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swiss meringue buttercream recipe

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC)

Swiss meringue buttercream comes together with just 5 ingredients and is amazingly delicious. The smooth and silky texture melts in your mouth but is stable enough to use for wedding cakes and birthday cakes. Add some fresh fruit puree, lemon extract, or chocolate to customize your SMBC and pair it with your favorite chocolate cake, vanilla cupcakes, or Funfetti cake.
4.90 from 91 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


  • 1 stand mixer with the whisk and paddle attachments


Making Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Fill a large pot with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer.
  • Place the metal bowl of your stand mixer on top of the pot of water to create a bain-marie (or double boiler). The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
  • Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the mixing bowl. Pro-tip: Wipe your bowl out with white vinegar before making the meringue. A very clean metal bowl will work best for this as the meringue is easier to whip up in metal rather than plastic.
  • Cook the egg white mixture until it reaches 110ºF (43ºC) and constantly whisk the sides of the bowl to distribute the heat evenly. If you don't have an instant-read thermometer, when you can no longer feel any sugar granules in the egg whites with your finger, it's done.
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to your stand mixer with the whisk attachment. You can use a hand mixer and a large bowl to mix your meringue, it will just take a lot longer to mix.
  • Whip the egg and sugar mixture on medium-high speed for 10 to 15 minutes, or until you reach glossy, stiff peaks. 
  • Pour your meringue out into a shallow dish and refrigerate it for about 10 minutes to cool the meringue to room temperature. 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 and then you’ll have buttercream soup.
  • Once your meringue is cooled, put it back in your stand mixer bowl with the whisk attachment. 
  • Add the room-temperature butter, vanilla, and mix until it’s all combined. 
  • Whip the buttercream on medium/high speed until it is white, fluffy, and doesn't taste buttery, this can take 8-10 minutes. Pro-Tip: To counteract the yellow in your buttercream, add a drop or two of violet food color gel to make it whiter.
  • Switch to a paddle attachment and mix it on low speed for 15-20 minutes to make the buttercream very smooth and remove air bubbles. This isn't required, but if you want really creamy frosting, you do not want to skip it!
  • This recipe is enough to frost and fill a two-layer 8" x 2" cake, or frost about 24 cupcakes. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.


  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