My Favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Swiss meringue buttercream is like heaven. It’s so light and fluffy and not at all overly sweet like some frosting. I definitely prefer it over any other kind of frosting.

Ever since I first tasted SMBC I have been searching for a fool proof recipe that I love. I have found that recipe. Trust me on this one. It’s amazing.

Most people seem intimidated by SMBC because of the fact that sometimes it curdles when you’re mixing it up. You have to be patient and know that it’ll come back together. Because of the technique used in this recipe, you won’t have to worry about that here. I was a bit skeptical when I first tried this recipe, but it works every time.

I prefer to refrigerate my cupcakes after frosting them with this SMBC. This will set the frosting. Then bring them to room temperature prior to serving.

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This is my favorite Swiss meringue buttercream

Yield: Enough to frost 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

4 oz egg whites (3-4 large egg whites or about 1/2 cups)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp lemon extract, almond extract, orange extract, or vanilla extract

Directions:

Lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water until egg-white mixture is hot to touch or a candy thermometer reads 140°F (60°C).

Pour hot whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip with a wire whip until double in volume on MEDIUM-HIGH speed. When the mixer stops, the meringue should not move around in the bowl. Meanwhile cut up butter into 2-inch pieces. (The butter should be slightly moist on the outside but cold inside.)

On your mixer, remove the whip and attach the paddle. Add half the butter into the bowl immediately and pulsate the mixer several times until the meringue has covered the butter completely. To pulsate the mixer, turn it on and off in a jerky motion. This forces the butter on the top to the bottom of the bowl. Add the balance of the butter and pulsate mixer several times. Slowly increase the mixer's speed, starting with the lowest speed and increase the speed every 10 seconds until you reach a MEDIUM-HIGH speed.

Continue beating until the mixture begins to look light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Reduce speed to LOW. Add flavoring and continue to beat on LOW speed for 45 seconds. Then beat on MEDIUM-HIGH speed for an additional 45 to 60 seconds.

Leftover buttercream can be placed in plastic containers with lids and kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost completely (several hours) and rewhip before using.

Storage: Store the icing in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Recipe from epicurious

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19 Responses to “My Favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe”

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    1
    Terry — February 9, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Instant kill for salmonella is 160 degrees so please be safe and heat your egg whites to that temp. It only takes a couple more minutes to be safe. I am shocked that epicurious printed this recipe at only 140.

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    Pita — February 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Almost all swiss meringue buttercream call for it to be heated to 140. Unlike the yolks, the whites have a Ph level that is too high to sustain salmonella. I am certified for food safety/handling.

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    jj — March 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Dear Terry-
    Educate yourself before giving advice. Eggs whites beaten with sugar are denatured by the sugar, making them perfectly safe to eat. There is no need to heat them except where the recipe calls for it. Stop being an online fear monger.

    Source: Any high school chemistry class

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    Mian — May 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Hi,
    I’m very curious about SMBC and would like to try it. Do you think it will work with a hand mixer? Kindly advise. Thank you. :)

    • beantownbaker — June 10th, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

      I have never used a hand mixer to make it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Let me know how it turns out if you do try it.

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    Natasha — June 16, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Jen – have you ever tried a cream cheese Swiss meringue frosting? Other recipes seem similar to this, although the best looking ones I saw in a quick search were in metric units (grams), which seemed confusing. They seem to follow a similar procedure, but adding chunks of cream cheese after the butter is fully incorporated. Considering giving this recipe a whirl (so to speak!) by substituting Hal the butter w/ cream cheese, but was curious whether you thought that nigh work. Thanks.

    • beantownbaker — June 16th, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

      I have never heard of cream cheese SMBC. But I love both frostings, so a combination of the two sounds devine. I think your approach could work. Definitely let me know how it turns out!

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    Amy — June 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I tried your Swiss meringue buttercream today. It was amazing! I had no problem with it at all, except that I didn’t have a candy thermometer. (Oops!) However, I did use a meat thermometer, to get an estimate. I heated the egg-sugar mixture until it was hot to the touch, and there was no sugar crystals when I rubbed my two fingers together. It turned out fine. I beat the egg whites until it was ribbon-like. So yummy! I’m about to frost some vanilla cupcakes with it.

    • beantownbaker — June 25th, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

      So glad you didn’t have any problems with this recipe!

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    Jennifer — August 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I want to frost the cake well before the party. Should I store the frosted cake in the fridge? Will it hold up overnight? Thanks in advance for your insight!

    • beantownbaker — August 22nd, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

      I would store it in the fridge overnight, then let it come to room temperature for about an hour before serving. This frosting gets a little too firm in the fridge for me, so I always let it come to room temp before eating.

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    Marie — November 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I tried your SMBC with a hand mixer.. and it turned out great. However I only put half of the butter as to what the recipe calls due to lack of butter at home.. It still tasted buttery though and still yummy. anyways thanks for this. Will make this for sure next time!

    • beantownbaker — November 24th, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

      Glad to hear this worked out for you.

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    Leslee Goodwin — February 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I just found this post and gave it a try. I wondered, do you use this only as a frosting to cup cakes or would you also use it as a substitute for ganache and does it set up under fondant. TIA

    • beantownbaker — February 23rd, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

      I haven’t used it under fondant. If you do try it, let me know how it goes.

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    Lorena — April 25, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Hi:
    Wondering if it work if I don’t use the paddle, (which I don’t have one) my mixer only comes with wire whip? Do you have any idea or suggestion on how can I give a grey/silver colour to the buttercream?
    Thanks.

    • beantownbaker — April 27th, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

      I don’t see why it wouldn’t work… For the coloring, I’d get some gel food coloring for the frosting. Hope it goes well for you!

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    Amanda — May 26, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Tried this recipe for the first time a few days ago, I was so sick of gloppy oversweet and gritty “American” style buttercream and needed a change. This recipe was very easy to follow, I also did not have a candy thermometer, but the first time I made it just using the sight and touch method, worked flawlessly, the second time I made it, just yesterday I used an IR non-contact thermometer and it worked out just as well. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this recipe, it tastes delicious and is extremely user friendly. I have received so many compliments on it. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • beantownbaker — September 2nd, 2014 @ 7:02 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this recipe. I agree, American buttercream can just be too sweet. I love making this Swiss meringue buttercream.

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