A white cake frosted with Chef Carrie Smith's Swiss meringue buttercream recipe

Chef Carrie's Luscious Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

This classic Swiss meringue buttercream recipe is perfect for frosting and piping. And for eating right off of a spatula.

Making a batch of Swiss meringue buttercream is deceptively simple. Just ask ICE Los Angeles' Chef-Instructor (and resident piping queen) Carrie Smith.

This recipe, while being one of her go-to's, is also the same recipe used in ICE's Pastry & Baking Arts program.

"The basic ratio is very simple. It's one part egg whites, two parts of sugar, two parts of butter," Chef Carrie says.

If you're feeling ambitious, you can pasteurize your own egg whites, but using pre-pasteurized egg whites is also fine. If pasteurizing your own, make sure you gently bring the egg whites and sugar, mixed together, up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by stirring the mixture over a bain-marie on the stove.

Chef Carrie Smith pasteurizing egg whites and sugar over a bain-marie on the stove
Chef Carrie Smith pasteurizing egg whites and sugar over a bain-marie on the stove.

One of best parts of this recipe is its flexibility.

"You could get away with using brown sugar to make a brown sugar buttercream, coconut sugar too," she says. "Date sugar might give you some problems because of the texture in the dates, but would be delicious."

Chef Carrie also suggests using half salted butter and half unsalted butter to created a salted-caramel-esque flavor. You can also substitute the egg whites for aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) and the butter for a plant-based fat source to veganize the recipe.

Related:Butter Alternatives

In total, the process takes only about twenty minutes or so and yields a fluffy, smooth buttercream that's perfect for piping.

Watch Chef Carrie's entire step-by-step process in the video below, then use the recipe to make it at home.


Swiss Meringue Buttercream


  • 225 grams egg whites
  • 450 grams granulated sugar
  • 450-675 grams unsalted butter, softened


  1. Combine egg whites and sugar over a bain-marie. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and reaches 140° F.
  2. Whip with a whisk attachment on stand mixer until the mixture reaches room temperature and yields stiff peaks.
  3. Add the softened butter pieces and whip until shiny and glossy.
  4. Add any flavors at this point, if desired.
  5. Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed to remove any air bubbles.

Use immediately, refrigerate for up to two weeks, or freeze one month.

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