Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

Here is my Swiss meringue Buttercream recipe and tutorial!

I love buttercream.
It is a fact.
I was in the supermarket a while ago snooping around their bakery.
Sometimes they give free samples out to kids, so I was just checking to make sure that their, ahem, free kid samples were fully stocked.  You know, just looking out for the children.
Anyway, there sitting in the bakery was a cake.  Not unusual, I suppose, but on the label for the “bakery-made” cake was a sticker that said “Better-Cream”.
Huh?
What could be better than Buttercream?
I believe, sir, that is a challenge.
So, in the name of research I had to buy the cake and try this “Better-Cream”.
Upon my arrival at home I created the appropriate environment…candles, soft music, the good china.
I was fully prepared to have a new love of my life.
Good silver in hand, I cut my beautiful, frosting rose covered, “better-cream” cake slice.
The moment the first bite hit my tongue I knew I had been foiled.  “Better-Cream” was, in fact, not “better” at all.  It was horrendous.  Whipped garbage would have been a more accurate name.
I am not sure who devised “Better-Cream”, but they obviously have never eaten cake before…or maybe ever eaten at all.
You might think I am being overly dramatic, but buttercream frosting is serious.
This is why when I first read about “Swiss Meringue Buttercream” I was dubious.
It sounded a little sophomoric to me, a self-proclaimed buttercream connoisseur.
Plus, there is no reason to fancy-up buttercream.  No reason at all.
But, again, in the name of research, I went ahead and gave it a shot.
What I ended up with was a light, but dense, incredibly silky, not too sweet frosting.
Beautifully shiny and not for the faint of heart, it will make any cupcake seem like something special.
Have I sold you yet?
 Go ahead, give it a go!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature..I used salted butter, just a personal preference
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
—————————————————————————————————
Combine egg whites…
and sugar …
into the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water, much like a double boiler. 
Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is sugar has dissolved.  First it will look like this…
and then when it is done, like this…
(the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips, no grainy sugar), approx 2 minutes. 
Put mixing bowl on mixer and using the whisk attachment start mixing.  Begin on low, raising the speed up to medium high. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes.
 Now add your butter, 2 tablespoons at a time.
Beating on medium until each addition of butter is added.
Now add your vanilla.  (I used Vanilla Bean Paste that I bought at Homegoods of all places!)
Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with your paddle attachment.
Mix with paddle for 2 minutes on low speed working out the air bubbles.

Makes enough frosting to cover and fill 1 8″ layer cake.

Store airtight in fridge, for, according to Martha, 3 days.

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Author: Cookies & Cups

Ingredients

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature..I used salted butter, just a personal preference
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)

Instructions

  1. Combine egg whites and sugar into the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water, much like a double boiler. Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips, no grainy sugar), approx 2 minutes.
  2. Put mixing bowl on mixer and using the whisk attachment start mixing. Begin on low, raising the speed up to medium high. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes.
  3. Now add your butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Beating on medium until each addition of butter is added.
  4. Now add your vanilla.
  5. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with your paddle attachment.
  6. Mix with paddle for 2 minutes on low speed working out the air bubbles.
  7. Makes enough frosting to cover and fill 1 8″ layer cake

Notes

Store airtight in fridge for 3 days.

64 Responses

  1. Diane {Created by Diane}

    I love swiss meringue buttercream! So yummy! Love your cupcakes with I could reach out and take one 🙂 it wouldn't be considered stealing…would it?

  2. bridget {bake at 350}

    I love seeing your reflection there!

    I've only made SMBC once…and it called for whole eggs! It was a *bit* rich….I'm going to try your recipe!

  3. JudyR

    I love swiss meringue buttercream and so does everyone else when I make it. The only problem is that it is a bit on the expensive side – using a pound of butter. But, well worth it!

  4. Jocelyn

    I have made the swiss meringue butter cream and liked it too! It is a nice change from regular butter cream. (i like using salted butter too:-)

  5. Leslie

    Oh yeah baby..I have posted this recipe a couple of times on my blog. I am IN LOVE with it. It is the best frosting in the WORLD. Totally and completely different then regular buttercream. Everyone swoons over it when they taste it.

  6. Meghan @ Domestic Sugar

    Tried it, but no matter how had I whipped it, it came out lumpy. I am told that continual whipping will solve the lumps… LIES! I whipped for 10 min straight! >.<

    Yours looks nice though 🙂 :: jealous ::

  7. CJ

    I might have to give this a try at some point.
    Bettercream?? I don't even like the name! Don't even try to pass off that whipped cool whippy stuff as frosting to ME.

  8. Pink Little Cake

    I love Swiss Merengue Buttercream, I use it in all my cakes changing or adding a few ingredients to change the flavor. I am so used to make it now that i think is so easy. I am so glad you tried the recipe and like it.

  9. Joanne

    I'm always doubtful of supermarket cakes. Not gonna lie. I've never had one that tastes better than homemade buttercream. For realz yo.

    swiss meringue buttercream is some dreamy dreamy stuff. Perfect for when ou don't want to rot your teeth with powdered sugar. Or for when you want to basically eat sweetened butter from a bowl. Yum.

  10. Stephanie Savors the Moment

    OMG I am so sorry about your run-in with "better cream" – that sucks! I am totally convinced to try your recipe for the Swiss Meringue Buttercream – boy does that sound dreamy! Thanks for sharing:)

  11. Manni

    I've never made swiss meringue butter cream because of the eggs! However I'm hopping that I will find another butter cream that tastes and looks like the swiss butter cream : )

    By the way, I absolutely love your site, you always tell a story with amazing photos!!

  12. lilaloa

    Wait — your stove burner is Fuschia! That's awesome. And I love Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Almost as much as I love a salted chocolate buttercream. (And I'm not altogether sure that fuschia is spelled right. Or if that is even the correct shade of your burner.)

  13. Brandy L

    I have yet to adventure and try Swiss Meringue buttercream it looks so good in your pictures! I think the only reason i haven't is due to the eggs, unsure how long it stay on a covered cake for.

  14. Mamabird

    love your site, love your ideas and your talent! Thank you for such detailed instructions on the SMBC. I have tried it before but will use your instructions to make the BEST batch ever. TWO QUESTIONS……if I use this to frost cupcakes, do they need to be stored in the fridge? #2: using your instructions, will this SMBC be firm enough to stand between layers of a two layer cake and use it to frost the outside? Some buttercreams cannot withstand the weight of a top layer of cake and squish out the sides – drives me crazy, I like a thick layer between the cakes! Thanks again for sharing.

  15. Fallon

    I've never made swiss meringue buttercream but I have tried it before, it is truly delicious and can be a bit more difficult to make! Maybe that why I've never made it myself. 😉

  16. Caroline

    I've never made a cooked frosting, but it looks so good here. I am with you about the grocery store frostings – I absolutely loathe the weird, sort of marshmallowy, cloyingly sweet and fluffy, neon colored frostings on top of their cakes.

  17. marla {Family Fresh Cooking}

    I think if I saw "better cream" I would have run in the opposite direction. Those stores like to trick us, ya know….Thank goodness real swiss meringue buttercream was born. Truly, the only way to roll. Gorgeous cupcakes! xo

  18. Mindy

    I've had "better-cream" and you're right – I rather eat my cake plain than ever taste that again! (And that's saying ALOT as frosting is my favorite food. Well, that and cookie dough:)
    Can't wait to try this!

  19. Kristan

    Better-cream? Better rip off more like it!!

    I have tried the Swiss Buttercream and it was a bit buttery for me…not enough butter to sugar ratio. I DID love the texture though!!

    So sorry to hear about your romantic night going to ruin. 🙁

  20. Debbie

    I have never tried a Meringue Buttercream…didn't know it was possible to have both really. Can't wait to try this on my next cupcake!

  21. Raina

    I have heard about Swiss meringue buttercream but have never had it. It always seemed like it would be too complicated to make. Thank you for the excellent tutorial. I think I might actually be able to pull it off with your help. I love the idea of using the mixer bowl as a double broiler; you are a baking genius:)

  22. Goddess of Baking

    I love swiss meringue buttercream!! It is a great base frosting that you can add any flavor to and its always amazing!! I have made vanilla, chocolate, and cookies and cream all swiss buttercream! It is so light and fluffy and i feel that it is somewhat healthier then a regular buttercream. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

  23. Simply Sweet by Enma

    I've only tried regular buttercream and I think its deliciously divine!! I'm going to have try this recipe out! 🙂

  24. grace

    supermarket frosting is atrocious, that's a fact. i only recently made swiss meringue buttercream for the first time, and i can state that it's also a fact that it's incredible (and surprisingly easy!).

  25. Shannon

    I wish I liked SMBC, but to me, it's like eating a whole stick of room temp. butter. Not very sweet, which in my mind, frosting is suppose to be. But, it pipes up really pretty!!

  26. cookies and cups

    A bunch of you have asked about refrigeration for this frosting.
    I would say yes, if you frost cakes or cupcakes they should be refrigerated. Just let it come up to room temp before you eat it, and it can sit out for *I have read* 4-6 hours. I understand that there are cooked egg whites in it, so with the big fear of salmonella I will say you can't go wrong if you keep it cold.
    WITH THAT SAID~
    I loathe cold cake so I don't refrigerate it, and have frosted cakes with this and let it sit out overnight and I am still alive, so use you best discretion.
    Another question ~ yes, it is ABSOLUTELY firm enough to fill cakes with, you shouldn't have any problem using this as a filling at all!

  27. Sweet Sins

    It is my favorite frosting! I love making it white chocolate flavored!! It is so amazing!! I have a hard time even liking other frostings now…YUM now I am craving it!!

  28. georgescookie

    i tried Swiss Meringue once using the packaged egg whites in the refrigerator. didn't work at all .lol, do you think it matters?
    real eggs vs the egg whites in the box?
    cupcakes look divine.

  29. Monica H

    I love swiss meringue buttercream. I've made about half a dozen different versions and flavors and they have all been buttery, creamy, silky, light and great for piping.

  30. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes]

    Oh I Love SMBC. I'm always glad to see another convert, because I really detest the American style powdered sugar buttercream!!

  31. LauraM

    I make SMBC and also Italian Meringue Buttercream both delicious if flavored right…not a huge fan of it plain, also for the better cream I buy it at my local CashNCarry often its actually quite delicious if its flavored…I have done straweberry's, dolce leche, coffee, its really good for a filling for cakes or cupcakes, everyone that has ever tried it loves it because it is light and fluffy, it probly depends on the brand that they used possibly, its usually frozen and in a milk carton where I buy it, I let it thaw out then whip it up till the consistency I like..

  32. DnaBoo

    I think you've been bamboozled by that bakery! lol I'm so sorry to hear you didn't like bettercreme. I, too, have to admit that I am not a fan of that whipped topping-like-icing. I loooooooove me some sinfully sweet buttercream. But I can GUARANTEE that if you purchase this yourself & 'doctor' it up a bit you'll change your mind! 🙂

    Depending on your area you may find this sold under different names/brands. Rich's Bettercreme — Dawn Velvet Top — Frostin' Pride but it's all the same type of product AND there's a chocolate flavor too!

    Basically, it's a liquid that can be whipped (more stable than heavy whipping cream & longer shelf life – can be stored in fridge for a few months & frozen for up to 12 months before using – just thaw in fridge before using) used for cakes and cupcakes & doesn't break down like whipping cream does.

    You can find it in cake supply stores, restaurant supply stores such as GFS or even at some Sam's club locations…but not all Sam's carry it.

    It is also made in a pre-whipped variety, but in my opinion isn't as good but does the same thing. Depending on your area this may be the only type offered…

    For more information, go to http://www.richs.com and find Bettercreme (note the spelling because it makes a difference) under their products guide! shoot me an email if you would like a list of bettercreme recipe ideas! 🙂

    1. jeanne young

      DnaBoo, I know this post is old, but Ive had a request for this frosting. Would it be possible to still get the list of bettercreme recipe ideas by any chance?
      Thanks,

  33. o_ø

    o_o. I am intrigued. Can someone tell me about this purple stove burner? I've searched the internet and found nothing on it, is it a custom thing or can someone give me a brand name or website of this please. xD Its so pretty.. thanks in advance and very much appreciated.

  34. I love Swiss meringue buttercream! I tried it for the first time earlier this year and I can’t go back to regular buttercream now. It looked intimidating to make, but it was actually really easy.

  35. Horizon

    I made it and it was intense labor but didn’t like it. It was too buttery for my taste. I am still looking for a tastier icing.

  36. Angie K.

    I know I’m a minority, but I am not a big fan of Buttercream because I can taste the Crisco too strongly & it leaves a paste in my mouth whether it’s homemade or store bought. This recipe sounds so DELISH – gonna give it a try!

  37. Is there any way to make it cream cheese flavored?like substitute some cream cheese for some of the butter..? i would like to use this on my red velvet cake… or would it be okay just the way it is?

  38. Valerie

    I personally think traditional buttercream is sickeningly sweet, and too greasy. I made some last night… hadn’t done it in a while. Now I remember why I switched to Bettercream years ago (though, truthfully I prefer to decorate with Pastry Pride). But since you really don’t get the same control with Bettercream, and I’m delving into more advanced piping techniques I’m going to give the Swiss version a try. I’ll probably try the Italian version as well. Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, there is no reason why cream cheese for half the butter wouldn’t work in this recipe, so once I master the base version, I’ll try the cream cheese option. (I once made a 3-tiered carrot cake for a wedding, all frosted with cream cheese buttercream.)

  39. Pea

    I made this today and it was surprisingly easy! However, I took your advice and used salted butter and, although I like some salt in my desserts, the saltiness just got too concentrated for frosting and it was just strange. My children (8 and 6) didn’t like it, and one of them in particular is usually a frosting fiend. Perhaps the salted butter I use (Kerrygold) is saltier than most? Now I’m trying to find a way to salvage what I didn’t use because there’s a lot left!

    Despite this, I will likely make this again, because the texture was awesome and I liked how it wasn’t overly sweet. I might even use SOME salted butter, but it will definitely not comprise the whole butter part of the recipe again.

    Anyway, thanks for the nicely laid out instructions!

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