Swiss Meringue Buttercream

A step-by-step recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I use this as a base for many different flavors and it colors beautifully!

I make a lot of cakes. I’ve tried many, many recipes for buttercream and this one is the one that I use time and time again.

It is a Swiss Meringue Buttercream. There are lots of different kinds of buttercream – Italian, French, Swiss, and American. Swiss is a mixture of cooked egg whites and sugar that are whipped and butter is added slowly to create a smooth and glossy buttercream.

It is a little more fussy to make than the typical American buttercream (powdered sugar and butter), but I guarantee you – it is worth the effort. This is the most incredible buttercream frosting. I love it.

Why Swiss Meringue Buttercream?

  • It tastes amazing. One it’s own, it is the most delicious frosting I’ve ever had. But it takes on flavor amazingly well. You can add chocolate, caramel, lemon, coffee, maple syrup, strawberry, the options are limitless.
  • It is super smooth. It goes on your cake like a dream, it also pipes beautifully.
  • It is super stable. Obviously, it is butter so it will melt if it is really hot out, but overall, this buttercream lasts a long time. It’s great for piping and making flowers.
  • It is excellent as a base for fondant and often used to frost and fill wedding cakes.
  • It is very easy to color. It is almost white, so you can easily add your favorite gel coloring to get your desired color.

What you need for Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl of your mixer.

Cut butter into small pieces. It needs to be very soft, so let it sit out for about an hour before you begin to make the buttercream.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Grab a cup of coffee and a whisk. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves into the egg whites.

It takes about 5-10 minutes, and you will know that you are good to go when you don’t feel any sugar granules when you rub it between your fingers. You will also no longer see sugar granules on the side of the bowl. If you are really unsure, you can use a candy thermometer and when the mixture reaches 160° it is ready.

Add the mixing bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low speed so that it doesn’t splash on you, then slowly increase speed to high. Let mix for 10 minutes, or until the bowl of the mixer is no longer warm to the touch. If it is too hot, it will melt your butter.

Add the vanilla, almond extract, and salt.

Add butter, one piece at a time until all of the butter is incorporated.

When all of your butter is added, it’s going to look a little sad. Don’t worry. It’s going to be just fine.

The fix is to keep whipping. It might look like your buttercream is curdled. It’s supposed to, don’t sweat it, just keep whipping. Trust me.

Tip – At this point, give it a taste. Add more salt or flavoring if needed.

A couple of minutes later, your buttercream is going to be whipped and smooth, and glossy perfection.

At this point, I would color or flavor the buttercream. I like to portion out the buttercream and color it in a different bowl.

If you are adding caramel, maple syrup, chocolate, or a fruit puree, I also like to add it in a big bowl. I use a whisk and do it by hand. Just like when it seemed curdled, it may do that when you add liquid. Just keep whisking, it will come together.

I added a bit of lemon yellow gel color. Since this frosting is so white, it is very easy to color. I always prefer gel food color and keep a generous supply to choose from. I rarely just use one color, I often mix to get the perfect shade for what I am after.

This recipe makes a lot of buttercream. Enough to generously frost and fill an 8-inch layer cake. You can easily scale this recipe for more or less buttercream. If you have extra, it keeps in the fridge for a week. Let come to room temperature and whisk if needed.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Yield: 6 cups

A step-by-step recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I use this as a base for many different flavors and it colors beautifully!

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl of your mixer.

Cut butter into small pieces. It needs to be very soft, so let it sit out for about an hour before you begin to make the buttercream.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves into the egg whites.

It takes about 5-10 minutes, and you will know that it is ready when you don't feel any sugar granules when you rub it between your fingers. You will also no longer see sugar granules on the side of the bowl. If you are really unsure, you can use a candy thermometer and when the mixture reaches 160° it is ready.

Add the mixing bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low speed so that it doesn't splash on you, then slowly increase speed to high. Let mix for 10 minutes, or until the bowl of the mixer is no longer warm to the touch. If it is too hot, it will melt your butter.

Add the vanilla, almond extract, and salt.

When all of your butter is added, it's going to look a little sad. Don't worry. It's going to be just fine. Continue to whisk on high speed until thickened, glossy, and smooth.

 

Notes

This recipe makes a lot of buttercream. Enough to generously frost and fill an 8-inch layer cake. If you have extra, it keeps in the fridge for a week. Let come to room temperature and whisk if needed.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using a link from this post, a small portion is paid to me at no cost to you. 

Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Abby

    This looks great! I love your blog and have been following for a while. Any chance you’ll be posting European recipes now that you’re abroad? 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      Maybe around the holidays. Anything in particular you are looking for?

  2. Suz

    Bree
    What types of chocolate have you used with this buttercream to make a chocolate version?

    1. bakedbree

      I’d put in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup melted semisweet or dark chocolate.

  3. Katie Hair

    Suggestions for replacing the almond extract? I’m allergic to tree nuts. Would 3 tsp be too much vanilla flavor?

    1. bakedbree

      How about lemon? Or just vanilla would be fine.

  4. Kristen

    Your new site design is so pretty – and so is this cake and frosting recipe! I can’t wait to try it!

    1. bakedbree

      Thank you Kristen! It was a project, but I am so happy with how it turned out.

  5. Pingback: Back to School Vanilla Sprinkle Cake - Baked BreeBaked Bree

  6. jen

    haha! the coffee was confusing,but yea,good idea!

  7. Tausha

    Would it be okay to substitute meringue powder for the egg whites

    1. Bree Hester

      Truthfully, I don’t really know. I have never tried it, I’m sorry!

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