it clean immediately, as it may cause the syrup to crystalize.
  2. Stir gently a couple of times, just enough to moisten sugar.
  3. Cook until it reaches 250°F, not over (not caramelized). The larger the pan the shorter the time this step will take, between 5 - 8 minutes. Once it nears 250°F you may hear popping sounds. This is normal. Set it aside.
  4. To Make the Meringue:
  5. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the large bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on high speed until foamy and just prior to soft peaks forming.
  6. Keep the mixer running on low speed, and slowly pour the sugar syrup towards the sides of the mixing bowl, but on the meringue, not actually on the bowl. Just avoid the whip attachment. Run the mixer until the temperature of the mixture cools to 80°F, several minutes, 10 or 15, if that's what it takes. (The mixture should be close to stiff egg white texture.)
  7. Add the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and whip until creamy.
  8. Sprinkle in the sugar a little at a time until soft peaks are reached.
  9. Add the flavoring of your choosing (including melted chocolate, also added to towards the sides of the bowl); add food coloring, if desired (tiny drops at a time); blend well.
  10. Leave at room temperature while frosting cake or cupcakes.


If your frosting is too runny, allow it rest 20 minutes or so over an ice bath (ice and water), or refrigerate it and whip it again until it becomes stiffer. When the frosting is complete, you may refrigerate it if you need a thicker consistency. However, watch it closely before it sets too much.

If the frosting appears to be curdled (you see pieces of butter separate from some liquid), the buttercream is too cold. You butter may have been too cold or you allowed the syrup to cool too much. In this case, just allow the mixing bowl to rest in hot water in the sink or over a pot of simmering water (if your bowl is heatproof) for 4 - 5 minutes. You'll notice the sides of the frosting melt. That's good. Then, beat on high speed until smooth. If you need to add more butter because you never finished adding it all in the bowl, do so and repeat the above if it looks curdled again. If you melt the buttercream too much, just refrigerate it until it comes to about 73 degrees F.

Gluten-free food color brands include AmeriColor gel paste and McCormick liquid.

15 Replies to “Gluten Free Meringue Buttercream Frosting – Italian Buttercream – Italian Meringue (Silky & Corn-Free)”

  1. What are the storage requirements for this frosting? Would it be suitable for an outside party? I just don’t want the frosting to melt in our North Carolina heat and humidity :D
    I also saw that you mentioned in a previous comment that frosting shouldn’t be made in advance, but do you think if it was made the day before the party it would be fine?
    And lastly, how does this hold up a) under fondant and b) if I were to pipe designs on the cake?

    1. Hi Kristin,

      As you state, I suggest making frosting right before you will frost the cake. However, if you will be using fondant, I can see why you would not want to do this the day of the event. This particular recipe uses egg whites which is fragile.

      A tip for using any type of soft frosting under fondant is to freeze the cake once frosted, just long enough for the frosting to firm up. You don’t want to freeze the cake, however. In humid weather, try adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for every cup of fat (butter/shortening). This stiffens it up a bit more, holding up better in humid weather.

      However, hot humid weather is the worst weather for fondant. If you still wish to give it ago, I suggest using a dehumidifier in the area in which the cake will be stored as well as having the temperature of the room kept cool (air conditioner on non-stop). Even then you may problems. I haven’t made cakes in humid weather myself, but this is the information I have learned thus far. In addition, never use a frosting that contains glycerin under frosting. Glycerin makes frosting soft. In the case of fondant you want it to be firm.

      Decorations should be fine. Just make them small. Large decoration will be heavy, and if the frosting softens they will shift, or even sink.

      My advice to you is skip the fondant and frost the cake right before serving, or right before the guests arrive. Store it in the house and serve it from the house versus leaving it outside. Do not use the recipe above, but the one below:

      3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
      1/4 cup (1 stick) butter softened
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract (clear if you want a really white frosting)
      4 cups powdered sugar
      2 tablespoons cornstarch
      2 tablespoons milk


      Cream the fats in the bowl of your mixer.
      Add the vanilla and blend well.
      Sift the powdered sugar into the butter mixture and mix well.
      Combine the milk and cornstarch together in a small container, add it to the mixture and mix until fluffy.

      You will still need to be careful of the humidity, though.

      I hope this helps.


  2. Dear Carla,
    I would like to make your gf buttercream frosting several days before I frost the cake. Can I do this without compromising the flavor or texture? Also, I would like to make a chocolate frosting. How much melted chocolate should I use?
    1 teaspoon for a cake does not seem sufficient. I am trying to make a birthday cake for my gf grandchild.

    Thank you.
    Grandma Linda

    1. Hi Linda,

      I would never make a frosting in advance. When you want to frost a cake in advance it is best to use fondant. And never refrigerate fondant.

      As far as the amount of melted chocolate needed will depend upon the type of chocolate you are going to use. If you’re using unsweetened baking chocolate (Baker’s is gluten free) I would use about 4 squares. It will depend upon how dark/chocolaty you desire it. The sugar may also need to be adjusted when using unsweetened.

      You may be better off just using a recipe that is strictly made for chocolate buttercream frosting. Here are a couple: and

      Happy birthday to your grandchild!


  3. I’m excited to try your recipe but I have one question, in step 6 do I use the mixing bowl that still has the Meringue part in it the add the syrup as instructed?

    1. Jana,

      I’ve never tried using coconut sugar in any recipe, as I am allergic. I know you can use it in baked recipes, but I’m not sure how it would turn out in a heated liquid recipe. Because it is of a sugar consistency, much like brown sugar, I would assume it would work, but I can’t be certain. If you do try it, please let us all know. So many of us have different food allergies. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. I just found this recipe for buttercream frosting using coconut sugar, but it’s not heated: You make it in a blender.


      1. EEEK this recipe doesn’t show up now?! I can’t seem to google a frosting recipe made with coconut sugar- do you know of any others?

        1. Angie,

          The recipe shows up for me. Perhaps you’re using a different device than you used before??? Meanwhile, this one doesn’t use coconut sugar. If you still cannot access the recipe, let me know via the contact form and I can send it to you.

          It does not call for coconut sugar, but see my comment to Jana’s question.


    1. Hi Karen,

      I just emailed you the recipe. I tested the print button on this recipe and it appears to be working fine for me, but I am using Google Chrome. You may wish to try another browser: Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.

      Meanwhile, enjoy!


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