Vanilla cupcakes frosted with purple Swiss meringue buttercream frosting and sprinkles

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups or 24 cupcakes


This easy Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe makes a silky, elegant frosting perfect for cakes and cupcakes! Made with whipped egg whites, sugar, and butter, this frosting can be flavored with any extract and is ideal for piping. 


  • 5 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Wipe down the inside of your stainless-steel bowl with vinegar to remove any grease. Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl with candy thermometer attached.
  2. Set the bowl over top of a pot with 1 ¼ cups water covering the bottom. Place over medium heat.
  3. Stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture reaches 140°-160°  The sugar should be dissolved in the egg whites. You can test this by placing a drop on your finger tips and rubbing them together. The mixture should be completely smooth.
  4. Immediately place the mixing bowl on your stand. Using the wire whisk attachment, beat the eggs white on low for 2 minutes than increase to medium high.
  5. Beat for another 5 minutes. At this point, your frosting should have turned white and the body of the meringue starts to form. Increase the mixing speed to high. It will start to look glossy as the peaks begin to form. Beat for another 3-5 minutes until the bottom of your bowl is cool to the touch and your meringue has stiff peaks.
  6. Turn your mixer down to medium-low. Slowly add your butter, 1 tbsp at a time. As you add more butter, the frosting might appear to have curdled and lost its body, that’s ok. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. Switch to the paddle attachment, add the vanilla extract and continue beating on medium-high speed until your frosting start to have stiff peaks. Beat for about 3-5 minutes.


  • Original frosting recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.
  • The utensils have to be grease-free, wipe down your bowls, whisks, and spatulas with vinegar or lemon juice prior to starting
  • Use a candy thermometer for the most accurate temperature.
  • Always use unsalted butter! This allows you to control how much salt is in your frosting.
  • To tint the buttercream, slowly add the color gel and beat with a paddle attachment, or fold it in with a spatula until completely incorporated.
  • Flavor variations:
    • This can easily be flavored with any type of extract vanilla bean, peppermint, almond, lemon, etc. Start with ½-1 teaspoon at a time. Lemon, lime, or orange zest is a great way to add a more intense flavor.
    • See the full tutorial for my chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream for a chocolate variation.
    • Strawberry or blackberry purees can be added for natural flavoring.
Nutrition Information:
1 cupcake's worth
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American