Made from 5 ingredients, this is perfect Swiss meringue buttercream. Written in easy terms with in-depth instructions and troubleshooting tips, this post teaches you how to make the best meringue buttercream even if you’ve failed before or if it’s your first try. This frosting is creamy, silky smooth, holds its shape beautifully, and the best part—and why everyone loves it—is that it’s not extra sweet like traditional American vanilla buttercream.
Do you want to master Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) but are too nervous to try it? I get it, the thought of making meringue as the base of a frosting sounds complicated, timely, and intimidating. Let me break down that barrier for you– this recipe is where you start.
What is Swiss Meringue Buttercream?
Swiss meringue buttercream joins other varieties—French and Italian—as a stable, not overly sweet frosting. The process for each is a little different, but the Swiss method is arguably the easiest. Swiss meringue buttercream is made from cooked egg whites and sugar, butter, and flavorings like vanilla and salt. Whip the cooked egg whites and sugar into stiff peaks, then slowly add the butter before adding flavors. It’s out-of-this-world creamy, extra smooth, and the perfect sweetness for any confection. The whipping process is long and where some trouble can start, including never reaching stiff peaks. The butter can also melt, leaving you with SMBC soup. Or you can over-whip everything into curdles.
It’s a little more complicated then my whipped frosting, but it’s worth it! Today I’m putting you on the right SMBC track, plus there’s usually a fix for everything—and I teach you how in this post.
This Swiss Meringue Buttercream Is:
- Made from 5 basic ingredients
- Silky smooth and buttery
- Thick and ultra creamy
- Perfect for piping or spreading
- Flavored with vanilla and a touch of salt
- Not cloyingly sweet like traditional frosting
Let me explain why each ingredient is important. Feel free to keep scrolling to the full recipe written below.
- Egg Whites: Egg whites and sugar form the meringue. Just as I recommend when making French macarons, use fresh eggs instead of carton egg whites. Here are all my recipes using leftover egg yolks. Success tip: Eggs separate much easier when they’re cold.
- Granulated Sugar: Use regular granulated sugar, not confectioners’ sugar.
- Unsalted Butter: Butter turns meringue into meringue buttercream. I recommend unsalted butter because salted butter tastes overpowering. Keep in mind that the frosting will turn soupy and thin if the butter is too warm. Make sure you’re using butter that is slightly cooler than proper room temperature butter. Remove butter from the refrigerator and set it out for just 30-40 minutes before you need to use it. It should be cool to the touch, about 60°F (16°C). For accuracy, I recommend using an instant read thermometer. Cut butter into Tablespoon size pieces before using.
- Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor. See FAQs below for other flavor options.
- Salt: Some SMBC recipes don’t use salt, but I strongly recommend it for another layer of flavor. You may be wondering why you can’t just use salted butter and skip the added salt, so make sure you review Salted Vs Unsalted Butter in Baking.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Video Tutorial
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How to Make Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Here’s an overview of the steps. Full instructions available in the recipe below. Feel free to keep scrolling to the full recipe if you’d like!
- Get rid of any grease residue. Wipe all tools that will touch the meringue with a little lemon juice or white vinegar. Grease or fat prevents your meringue from setting up.
- Separate the eggs. Save the yolks for another recipe.
- Cook the egg whites & sugar: Whisk sugar & egg whites together, then set the bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water. Do not let the bottom of the mixing bowl touch the water. Whisk the whites and sugar constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture has thinned out. The mixture will be thick and tacky at first, then thin out and appear frothy on top. To test that it’s ready, you can use your finger or an instant read thermometer. Lightly and quickly dip your finger (it’s very hot, be careful) and rub the mixture between your thumb and finger. You shouldn’t feel any sugar granules. If using a thermometer, the temperature should read 160°F (71°C).
- Whip it: Transfer warm mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (if you aren’t already using the metal bowl that comes with it). Beat until stiff peaks form and the meringue is no longer warm to touch, at least 10-15 minutes. On particularly humid days, it will take longer. If it’s still not reaching stiff peaks, stop the mixer, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, then return to the mixer and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- If the bowl and meringue still feel warm at this point, wait until both cool to room temperature (around 70°F (21°C)) before adding the butter.
- Add the butter and flavor: Switch the stand mixer to the paddle attachment and add the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time. Wait for the butter to fully mix in before adding the next. After all the butter has been added, beat in vanilla and salt. Done!
A small egg separator is a helpful tool in this recipe.
Cook and whisk egg whites and sugar over indirect heat. When it’s ready, the mixture will be frothy on top and thin. (Below, right.)
What Are Stiff Peaks?
After several minutes of mixing, the meringue should form stiff glossy peaks. This means it forms stiff, smooth, and sharp points in the bowl or on the lifted whisk attachment.
Stiff peaks do not droop down.
After reaching stiff peaks, let the meringue cool for a bit, then beat in the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time.
Success Tip: Because butter needs to be on the cooler side, I don’t remove it from the refrigerator and cut it into Tbsp pieces until I start whipping the meringue.
Add vanilla and salt, then you’re done.
Buttercream is now deliciously creamy and smooth!
5 Helpful Tools
- Saucepan & heatproof bowl: Cook egg whites and sugar on indirect heat in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (I just use the metal mixing bowl that comes with a stand mixer.) This cooking method is essentially how we cook the eggs in French silk pie and make homemade marshmallow creme. If you own a double boiler, just use that.
- Whisk: Constantly whisking the egg whites and sugar as they gently cook is key.
- Electric Mixer: Beating the meringue into stiff peaks requires an electric mixer. I strongly recommend a stand mixer, but a handheld mixer can work. Give your arm a break every few minutes because the beating steps are tiresome. A handheld mixer will take longer to beat the meringue, too.
- Egg Separator: Though not required, it’s vastly helpful to have an egg separator to ensure no yolks make it into the mixing bowl. I generally recommend stocking your kitchen with an egg separator because they’re an inexpensive tool you can use for so many recipes like French macarons and chocolate soufflé.
- Instant Read Thermometer: Though also not required, it’s helpful to have an instant read thermometer (or a candy/oil thermometer) to determine the safe temperature of cooked egg whites, as well as the ideal temperature for the butter. Less mistakes this way.
- Is it safe to eat? Provided you aren’t allergic to any of these ingredients, yes. The eggs are cooked to 160°F (71°C), which is considered safe to eat for everyone including pregnant women and children. As always, use your best judgement and feel free to consult a Dr if you’re concerned.
- Does SMBC crust? No, Swiss meringue buttercream does not crust or dry out like American buttercream can. That’s why SMBC is excellent for creating the smoothest frosting detail on cakes and perfectly piped (yet still fluffy tasting!) designs.
- Is it stable? Yes, Swiss meringue buttercream is stable at room temperature. Though if eating on a particularly humid day, keep your frosted confections in the refrigerator as close to serving as you can. You can use SMBC under fondant-topped cakes and confections, too.
- Can I add flavors? Replace some (about 1 teaspoon) of vanilla extract with 1 teaspoon of another flavor extract such as lemon, coconut, orange, maple, or even 1 teaspoon of espresso powder. Taste, then add a touch more if desired. For potent extracts, like peppermint or almond, replace 1 teaspoon of the vanilla with just 1/2 teaspoon. For chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, beat 8 ounces of pure melted and slightly cooled chocolate into the buttercream when you add the vanilla and salt. Make sure you’re using pure baking chocolate (the 4 ounce bars) like Baker’s or Ghirardelli brands found in the baking aisle.
- Can I add food coloring? Yes and it’s best to tint SMBC with gel food coloring so you aren’t adding a lot of extra liquid. Beat food coloring into the frosting on low speed after you add the vanilla extract and salt.
- Can you freeze Swiss meringue buttercream or make it ahead? Yes. Swiss meringue buttercream is great left covered at room temperature for 1-2 days, but after that, refrigerate it for up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months. If freezing, store in an airtight container, then thaw it at room temperature on the counter. Once completely at room temperature, about 72°F (22°C), place into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy again. If it separates or curdles, see troubleshooting tips below.
Pictured above: Curdled buttercream! Let’s fix it.
Troubleshooting Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Meringue Won’t Reach Stiff Peaks: Step 4 in the recipe below requires a long period of mixing the cooked egg whites and sugar together into stiff peaks. This mixture (the meringue) will never reach stiff peaks if there was a drop of egg yolk (fat) or grease in the mixture, mixing bowl, or on any tools you are using. Wipe down all of your tools with lemon juice or white vinegar, use an egg separator, and separate and add the egg whites one at a time to the mixing bowl. These are all instructions listed out in the recipe below. It’s also helpful to avoid making this on particularly humid days where there’s extra moisture in the air. If you did all of this and it’s still not reaching stiff peaks, the meringue could be too warm or it needs a break. See next.
- My Mixer Needs a Break: By all means, give it a break! Mixers can tire out while beating the cooked egg whites and sugar because this step requires a long period of mixing. If your mixer and its motor needs a break, it’s likely your meringue needs a break too. Stop what you’re doing, remove the whisk attachment (or beaters if you’re using a hand mixer), place the attachment/beaters in the bowl with the meringue, and refrigerate it all (covered or uncovered, doesn’t matter) for 20-30 minutes. This gives your mixer, as well as the meringue and mixing bowl, a chance to cool down. (Important: though it’s best to begin whipping the cooked egg/sugar while it’s still warm, it could simply need a cool break halfway through reaching stiff peaks.)
- Buttercream is Curdled/Too Thick: If your meringue has separated, curdled, or is too thick at any point after you mix in all of the butter, just keep beating because it will eventually come together. If it’s only getting thicker and chunkier, there’s a quick fix—and it’s my favorite. Place the mixture in your heat-proof bowl back over a pot of 2 inches of simmering water. Without stirring, let the edges of the meringue warm up and become liquid (the center of the meringue will still be solid), about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and return to the mixer. Beat meringue on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to medium-high speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. I have to do this 75% of the time, but I LOVE it because partially melting the SMBC then re-whipping actually creates a creamier frosting.
- Buttercream is Soupy/Too Thin: If your mixture has become too thin and soupy after you add the butter, your butter was likely too warm or the meringue was still too warm. Have no fear—this is fixable by bringing down its temperature. Place the entire bowl in the refrigerator (covered or uncovered, doesn’t matter) for 20 minutes to cool down, then return it to the mixer and beat on medium-high speed until thickened. Any longer than this will solidify the butter, so only refrigerate in 20 minute spurts. If it’s still soupy, place back in the refrigerator for longer before re-whipping again.
- Buttercream Only Tastes like Butter: The main ingredient, besides egg whites, is butter. Make sure you’re using unsalted butter because salted butter leaves your frosting with an overwhelmingly salty/buttery flavor. Use pure vanilla extract to flavor it and add a pinch of regular table salt. Other flavored extracts work too—see the Ingredients section above.
- Buttercream Solidified in the Refrigerator: There’s a lot of butter in this frosting, so if it’s stored in a bowl in the refrigerator, it will solidify into one large mass just like a bowl of cookie dough. Two ways to fix this: sit it on the counter and bring it to room temperature. Once completely at room temperature, about 72°F (22°C), place into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy again. If you don’t have time to wait for it to come to room temperature or if your home isn’t warm enough, follow the same instructions as #3 in this list (Buttercream is Curdled/Too Thick). Placing over gentle heat will melt the edges and when whipped, the melty edges and solid center will come together into 1 smooth frosting.
I know it seems complicated, but as long as you remain patient, read through this post, watch the video, prepare yourself by reviewing the recipe before beginning, you will be rewarded with the most luscious, not-overly-sweet frosting ever.
How to Use It:
- Pipe it. My favorite piping tips and a video on how to use piping tips will be helpful to review.
- Pictured: I used Ateco 849 and piped a tall swirl onto my vanilla cupcakes
- Try it on Yellow Cupcakes, Chocolate Cupcakes, or any of my cupcake recipes
- Use it as the frosting for White Cake, Yellow Cake, Carrot Cake, Vanilla Sheet Cake, or Chocolate Cake
- Pair it with citrus flavors on top of lemon blueberry cupcakes or citrus cake.
- As a filling for macarons or whoopie pies
- Instead of buttercream to decorate Halloween cupcakes.
- See “Yield” recipe note below for more ideas.
See Your Swiss Meringue Buttercream!
Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂Print
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 5 cups
- Category: Frosting
- Method: Whipping
- Cuisine: European
This is vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream perfection. It’s the ideal balance of sweet and creamy, without being as cloyingly sugary as American buttercream. (This is a far cry from how sweet that is!) Thick, sturdy, and perfectly pipe-able. This in-depth recipe sets you up for success on your 1st try.
- 6 large egg whites (approximately 230g)
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 350g) unsalted butter, softened but still cool and cut into Tbsp size pieces (*see note*)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Watch the video tutorial above, review the troubleshooting tips, and read the recipe in full before beginning. Make sure all the tools you are using are completely cleaned, dried, and grease-free. A quick wipe with a little lemon juice or white vinegar is very helpful.
- Separate the eggs: If you haven’t done so yet, separate the eggs first. Separate 1 egg white in a small bowl, then place the egg white in your heatproof mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining egg whites. This way, if a yolk breaks in one of them, you don’t waste the whole batch.
- Whisk sugar into the egg whites, then set the bowl over a saucepan filled with just two inches of simmering water over medium heat. Do not let the bottom of the egg whites bowl touch the water. Whisk the whites and sugar constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture has thinned out, about 4 minutes. The mixture will be thick and tacky at first, then thin out and be frothy white on top. To test that it’s ready, you can use your finger or an instant read thermometer. Lightly and quickly dip your finger (it’s very hot, be careful) and rub the mixture between your thumb and finger. You shouldn’t feel any sugar granules. If using a thermometer, the temperature should read 160°F (71°C).
- No need to let it cool down to start this next step– it’s important to begin mixing while it is still warm. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (if you aren’t already using the metal bowl that comes with it). You can use a hand mixer instead, but this step takes awhile and your arm tires quickly. On medium-high speed, beat the mixture until stiff glossy peaks form and the meringue is no longer warm to the touch, at least 10-15 minutes. On particularly humid days, this has taken me up to 17-18 minutes. If it’s still not reaching stiff peaks, stop the mixer, place the bowl–uncovered–in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, then return to the mixer and continue beating until stiff peaks form. (This has always worked for me when it’s taking forever to reach stiff peaks.)
- If the bowl and meringue still feel warm, wait until both cool to room temperature (around 70°F (21°C)) before adding the butter in the next step. Feel free to place it in the refrigerator. A warm bowl and meringue will melt the butter.
- Switch the stand mixer to the paddle attachment. On medium-high speed, add the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time. Wait for the butter to fully mix in before adding the next Tablespoon. After all the butter has been added, turn the mixer down to medium speed and fully beat in the vanilla and salt, about 30 seconds.
- Your Swiss meringue buttercream should be thick, creamy, and silky smooth and is ready to use on any cake, cupcake, or other confection.
- Too Thick or Too Thin: If your meringue has separated, curdled, or is too thick at any point after you mix in all of the butter, place the mixture in your heat-proof bowl back over a pot of 2 inches of simmering water. Without stirring, let the edges of the meringue warm up and become liquid (the center of the meringue will still be solid), about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and return to the mixer. Beat meringue on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to medium-high speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Works every time. If your mixture has become too thin and soupy after you add the butter, place the entire bowl in the refrigerator (covered or uncovered, doesn’t matter) for 20 minutes to cool down, then return it to the mixer and beat on medium-high speed until thickened. Any longer than this will solidify the butter, so only refrigerate in 20 minute spurts. If it’s still soupy, place back in the refrigerator for longer before re-whipping again. More troubleshooting tips in the post above.
- Make-Ahead, Storing, & Freezing Instructions: Swiss meringue buttercream is great left covered at room temperature for 1-2 days, but after that, refrigerate it for up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months. If freezing, store in an airtight container, then thaw it at room temperature on the counter. Once completely at room temperature, about 72°F (22°C), place into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy again. If it separates or curdles, see step 8.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Instant Read Thermometer | Egg White Separator | Whisk | Double Boiler
- Yield: This recipe yields about 5 cups of frosting, which is enough to fill and frost a two layer 9-inch cake with a generous amount, to fill and frost a three layer 9-inch cake with just enough frosting, to lightly frost 2 dozen cupcakes, to heavily frost 1 dozen cupcakes (I had just enough for the huge swirls on 12 of the pictured cupcakes), or a 9×13 inch sheet cake (with some frosting leftover).
- Egg Whites: For best success, I recommend using fresh eggs instead of carton egg whites. Here are all my recipes using leftover egg yolks. Eggs separate much easier when they’re cold. Separate the egg whites one at a time and place the egg white into a large heat-proof mixing bowl (or a double boiler or the metal mixing bowl from your stand mixer) before separating the next. This way, if a yolk breaks in one of them, you don’t waste the whole batch.
- There’s almost always a way to fix “ruined” Swiss Meringue Buttercream and it usually has to do with temperature. See step 8 as well as my troubleshooting tips in the post above.
- Butter: This buttercream will thin out and become liquid-y if the butter is too warm. Make sure you’re using butter that is slightly cooler than proper room temperature butter. Remove butter from the refrigerator and set it out for just 30-40 minutes before you need to add it to the meringue. Sometimes meringue takes longer than usual or it needs a break (see Troubleshooting above) and in that case, you should place the butter back into the refrigerator for a few minutes so it doesn’t get too warm sitting out. The butter should be cool to the touch. For accuracy, I recommend using an instant read thermometer. Butter should be 60°F (16°C).
- Flavors & Colors: For flavor ideas including chocolate, see my Can I add flavors? FAQ above. For coloring, it’s best to tint this frosting with gel food coloring so you aren’t adding a lot of extra liquid. Beat food coloring into the frosting on low speed after you add the vanilla extract and salt.
- Half or Larger Batch: You can halve this recipe. The egg white/sugar mixture won’t take as long to cook and the meringue won’t take as long to reach stiff peaks. I do not recommend making larger batches at a time because it will quickly overcrowd and wear out your mixer. If you need more batches, make them all separately.
Adapted from Martha Stewart. I found it needed less butter, 1 more egg white, and more sugar in order to stabilize properly.
Keywords: Swiss meringue buttercream, meringue, frosting
Reader Comments & Reviews
Great recipe, I used it to decor a birthday cake ☺️
I made this today for our chocolate quinoa cupcakes. I weighed the egg whites (thanks for putting the approx. weight in the recipe) I was using very old eggs from my flock. I found using older egg whites whip better in meringues. I used my cheese thermometer to check the temp of the egg white and sugar. It took 4-5 minutes to get to stiff peaks. It did seem to break a little after adding the butter and I came back to check the troubleshooting. Washed the beater and beat again. Took a few minutes and it came together. My only question is at what speed are you whipping the egg white/sugar mixture? and What speed when you add the butter?
Hi Sarah! Use medium high speed – we usually use setting 6 on our Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but the exact speed needed for you will depend on your mixer. Thank you for making our recipe!
I made 1/2 recipe. Worked out perfectly
I finally made a good frosting! I followed these steps and added in about 6oz of melted high quality white chocolate at the end for a white chocolate frosting and omg it is amazing and light! American buttercream is always so dense and I can never get the right consistency or sweetness but this is almost foolproof! I will definitely be making this again. I have it chilling in the fridge to assemble my fiancés triple chocolate birthday cake tomorrow. He’s going to be so impressed!
I just made this today! It came out great and is my favorite frosting so far! Can I double this recipe?
Hi Stephanie, we do not recommend making larger batches at a time because it will quickly overcrowd and wear out your mixer. If you need more batches, we recommend making them all separately. So glad you enjoyed this frosting!
Can I put a splash of espresso coffee in this at the end instead of instant coffee powder?
Hi Hayley, we don’t recommend adding liquid, as it will alter the consistency of the buttercream mixture. Best to stick with powder here.
Hi! I am going to make this recipe very soon!! I was wondering if this recipe is enough to fill and frost a 3 layer, 10-inch cake ?
Hi Klovesa, This recipe yields about 5 cups of frosting, which is enough to fill and frost a three layer 9-inch cake with just enough frosting, or generously fill and frost a three layer 6-inch cake. See recipe note about quantities — for best results, we recommend making separate batches if more buttercream is needed.
Great recipe, and the troubleshooting was incredibly helpful! I was wondering if you could subsititue cream cheese or maybe marscapone for some of the butter? These are less firm than butter, so I am concerned the result would not be stiff enough.
Hi Jessica, we haven’t tested this Swiss meringue buttercream with cream cheese. If you do, let us know how it goes! If you are interested here’s our less sweet whipped frosting recipe (with cream cheese!).
I’ve tried this with half cream cheese and half butter. While it tasted fantastic, unfortunately it was so runny I could only use it as a thick drizzle. The addition of cocoa powder helped it to firm up enough to frost a chocolate cake, but it definitely wouldn’t hold shape enough to use for any piping work.
I am got to try this recipe for the first time. Will it be enough to fill and cover a 3 layer 6 inch cake? And will there be enough to pipe decorate it too?
Hi Lucy, this recipe yields about 5 cups of frosting, which should be the perfect amount to cover your cake and pipe decorations on the top if desired.
Hello 🙂 I’m going for the 1st time to make this SMBC. My question is do I need to add a white food colouring to make it clearly white? Because I’m going to make Olaf (Frozen) character as a decoration for a cake.
Hi Paula, the color will always depend on the particular butter you’re using. If you’d like a stark white buttercream, mix in a very tiny (super small!) drop of purple food coloring into the frosting. This will “clear” out any of that yellow. Hope this helps!
when you make separate batches for a larger amount can you combine them together to mix after you have made the batches?
First time I made this I had used egg whites straight from the egg. Would this recipe work with carton egg whites? Purely for convenience and reduced waste, or would it not work as well as fresh eggs?
Hi Sima! For the best results we recommend using fresh eggs instead of carton egg whites.
I plan to make your Bailey’s cupcakes(though i plan to use your instructions to make a cake) but i dont prefer the american style buttercream you have there. I have made this recipe before and was happy with it. how much Bailey’s would you recommend to add to this recipe to make it sufficiently “bailey’s flavored” but not thin it out too much? thanks!
Hi Nick! We haven’t tested adding Bailey’s to this recipe so can’t say for sure. This recipe from Confessions of a Baking Queen is similar and uses 6-10 Tbs Bailey’s. Let us know if you give it a try!
Hi Sally!!! This recipe is usually amazing for me but just wondering – my hand mixer only has a whisk attachment and no paddle, will this effect my outcome at all??
Hi Molly! Traditional hand mixer beaters or whisk attachments will work here. A hand mixer isn’t quite as powerful as a stand mixer, so the mixing time will be longer.
I would like to use this frosting for your pistachio cake using pistachio paste as a flavoring to intensify pistachio flavor. Is there a recommended limit to the amount of paste this recipe would accomodate and when would you incorporate it into the frosting. Thanks!
Hi Maruska, We have never tested this frosting with pistachio paste. If you wish to try it we would add it when you add the butter – start with just a small amount at first because we are unsure if the oils from the pistachios will have a negative impact on the frosting. Let us know if you give it a try.
This has become my go to recipe for Swiss Meringue Frosting it is yummy
Came out perfect my first try. Excellent instructions. I did use an electronic cooking thermometer. Delicious frosting that makes any cake or melting moments ‘wow’.
First Time, Success! Have always made the super-sweet “American” buttercream and had read raves about your SMBC, Sally. Made a half batch today, your instructions are so precise and thorough! and the result…OMG. So light yet delicious; and the smooth swirls are so crisp (Ateco tip 825) Thank you for my new go-to!
Question: Have never tried SMBC, but looking to learn for summer wedding. Will be a warm day, best option? Groom is asking for the kind of frosting that comes on “grocery store cake”. I have no clue what he means…
Hi Rebecca, this type of frosting is often compared to “grocery store cake”-style frosting, so it’s a good place to start! While it will be okay outside for a while, it really depends on exactly how hot and humid it will be. If you can store the cake in the refrigerator as long as possible before displaying, that will help. Be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight, too. Hope you enjoy it!
Thanks you Sally for such a fantastic recipe. I used this to make Swiss buttercream icing for my parents anniversary cake and it was a life saver, and thanks to your recipe it came out perfectly!
I tried this recipe twice and it was so runny. I even tried bringing the sugar and egg back down to room temp before creating stiff peaks and adding butter. What i noticed from other recipes is that they use an extra 100g of butter, when I added this extra butter to mine it fixed it straight away. So my questions is…should the reipe be 450g butter, not 350?
Hi Mitch, see the Troubleshooting section, #4 specifically. When the mixture becomes too runny, you need to bring down its temperature and refrigerating helps.
Time consuming but totally worth it. Second time making this and by following your well written directions, turned out perfectly. Used a bit of pink gel food coloring and made your chocolate cupcakes and all in all a total hit. Thanks!
Great recipe, all your tips were sooo helpful! Can’t go wrong with these instructions. I made for the first time and had both curdling and then it was too soupy, but with your advice was able to stabilize and make a wonderful Swiss meringue buttercream! Only suggestion would be, in step 6 of the instructions where you add the butter 1tbsp at a time, could you add a recommended time to that? Like how long does it usually take for each tbsp of butter to combine and how long to mix together total. Even without that instruction it was easy to fix any mistakes because I think that may have been where I went wrong, but it might have been easier if I had more guidance on that step. Otherwise great! Thanks for such detailed instructions and a great recipe!
I made this twice, quadruple checking the measurements and temperatures and using all the troubleshooting advice and just ended up switching between a runny buttercream and a curdled one. Tried for a third time using a different ingredient quantities but same method and came out a treat / so I don’t really understand how that happened ♀️
Hi Sarah, may I ask what ingredient quantities you used that helped you have better luck? Sorry the written recipe wasn’t a success for you.
Hi Sally! Is it possible to break your SMBC when mixing? It was literally PERFECT even after adding butter but I noticed a few tiny butter chunks so I decided to mix a little more .. well that little bit more caused it to separate/curdle and I’m devastated haha so I’m trying your reheat and now refrigerate troubleshoot method and PRAYING it works out .. any thoughts?
Hi Alex, yes, Swiss meringue buttercream can break. Over-mixing can definitely be the culprit. It should smooth out after reheating per the advice above. What was the result?
Hi there!! I will decorate a birthday cake soon with SMBC but i have never tasted it! what does it taste like?? i wanted to use it bc of how nicely it smooths out and pipes but i really want it to taste good. i like American buttercream but it can be gritty and i feel like it doesn’t combine well and sometimes it’s too sweet for me. but i do like sweetness!! i hear that SMBC can taste like plain butter? if so, can i add more sugar without ruining the consistency?
Hi Kiara, we find this version of Swiss meringue buttercream to be pleasantly sweet, and not too heavy nor buttery-tasting. Make sure you’re using unsalted butter because salted butter leaves your frosting with an overwhelmingly salty/buttery flavor. Use pure vanilla extract to flavor it and add a pinch of regular table salt. Other flavored extracts work too– see the Ingredients section above. Or, you may also enjoy our not-so-sweet whipped frosting instead. It also pipes well!
Hi! Can I make this recipe using meringue powder instead of egg whites?
Hi Alisha, you can definitely use meringue powder to make Swiss meringue buttercream, but we would search for a recipe that gives directions specifically for that method.
Hi Sally. I have to decorate an 8inch and 6 inch tiered cake. Can I just double/triple the recipe or should I make several batches? Thank you
Hi Jenny, we do not recommend making larger batches at a time because it will quickly overcrowd and wear out your mixer. If you need more batches, we recommend making them all separately.
Is it okay to add pulverized dried strawberries? I love the strawberry cupcakes and cake, but the buttercream frosting is too sweet for me.
Hi Nadine, yes! We recommend adding 1/2 cup of freeze-dried strawberry powder along with the vanilla extract and salt for a strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream. No other changes to the recipe necessary.
hi, i am going to make this recipe tomorrow for my brothers birthday. i was wondering about what heat the water should be when shimmering over the stove. thanks!
Hi Hannah, Simmering water is usually anywhere from 185 to 205 degrees F. Look for small bubbles just around the edges of your pan. The most important thing is to not let the bottom of your bowl touch the hot water. Hope this helps!