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5 from 8 votes

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

The sophisticated cousin to American buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream uses egg whites make the frosting silky smooth with a light touch of sweetness. This buttercream recipe is perfect for decorating cakes, cupcakes, or to fill macarons and other desserts! 
Prep Time10 mins
Mixing Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24
Calories: 171kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1 inch pieces see notes for salted butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 oz chocolate melted and cooled

Instructions

Instructions

  • Set up a standing mixer with a whisk attachment
  • Mix 1 cup sugar and 5 egg whites in a metal bowl. Set on top of a pot with about an inch of simmering water.
  • Cook the egg whites until they reach about 160 degrees, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Transfer the sugar egg mixture to the standing mixer and whip on medium high until the mixture is completely cool. This should take about 10-15 minutes. If after 15 minutes it’s still warm, keep mixing until the egg whites are cool to the touch.
  • Switch the mixer to a paddle attachment and mix on low. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time, making sure it is fully incorporated before adding the next piece.
  • Once all the butter is added, return to medium high speed and whip until it is silky smooth. At some point after adding the butter the buttercream might separate. This is not a problem! Continue whipping the mixture and it will eventually come together to a silky smooth buttercream.
  • Once it’s a silky and smooth buttercream add salt, vanilla extract, or other flavors and mix until combined.

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Make the frosting as instructed above, omitting the vanilla extract. 
  • After the frosting is mixed add ½ cup of lemon curd and mix until fully combined.

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Before making the Swiss meringue buttercream, melt 6 oz of milk, dark, or semi-sweet chocolate over a bain-marie double broiler. You want to let it cool to about 85-100 degree F while you make the buttercream.
  • Make frosting as instructed above.
  • Add the melted and cooled chocolate to the buttercream.
  • Mix until incorporated.

Notes

  • Make sure when working with egg whites that all of your tools are very clean. Any oil or butter on them can hinder the eggs white being whipped into stiff peaks.
  • Heat until the sugar in the egg whites until it is 160 degrees and the sugar is completely dissolved.   The mix never gets too hot, so you can rub a bit between your fingers to tell if the sugar is dissolved. If it still feels a little grainy, keep heating.  
  • When using a double boiler, keep the water line far below the bottom of the bowl you're using to whip the egg whites. And, make sure it is on a light simmer rather than roiling boil. If the water line is too high and it touches the bottom of the bowl it can make your egg whites grainy and you’ll possibly have a grainy frosting.
  • If using salted butter, omit extra salt.
  • Make sure the egg whites have completely cooled before you add the butter, otherwise they can melt the butter and you won’t be able to achieve optimal frosting.
  • If the buttercream curdles when adding the butter while you’re mixing it, don’t worry! This is totally normal and you just keep on mixing. It will eventually come together into a beautiful and silky final frosting.
  • If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, no problem!  You can use boxed pasteurized egg whites in this recipe. You’ll still need to heat up to incorporate the sugar. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 145mg | Potassium: 14mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 470IU | Calcium: 5mg