Swiss meringue buttercream is better in flavor and texture than American Buttercream. Once you try it, you will want to use it on all of your cakes, cupcakes, cookies, everything! It is silky, pipes beautifully, and is stable. Watch the easy video tutorial and you will be a pro in no time!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting piped onto a cupcake

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream Video

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) is my favorite of the meringue frostings because it is not overly sweet or difficult to make, and this method pasteurizes the egg whites in the process – Hooray!! It is simple enough to use for everyday baking but the flavor is a special occasion worthy frosting (scroll down to see the fun design I made for my niece and nephew’s puppy-themed birthday party). This frosting makes me think of wedding cakes every time I make it!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream keeps really well overnight at room temperature without drying out or forming a crust as American buttercream will. You can completely assemble your cake ahead of time without taking up space in the refrigerator and it will look and taste just as good the next day. It’s also freezer-friendly (see instructions below).

Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting on a spatula

Cook’s Tip for Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Butter should be softened at room temperature for about 1 hour (more or less depending on your room temperature). You want it to be still slightly cool to the touch and not overly soft or warm. If it gets too soft, refrigerate for 10 minutes at a time.

How to Make Swiss Meringue Buttercream

1. In a medium pot, add about 1-inch of water and bring to a simmer.

2. Thoroughly wash and dry the stainless steel mixing bowl from your stand mixer** (you don’t want any fat touching meringue). Add 7 egg whites and 2 cups sugar and whisk together. Place mixing bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, creating a seal over the pot (bowl should be over the steam, not touching water). Whisk constantly until sugar/egg white mixture reaches 160˚F (takes about 3 minutes). Sugar should be fully dissolved (you should not feel any sugar granules when rubbing the mixture between fingers), and the mixture will feel hot to the touch.

Two photos of a mixer with a mixture for Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Two photos one of mixture being cooked over a steam bath and one of fingers feeling the mixture

3. Wipe water from bottom of mixing bowl and transfer bowl to your stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff glossy peaks form (about 15-20 minutes) and the bottom of the bowl feels completely at room temperature and not warm (important: if meringue is warm, it will melt the butter).

Meringue with stiff peak on a whisk

3. Once bowl is at room temperature, switch to the paddle attachment, reduce to medium speed and add butter 1 Tbsp at a time, adding it just as fast as it can be absorbed by meringue. Once all butter is in, scrape down the bowl and continue beating until the buttercream has reached a thick whipped consistency (3 min on med-high speed). If it looks lumpy or liquid at all, keep beating until smooth, thick and whipped.

Two photos of Swiss Meringue Buttercream in a mixing bowl
A mixing bowl of Swiss Meringue Buttercream

4. Add 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt then mix on med-high until incorporated (about 1 min).

Two photos of vanilla extract being added into a mixing bowl with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

P.S. The tiny amount of salt at the end gives this frosting incredible depth of flavor.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream will become your go-to buttercream frosting. Swiss meringue buttercream is silky and pipes beautifully on cakes and cupcakes | natashaskitchen.com

Common Questions

Why is my meringue not reaching stiff peaks?

For egg whites to become glossy and reach stiff peaks, it’s critical to make sure your mixing bowl and attachments are free of any grease, egg yolks, or water. You need to start with thoroughly clean and dry tools.

Why is my Swiss Meringue Buttercream Soupy?

This is usually due to the mixture being too warm or adding the butter before the meringue has fully cooled down. Thankfully, it is easy to fix. Refrigerate the bowl for 15-20 minutes then continue mixing until the frosting thickens.

Can I use a hand mixer?

It is ok to use a high-speed electric hand mixer, but it may take 5-10 minutes longer of total mixing time. Also, a glass bowl will work but meringue may take longer to whip/cool down because glass retains heat longer.

Why is my frosting grainy?

Avoid using coarse sugar. Granulated sugar works best here. Also, make sure to heat your mixture over the water bath until it registers 160˚F on a thermometer.

Can I use SMBC to frost a cake?

Absolutely! See how we frosted our 9-inch, 2-layer Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Stable smbc frosting piped on a vanilla cupcake

Make-Ahead

  • Room Temperature – Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a stable frosting, meaning it will keep well covered at room temperature for 1 to 2 days in a low humidity environment.
  • Refrigerator – cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Bring back to room temperature to re-whip before piping.
  • Freezing – SMBC can be frozen for up to 3 months. Transfer to a freezer-safe zip-top bag, squeeze out any excess air, and store flat for quicker thawing. Thaw at room temperature then re-whip for a few minutes to lighten it up.

More Frosting Recipes

We haven’t found a storebought frosting even comes close to homemade. If you love homemade frosting as much as we do, you’re sure to find some new favorite frosting recipes in this list:

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

4.93 from 568 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Swiss Meringue Buttercream will become your go-to buttercream frosting. Swiss meringue buttercream is silky and pipes beautifully on cakes and cupcakes | natashaskitchen.com
Swiss meringue buttercream is supremely better in both flavor and texture than American buttercream. Once you try it, you will want to use it on all of your cakes, cupcakes, cookies, everything! It is silky, pipes beautifully, and is very stable.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 24 (makes 5 cups) Frosts 9″ cake or 24 cupcakes
  • 7 oz egg whites, from 7 large egg whites
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened, (3 sticks)*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

  • In a medium pot, add at least 1-inch of water and bring to simmer.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry the stainless steel mixing bowl from your stand mixer (you don't want grease touching meringue). Add 7 egg whites and 2 cups sugar and whisk together. Place mixing bowl over a large saucepan of barely simmering water, creating a seal over the pot (bowl should be over the steam, not touching water). Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 160˚F (takes about 3 min). Sugar should be fully dissolved (you should not feel any sugar granules when rubbing mixture between finger tips). Mixture will feel hot to the touch.
  • Wipe water from bottom of mixing bowl and transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff glossy peaks form (about 15-20 min) and bottom of the bowl feels completely at room temp and not warm (important: warm meringue will melt the butter).
  • Once bowl is at room temp, switch to paddle attachment, reduce to medium speed and add butter 1 Tbsp at a time, adding it just as fast as it is absorbed by meringue. Once all butter is in, scrape down the bowl and continue beating until it reaches a thick whipped consistency (3 min on med-high speed). If it looks lumpy or liquidy at all, keep beating until smooth, thick and whipped.
  • Add 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt and mix on med-high until incorporated (about 1 min).

Notes

*Butter should be softened at room temp for about 1 hour (more or less depending on your room temperature). It should be slightly cool to the touch and not overly soft or warm. If too soft, refrigerate for 10 minutes at a time.
Troubleshooting: If your frosting seems soupy, or won’t thicken up properly, this is usually due to the meringue or butter being too warm. See the Common Questions section above to troubleshoot. 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Skill Level: Easy/Medium
Cost to Make: $
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

And here are the puppy cupcakes I made using this Swiss Buttercream for my niece and nephews birthday party! The kids LOVED them!! Here is the vanilla cupcakes base that I used for these. I used mini M&M’s on the eyes, a Hershey’s chocolate drop for the nose, then used a rolling pin and my hands to form the ears out of tootsie rolls and the tongue out of a similar shaped pink candy (similar to an airhead candy).

Swiss Meringue Buttercream will become your go-to buttercream frosting. Swiss meringue buttercream is silky and pipes beautifully on cakes and cupcakes | natashaskitchen.com

If you make this frosting, let me know what you think of it in a comment below.

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Shanon Bayle
    June 13, 2024

    This frosting was awesome! The texture is soooo silky. I do think it has a strong butter taste but it’s not overly sweet..such a nice compliment to a sweet cupcake. I added a couple drops of peach gel food coloring and it gave it such a beautiful blush color…perfect!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 13, 2024

      Hi Shanon! Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I love how lightly sweetened this frosting is. It’s perfect.

      Reply

  • JoAnn
    June 5, 2024

    Your Swiss butter cream is delicious!!
    What decorating tip and technique gives such a fun cupcake design?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 6, 2024

      Hi JoAnn, I believe this is my 1M wilton, open star tip.

      Reply

  • Missy
    May 23, 2024

    This frosting is delicious! Our favorite! I have a question? After taking it off of the stove, do I have to immediately start beating it until it cools down before adding the butter? Because, my old mixer seemed to be having trouble running for so long. It was close to overheating while I was waiting for the mixture to cool completely down. Can I just let it sit to cool before starting the whipping process and adding the butter? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 24, 2024

      Hi Missy, I haven’t tried that but I would still suggest beating at least intermittently so the mixture cools evenly and also doesn’t form a crust or dry spots on the surface.

      Reply

  • Marie
    May 21, 2024

    Omg…the texture is amazing. Just a few notes. I think maybe 2/3 or 3/4 the amount of salt would have been better. And maybe a little less sugar. I’m all about the texture for frostings, but don’t like a lot of sweetness. For those that had problems with the meringue deflating when you add the butter, just keep mixing it at medium-high heat for 5+ minutes and it will firm up really nicely. I also put ice packs around the base of my stand mixing bowl to speed up the cooling process. I will be making this every time I make cupcakes or cakes. It was amazing. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 21, 2024

      Hi Marie, thank you for your review and feedback. It’s helpful!

      Reply

  • Hannah
    May 10, 2024

    Can cup cakes iced with this frosting be frozen for a week and then defrosted?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 10, 2024

      Hi Hannah, It is freezer-friendly (see instructions in the recipe post).

      Reply

  • Lori Zane
    April 27, 2024

    Love all your recipes!! I actually make quite a few of them over and over again!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 27, 2024

      Thank you, Lori! I’m so glad to hear that!

      Reply

    • Francesca Tiongson
      June 1, 2024

      I have tried this recipe before and it js very very yummy. It is not overly sweet and pipes nicely with silky texture. I do a home business specializing floral cupcakes and I like using Swiss Meringue buttercream. I am also adding cream of tartar to add stability. There’s a reason why there’s more sugar in this recipe because usually swiss meringue has buttery taste and this one doesn’t.

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        June 1, 2024

        I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

        Reply

  • Jessica
    March 31, 2024

    Fantastic recipe! This is wonderful for those that don’t like super sweet icing. My husband always prefers whipped cream topping but I find it too bland. This is an icing we both can agree tastes delicious! I followed the directions exactly and when I thought it was time to add the butter I waited an extra 5 minutes and let it continue whipping just to be sure it cooled enough. Next time I might add a little bit of purple food coloring because it was just a little more yellow tinted than I would have liked but it worked great for my Easter lamb cake!

    Reply

  • Demi
    March 14, 2024

    Hi natasha.please tell me..to use a dam for pastry cream filling and crumbcoat under fondant for 9inch 3layer.cake..will it be enough?do you think smbc pairs well with pastry cream?or i could use russian buttercream ?how long the cake with smbc and pastry cream sit outside?thanks

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 14, 2024

      Hi Demi! I have not tested anything like that to advise. I don’t see why this wouldn’t pair well with pastry cream. It’s a very versatile frosting.

      Reply

  • Janine
    March 12, 2024

    This icing was the best! I added some freeze dried strawberry powder and it turned out delicious! It iced 24 cupcakes perfectly.

    Reply

  • Lillian Moore
    March 6, 2024

    can you store in freezer for how long? and is this buttercream better than Italian? I know there is a little different how its made. Please email me and let me know. and can it be cut down half to make less?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 7, 2024

      Hi Lillian! Yes, you can scale the recipe down if you’d like. See my note above under the “make-ahead” section for freezing instructions.
      I really enjoy this SMBC frosting, it’s one of my favorites. You’ll have to try it for yourself and decide whether or not you prefer it to IMBC.

      Reply

  • Kelly
    March 2, 2024

    I would like to flavor this with pink champagne, should I just omit the vanilla and add pink champagne that had been billed down instead

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 2, 2024

      Hi Kelly! I have not tested that but please let us know how it turns out if you experiment. I would make sure the champagne reduction is well cooled and add a little at a time to see how the frosting is taking it.

      Reply

  • Carlea Romanchuk
    February 19, 2024

    Can I make this without a stand mixer? I don’t have a stand mixer and don’t bake enough at this moment to justify buying one.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 20, 2024

      Hi Carley! Yes, but it will take much longer to make using an electric hand mixer mixer.

      Reply

  • Maggie
    February 11, 2024

    Can I add food coloring to buttercream and still refrigerate?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 11, 2024

      Hi Maggie, adding food coloring should work. Add a little color at a time until you reach your desired color while maintaining consistency. I would recommend using gel food coloring over a liquid one. I would add that at the very end

      Reply

  • Ann
    January 9, 2024

    I finally found the best SMBC recipe ever! thank you Natasha! the only thing is that it came out very stiff. How can I make it softer so I can pipe with it? thank you!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 9, 2024

      Hi Ann! It likely needed to be whipped longer. It’s hard to over-beat this. The longer it whips, the more fluffy and silky it gets. If you’re making two batches in the same mixer, make sure there is enough room for it to mix well and keep mixing until you reach the desired consistency.

      Reply

  • Alina
    December 31, 2023

    I read the comments before making this recipe and was very skeptical because I saw that it didn’t work for many people. I had the same experience. I did everything correctly and this ended up being a complete fail. After 3 attempts of putting it in the fridge and even freezer, it never stiffened up.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      January 1, 2024

      Hi Alina, did you wait for the mixture to cool to room temperature before adding butter? That is the step where people tend to go wrong – adding the butter too early will make it difficult for the mixture to come togehter. If you are using a smaller mixer than 6 Qt, it will take even longer to get to that stage. I hope that helps for next time. Don’t give up! This is a pretty standard process for Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

      Reply

    • Lily
      February 27, 2024

      I added another stick of butter and it came together immediately like a dream. When comparing other Swiss buttercream recipes, they use less egg whites and more butter. I just added one more stick of butter and it did the trick!

      Reply

  • Dahlia
    December 26, 2023

    Hi Natasha,

    I have made your SMB countless times and totally love it! It is basically, my go to frosting for all my grandchildren’s birthday cakes. Have gotten so many compliments on this recipe, it is, without a doubt the best and smoothest. It does not taste overly sweet when done, or too buttery/oily. It is like velvet!!

    Thank you so much!! Dahlia

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 26, 2023

      Great to hear that this has been your go-to recipe!

      Reply

  • Michael Gallivan
    December 17, 2023

    Natasha is the real deal. Recipe’s are truly sorted. Myself a pro chef in Jackson Hole for years have hit her up when I needed a quick dessert. They all work. Natasha is the best!!👨‍🍳

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 18, 2023

      Thank you so much, I appreciate it!

      Reply

  • Emily
    November 28, 2023

    Amazing recipe, so easy to follow. I’ve always struggled with SMB but this was a success and tasted delicious

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 28, 2023

      I’m so glad it worked out for you, Emily!

      Reply

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