Perfect Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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.

swiss meringue 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.

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

vanilla swiss meringue buttercream

Ingredients

Let me explain why each ingredient is important. Feel free to keep scrolling to the full recipe written below.

  1. 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.
  2. Granulated Sugar: Use regular granulated sugar, not confectioners’ sugar.
  3. 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.
  4. Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor. See FAQs below for other flavor options.
  5. 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 on cupcakes


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!

  1. 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.
  2. Separate the eggs. Save the yolks for another recipe.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

egg whites for meringue

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.)

cooking egg whites and sugar on stove

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.

stiff peaks for Swiss meringue

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.

cool room temperature butter

Add vanilla and salt, then you’re done.

Buttercream is now deliciously creamy and smooth!

vanilla swiss meringue buttercream

5 Helpful Tools

  1. 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.
  2. Whisk: Constantly whisking the egg whites and sugar as they gently cook is key.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

FAQS:

  • 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.

curdled thick swiss meringue buttercream disaster

Pictured above: Curdled buttercream! Let’s fix it.

Troubleshooting Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

cupcakes with Swiss meringue buttercream

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:

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swiss meringue buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Whipping
  • Cuisine: European

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Your Swiss meringue buttercream should be thick, creamy, and silky smooth and is ready to use on any cake, cupcake, or other confection.
  8. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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

724 Comments

  1. Sally, I would like to try this, but I have one concern: I have an old Sunbeam stand mixer that doesn’t have a whisk or paddle attachment. It uses two metal beater attachments exactly like those used in an electric hand mixer. The bowl spins while the beaters stay in place. Will this work? I will have to use those same attachments for both stages of the recipe—the meringue stage, and when incorporating the butter. Will I succeed?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathleen, The beater attachments may take a bit longer to beat the meringue, but yes, it should work!

  2. Hi Sally,
    I was wondering if I could replace melted chocolate with cocoa powder instead? And if i could, how much should i use? Thank you !

  3. Hello!
    I know this is ambitious, but I do not have a stand or hand mixer with me so I was going to attempt this by hand. I have creamed butter and sugar before by hand no problem (I just let it sit at room temperature until it is soft enough and then go ham), but I was wondering if I would ruin the incorporated air bubbles within the cooked and mixed egg whites if I tried to cream the butter in while it was fresh out of the fridge. Could I maybe soften the butter with a mixing spoon and then put it in the fridge before I mix it with the egg white so that it stays cold?
    Any tips for doing this by hand would be very helpful!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessy, While creaming the butter by hand is possible, unfortunately, beating the meringue into stiff peaks does require an electric mixer. It’s possible with an electric hand held mixer, but even that takes longer than with a stand mixer.

  4. Kellie Green says:

    Hi sally
    I’m lookkkg to make this for the first time (eek), but I’m wanting to add titanium dioxide to it to make it super white. When is the best time to add this? At the end when you add essence, salts or colouring?
    Have you used titanium dioxide before? Any tips?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kellie! We’ve never worked with titanium dioxide before so can’t say for sure. Our trick for white icing is adding just a very small drop of purple gel food coloring to help brighten the white. Let us know what you try!

  5. Hi I would like to know if this icing is good for a hot sunny day! Thank you

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chand, See “Is it stable?” above. Swiss meringue buttercream is stable at room temperature. But on a particularly hot or humid day, keep your frosted confections in the refrigerator as close to serving as you can.

  6. Kellie Green says:

    Hi,
    I’ll be decorating a 3 tiered cake tomorrow using yours SMBC recipe. Can’t wait. What is the best quantities for round 3 tiered cake please. 1.5, double or will 1 be ok?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kellie! It depends on the width of your cakes tiers. 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.

  7. I just tried this recipe today and it’s delicious! I made a half recipe and almost panicked when the egg white and sugar mixture didn’t take as long to cook, but after reading the tips I felt so much better.

  8. This recipe is fire. I’ve been searching for the perfect frosting recipe for years now but haven’t been thrilled with any. This is so well balanced and held up amazingly at my nephews bday/graduation party in 95F heat! I had compliments all around about how perfect the frosting was- light and fluffy and not too sweet. A++ this will forever be my go to frosting recipe. Thanks!

  9. Mercy Hodey says:

    Dear Sally,
    Can I use German buttercream to fill the layers of the cake and use the SMBC to frost around the cake? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely!

  10. Hello, would this be a good recipe to make buttercream flowers for decorating a cake? Do you have a smaller batch recipe just for decorating flowers on a cake? Thanks! Looking forward to trying new recipes!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Korrina! Yes, this Swiss meringue buttercream pipes beautifully for flowers. You can halve this recipe for a smaller batch – see recipe notes for details. Enjoy!

  11. I’ve just started out baking cakes and so I’m still very new to American buttercream. I was hesitant to try this but man am I glad I did! It is amazing! Perfectly sweet and not an overwhelming butter flavor. Your step by step instructions were very helpful and it came out perfect. Only thing I would change is adding slightly less Vanilla but that’s a personal preference.

  12. i have never tried making this buttercream before so while making it i had millions doubts and i was completely sure that it wont work…. then VOİLAAAAAAA and i meannnnnnn OMG it worked like magic ..
    tasty smooothy and steady SO thank youuu <3

  13. Just made this for some Funfetti cupcakes. The recipe and video make it easy to follow. I almost thought I messed up, as it was too thin…but I followed the suggestions and put it in the fridge for 20 minute intervals…after the second time cooling down it fluffed right up and came out perfect! Thank you for making something that looked hard to make, a lot easier!

  14. Second attempt for macaron filling, and I discovered this time that the first attempt would have been great if I’d persevered! Lol! I whipped the gosh darn living daylights out of this batch and FINALLY, after first turning soupy, then fridge time, then curdling, and a solid 10 min on like 6 maybe on my KA, it began to smooth out and get fluffy and I couldn’t believe my eyes. So yummy! I also made a 1/3 of this recipe and didn’t have a problem. Thank you, Sally, for another great recipe!!!

  15. Would 1.5x the recipe yield enough for a 3 layer 6 inch cake (your zebra birthday cake) plus 12 cupcakes?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kandis, that should be plenty — just a note that we don’t recommend making larger batches at once. See recipe notes for more details.

  16. Hello! I was hoping to frost cupcakes for an event the day before, then refrigerate them overnight. Would (this) Swiss meringue buttercream hold up? Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Definitely!

  17. Hey Sally,
    I would like to add freeze dried strawberries. Can I pulse them into a powder and add it when you add the vanilla and salt? And if so how much should I add?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Angela, you sure can. We recommend adding 1/2 cup of freeze-dried strawberry powder along with the vanilla extract and salt. No other changes to the recipe necessary. Enjoy!

    2. Angela, can you please tell me how your frosting came out using the powdered freeze dried strawberries? I would love to do the same but the last time I tried to add them to a sweetened condensed milk frosting it did not turn out well. I was able to save it, thank goodness (those freeze dried berries are not cheap, lol) but the only way I was able to was by adding a bunch of powdered sugar. That basically defeated the purpose of using that specific recipe. Due to the freeze dried strawberries not having much sweetness to them adding the powdered sugar was the only way. I did ask the creator of the condensed milk frosting if it would work and was told yes but…. Since then unless I’m following along a recipe or if I read in the comments that someone was successful going off script I just won’t do it. Sorry for the novel. Just wanted to give you some background on one of my baking semi disaster to which why I’m asking if you were successful, lol. Hope to hear back soon. Thanks…

      1. Hey Tammie,
        It worked out very well. There is a very subtle taste of strawberry and it gave a nice very very light pink colour to the recipe. I find it changed the consistency slightly but it was still very tasty and not off putting. I have made this Swiss meringue buttercream without any changes in the recipe that’s how I could tell the difference in consistency.

  18. Can you make this a cream cheese SMBC frosting?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tracy, 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 favorite cream cheese frosting recipe.

  19. I was planning on using this frosting covering a 9 inch chocolate cake. Would this combination be good and if making it a day ahead should I refrigerate it then bring it to temperature the next day? Thank you so much

  20. Hi Sally! I’m crazy about your site and how well you explain EVERYTHING. I will be overnight shipping a birthday cake to a dear friend this summer, for his 100th birthday! The cake will go clear across the country and needs to be shipped already frosted — no one at the receiving end will be able to frost it. What would be the best type of frosting to use? I plan to bake and frost the cake, freeze it, and then ship it. Just not sure what frosting to use. Thanks for your help and all you do, and stay well! Lauren

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lauren, this frosting does freeze well and should work fine for freezing with your cake. We’d recommend taking a look at this post on how to freeze cakes for some other tips and tricks. We’d recommend sticking with a simple frosting decoration, so that your hard work doesn’t get ruined during the shipping process! Also, if you’re shipping it from frozen, be sure to use dry-ice so that the cake will stay cold and not defrost en route. Hope this helps!

  21. Marilyn Cormier says:

    Could you use vegan butter sticks with this recipe?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marilyn, we haven’t personally tried them so we can’t say for sure. Let us know if you decide to try it out.

  22. Way too much butter. I had to toss it and start over. Half the butter worked fine.

  23. I really love the taste of this buttercream but I seem to be having some problems and I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. Once its done mixing and I go to put it on my cake it will not smooth out it almost like there are bits in it and it drags with I try to make my cake smooth.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      HI Lisa, Was it grainy coming off the heat? If so try cooking it on the stove a little longer (past 160 degrees F). Constantly whisk. The sugar granules shouldn’t be detected much longer after that. (Sugar melts!) Once you’ve gotten to the end and you can still detect grains, re-whipping should *hopefully* smooth it out. Let us know if you try again!

  24. Sadie Swanson says:

    Hi Sally! I’m baking a cake for a friend’s birthday, but I’m a little nervous about the frosting. I’ve baked cakes and cupcakes before, and the cake part always turns out great, but the frosting part is always too thick and yellow. I’ve heard that you’re supposed to use lighter-colored butter in the frosting to prevent it from looking yellow. Is that required for this recipe? Thank you for your help!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sadie! How yellow or white butter is depends on region and brand. 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.

  25. I have made this before and I absolutely LOVE it. Perfect smoothness and sweetness. I wanted to make again on the spur of the moment but I did not have enough eggs. My question is, can I substitute meringue powder for the egg whites?
    Thank you so much for this recipe, it’s the only one I will make from now on.

  26. How would I flavour this buttercream so it was basil smbc? Can I mash up chopped basil with the sugar and then cook the sugar with the egg whites in a double boiler like normal? 🙂

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Halle! We haven’t tested adding basil flavor to this buttercream, but please let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

  27. I was wondering if there was any way to make this a cream cheese frosting. I prefer Swiss meringue buttercream over regular frosting and I’m trying to make red velvet. Thank you!!!!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lili, 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 favorite cream cheese frosting recipe.

  28. Hi… Can i use this smbc immediately after whipping it and then put my decorated cake in fridge?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Hanako, yes, you can use this SMBC right after you have finished all the steps as outlined in the recipe. You can then decorate your cake and put it in the fridge (although SMBC is also okay at room temperature for a day or two).

  29. Hey Sally!

    Is it possible to use carton egg whites instead of whole eggs? And just measure the correct grams?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mindi, For the best results we recommend using fresh eggs instead of carton egg whites.

  30. I will tell you, this was the hardest thing I’ve ever made. I whisked the egg white and sugar until it was fully melted and reached the temp, and started whisking it. Did it for 12 mins, soup, pop it in fridge for 10 mins, whipped it for 7 mins, still no stiff peaks, pop it in fridge… did it a total of 27 mins, still not good. Had to pop it in the freezer, but it still didn’t reach stiff peaks. And I think once you stopped the mixer, it looked even more soupy. I did it for so long that I don’t think it was ever going to get there so I added butter slowly, and it actually stiffed up and didn’t curdled at all (what I think, not too sure what curdle looks like) and smooth. So I guess that was ok? The taste is not bad, but honestly not that good that I would spend over an hour to make it.

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