Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Prep time
Total time
If there is a champion of frostings, this is most likely it. It is the traditional frosting for many cakes and cupcakes and can be spread with an offset spatula to cover a cake with a simple swirl, or elaborately piped with a pastry bag and decorating tips to make beautiful decorations.

This Swiss Meringue Buttercream with its creamy buttery taste is absolutely delectable, easy to make, silky smooth, and not too sweet. Heating the egg whites and sugar before adding the butter enables the meringue to whip to a soft and fluffy texture and the butter to easily blend. This Buttercream spreads beautifully over cakes and cupcakes and can be used with a pastry bag and decorating tips to pipe into perfect peaks that hold their shape. The color is creamy white, or can be tinted with food coloring if you desire. Use the basic recipe flavored with vanilla, or change with other flavorings such as almond, mint, orange or lemon.

The large recipe makes about 6 cups of frosting, enough to generously fill and frost a 9 inch layer cake or frost at least 2 dozen cupcakes. Leftover frosting may be refrigerated or frozen. Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting is shown in this photo with Christmas Tree Cupcakes. Make sure and see Buttercream Tips.
Recipe type: Dessert | Cake Frosting
Buttercream (Makes about 6 cups or enough for 24 to 30 cupcakes):
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Food Coloring (optional)
Buttercream (Makes about 4 cups or enough for 16 to 24 cupcakes):
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Food Coloring (optional)
Buttercream (Makes about 2 cups or enough for 12 to 15 cupcakes):
  • 3 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Food Coloring (optional)
  1. In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer combine egg whites, sugar, and salt; place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Using a wire whisk, whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is hot, about 3 to 5 minutes. Tip: the mixture should reach about 130 degrees using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature, or feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips. Remove from heat.
  2. Attach the bowl to the electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture forms a thick fluffy meringue and is cool. Tip: Touch the meringue and make sure it has cooled to room temperature. Also the outside of the bowl should feel cool to the touch.
  3. Stop the mixer, remove the whisk and attach the paddle. With the mixer on medium speed add the butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time and mixing 20 to 30 seconds after each addition. While adding the butter, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Add the vanilla and continue beating until the Buttercream is thick and smooth, about another 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Optional: add food coloring, a drop at a time and blend with the mixer. Add additional food coloring if necessary to reach the desired shade.
  5. Buttercream should be used immediately, or refrigerate or freeze until needed.
Recipe Notes
Equipment: Electric Mixer Method: Heated on Stovetop, then Whipped Yield: 6 Cups Storage: Refrigerate or Freeze

Help: Buttercream Tips

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