Vegan Italian Meringue Buttercream 4.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post

Oct 5, 2015

Not only does this light, creamy frosting contain no egg whites or butter, it also has virtually no bean flavor from the aquafaba, which refers to the cooking liquid – not soaking liquid – from dried chickpeas, or the liquid from canned chickpeas.

If you are using aquafaba that is already salted, taste the mixture as you blend it before adding more salt.

You’ll need a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer.

Make Ahead: The vegan buttercream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 6 months. Bring it to room temperature before you use it, stirring it with a flexible spatula so the consistency is creamy.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; cups enough for a two-layer cake plus 16 cupcakes

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted aquafaba (reserved liquid from cooked/canned chickpeas; see headnote)
  • 1 3/4 cups 100 percent palm oil shortening, such as Spectrum All-Vegetable Shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking until the sugar has dissolved to form a simple syrup. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan so that the tip is in the liquid but not touching the bottom of the pan.

Increase the heat to medium; while you are monitoring the simple syrup, put the aquafaba in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon-whisk attachment and begin whipping the liquid on low speed.

Once the simple syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (about 235 degrees), increase the mixer speed to high. At this point, you want to get the aquafaba liquid whipped into very stiff peaks while also getting the sugar syrup to a temperature of 248 degrees at the same time, which will take a few minutes for each.

Once both are achieved, pull the simple syrup off the heat and pour it slowly into the mixer (still on high speed) — do this carefully so that the hot syrup does not splash on you. Once all the syrup is incorporated, the mixture should resemble a thick, marshmallow-like fluff. Turn off the mixer.

Switch to the paddle attachment; beat on high speed for about 5 minutes, to cool down the mixture. Make sure the bowl feels completely cool before you begin adding the palm oil shortening in small chunks or by the spoonful, incorporating it all completely. If you begin to notice that the mixture is breaking — almost curdled-looking — don’t worry; it will come back together as it continues to mix.

Add the vanilla extract after you’ve added all the shortening, and continue to beat for a few minutes on medium-low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, until you have a thick and glossy frosting. Use right away, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe at

Tested by Kristen Hartke.

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