Swiss Buttercream

May 14, 2021
7 Ratings
Photo by Catherine Lamb
  • Makes about 4 cups
Author Notes

An easy buttercream that starts with a Swiss meringue. It turns out very white and light and airy, which makes it great for tinting with color and layer cakes. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

Bake It Up a Notch is a column by Resident Baking BFF Erin Jeanne McDowell. Each month, she'll help take our baking game to the next level, teaching us all the need-to-know tips and techniques and showing us all the mistakes we might make along the way. Today, a very sweet lesson in all things frostings, icings, and glazes. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Swiss Buttercream
  • 5 (180 g) large egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar sugar
  • 2 cups (454 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) fine sea salt
  1. Prepare an electric mixer by fitting it with the whip attachment. Bring a medium pot filled with a few inches of water to a gentle simmer.
  2. Whisk the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer well, and place over the pot of water. Heat, stirring constantly so the egg whites don’t scramble, until the mixture reads 160°F on a thermometer.
  3. When the egg and sugar mixture has come to temperature, transfer the bowl to the mixer. Whip on high speed until the mixture reaches stiff peaks and the bowl is no longer noticeably warm to the touch. The meringue should be smooth and glossy, not clumpy or dry.
  4. While the mixer is running, gradually add room temperature butter in 1 tablespoon (14 g) chunks. Continue adding and mixing until all of the butter is incorporated and the buttercream is light and smooth. If the buttercream looks curdled or separated, continue whipping for a few minutes, it should come together.
  5. Beat in the vanilla and salt and mix to combine. The buttercream can be used immediately or refrigerated in an airtight container.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

1 Review

Lauren M. August 7, 2018
This buttercream recipe is everything my cakes have ever longed for. It's so much lighter and less sweet than an American buttercream and melt in my mouth. It's basically the only icing I use now (almost).