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:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

4.93 from 563 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: $

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 blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Comments

  • Omita
    October 18, 2018

    How many cupcakes will it frost? Cant recall seeing that part

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 18, 2018

      Hi Omita, this would frost 24 cupcakes 🙂

      Reply

  • Amber
    October 15, 2018

    The first time I made SMBC, I was disappointed, the recipe only had slightly over a cup of sugar, less eggs and more butter. So I found your recipe, and it’s awesome! Sweet, but not like American BC, and sliky smooth. My family loved it!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 15, 2018

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me, Amber! I’m so happy your family loved this!!

      Reply

  • Sadia Rifat Islam
    October 14, 2018

    Great recipe. I have a question. Can I skip the salt?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 14, 2018

      Hi Sadia! You shouldn’t be able to taste the salt. In baking it does enhance the natural flavors from the other ingredients. So if you had to you can.

      Reply

  • Kristin Groman
    October 13, 2018

    This is the best frosting I have ever made! Thank you! I used almond in place of vanilla on the raspberry almond cake I made. Fantastic!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 13, 2018

      Wow! Thank you so much for this awesome feedback, Kristin!

      Reply

  • Mehera Garcia
    October 5, 2018

    Hi Natasha! I made this recipe last week and LOVED it! Everyone raved about the flavor and smooth texture. Can I make a chocolate version by just adding some melted chocolate, or do you have a specific chocolate SMBC recipe?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 5, 2018

      Thank you for the wonderful review, Mehera! I haven’t tried making this chocolate, but From my research, chocolate is always added at the end. I would probably start with 8-9 semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled and whip it in at the end.

      Reply

      • Mehera Garcia
        October 5, 2018

        Perfect! I’ll give that a try. Thank you!

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          October 5, 2018

          My pleasure!

          Reply

  • Pam
    September 26, 2018

    Hi, I’m so excited to try this recipe out…I’ve made SMBC many tut imes, but I want to make buttercream flowers with it..PLEASE share how to stiffen up the recipe for that purpose..Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2018

      Hi Pan! It is a pretty stable cream and will work well for flowers.

      Reply

  • Nikita
    September 26, 2018

    Natasha.. I wonder if you’ve received my comments of today.. it doesn’t let me to sent you again..

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2018

      HI Nikita! Yes I have responded to you messages 🙂 Thank you!

      Reply

  • Nikita
    September 26, 2018

    Hi Natasha 😀
    Your recipe is awesome!!
    I made it strictly and following your tips and the Elsa Frozen Cake for my 4th years grandaughter birthday was amazing!
    Thank you. It’s a pity I cannot include the photo..
    Luv your blog!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2018

      That’s amazing! Thank you for sharing this awesome review with me, Nikita! I’m so happy you enjoyed that!

      Reply

  • Ivy
    September 26, 2018

    How much buttercream does this make?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2018

      Hi Ivy! I wish I had measured it that way, but I can only guess now – maybe 5 or 6 cups? It is enough to frost a 9″ two-layer cake.

      Reply

  • Rona
    September 23, 2018

    Thank you Natasha! This was absolutely amazing! Made this for a 1st birthday party cake and this is now my go to buttercream. I truly appreciate the easy step by step instructions and pictures.

    it absolutely held up really well in our humid and hot weather. Cake was at room temperature at about 80 degrees for over 5 hours and the buttercream was light, fluffy and not too sweet. Almost like whipped cream. It was definitely a huge hit!

    I would suggest to double up on the recipe, if possible. Its easy to freeze leftovers and to defrost for a couple hours. Just leave it on the kitchen counter right before baking your next batch of cupcakes.

    It’s been quite a journey trying to find the perfect buttercream. I’m now looking forward to experimenting with different flavors like fruits and chocolate. Thanks again!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 23, 2018

      I’m so happy you all enjoyed this recipe, Rona! Thank you for your thoughtful review!!

      Reply

  • Cheryl
    September 22, 2018

    I made this today for the very first time and I must say…this is the best frosting I’ve ever made and I’ve been making frosting for over 40 years. I’ll definitely be keeping this on hand as my go to.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 22, 2018

      Wow! Thank you for such an amazing and thoughtful review, Cheryl!!

      Reply

    • Sam H
      September 28, 2018

      Oh man! I really fudged this up. By the time my egg/sugar mixture reached the correct temperature it was similar to a marshmallow consistency (it was delicious). I kept going and ended up with some really yummy (not very fluffy) icing- only about 2 cups total. I am going to buy a new thermometer and try again. Have you heard of this problem before?

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        September 28, 2018

        Hi Sam. Are you using a high powered stand mixer with whisk attachment? Also, did you place the egg whites and sugar on the water bath as directed? If you beat raw egg whites without sugar, it tends to look like marshmallow fluff. Did you possibly omit the sugar? Was anything else changed or modified either in process or ingredients in the recipe?

        Reply

      • Cheryl
        September 28, 2018

        Sam, I never heated up my egg whites. I used Pasteurized Egg Whites and they worked great. The brand I use is called, All Whites. I also use them for whipping up a really good homemade Angel Food Cake. I’ve never had a problem with them. I just whipped them for quite some time. And when I started adding the butter, it scared the wits out of me because it started getting soupy and I wasn’t sure it was going to work. But once I added all the butter and whipped it for about 20 minutes…wow…it was perfect. Just thought I’d pass that info along to you. 🙂 Good luck.

        Reply

  • Vesna & Bob McCathie
    September 16, 2018

    Hi Natash, SMB cream is great made it successfully on my first attemp however, mine is creamy in colour (off white) not white as yours. Do you have an answer to this.
    Thaks, Vesna

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 16, 2018

      HI Vesna! Thank you for reaching out! That is a great question! It could be due to the vanilla extract? Did you use the clear kind or the dark colored vanilla?

      Reply

      • Vesna
        September 22, 2018

        TY for your response Natasha. I used Queen Vanilla bean paste however, my frosting is creamy in colour before I added vanilla. I am in Australi, is our butter more yellow then yours?

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          September 22, 2018

          That could be the case, some butters are more yellow in color so maybe try switching to a different butter. I’ve tried organic unsalted by Simple truth brand and the longer sticks from Costco by Kirkland signature unsalted butter and both were very white in color.

          Reply

        • Kylie
          November 10, 2018

          Try Lurpak and let it whip for a little longer as that also helps whiten the butter. Our Australian butter is so much more yellow sadly.

          Reply

  • Crystal
    September 15, 2018

    How many cupcakes will this recipe typically frost?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 15, 2018

      Hi Crystal, this would frost 24 cupcakes 🙂

      Reply

    • Laurie Lane
      November 24, 2018

      It will ice 24 plus cupcakes. I put a generous amount on 24 cupcakes and still had some left. Sooooo Gooood.

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        November 24, 2018

        That’s exactly how many I was able to generously ice myself, Laurie!

        Reply

  • Nancy A
    September 12, 2018

    Finally, a swiss buttercream that is absolutely PERFECT! Not so sweet, not too buttery tasting, but exactly what I was looking for. I was starting to give up on this type of frosting as all the ones I was trying out tasted too sweet or too much like butter. These one has the exact combination of ingredients and I think the salt at the end is super important. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is now going to be my go to buttercream for cakes and it pipes beautifully too.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 13, 2018

      Thank you so much for this wonderful review, Nancy! I’m so happy you enjoyed that!

      Reply

  • Tamia
    September 9, 2018

    Natasha, I was so disappointed when I made this, it was soupy like some others said. I kept beating it and it never thickened. I put this in my fridge over night. When I took it out in the morning it never thickened when I rewhipped it. I started all over again and this time I tried to pay close attention and made sure I tried some tricks others mentioned. I put the bowl in a shallow pan with ice in it and kept stirring it till it cooled down. Then I whipped it up and finished and was very excited to see it whipped up. I only used 1.5 tsp of vanilla instead. Thanks so much for the recipe and the ideas from everyone.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 9, 2018

      Hi Tamia. I’m so happy it worked out in the end for you. There are so many things that can interfere with the recipe but I’m happy those tips helped you! That is exactly why we appreciate all of you feedback and tips in this thread. Thank you!

      Reply

  • Ildi
    September 9, 2018

    Hi Natasha,

    I’ve found this great recipe of yours and would like to try it out on this cake for my son’s birthday:

    https://livingwellmom.com/thomas-the-tank-engine-birthday-cake/

    Do you think your recipe is suitable to cover the cake?
    And thank you for the gram measurements.
    In Japan we don’t really have cups, more like spoons, but I prefer grams to be exact.
    Wondering if the amount will be enough to cover the cake and decorations, but I suppose it depends on the size.
    Thank you in advance!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 9, 2018

      Hi Lidi! It may work. Many of our readers have reported great results using this recipe to decorate cakes! I’d love to see your end result!

      Reply

  • Leanne
    September 8, 2018

    Hi, I just tried your recipe and loved it, so silky and smooth.
    Do you think think it would be OK to substitute some of the butter with shortening. I live in a hot climate and am unsure how all butter would hold up – but I really want to use this recipe !

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 8, 2018

      Hi Leanne, I honestly haven’t tried it with shortening. If you experiment please let me know how you like it.

      Reply

  • Maya
    September 8, 2018

    So I made a double batch of this, and my butter was too soft when I put it in so the SMBC was too soft. I chilled it and that fixed it.

    But here’s the thing: It doesn’t taste like and SMBC I’ve ever had. It still tastes like pure meringue and is very sweet. Can/Should I add more butter? What might happen if I do?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 8, 2018

      Hi Maya, you could add a little more butter, but it may start tasting more buttery. This combination of ingredients produced what we thought was the best balance – it also depends on what type of cake you put it on. If the cake is sweeter than the frosting – it will taste buttery.

      Reply

  • Ester
    September 7, 2018

    Natasha, did i missed any thing? The uncooked whites egg seem not healthy to eat..i m affraid of the e coli bacteria.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 7, 2018

      Hi Ester, to be extra sure, use a thermometer to make sure the whites/sugar reach 160˚F which is the safe temperature for egg whites without actually cooking them. 160˚F is the temperature at which salmonella bacteria is killed which is why I prefer this SMBC frosting over other meringue frostings.

      Reply

  • Nicole
    September 7, 2018

    I’m making this recipe for the first time for cupcakes I’m bringing to a birthday party tomorrow. I noticed some of the comments said the frosting was runny after being in the fridge. So I was wondering, if I frost (pipe) the cupcakes tonight and put them in the fridge, will they fall apart?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 7, 2018

      Hi Nicole, I think they meant that the frosting wasn’t firming up. This is usually due to adding the butter while the meringue is still warm (make sure it is completely at room temperature), or adding partially melted butter. This can be remedied usually by cooling the frosting for a bit and continuing to beat it. Once the frosting has formed, it is perfectly safe to pipe the frosting and refrigerate it afterwards. It is a stable and sturdy frosting and it won’t fall apart 🙂

      Reply

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