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swiss meringue buttercream recipe

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC)

Swiss meringue buttercream is a very stable, light, and fluffy buttercream that is not too sweet. It's easy to make and amazingly delicious! The texture is smooth and silky, and it melts in your mouth. The perfect compliment to your cakes and cupcakes! 
4.92 from 80 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
cooling: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Serves: 8 cups
Calories: 141kcal


Swiss Meringue Buttercream Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (227 g) fresh egg whites about 8
  • 16 ounces (454 g) granulated sugar
  • 24 ounces (680 g) unsalted butter room temperature. You can use salted butter, but it will affect the taste and you need to leave out additional salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


How To Make Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Mix together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. A metal bowl will work best for this as meringue is easier to whip up in metal rather than plastic.
  • Fill a pot with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer.
  • Place the bowl of your stand mixer on top of the pot of water to create a bain-marie. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
  • Whisk the egg whites every 30 seconds or so to distribute the heat evenly. The mixture is ready once it reaches 110ºF (43ºC), or when you can no longer feel any grains of sugar in the egg whites. 
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to your stand mixer. For this next step you will be using the whisk attachment.
  • Whip the ingredients on high speed for 10-15 minutes, or until you reach stiff, glossy peaks. 
  • Pour your meringue out into a shallow dish and pop it into the fridge for about 10 minutes to cool the meringue. You can also put your entire bowl of meringue into the fridge, but it will take longer to cool. If you don’t cool the meringue it will melt your butter. Then you’ll have buttercream soup.
  • Once your meringue is cooled, put it back in your stand mixer bowl with the whisk attachment. 
  • Turn the mixer on medium/low speed (setting 2 on my Bosch Mixer, or setting 4 on a KitchenAid) and add in your room temperature butter in chunks until it’s all combined. 
  • Add in your vanilla and salt. If you’re flavoring your buttercream or making it into chocolate buttercream, now is the time to add those flavorings. 
  • Bump up the speed to medium/high (setting 3 on my Bosch Mixer, or setting 8 on a KitchenAid) and whip it until your buttercream is WHITE and fluffy. It should not taste butteryPro-Tip: You might have a slight yellowish tinge depending on the brand of butter you use. You can counteract a yellow tint by adding in a drop or two of violet food color gel.
  • Switch to a paddle attachment and mix it on low for 15-20 minutes to make the buttercream very smooth and to remove air bubbles. This isn’t required, but if you want really creamy frosting, you do not want to skip it!


Important Things To Note Before You Start
  1. Bring all your unsalted butter to room temperature.
  2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Metric measurements are available in the recipe card. Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 
  3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it's place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
  4. Chill your cakes or whatever you are decorating with your buttercream before you begin frosting and filling. 
  5. Making this buttercream is not hard, but it can be time-consuming. This buttercream requires heating egg whites with sugar over a double boiler until the sugar dissolves, and then whipping the egg whites into a meringue (and then whipping it into butter). If you want an easier recipe that skips heating the egg whites, check out my mock-SMBC recipe for easy buttercream.


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 141kcal (7%) | Carbohydrates: 9g (3%) | Fat: 11g (17%) | Saturated Fat: 7g (35%) | Cholesterol: 30mg (10%) | Sodium: 34mg (1%) | Potassium: 11mg | Sugar: 9g (10%) | Vitamin A: 355IU (7%) | Calcium: 4mg