This is an EASY Swiss meringue buttercream recipe! And I mean EASY. It’s the ultimate cheat’s guide to Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. Learn how to make perfect Swiss meringue buttercream with pasteurized egg whites, or even if you get a little egg yolk in your egg whites! Click here for the chocolate version.
The easiest swiss meringue buttercream recipe ever!
Have you ever wanted to make swiss meringue buttercream, but ended up getting egg yolk in your egg whites in the process?
Or would you rather make swiss meringue buttercream with pasterurized egg whites from a carton?
Then this cheat’s guide to perfect swiss meringue is the recipe for you!
If there’s an easy swiss meringue buttercream, why make the original version?
The original swiss meringue buttercream is truly delicious. This cheat’s version just isn’t the same as the original because it’s hard to incorporate the same amount of air in the cheat’s version.
The cheat’s version is a more buttery, and slightly more dense version of classic swiss meringue buttercream. There are TWO methods of making the cheat’s method of swiss meringue buttercream.
It’s still a great way to use egg whites that are “tainted” with egg yolks. It’s also another way to make swiss meringue buttercream if you want to skip the pasteurization step, or if you’re using already pasteurized egg whites from a carton.
How to make easy swiss meringue buttercream
How to mimic classic swiss meringue buttercream
The reason why swiss meringue is so light and fluffy is because of the air incorporated into the meringue base.
If you’re using pasteurized egg whites (carton egg whites) or raw egg whites with egg yolks, it’s hard to get the same level of air in the buttercream without the meringue base.
Instead, for this easy faux swiss meringue buttercream, we’ll be incorporating as much air as possible into the butter to create a light and airy buttercream.
What you need to make cheat’s swiss meringue buttercream frosting
- Egg whites
- Sugar or confectioner’s sugar
- Cream (optional)
- Salt and vanilla
The egg whites and sugar form the egg base. This can be made in TWO WAYS.
Pasteurized egg whites + confectioner’s sugar
This is the easiest method to make the egg white base for this easy swiss meringue buttercream. Since pasteurized egg whites are safe to eat as they are, it’s not necessary to heat them. The confectioner’s sugar (or powdered sugar) will easily dissolve in the egg whites as well.
Egg whites + granulated white sugar
If you were planning on making classic swiss meringue, but accidentally got yolk in your egg white mixture, then this is the best way to make the egg white sugar syrup to make the faux swiss meringue buttercream.
You can also make this with egg whites without yolks.
Since raw egg whites are not pasteurized, the egg whites and sugar mixture needs to be heated in a bowl until the sugar dissolves and it reaches 160 F, over a pot of simmering water, and then cooled down to room temperature before use.
You can use salted or unsalted butter for this recipe. If you use salted butter, you may need to omit the extra salt in the recipe.
The butter needs to be really soft, so that it incorporates air easily when whipped. Ideally the temperature of the butter should be about 75 F.
Here in Ottawa, it’s next to impossible to get the butter to be 75 F at room temperature in the winter. So what I do is I place the butter in a metal bowl, over ANOTHER bowl of hot water, and then mix the butter with a spatula until it’s soft and around 75 – 76 F.
Whipping cream is not an ingredient used in the classic version of swiss meringue buttercream.
Here, the whipping cream serves to soften the butter more and allow for more air to be incorporated into the butter. This is an easy way to help achieve a creamy consistency for this faux swiss meringue buttercream.
Salt and vanilla
Both salt and vanilla add flavor to the buttercream. If you’re using salted buttercream, then skip the salt.
I prefer using vanilla extract over vanilla essence because the flavor is better. If you’re using vanilla essence, then I recommend adding only about 1 tsp or less. Too much imitation vanilla essence can yield a bitterness.
How to make faux swiss meringue buttercream
The first step is to make the egg white and sugar base.
Pasteurized egg whites and confectioner’s sugar – Whisk the pasteurized egg whites and confectioner’s sugar for about 5 minutes until the mixture is thick, white, and creamy. Scrape the egg white mix from the mixer bowl into a different bowl and set aside. The butter can be whipped in the same bowl.
Raw egg whites and granulated sugar – Heat the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until the sugar dissolves and the mix reaches a temperature of 160 F. Let it cool to room temperature (about 75 F).
Next, whip the butter with salt and vanilla, at medium high speed in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk for 5 – 10 minutes, until the butter is light and very fluffy.
Add 2 – 3 tbsp whipping cream to the butter and whip further to make the butter softer and fluffier.
Pour the egg white and sugar mixture, while the butter is being whipped. Keep whisking until the mixture looks like a fluffy, creamy buttercream.
If you live in a warm climate, the buttercream will be soft enough to use. But if the buttercream still looks and tastes too much like butter, add another couple of tablespoons of cream and whip until smooth and creamy.
Switch from a whisk attachment to a paddle attachment, and mix the buttercream again. This will help make the buttercream frosting smooth, and remove any air bubbles.
While this is a sweet buttercream, you can make it even sweeter by adding extra sifted confectioner’s sugar if you like.
You can also use a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer for this recipe.
Aaaand that’s it! It’s so simple to make. And you can use this easy swiss meringue buttercream frosting recipe in the same way you’d use any buttercream!
Can I add the butter directly into the egg whites?
You can. You just have to make sure the butter is really soft, so that you don’t end up with chunks of butter in the final buttercream.
That’s why I prefer to whisk the butter separately. This ensures the butter will disperse well throughout the buttercream. It also ensures the incorporation of more air in your buttercream, making the final product very fluffy and creamy.
You can store this buttercream at room temperature for about 2 days. In the winter, I’ve stored this for 3 days at room temp without an issue because our kitchen is quite cool at night (O Canada!).
Cover the buttercream and store it in the fridge for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Then let the buttercream thaw out to room temperature, and re-whip to make it creamy again.
How to use this buttercream recipe
You can use it to frost cakes and cupcakes. It’s a fantastic birthday cake frosting, just add some colorful sprinkles on top!
You can also add cocoa powder to make a chocolate buttercream version too, but I prefer adding melted chocolate instead for a richer and smoother taste.
You can also add different flavors like coffee, almond, mint, and others!
Here are some great cake and cupcake recipes that you can make, and frost with this incredibly light, fluffy, buttery, easy swiss meringue buttercream!
This wedding cake I made in 2017 for a friend was filled and frosted with this easy faux swiss meringue buttercream!
Tips to remember
Make sure the butter is very soft, but not melted, so that you can whip as much air as possible into it.
Use pasteurized egg whites and confectioner’s sugar for the quickest and easiest swiss meringue buttercream version.
If you use raw egg whites and sugar, make sure they are heated and then cooled to room temperature.
Whipping cream helps keep the buttercream soft.
Use good quality vanilla extract to flavor the buttercream.
You can get the recipe for the cheat’s chocolate swiss meringue buttercream here.
Easy Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Pasteurized egg white syrup
- 115 g pasteurized egg whites ½ cup, room temperature
- 226 g confectioner's sugar about 2 cups, measured by spoon and level method
Raw egg white syrup
- 115 g raw egg whites ½ cup, see recipe notes
- 225 g granulated white sugar 1 ¼ cups
Swiss meringue buttercream
- 1 amount of egg white syrup either pasteurized or raw, see above
- 226 g unsalted butter very soft, but not melted (2 sticks)
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup whipping cream 35% fat
Using pasteurized egg whites
- Place the egg whites and confectioner’s sugar in a mixing bowl, and whisk for about 5 – 6 minutes on high speed. The mixture should look thick, glossy, and white.
- Scrape this mixture into a bowl and set aside.
Using raw egg whites
- Place the egg whites and sugar in a heat proof bowl.
- Bring some water to a simmer in a pot. Place the egg white + sugar bowl over the simmering water pot, and whisk for about 10 minutes until the egg whites are heated to 160°F.
- Allow the egg white mixture to cool down to room temperature before using.
Making the swiss meringue buttercream
- Place the butter and salt in a mixing bowl. With the whisk attachment, whip the butter until light, fluffy, and creamy. This can take up to 10 minutes depending on the temperature of the butter, the mixer, and the ambient temperature.
- When the butter is fluffy, add half the amount of cream and all of the vanilla, and whip for a further couple of minutes to make the butter fluffier.
- While running the mixer on medium high, stream the egg white mixture into the butter mixture.
- Keep whipping the buttercream until you have a creamy consistency (a few minutes). Add the rest of the cream if needed.
- If you'd like the buttercream to be sweeter, add more sifted confectioner’s sugar and mix until well incorporated.
- To remove the extra air bubbles, switch to the paddle attachment, and mix for about 1 – 2 minutes on medium high speed.
- The faux swiss meringue buttercream is now ready to be used.