Swiss Meringue Buttercream


3 sticks unsalted butter  (12oz. 339g) AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
5 egg whites ( 3/4 cup, 168g)
1/2 tsp  (2g, 1/8oz)  cream of tartar
1 cup   ( 205 g)   granulated sugar
2 TBSP (21g)  vanilla extract

Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar in a heat proof bowl (I use my kitchen aid mixing bowl). Put this over a pot of simmering water, whisking by hand until a candy thermometer attached to the side of the bowl registers 140 degrees.

Transfer this to your mixer and put in the whisk attachment. Whip on medium high speed until it reaches stiff peak stage This could take about 10 min. The bottom of the bowl will cool off . The mixture will become fluffy and glossy.

While the meringue is beating, cut the butter into tbsp sized pieces.

When the meringue is ready, put the paddle attachment on the mixer and add the butter a few pieces at a time while beating on low speed.

Add vanilla

The mixture may look like it is separating after you add the butter. Don’t worry, just continue beating on medium-high speed and it will become smooth again.

You can use immediately ….refrigerate in an airtight container for 5 days or freeze for 1 month. If frozen, bring to room temp and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until it is smooth again…..3 to 5 minutes

Category: Frostings and Glazes, Recipes


  1. Rachael Pollington says: #1

    Can you please tell me how many ounces/grams your sticks of butter are? I’m in Australia, so our packages/measurements are different.

  2. nadine fraser says: #2

    dito that last comment :) I am in Ireland :)

  3. BeBe says: #3

    Hi, 1 stick of butter is 113 grams/4oz

  4. lorie09 says: #4

    If I want to make this s chocolate SMBC, what kind of chocolate do I use? melted? how much chocolate to use? and when to add the chocolate? thanks in advance!

  5. Tiffany Gholston says: #5

    Can you decorate a cake with this recipe? I’m not looking for anything too intricate, possibly some star tip roses or some ruffles.

  6. Tiffany Gholston says: #6

    Nevermind, found my answer in the forums. Thanks.

  7. BeBe says: #7

    Hi Tiffany, sorry for the delay. We actually are planning to do a short video on SMBC this week.

  8. Tiffany Gholston says: #8

    I do have another question. I was what’s the difference between swiss and italian meringue buttercreams? I can see that the ingredients either calls for more or less of the basics (egg whites/sugar/cream of tartar) and the italian calls for water.

  9. Noreen Abel says: #9

    I have to say I had great success with this buttercream, decorating a cake with piped roses and leaves. The roses I did with a nail and refrigerated and simply popped them on to the cake when firmed up and then added leaves etc. The cake does need to be served at room temp otherwise its like eating a sweet firm butter.

  10. Katrina Caminiti says: #10

    Can this buttercream be used under fondant?

  11. BeBe says: #11

    Yes, it can be used under fondant . As you know, you do not need to refrigerate your fondant covered cakes……….SMBC covered cakes can be out 36 hrs. if the room temperature is no higher than 70 degrees (my personal opinion on playing it safe). So if you have SMBC under your fondant, I like to refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving. Does your fondant do well with refrigeration? We typically use Satin Ice and have had no problems.

  12. Aquarius Benoit says: #12

    What’s the difference between Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Italian Merinque Buttercream. Which do you prefer?!

  13. chezgod says: #13

    What is the best buttercream to use on a wedding cake? Doing my first one ever and she wants a buttercream tall cake. I live in Australia and its pretty warm, so a buttercream that will work well with a warm room. Thanks heaps

  14. iljam12 says: #14

    About how many cupcakes will this batch frost?


  15. BeBe says: #15

    Hi Chezgod, I would probably use the Fluffy Buttercream recipe from the recipe section since you have warm weather conditions. It does have 1/2 cup 113g. butter along with Crisco shortening…..or you could substitute a high ratio shortening such as Sweetex. We order Sweetex online from If you have time you might make this and test with your weather conditions. You can substitute shortening for the butter also, then there are no worries about heat. If you do this you will want to add some imitation butter flavoring .

  16. BeBe says: #16

    Hi iljam12, One cup of frosting will frost 12 cupcakes with a swirl. I haven’t measured the cups in this recipe but I think there is probably about 3 1/2 cups.

  17. mila velis says: #17

    why there are times that SMBC once made ​​this fine but then when you let it sit and think back to beat water and cut loose?

  18. Ansa Hogan says: #18

    Can this be made ahead of time and refrigerated before frosting the cake? If so, how long will it stay good before frosting your cake?

  19. BeBe says: #19

    Hi Ansa, yes, you can make it in advance. It will be good in the refrigerator 5 days or you can freeze it for 1 month. When ready to use just bring it back to room temperature and beat on low speed with your mixer until it is smooth again.

  20. asproella says: #20

    Astick ogf butter is 125gms

  21. Elisa Schaffer says: #21

    What would be the outdoor temperature threshold for this, say at picnic at a park. I have a request for this type of buttercream on cupcakes this weekend. Thanks

  22. BeBe says: #22

    Hi Elisa, it is mostly butter so it will become very soft if it is a hot day. I would caution your customer. I don’t actually know the temperature threshold.

  23. Nisreen Naser says: #23

    Hi Bebe,
    I’m thinking to fill my cake with SMBC and then cover with chocolate ganache then fondant, here in Australia is winter so how long would this cake stand for before serving? Thanks

  24. BeBe says: #24

    Hi Nisreen, because of the SMBC filling I would say a day. There are differing opinions on this, but this is my preference. Also, you could refrigerate and take out the morning of your serving day to let it come to room temperature…..if your fondant does well with refrigeration.

  25. sweettreats says: #25

    Pecan Praline Cake

    Does anyone have a recipe for Pecan Praline flavored cake or any ideas as to how this can be accomplished usingboxed cake mix? thanks.

  26. Rebecca says: #26

    Can this type of buttercream be used as a dam for filled cakes? I would like to try it, but I think it would be weird to use regular stiffened buttercream as a dam, then frost the rest of the cake using SMBC. I know that you can use the SMBC as the filling, but I was wanting to fill with a mousse instead. So, can it be used as a dam? Is it stiff enough for that?

  27. mbastin says: #27

    What is the best way to print recipes on this site? Am I missing the print button?

  28. BeBe says: #28

    Hi Mbastin, now the options are to copy and paste to a document and print or if you are using Microsoft Word you should have the option of highlighting and printing the highlighted selection. We are revamping our recipe section soon so that printing recipes will be easier.

  29. Kate Munro says: #29

    Does this crust if refrigerated?

  30. BeBe says: #30

    Hi Kate, swiss meringue buttercream will not crust. It will firm up if you put it in the refrigerator, then when taken out it will soften as it comes back to room temperature.

  31. biscuit33 says: #31

    Can some of the butter be substituted with hi ratio for stability? Also could you use meringue powder instead of cream of tartar and if so how much?

  32. Taylor Elliott says: #32

    Is this the most popular for cupcakes? If not, which one is?

  33. BeBe says: #33

    Hi Taylor, It is all a matter of personal taste preference. The Swiss Meringue Buttercream does have a less sweet taste than the American buttercreams (the Classic and Fluffy recipes).

  34. veronica martinez says: #34

    I would love to make this buttercream for cupcakes for saturday night .
    If I frost the cupcakes on friday night and leave them at room temperature (with A/C) will they hold until sat .night ??
    What if I refrigerate the frosted cupcake , do you think it will harden too much ?
    I’ve always made a white chocolate cream cheese , and would like to try SMBC.
    Thank you so much , great website , and tutorials

  35. veronica martinez says: #35

    I would love to make this buttercream for cupcakes for saturday night .
    If I frost the cupcakes on friday night and leave them at room temperature (with A/C) will they hold until sat .night ??
    What if I refrigerate the frosted cupcake , do you think it will harden too much ?
    I’ve always made a white chocolate cream cheese , and would like to try SMBC.
    Thank you so much , great website , and tutorials

  36. BeBe says: #36

    Hi Veronica, yes you can leave out up to 2 days and then you will need to refrigerate. As you said, an air conditioned room would be good.

  37. Nadeen says: #37

    I need a white buttercream to cover a cake. Is this recipe white with all the butter that’s in it? Does it make a difference if I use clear vanilla?

  38. BeBe says: #38

    Hi Nadeen, this will not be white because of all the butter, using clear vanilla is what you should use but it will not change the yellow tint that the butter gives. Also, some butter is more yellow than others so using one that is less yellow will help. If this is the frosting you or your customer prefers because of taste I think the slightly off white color becomes acceptable.

    To get a pure white frosting you would need to use an all vegetable shortening such as Crisco, Trex or high ratio shortening.

  39. kissedbycake says: #39

    I love this buttercream I think it tastes just like creamy vanilla ice cream, just not cold. I have a question though, I tried to make a double batch yesterday and although it was very smooth it didn’t thicken as it usually does. I kept beating it but it just stayed like melted ice cream. I must have beat it for almost an hour before I gave up. Any ideas on why this happened ar how to fix it?

  40. BeBe says: #40

    Hi kissedbycake, your butter could have been a little too soft causing the mixture to remain too soft and loose. When this happens, you can place your mixing bowl of buttercream in the refrigerator for 15 – 20 minutes, then beat again and it should come together and be perfect.

  41. sweety09 says: #41

    Hi, if I use SMBC will it crust quickly how long should I wait? I’m planning to use SMBC as my frosting and place fondant accents on my cake. Is that ok? Thanks :)

  42. BeBe says: #42

    Hi Sweety09, SMBC does not crust. After you have frosted your cake, put it in the refrigerator for a short time and the buttercream will firm up. When you take the cake out of the fridge, the fondant accents will stick to the cake or just need to be slightly moistened. If your fondant accents are already dry when you want to add them, you can just adhere them with a small dot of buttercream.

  43. farzeen patel says: #43

    I want to use smbc for a wedding cake. It’s a 6 inch round & around 6 inch tall. I’d like to use smbc to sandwich 4 layers, cover it & pipe ruffles all around the sides. How much buttercream would I need? Also, is smbc ok for ruffles? Thanks in advance.

  44. BeBe says: #44

    Hi Farzeen, here is a link to the Wilton Chart, link to

    You may need to make the recipe 3 times depending on how thick you fill your layers and the height of the ruffles. You can use SMBC for ruffles, make sure the ruffle you are piping is attached to the cake and not to the buttercream ruffle that is on the cake, otherwise the ruffles may slide down the cake – – hope that is clear.

  45. farzeen patel says: #45

    Thanks so much for your help. I found your tutorial
    On ruffles extremely helpful and the cake was a great
    Success! So thank you xxx
    I’ve got to share it with you, so here’s the link:
    link to

  46. Melissa Diamond says: #46

    Farzeen, your cake is gorgeous!!

    Thanks so much for letting us know how it came out–great job!

  47. Spooky_789 says: #47

    Tonight I’m trying this using vanilla sugar. I made the vanilla sugar using the bags that my vanilla beans came in, then added the granulated sugar to them. I’ll come back and let you know how it tastes.

  48. Melissa Diamond says: #48

    Great! Interested to hear how it comes out ;0)

  49. Spooky_789 says: #49

    It really enhanced the flavor! I should have used my Mexican vanilla sugar since that is what I ultimately flavored it with, but it was still yummy!

  50. Lenylia Haq says: #50

    Does this buttercream will crust?

  51. Melissa Diamond says: #51

    Hi Lenylia– No, it doesn’t. We have a video tutorial on making this recipe and frosting a cake with it if you would like to get a better idea of what it is like to work with.

  52. Jennifer Sullivan says: #52

    Hi! I was wondering if I could add cream cheese to this after its all done or will that effect the texture?

  53. Melissa Diamond says: #53

    Hi Jennifer–I’ve never tried doing this but I found a recipe/blog that looks good for adding (whipped) cream cheese to swiss meringue buttercream- If you try it, let us know what you think!
    link to

  54. Luna says: #54

    Hi, I was wondering if I can leave out the cream of tartar? Thanks!

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