top of page
  • Holly

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

Cupcakes topped with creamy swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache drizzle
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Cupcakes

This is my first post of hopefully many. I am a mom of 3 and have had my fair share of cake making for birthdays and family get togethers. Over the years, I have perfected this vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, and people tell me it is the best icing they have ever tasted. Not too sweet, creamy and light this is now my go to recipe.

When I pull out my mixer and the kids hear that sound, they come running wanting to know what mom is whipping up. Of course they want to help count the cups of each ingredient and stick around to lick the beaters. Someone has to make sure it tastes good right? You probably did not click this link to hear about me or my story, so here is the recipe. I hope you enjoy!

a cupcake toped with mini flowers that are rainbow colored
Rainbow Colored Swiss Meringue Buttercream


- Can you Colour Swiss Meringue Buttercream? Absolutely! Check out these Rainbow Cupcakes I made using Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

- One tip for making your buttercream less buttery tasting, is to

continue whipping your buttercream for a few minutes after it has come together. This will also make the buttercream appear whiter in color. I prefer to use unsalted butter as I find it has a less buttery taste, but salted may be used as well.

- If you are looking for a smooth consistency for covering cakes and decorating, switch to the paddle attachment when adding the butter. Once everything and smooth and combined, reduce to low speed to knock out all the air bubbles that developed from whipping the egg whites.

-Be sure to not get any grease or egg yolks on your utensils or mixing bowl, as this will prevent the meringue from forming stiff peaks. Clean your bowls and utensils with a paper towel and vinegar before you begin.

Diagram showing swiss meringue buttercream in the  making, In double boiler, then whipped till stiff peaks form and cold. then add butter which will take on a curdled appearance then whip till smooth
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Start to Finish

- Keep whipping the egg whites until cool before adding the butter. This may take a while (up to 30min). If needed, you may place the mixing bowl in the fridge for a few minutes once it has started to show stiff peaks.

- If it appears lumpy/Curdled when adding the butter, that is OK, this will happen, keep whipping and it will become smooth and creamy in no time.

- If you have refrigerated your icing to use later, place it back in your mixing bowel and warm up the side of the bowl with hot water until the outer edges are starting to melt then re-whip. Alternatively, microwave a cup of the buttercream until soften and then add to the remaining buttercream and whip away. If you have planned ahead, place it on the counter and allow it to come back up to room temperature, then re-whip.

- Want Different Flavors? Go for it! Add a 1/4 cup of peanut butter, a few tbsp of Chocolate Ganache or jam, or some reduces fresh fruit (or freeze dried fruit). Check out my other flavored Swiss meringue buttercream recipes for more details. See the bottom for those links.

- Dairy Free Version - If you need a dairy free frosting, skip adding the butter and you will have a fluffy and smooth meringue frosting that is identical to boiled icing. This works great for angel food cake.

-This buttercream is incredibly stable and holds up amazing in the heat once cooled and set. left overs can be store for up to three months in air tight container in your freezer.

Note*: If you plan to cover a large cake or make extra to freeze for later, triple the batch and add one extra egg white (10 egg whites total). I have found that if you exceed tripling, the sugar does not dissolve properly no matter how long you cook it.

finger that appears greasy after checking butter consistency.
Checking Room Temperature Butter

- Final tip is to have your butter at room temperature but not too warm before adding it to the merengue. To check if its just right, push your finger into the butter and if a light coating covers your finger (not a gob of butter) then its perfect , See picture for reference.

Swiss meringue buttercream piped onto cupcakes with a wilton 2 D tip
Wilton 2 D tip

Things you will need - stand mixer with whisk and paddle attachment, and a double boiler or a pot with water in it and a heat safe bowl on top.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

spatula of just whipped swiss meringue buttercream. smooth and creamy
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Consistency


3 large egg whites

1 cup granular sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tarter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup unsalted butter, cool room temperature and cubed

Note: when tripling batch add 1 extra egg white for best results. see note* above for details.


- Set up stand mixer with whisk attachment

- Add granular sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar to double boiler or may use a pot of water and a heat safe bowl on top.

- Continually whisk sugar and egg mixture over double boiler until sugar is completely dissolved and appears opaque. Be sure to keep whisking or you will end up with scrambled eggs. (check by rubbing a few drops between your fingers. If there are no granules felt, it is done).

- Once sugar is dissolved, removed from heat and pour it into your stand mixer. Gradually increase the speed from low speed, to medium and then to medium high (6 or 8), over a 2 minute period. Then let it whip away until completely cooled. This may take 30 minutes or so.

- Once the meringue has cooled, change to the paddle attachment and add your room temperature butter in chunks. Whip on medium high speed until it is smooth and comes fully comes together. Beat for an extra minute or two then add your vanilla. (if you want to make a flavored buttercream such a chocolate or fruit, add 2 to 3 tbsp of chocolate ganache or fruit puree/jam at this time, and mix until blended well)

- And that is it. This will thinly ice a 9 inch cake easily or 24 cupcakes. If you plan to do a lot of decorations I typically double or triple the recipe just to be safe. This is best enjoyed if the cake is removed from the fridge 20min to an hour before eating to allow the buttercream to soften again. Once chilled it firms up beautifully and does not crust over like American buttercream dose.

Teal, white and purple cupcakes
Teal, White and Purple Cupcakes

Check out my You Tube channel "Sweet and Savoury, @hollysrecipes22" to see how I

make swiss meringue buttercream.

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

Whether it's Sweet or Savoury, let it be made with Love!

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page