Swiss Meringue Buttercream Tutorial

Elisa Strauss shows you how to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

This week we are Mixing-It-Up in the kitchen and heading Back-to-Basics as I show you how to make Vanilla Buttercream from start to finish. It is my go-to frosting and can be flavored many different ways.


Granulated Sugar – 1 pound 4 ounces
Eggs Whites – 10 ounces
Unsalted butter – 1 pound (or four sticks)
Vanilla – 2 ounces

Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes with swirls or fill and crumb coat two 9-inch round cakes, about 8 cups!

Comments (8)


Does this have a higher melting point? I find that often if I am making cakes to take into work the buttercream starts to melt (I use it to crumb coat underneath fondant and handmade toppers) and the cake loses some of its shape before it's eaten.


Is the butter room temperature or still somewhat chilled? The way you're able to handle it makes it look like it may be chilled.


Just tried this - twice. Egg whites would notwhip to peak stage - i tried for 20 minutes.... I wiped down all equipment with vinegar etc. Used pasteurized egg whites.  Very frustrating!! So - anything I can do with the soupy eggwhite/sugar mixture??   And why wouldnt they whip up!?   


It can be very hard to learn how to whip eggs to peak stage. Practice Practice Practice. The recipe worked wonderfully for me. 


Number one reason meringue will not whip to peak is that the bowl or whisk has residual oils.

I always wash both with boiled water and soap. Then rinse with more boiled water, the again with cold water to remove the heat from bowl and whisk attachment.

As for the butter, I have found that a key is to have the meringue cooled down to at highest 75 degrees. I set the melted egg sugar mix to the side for at least 30 min to take it from 160 degrees to at least 100 to 120 at most before whipping.

And then have the butter match in the range of 70 to 75.

Butter should not be chilled and also should not be too soft.

Additional tip, once you have a batch of SMB, hold off a cup of the finished product in an air sealed container. And store in freezer.  When you next make SMB move to fridge to thaw a bit but remain cold.  If you find that you next batch of SMB is acting badly, cut in a few chunks of the "starter batch".  It will bring the new batch in line. 

It can take some batches you get comfortable with SMB, but it is So worth it! SMB takes fresh fruit puree flavors so perfectly.  No gritty super sweet nature of the standard powdered sugar butter frosting. Ugh


Will SMBC harden if put in frig or freezer? I want to get sharp edges and like the "trimming" method of cutting hard butter or ganache away.