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Best-Ever Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting - No more buttercream mishaps, this recipe is fool proof!

Best-Ever Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

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Hi Bold Bakers!

A good Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting recipe is essential for all Bold Bakers! However buttercream and frostings are recipes that many bakers find tricky. Whether the recipe was off or the method wasn’t clear enough, it’s sometimes difficult to get good results.

I say you will struggle no more! Not while I’m around anyways. I’m sharing this recipe along with a step-by-step video that will give you great and consistent results every time you make it.

The difference between Swiss Meringue Buttercream and regular Buttercream Frosting is that Swiss Meringue Buttercream tends to be much airier and lighter which people tend to prefer. It comes from all of that lovely meringue in there that yields you a lighter than air frosting

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Storing the Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Leave it out at room temperature when needed and rewhip in a mixer for 5 minutes.

Also, it can freeze for up to 8 weeks. To thaw, place on the counter until defrosted, and rewhip for 5 minutes with a whisk attachment in an electric mixer.

This Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe is plenty enough to generously coat one large cake.

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4.2 from 20 votes
Best-Ever Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting - No more buttercream mishaps, this recipe is fool proof!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Learn how to make the Best-Ever Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting recipe which will give you a light, airy frosting for all of your cakes and cupcakes.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 cups
Ingredients
  • 5 large , fresh egg whites (150 g)
  • 1 1/4 cups (10oz/282) sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (12oz/340g) unsalted butter, a room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Over a pot of simmering water place your mixer bowl (or a heatproof bowl) over the pot.
  2. Add in the egg whites and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to stir, this will take around 5 minutes. Putting the eggs over heat will technically cook them so you don't have to fear eating raw eggs.
  3. Once the sugar has totally dissolved remove from the heat.
  4. With whisk attachment begin to whip until the meringue on medium/high speed. Whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 5 minutes or so).
  5. Wiith mixer on medium speed, add vanilla, salt and soft butter cubes. Add the butter one piece at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 1 hour until it comes together. continuing to beat until well combined.
  6. Add additional flavours, purees, as desired.

Watch the Recipe Video!

Recipe Notes

*Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.
**Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.
***If buttercream still doesn't have its satiny finish after rewhipping, microwave 1/3 of the buttercream for approximately 10 seconds and add to remaining buttercream in mixer bowl, beating for a few moments to incorporate.

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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189 Comments

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  1. Karina Le-Talbot on October 11, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    I made this and it tastes DELICIOUS! However I’m having trouble covering my cake fully with it. It just won’t stick to it all. Where am I going wrong please?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 13, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Karina,

      I haven’t tried to decorate a cake with this as it is more of a delicate frosting. I use Buttercream when decorating cakes.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  2. Tracey L Sutcliffe on October 5, 2018 at 9:09 am

    hi gemma,

    i’m knew to all this baking, but your blog is making it fun. it’s helping me through a tough time.

    anyway thought i’d give this a go, did the egg white & sugar then placed in mixer, had the wrong blades on for a while so swapped to my whisk, didnt get soft peaks but knew it had to go in fridge. added my butter bit by bit and it has curdled. ive kept whisking probably 10 mins maybe longer and it hasnt come smooth.

    Where have i gone wrong please?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 9, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      Hi Tracey,

      Sorry for my late reply. I’m really glad you found my site ad like my recipes.

      I’m a little miffed as to why this would happen. I’m guessing it might be a temperature thing but it really shouldn’t curdle. I’m sorry to hear that.

      Swiss meringue is a little trickier than buttercream. It’s a little more delicate to work with.

      Gemma.

  3. Stephanie on October 3, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Gemma, I made this icing up. I attempted to use a food processor but ended up,finishing it off with an electric hand mixer. All was going well until I realised I forgot to add salt and vanilla half way through adding butter… it curdled so I beast until it combined again but now it’s realle dense like over whipped cream. It tastes amazing but is it ruined? If I borrow a stand mixer to whip it up in a few days when I plan to use it, will lighten up and aerate again?
    Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on October 4, 2018 at 2:13 am

      Hi Stephanie,
      did you refrigerate it? Really this type of thing is best made and used when it is freshly made. If you refrigerate it the butter will harden and you will need to bring it back to room temperature before you use it. I have no idea what happened here unless the meringue deflated. I am not sure what you can do to rescue it, or what ‘curdled’ means in this context. I am sorry, not much help I know. Do try to whip it up again, bring it to room temperature before you whip it. I hope this works out well for you,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Stephanie on October 10, 2018 at 1:02 am

        Hi Gemma,
        I used it on Sunday – it didn’t end up coming together- I let it get soft, beat it, however it seperated/curdled and the more I beat, the worse it got! I ended up averting a total disaster by adding icing (powdered) sugar to it which made it come together however it was closer to buttercream in texture/feel but with an hour to go this at least gave me something to cover the cake with – I used your vanilla cake with lemon added, it was spot on!
        After the fact, I kept searching for possible causes/solutions. One I came across recommended heating 1/4 of the mixture in the microwave and then drizzling it back in slowly. I thought I’d put this here for what it’s worth if anyone else has a batch they’re trying to save.

        • Gemma Stafford on October 10, 2018 at 1:33 am

          Hi Stephanie,
          That is really too bad, I know it to be a bit tricky, but I am not sure why it went so badly wrong for you.
          Thank you for that tip, it would take careful handling, but I could see how it would resolve it.
          I am glad you managed it to a degree, and I hope it did not spoil your cake.
          Thank you for telling us about it,
          Gemma 🙂

  4. Nhora Baturi Parallag on September 26, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    hi , Can I use powdered sugar for meringue frosting?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 28, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      I have never tried that before. I think it would be best to use granulated sugar.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  5. Belinda on September 19, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Is it good to use under fondant? Will it hold up the fondanT?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 20, 2018 at 7:38 pm

      My buttercream is much better to use under fondant Belinda.

      Best,
      Gemma.

      • Belinda on September 21, 2018 at 8:12 am

        Thank so much, will do that.

  6. Victoria Sponge on September 13, 2018 at 10:45 am

    HI there! This recipe is amazing!! My family love it but now they want the chocolate version. What changes do I need to make to the recipe? Love Vicky from the UK xx

    • Gemma Stafford on September 14, 2018 at 3:50 am

      Hi there,
      I saw your wonderful Victoria Sponge photo! thank you, which recipe did you use for this, it looks amazing!
      You can easily add unsweetened cocoa to the powdered sugar for a chocolate buttercream. Add to taste, about 1 tablespoon per 8ozs of powdered/icing sugar. You can also add melted chocolate to this, and we do that sometimes too, just do not have it too warm when adding to the mix. The cocoa works really well though, it will be perfect.
      Thank you for being here with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Vicky on September 13, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Hi there!! I can’t get enough of your recipes! There aren’t enough hours in the day to make everything on here that I love. Anyway, my question is how do I turn this recipe into a recipe for chocolate meringue buttercream? I made the vanilla version of this today along with your super moist chocolate cake & it was outstanding, however now my hubby and kids want a super moist vanilla cake with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, can you help me? Love from Vicky from the UK (I’m going to put pics up soon) xx

    • Gemma Stafford on September 14, 2018 at 3:57 am

      Hi Vicky,
      That answered my question! lol.
      Thank you, I am delighted that you took the trouble to upload your photo, I really appreciate it.
      At the risk of repeating myself, you can flavor the buttercream with cocoa, about 1 tablespoon to 8ozs of icing sugar, sieve it in with the sugar, I tend to do this twice to be sure, and away you go!
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  8. Rachel on August 23, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    This is by far the best swiss buttercream recipe I have come across. It whips up really well.
    Don’t freak out when it doesn’t come together right away. Just give it time to emulsify and you’ll have some nice and fluffy buttercream in the end.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 24, 2018 at 7:09 am

      Hi Rachel,
      Thank so so much for this very kind review of this recipe. This is a bit nerve wracking for people who have not tried it, but I think they will now with your encouragement.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Jo on August 20, 2018 at 5:49 am

    Hi Gemma,
    love your recipes;
    Can I use pasteurized egg whites for this?
    thanks,
    jo

    • Gemma Stafford on August 22, 2018 at 4:59 am

      Hi Jo,
      Sure you can, and a handy thing this is too!
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Rita on August 19, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Hi Gemma
    I am excited to try this for my daughters birthday coming up. After freezing and bringing back to room temp, should I whipp it again before putting on the cake?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 20, 2018 at 3:44 am

      Hi Rita,
      Yes! You will need to re whip any frozen buttercream. Actually it is almost as easy to make it up at the time you need it, but i have frozen excess buttercream, and re-whipped it too, so either one will work for you.
      I hope you have a lovely celebration,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Eman on August 6, 2018 at 4:49 am

    Hello, does this Swiss Meringue Buttercream have a strong butter taste?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 8, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Hi! Great question.No the flavor is very mild.

  12. Misha on August 4, 2018 at 5:30 am

    Hi Gemma! I just made this for the first time yesterday and it came together beautifully! As I added the last tablespoon of butter, it went from liquidy to perfect right before my eyes and fast! Anyway, I use salted butter for EVERYTHING, I prefer it, but was wondering if it would be too salty in this recipe? Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on August 5, 2018 at 4:50 am

      Hi Misha,
      You are a woman after my own heart! I use salted butter for everything too, I grew up with Kerrygold in Ireland and it is always my go to when I can get it.
      It is a choice I guess, some people would say a sweet/unsalted butter for this, and I get that too. Chefs tend to be heavy handed with salt!!
      Gemma :)#

  13. Sushma V on July 17, 2018 at 2:57 am

    Hey Gemma ! is there any way to substitute the eggs in this recipe ? Also how long does the traditional buttercream stay for without melting ?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 17, 2018 at 3:45 am

      Hi there Sushma,
      Really there is not a way to substitute the eggs in this type of recipe that I am sure of.
      There is a method using aquafaba, but I have not tried it, and i am not convinced by it. Perhaps a touch of cornstarch/cornflour may help, but it has to be very little. Experiment with this, try a small batch, perhaps 4 ozs/125g powdered sugar, 20zs/6og butter and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch sieved with the powdered sugar, and test it.
      This is really about the temperature where you live. Use real dairy butter for best results. Buttercream will start to soften at 18c or so, it really should be refrigerated above this temperature even from a food safety perspective, it is dairy!
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Mani on July 16, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Hi
    Which sugar have u used? Castor or regular?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 16, 2018 at 11:57 pm

      Castor sugar is perfect, Mani.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  15. Lexi on June 30, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Gemma, could I add other things to this frosting like peanut butter, strawberry purée, cocoa powder, etc?

  16. Amelia on June 25, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Hello there! Does this recipe really make 10 cups of frosting? I need it for a birthday party tomorrow…

    • Gemma Stafford on June 26, 2018 at 2:52 am

      Hi Amelia,
      This is a big batch of frosting, it will yield 10 cups. Perhaps more depending on the way you measure, size of egg etc.
      I hope you have a great party,
      Gemma 🙂

  17. Mayesha Faridi on May 28, 2018 at 6:15 am

    Hi gemma, I like your recipes very much. I want to make this cream, but in small amount. Can you please tell me how much egg white and sugar I will need for 100gms of butter?? Thanks in advance..

    • Gemma Stafford on May 28, 2018 at 8:04 am

      Hi there,
      This is a math question!
      Write out the recipe as it is, and divide every ingredient by 3.
      The eggs are the only thing which will be a problem. I do not know how you measure but these will be close to two medium whites 30g in weight.
      Better to use less than more.
      I tablespoon of vanilla holds three teaspoons of vanilla, so one teaspoon will do it for you,
      Gemma 🙂

    • Cherie on June 14, 2018 at 12:44 am

      Hi Gemma, Can you tell me what is the best frosting to use to decorate, Swiss meringue buttercream or buttercream frosting??

      • Gemma Stafford on June 14, 2018 at 7:43 pm

        Buttercream 100% for decorating. It’s so much easier.

        Gemma.

  18. Farhana on April 16, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Gemma
    Should the eggs and sugar be cooked while the water is still on the heat?high medium or low heat?also my eggs did not form soft peaks at all I beat it for almost double the time but it just won’t hold.please advise

    • Gemma Stafford on April 17, 2018 at 7:56 am

      Hi there,
      Go back to the video and take another look, it is all there. I cannot explain it as well here, but it is right, you need to refrigerate it, then when it is really cold, whip it up again, that is how it works,
      Gemma 🙂

  19. Holly on April 15, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Can I use margarine instead of butter? Like the ones in the blocks not the tubs…

    • Gemma Stafford on April 16, 2018 at 4:03 am

      Hi Holly,
      Yes! This was used a lot for buttercream back in trhe day, and commercially it is also used today, so yes, go for it, it will be good,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Holly on April 16, 2018 at 4:36 am

        Thanks Gemma! I really appreciate it!

  20. Morgan on April 11, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Hi Gemma!

    I was hoping you could tell me if the amount in this recipe would fill & cover an 8inch, 4 layer cake? Or would I have to make a double batch of this recipe?

    Thanks so much & happy baking!! 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on April 12, 2018 at 4:53 am

      hi Morgan,
      You will need about 12oz of buttercream to fill and cover an 8 inch cake, two layers.
      24oz should do for a 4 layer cake, but err on the side of caution. It does depend on how you fill it.
      Do a crumb layer too, this allows you to frost the cake more finely. My full recipe here (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/best-ever-vanilla-buttercream-frosting/) will yield about 36ozs of buttercream, and will do what you need for this cake, it is a big recipe.
      Gemma 😉

  21. Prathi Shraya Das on March 13, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I made this swiss meringue. It’s a brcome a runny mixture.
    Pls advise what needs to be done.
    I have used a hand mixer. Then too it’s runny.
    If I can use this is it advisable as it is cooked.
    Pls advise.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 18, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Hi,

      Sorry for my late reply. So this frosting can become runny and if it does put it into the fridge to go cold and then try and whip it again. I talk about that in the video because this recipe is prone to that.

      Hope you were able to salvage it.
      Gemma.

      • Prathi Shraya Das on March 21, 2018 at 10:06 pm

        Thank you.
        Was able to salvage the situation.

  22. Adadina on March 10, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Hi Gemma
    I just made your Oreo cake recipe, but replaced the cream cheese frosting with this smbc recipe and it turned out just right!! I was out of cream cheese but didn’t want to resort to buttercream (I think it’s too sweet and heavy :(() so I tried smbc for the first time. I was very nervous but in the end it turned out great. I adjusted the recipe according to 4 eggs and the amount was just right for a 2 layer 9inch cake.
    After reading the comments, I learnt that the traditional way doesn’t rlly involve refrigerating the buttercream before whipping it again…? So I didn’t and just let it whip on and it just turned out. I think the reason for this is
    1) I live in a very hot environment (room temp abt 29-31c) and
    2) my butter was not totally at room temp yet (it came out from the freezer)
    3) even after my meringue reached stiff peaks, it was still hot (due to hot environment I think)
    4) so when I added the slightly cold butter, the heat from the meringue melted it until it was just right and not overly melted.

    So if you live in a hot place like Singapore (that’s where I’m from!!), There’s no need to soften the butter too much. It should be soft on the outside but still cold on the inside.

    (Btw I’m just a 13 yo girl making a bday cake for my Fren, so this is def not a daunting or hard recipe!!!)
    Tqsm Gemma :))

    • Gemma Stafford on March 10, 2018 at 2:15 am

      Wow!
      Adadina,
      Well done you! This a great understanding of this process, and very well thought through, and explained. Well done you. You will be quite the chef, you really do think like a professional. Thank you for sharing your experience with other Bold Bakers, we appreciate it,
      Gemma 🙂

  23. Anoudq on February 28, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Hi Gemma

    Would i be able to use this on the double rainbow cake. If so would i need to do the frosting on the day or could i do it the night before

    Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on March 1, 2018 at 7:28 am

      Hi there,
      You can do this the day before, and finish the cake. Then wrap it lightly, or box it, and refrigerate.
      I hope this works out well for you, follow the steps and ingredients carefully,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. Keren on February 10, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Hi Gemma,

    I’m your new fan! 🙂 Love that recipe, it’s so light and yummy. Just finished preparing it and it’s now cooling in the fridge.
    I’m going to make a baby shower cake for my friend next week and was wondering how this will hold as a frosting for my cake, also planning to pipe it on the top tier. The weather is cold where I am so heat is not an issue. Will it keep well in the fridge when the cake is already frosted without separating, and will piped rosettes hold their form?

    Thanks so much,
    Keren

    • Gemma Stafford on February 11, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Keren,

      Welcome to BBB. Glad you like my recipes. Yes this will pipe well. Watch the video so you see exactly what to do. This frosting can be temperamental, more so then buttercream so it’s good to know all the tricks.

      Gemma.

      • Keren on February 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

        Thanks Gemma. I have one more question. The frosting held well after I made it and cooled half an hour. But then after refrigerated overnight, I tried to whisk it again in the mixer; it curdled and separated with liquid in the bottom of the bowl. What did I do wrong?

        • Gemma Stafford on February 12, 2018 at 3:43 pm

          Hi Keren,

          I’m not sure why it would do that. i do know that this frosting is best used straight away.

          Gemma.

  25. Julie on February 7, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Just made your Swiss meringue buttercream and i love it. This will be my frosting from now on.
    Love the fact that is not sickly sweet and so easy to make.
    I havent got a pic yet as i am still making the cake.

    Thank you
    Julie

    • Gemma Stafford on February 8, 2018 at 2:12 am

      Hi Julie,
      Yes, when you get this right it really is great. Lovely and stable too, in all sorts of temperatures.
      I hope your cake goes well for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  26. Shaiyawin on February 5, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for your recipe. I’m a big fan of you 🙂

    Last week I try to make birthday cake for my mother using your yellow cake recipe from the celery stamp painted cake, combined with your swiss meringue buttercream. I just upload the photo, my family love the cake.

    It was fantastic, the taste of the buttercream is very soft, not to sweet and perfect 🙂

    Rika

    • Gemma Stafford on February 5, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Rika,

      I’m thrilled to hear that. I’m going to check out your photo now.

      Thanks for uploading it,
      Gemma.

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