Shortcut Swiss meringue buttercream tastes just like classic Swiss meringue buttercream frosting but with no cooking required! The shortcut comes from using pasteurized egg whites and powdered sugar. The frosting is silky smooth and is perfect for piping onto cakes and cupcakes!
Ingredients for Shortcut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Pasteurized egg whites: There will be no egg cracking in this recipe. Use pasteurized egg whites from a carton! You can find these in the dairy aisle in your grocery store. These egg whites are heat-treated so they are safe for consumption. We will not be cooking the egg whites, so it is important that they are pasteurized to eliminate bacteria.
- Powdered sugar: Classic Swiss Meringue Buttercream calls for granulated sugar. Since we are eliminating the cooking in this recipe, we need to use sugar the will easily dissolve. Powdered sugar is perfect for this!
- Salt: Salt enhances the flavor of the buttercream.
- Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract for a great vanilla flavor.
- Unsalted butter: Be sure your butter is at room temperature so it easily combines with the meringue.
Tools & Supplies for Making Shortcut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
How to Make Shortcut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and powdered sugar.
- Mix on low speed until combined. Scrape the sides if needed.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and whip for a few minutes until light and opaque in color.
- Add in vanilla extract and salt and mix to combine.
- Add in the butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing in between each addition for a few seconds. The mixture may appear to separate or curdle – this is normal.
- Whip the buttercream for about 15 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Switch to a paddle attachment and mix the buttercream on low speed for several minutes to remove the air bubbles.
Shortcut Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe Tips
Yes, it is safe to eat
Okay, yes, there are raw eggs in this recipe. HOWEVER, it is safe to consume. The egg whites from a carton are pasteurized so the maximum amount of bacteria is removed from the egg whites and is safe for consumption. If you are still feeling a little bit weird about the whole situation, I recommend checking out my recipe for regular Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
Curdling is normal – do not panic!
When you start adding the butter to the meringue, the mixture will start to separate and appear curdled. THIS IS NORMAL. DO NOT PANIC! Keep adding the butter until you have used it all. Then, turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip the buttercream for about 15 minutes. If it still appears curdled, continue to whip. It will come together and be perfect…I promise!
This recipe makes enough frosting to ice 2 to 3 dozen cupcakes or frost a three layer 7-inch round cake.
Use gel food coloring to tint the buttercream
If you want to color the buttercream, I recommend using a gel food coloring for the most vibrant color that doesn’t affect the taste or consistency. My favorite brands are Americolor and Chefmaster.
Storing and using the buttercream
You can make this buttercream ahead of time! Simply store the buttercream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. To use, bring the buttercream to room temperature. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the buttercream for 15 minutes on medium speed until smooth and it will good as new! It will break and curdle and you will be scared, but I promise, it will come together! Just keep whipping!
Shortcut Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
- Stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment
- ¾ cup pasteurized egg whites from a carton
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine pasteurized liquid egg whites and powdered sugar.
- Mix on low speed until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the ingredients are well combined.
- Turn the speed to medium-high and whip the egg white mixture until thick and opaque, approximately 3 minutes.
- Add in salt and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
- Turn the mixer to low speed. Add room temperature butter, one tablespoon at a time. Allow the butter to mix for a few seconds in between each addition of butter.
- Once the butter is added, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and whip the buttercream for approximately 15 minutes. The buttercream may appear to curdle or separate – this is normal – just continue to whip the frosting. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally while whipping.
- Once the buttercream is smooth and silky it is ready to use. *Optional – You can switch to the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 5 minutes to remove air bubbles and make the buttercream very smooth.
Made This Recipe?
Be sure to follow on Pinterest @Cakemehometonight and on Instagram @cake_me_home_tonight
Comments & Reviews
I am making a coconut cake for someone and I don’t care for American butter cream with coconut too sweet, would this work well wth coconut cake and flaked coconut on sides of cake..how long does this cake last sitting out do you recommend refrigerator?
Hi Janet! Yes, this frosting would pair very well with a coconut cake. The frosting can stay out for about 24 hours. Anything over that, I recommend chilling.
Hello, I have farm fresh eggs, do you think this would be safe to use?
Hi Jennifer! For this specific recipe, you will want to stick with the pasteurized eggs from the carton, but you could try my Swiss meringue buttercream recipe with the farm fresh eggs just to be sure everything is safe for eating. Here is the recipe: https://cakemehometonight.com/swiss-meringue-buttercream/
Why so much sugar? The typical swmf only takes 2 c. Granulated. I can even cut that down. Will not be making this super sweet method. I can’t stand really sweet frosting.
Hi Jan! Granulated sugar has a more concentrated sweetness than powdered sugar. So, if you are making a regular Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, you would go with way less granulated sugar than what is called for in this recipe. In my regular Swiss meringue buttercream, I use only 1 cup of granulated sugar, but this is a different type of recipe with a different formulation. I’m sorry to hear that you won’t be trying it. Thank you for your comment!
I followed the directions, and it came together beautifully. However, I refrigerated it overnight for the next day assembly and when it softened enough to mix, the consistency became loose and never came back to the same thickness as the prior day. I added additional sugar and it helped a bit, but was still way too loose.
Hi there, Lynn! Thank you so much for your feedback. If you are making this frosting the day before, bring it to room temperature and rewhip with a mixer. You will have to mix for a long time. I just made this recipe last week and had to mix it for about 10 to 15 minutes to get it to where it needed to be.
Just wondering if this frosting works well after being frozen?
Yes! You can freeze it in an airtight container or wrapped very well in plastic wrap in the freezer for about 3 months. Just bring it to room temperature and rewhip it. It may take up to 15 minutes to get it back to where it needs to be!
I love SMBC and I love this shortcut because it’s fast, easy, and colors wonderfully, but I find that anytime I use powdered sugar in a frosting recipe, it has a slight grainy texture from the powdered sugar even if powdered sugar is fresh and sifted. The last batch I made this way, I whipped and beat and beat and whipped (LOL) forever, and it still had that texture. Any tips?
Hi Kristin! With powdered sugar, I feel like you will always have a tiny bit of a grainy texture just because of the nature of the powdered sugar. What I typically recommend is just trying a different brand and seeing if you prefer one brand to another! I’ve found that some seem finer than others! Hope that helps!
Hi there!! I was wondering how long you personally leave this at room temp or an already frosted cake? I have someone picking up their cakes tomorrow morning for a Friday evening party. I was thinking about frosting the cakes this evening and allowing them to stay at room temp overnight, and then recommending she keep them in the fridge until party time. I read a similar blog and others said the butter and sugar act as their own preservatives. Thoughts??
I have left a cake out frosted with this buttercream for 24 hours with no problems. Many bakers who have similar recipes indicate that they have left it at room temperature for up to 2 days!
Raegan Edington says
My first tike making this I halfed the recipe and it was perfect this time I made the regular amount and it completely sperated and melted its the consistency of batter. I’m not sire if I did somthing wrong or what I could do to fix it.
Hmmm, I’m not too sure either. Sometimes butter temperature can impact the texture but it should not make it soupy. Perhaps too much egg white?
Does this firm up/crust enough to frost a cake you’ll later be stenciling? Thanks!
It firms up nicely when chilled but I wouldn’t classify it a crusting buttercream. I have never stenciled on this buttercream, so I can’t say for sure how well that would work!
Do the pasteurized egg whites in the carton have to be at room temperature when making this recipe?
No they don’t need to be. I usually use them right out of the refrigerator.
This recipe looks easy and delicious. Have you tried it with vegan/dairy free butter? Some dairy free frosting recipes call for a combination of vegan butter and shortening. Any thoughts or advice?
Great question! I have not tried that as vegan baking is not my area of expertise. I have had several followers tell me that vegan butter works with my regular buttercream recipes! I highly suggest checking out Cakedbykatie on instagram who has amazing dairy-free recipes!
I just made this tonight for my niece’s 1st birthday. I used lemon zest and lemon extract & the buttercream was ready in 10 minutes of whipping on med-high speed. The taste & consistency is perfection!
Lemon zest and extract sounds like a delicious addition! Love that idea! Thank you so much for trying out the recipe and for your positive review! I appreciate it!
Maija T Mauch says
This will ABSOLUTELY now be my go to frosting recipe. I used freeze dried strawberries that I mashed up in a ziploc bag and added last.. I let them soften in the frosting overnight and it piped nicely. I’m going to try adding other freeze dried fruits including a strawberry mango combination. I’m also going to check out using dried lemon powder. I love, LOVE having something that pipes well without being sickly sweet. Thanks so much!!
Maija T Mauch says
I asked earlier about flavoring. How about a mocha version? Any ideas please?
Maija T Mauch says
This came together beautifully. I saw the comment /question about adding chocolate. What about other flavors ,ike lemon or other citrus or strawberry?
Thank you for trying out the recipe! I haven’t tested out any flavors with this recipe yet, but I plan to! I have many flavors of American buttercream, but I want to test out flavors for the Shortcut SMBC to make sure that the recipe is perfect! Thank you for the suggestion! In general, for lemon, you could add lemon zest and a bit of fresh lemon juice and for mocha a bit of espresso powder and cocoa powder – but I want to test out the amounts to make sure that I am giving you the appropriate amounts! 🙂 I will get on it!
Becky Manahan says
Just curious, is two cups of butter correct or should it be two sticks?
2 cups of butter so 4 4-oz sticks 🙂
Hi, does thick and opaque (step 3) mean stiff peaks? Or just thickened?
Great question! Just thickened, not stiff peaks! 🙂 It should take just a few minutes.
I use this recipe for all my cupcake and cakes, but was wondering how I can incorporate cream cheese into this to make cream cheese icing using the swiss meringue buttercream recipe? Thanks 🙂
That sounds like a delicious idea! I haven’t actually tested a cream cheese swiss meringue buttercream so I can’t say how that would go. But I will add it to my list of recipes to test out!
Katie Holtz says
I just wanted to let anyone else know that it took a long time for my buttercream to come together. Probably 10-15 minutes. It looked pretty soupy up until about the last minute or two and then came together very fast! So if it continues to be soupy for a long time, just keep mixing!
Thanks so much for the comment! Yes – depending on the temperature of your butter and the eggs, it can take longer or shorter…I always say – whip it good! 🙂
Any thoughts on adding a bit of MERINGUE powder to make it a bit more stable in hotter weather?
That is an interesting idea! I personally have not tried that but you’ve got me thinking! Definitely something to test out for sure!
Love this recipe! So easy and tastes better than my American buttercream!
I am so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for trying the recipe and for the positive review!
Loved this recipe! I used half vanilla and half almond extract. I’ve been wanting to try Swiss buttercream and this recipe made it soooo much easier!
I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed this buttercream! Adding some almond extract sounds absolutely delicious! Thank you for trying out the recipe and for leaving a review! 🙂
Olivia K. says
Hello! Can this recipe be made into chocolate? I would rather not color it brown and prefer chocolate anyways!
Yes! You can add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder to the buttercream. I recommend using a dark cocoa powder for the best color and flavor!
This was perfect! It tastes like the ermine frosting I’ve used in the past, but it was much quicker and easier to make. I have also tried a recipe that was similar to this but used more butter. I found that one to be too buttery, yours was perfect! Thanks so much for sharing!
I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for giving it a try!