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

Welcome to the February Baking Challenge! See right below the recipe for how to join us this month.

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. For best success, I recommend using 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

Give the video a few seconds to load right below this text. It’s a faded horizontal image of cupcakes. Click on the play button in the center. Make sure any ad blockers are temporarily paused on your browser.


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 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 the meringue frosting aka homemade marshmallow creme on my s’mores brownie cupcakes. 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.
  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: 20 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 (240g)
  • 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 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

How to Join Sally's Baking Challenge

Make this frosting and use it to decorate cakes, cupcakes, or other confections. Any flavor listed above and any way you use it to decorate works! If you’re not into this recipe, here is the alternate February Baking Challenge:

  1. any previous challenge recipe OR
  2. Chocolate Ganache

After you make the frosting and use it as decoration on a confection or after you make the alternate recipe, share your recipe photo with me any of the following ways:

  1. Use #sallysbakingchallenge and tag me (@sallysbakeblog) on your public Instagram or Twitter account. (Instagram messages are hard to track, so please email instead.)
  2. Upload your recipe photo to my Facebook page or Facebook group.
  3. Email me your recipe photo.

For a bonus entry, leave a review on the recipe below!

By sharing your photo, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge for the $250 Amazon gift card prize. My assistants and I keep track of your photos and randomly select 1 winner at the end of the month. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on February 28th 2020 at 5pm ET. The winner will be selected at random and posted in the March Baking Challenge blog post on February 29th 2020.

245 Comments

  1. Thank you, Sally, for posting this recipe for the Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. I haven’t made it, yet, but I am really looking forward to making it. Since it is not as sweet as other frosting around, I’m sure it will be a big hit.
    Thanks you, again!!!

  2. Definitely a disappointment. Consistency was fine but even after following troubleshooting tips all I could taste was butter. I even tried putting in some extra vanilla but nothing would cover up the buttery taste. Not something I will make again.

    1. Cant wait to enter the cake i did with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Its not overly sweet at all (which is a plus for me) and it melts in your mouth!! February Baking Challenge here I come

  3. Though I’ve been baking for over 30 years, I haven’t made this type of frosting. It looks lovely and I am sure it tastes wonderful. I will definitely have to make this.

    1. I’ve never made a buttercream like this… I usually prefer cream cheese frosting to a buttercream, but this one is SO good! It’s light and airy. Not too sweet. Follow the trouble shooting! Mine was soupy at first (after adding the butter), but I read her trouble shooting first… so I was never worried. It’s beautiful and fluffy, and very light ! LOVE.

      1. I’m so happy you were able to try something new this month, Jessica! Thank you for participating in February’s baking challenge 🙂

  4. I need help!!!
    My meringue didn’t reach stiff peaks and i forgot to check ur tips so I added the butter straight after it was cool To touch although the peak will still droopy.
    I added the butter
    Its curdled, soupy, and thin! I let it chill in the fridge, and it’s still chilling, but WHAT SHOULD I DO?!!

    1. Hi H.D, it’s always helpful to read through the recipe before beginning. Refrigerating the mixture for only 20 minutes at a time then rewhipping it will help. Just keep beating it after it’s cooled down, it should eventually come together.

  5. I’ve been using bravetart’s recipe for Swiss meringue buttercream for a long time and it uses a lot more butter. I’m hesitant to try your recipe because I’ve had so much success with very different proportions.
    Why do you add salt at the end and not dissolve it with the eggs? I get mad every time I forget to dissolve my salt because it ruins the perfectly smooth texture of smbc.
    Why don’t you use cream of tartar to stabilize the egg whites and make them easier to whip?

    1. Hi Kristy! Great questions. The granules from this small amount of salt aren’t detected or noticeable– they blend right into the mix. If I were to add more butter to this particular recipe, the buttercream would have an overpowering butter flavor. Truly, it would just taste like whipped butter. Cream of tartar definitely helps stabilize egg whites so they whip up faster, but I don’t find it necessary here because either way, the mixture needs to cool down as it’s whipping and the cream of tartar won’t speed that up at all. Feel free to add a pinch if you’d like!

  6. Hi Sally, I can’t wait to make this months challenge, it looks delicious and you have fantastic instructions! I’m just wondering a couple of things
    1. Where should I store the frosted cake/cupcakes? Are they safe at room temp, or should this frosting stay in the fridge? I heard that a cake frosted with SMBC will go rock hard in the fridge??
    2. Do you think I could flavour this with some of your salted caramel? 🙂 If yes, should/can I reduce the sugar used in the meringue?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Robyn, thanks! 1-2 days at room temperature is fine, but after that– I recommend storing any SMBC-topped confections in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. I haven’t tried adding salted caramel to this, but you could certainly try adding a couple Tbsp at a time (make sure the caramel has cooled and is not warm anymore) until you reach a balance of ideal flavor/texture.

  7. I made this frosting for the challenge and it got rave reviews. I used it for a pink ombré spice cake for my sister’s birthday. I struggled getting to stiff peaks and I can’t say they ever got perfectly stiff but it came out good anyway. I’ve made SMBC in the past and got comments about it tasting to much like butter but I followed Sally’s recommendation of using unsalted butter and no one said anything about it this time. I’m glad to finally have a good SMBC recipe but will probably save it for the most special of occasions as it does take longer and have a higher degree of difficulty compared to regular American buttercream.

  8. Followed all of the suggestion and tips and the buttercream turned out great! Made a mocha buttercream for a friend’s birthday. Loved all around.

  9. I just learned how to make french butter cream and am so excited to try this recipe this month! How does it compare to american buttercream in regards to stiffness? Can I use it in macarons?

    1. Very stable and holds its shape beautifully, even better than American buttercream. You can definitely use this as a filling for macarons.

  10. Amazing. It is going to convert my frosting-hating husband to liking frosting. I split the batch in half and made half chocolate and left the other half vanilla. I frosted Sally’s marble cake. Yes, it is time consuming, but it’s worth it.

    1. 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.

  11. Can’t wait to make this recipe! I know SMBC can be a bit tricky, so I’m wondering if you think it would work to add powdered freeze dried strawberries as a flavoring as is done in your American Buttercream recipe. Do you think it will throw off the balance of ingredients? I’ve made SMBC before but I’d love to try strawberry for Valentine’s Day 🙂

    1. Hi Rachel! You can definitely turn this into strawberry SMBC. I recommend adding 1/2 cup of freeze-dried strawberry powder along with the vanilla extract and salt. No other changes to the recipe necessary.

  12. I am proud of myself for enduring this challenge! I have been baking for over 50 years and have never made this frosting. Though it was quite time intensive for me (had to go a couple of rounds in the fridge and then it got too cold so I had to do one round back over the simmering water) I got rave reviews from my “taste testers” at work! I split the batch and made both vanilla and chocolate. My co-worker said …..“ this Swiss meringue frosting has the wow factor to warrant the high maintenance work! I would eat this frosting plain, off my paws”.!!! ……LOL!! Great recipe Sally and thank you for your dedication to delicious challenges!!

    1. I’m so happy you had great success with this recipe, Colette! Thrilled you were able to try something new this month- thanks for participating in February’s baking challenge 🙂

  13. Great recipe! First time trying something like this. We’re a family who doesn’t really love normal icing, and this is the perfect alternative! I halved the recipe to ice Sally’s confetti cupcakes, and it was the perfect amount. I found my thermometer and scale to be extremely useful in a recipe like this!

    1. Way to go for trying something new this month, Sydney! Thrilled your family loved this recipe 🙂 Thanks for participating!

  14. This looks amazing!!!
    I was wondering if you would consider a macaron baking challenge in the future, somehow mine always turn out wrong.
    Thanks Sally!

  15. Hi Sally, I think my butter was just a tad too warm when I started adding it and the meringue immediately started to fall. I have only added 2 tbsp of butter so far, and have done 2 rounds of 20 minute refrigerations but it is not thickening up, and I don’t see how it’s possibly going to now that it has fat in it. How long should it be taking to re-whip? This is the second time I’ve tried this recipe (I only have a hand mixer), and I’m starting to think that it is not actually feasible without professional-grade materials.

    1. Hi Emma, I’m sorry you’re having trouble. Though a hand mixer is definitely doable, I highly recommend using a stand mixer for this. (Due to the endless mixing.) A hand mixer takes a considerably longer time during the whipping and beating stages, including after you refrigerate and need to re-whip. If you decide to try it again, make sure your butter is cool. An instant read thermometer is definitely helpful to ensure you have the proper temperature. (And cheaper than a stand mixer!) Finally, let the stiff meringue cool down before you begin adding the butter.

      1. Wish I could afford a stand mixer, but I’m just a poor grad student! I was using a digital thermometer though. Yesterday I ended up adding in the rest of the butter, and doing several rounds of refrigeration and whipping to no avail, and I gave up and put the whole thing in the fridge overnight. Then today, I took it out, beat it for about 10 minutes, and still nothing. I was about to give up and add in some flour and baking powder to convert it into cake batter, but decided to try one more thing. I microwaved about 1/3 of the mixture for 30 seconds, and then beat it back into the mixture. It was about the same texture as freshly whipped cream, so not quite stable yet, so I put it in the fridge for 15 minutes and whipped again. IT WORKED! Finally!! My parents are going to love their anniversary cake. Thank you Sally!

  16. Hi Sally,

    I’m excited to try the SMBC and I plan to try filling macarons with it. I was wondering if I can flavor this with fruit preserves or will that add too much moisture?

    1. Hi Kelly! I haven’t personally tested it so I’m unsure. I can’t see it being an issue, especially if you start with only a couple Tablespoons. You can add it with the vanilla and salt.

  17. I tried the frosting on a chocolate cake and my kids loved it. I think I should be using this frosting more often as opposed to regular buttercream. Thanks for the challenge!

  18. YUM! This recipe challenge intimidated me. Your tips and tricks were easy to follow, and led to a great success! I subbed out one tsp vanilla for espresso powder and added the melted chocolate for a “mocha” flavor. New favorite frosting, for sure. Thank you, Sally, you’re an awesome teacher!

  19. Might be a strange question, but here goes…..during the cooking/whisking part can an immersion blender be used? Or is it too much “power”?

  20. I will need to do this more often. I needed to keep it on the heat just a little longer….however…it is still light fluffy and not overly sweet. I am so glad to find a not overly sweet icing.

  21. This worked beautifully and tastes light and delicious! I even had to use ONE stick of salted butter because I ran out of unsalted…figures! Still great. Just skipped adding the salt in the vanilla step. Thank you, Sally!

  22. This was so delicious and fluffy the first 1-2 days!! Not too sweet at all, would almost want it a touch sweeter, personally. Used the troubleshooting tips and they worked fabulously, made the final result a little creamier… until days 3-4 (my husband had me save some for friends we’re bringing cupcakes to). The mix wouldn’t reincorporate even after troubleshooting a few times (refrigerating/heating/whipping).

  23. Very light and not “ grainy” like some frostings. Its versatility lends itself to be used in many confections.

  24. Hi Sally! I am 13 years old and I love to bake & I love your blog!! I made this buttercream and loved it! I made the 6 inch part of your wedding cake and put the Swiss meringue buttercream on it. Everyone loved it!Thank you for all the delicious recipes, Sally!

    1. Hi Anna! I’m so happy you had great success with this buttercream recipe 🙂 Thanks so much for your positive feedback- happy baking!

  25. My new favorite frosting! Sally’s recipe was so easy to follow. I used her tips of cleaning all bowls , paddles with vinegar, tested temp of egg mixture with a thermometer, and my SMBC came out perfect. Light, airy and not too sweet.

  26. Hi, I love this recipe but I find my SMB isn’t as smooth. Is there any way to take out the air bubbles and create a smoother SMB?

    1. Hi Mae! Try reducing the mixer speed when you add the butter and make sure you are using the paddle (flat beater) attachment, not the whisk attachment when you’re mixing in the butter. Make sure your butter is cool at room temperature, too.

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