Swiss meringue buttercream frosting is silky smooth and not overly sweet. It is perfect for cakes and cupcakes. This recipe only contains 5 ingredients and takes about 20 minutes to make! If you are not a fan of the sweetness of American buttercream, this Swiss meringue buttercream recipe a must-try frosting recipe!
Ingredients for Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
- Egg whites – Large egg whites create a light and fluffy meringue base for the buttercream. Use egg yolks for vanilla pastry cream!
- Granulated sugar – Granulated sugar sweetens the buttercream. The sugar and egg whites are gently heated over a double boiler so the sugar granules melt and the mixture becomes smooth.
- Salt – To contrast the sweetness of the buttercream.
- Vanilla extract – I recommend using a high-quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
- Unsalted butter – Use room temperature unsalted butter for the best results.
Tools & Supplies for Making Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Double-boiler – I use my metal stand mixer bowl as a double boiler over simmering water
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
How to Make Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Although it may appear to be intimidating, Swiss meringue buttercream is not that difficult to make and is worth a few extra minutes of your time! I recommend using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment for the best results.
- In a heat-proof bowl or bowl of a stand mixer over simmering water, gently heat egg whites and granulated sugar whisking constantly until the granules have dissolved. A great way to test when the sugar is dissolved is to carefully rub a small amount of the egg whites between your fingers. If it feels smooth, then you are ready to go.
- Whip the egg white mixture on medium-high speed to create glossy, soft peaks. This will also cool the temperature of the meringue.
- Once the meringue is room temperature, add in the butter one tablespoon at a time while mixing on low speed. Continue to add until all the butter is used. The mixture may appear to “break” or “curdle” – don’t worry, this is normal.
- Add vanilla extract and salt.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the buttercream for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. Switch to a paddle attachment and mix on low speed for a few minutes to remove air bubbles and create a smooth buttercream.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe Tips
Use a double-boiler
If you do not have a stand mixer, you can gently heat the egg whites and sugar using a double boiler. Place these ingredients into a heat-proof glass bowl and cook over a simmering pot of water. Whip the egg whites using an electric hand mixer. I typically use my metal mixing bowl as a double-boiler.
It will appear to curdle – do not panic!
Don’t freak out! When you are adding your butter one tablespoon at a time, your buttercream may appear to curdle or separate. This is common and totally normal. Continue to add the butter. Once all the butter is added, crank the speed up to medium-high and whip for a minute or two. The buttercream should homogenize and become light and fluffy. If it is not coming together, continue whipping until it does!
Tint with gel food coloring
To tint the buttercream, I strongly recommend using a gel food coloring. Liquid food coloring can change the consistency of the buttercream and does not produce vibrant colors. My favorite brands of gel food coloring are Americolor and ChefMaster.
Remove air bubbles for a smooth finish
When you whip your buttercream with the whisk attachment, it can create air bubbles. To remove the air bubbles and get a silky smooth finish, switch to a paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for a few minutes. You can also mix the buttercream with a spoon or spatula by hand for a few minutes as well.
Storing and serving
The buttercream can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. To use, bring to room temperature and rewhip for several minutes until smooth and creamy.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
- Stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment
- Double boiler/saucepan
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups unsalted butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine egg whites, granulated sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine.
- Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and continue to whisk the mixture. Continue to gently heat and whisk the mixture until the sugar granules are dissolved. A great way to check is to rub the mixture between two fingers to see that the mixture is smooth.
- Attach the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the mixture on low for a minute and then turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue whipping the egg white mixture until it is light, fluffy, and maintains stiff peaks. The whipping should help the meringue cool down. If you touch the side of the bowl, it should only feel slightly warm or be at room temperature.
- With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing for a few seconds in between each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and continue to mix to ensure all of the ingredients are well combined.
- After the butter is added, add in the vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until combined.
- If desired (and highly recommended) switch to the paddle attachment and mix the buttercream on low speed for 2 minutes to remove the air bubbles from the buttercream.
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Comments & Reviews
Can I use meringue powder instead of the egg whites?
Hi Laurie! I haven’t personally tested that so I can’t say for sure if meringue powder would work.
Lexie Coggins says
Oh please help!!! My frosting just curdled. What do I do? Throw it out?
Nope! That’s normal! Just keep whipping it! It might take several minutes but it will come together perfectly!!!
Kate DeBellis says
Can you use this recipe in place of your american buttercream for your flavored icing ? For example , can you use this to make your salted caramel butter cream or your espresso buttercream?
I haven’t tested this recipe with those flavors. I would imagine it would probably work well with adding instant espresso powder, but the salted caramel, I’m not sure how that would work. I’ve had a lot of requests for SMBC flavors, so that is one of my goals for next year!