Today, I'm sharing how to make perfect Swiss buttercream at home; Fluffy, shiny, smooth, and stable Swiss meringue.
The recipe is very simple and you only need 3 ingredients. After following the recipe and tips, there is no need to re-whip it after storing it in a fridge or thawing it from a freezer. And you can add the butter all at once. So let's get into it!
- 📌 What is Swiss buttercream?
- 📌 How to store Swiss buttercream
- 📌 My golden ratio for Swiss buttercream
- 📌 Frequently Asked Questions
- 📌 Learn how to make Swiss buttercream visually!
- 📌 3 Ingredients for Swiss Buttercream
- 📌 how to make Swiss Buttercream
- 📌 Preparation:
- 📌 Step 1: Heat egg white and sugar in a water bath.
- 📌 Step 2: Whip the heated egg white and sugar.
- 📌 Step 3: Add butter and whip until it's even.
- 📌 The Printable Recipe
- Swiss Buttercream
📌 What is Swiss buttercream?
Swiss buttercream is a mixture of Swiss meringue and butter. You can add flavors or extra ingredients to it but they are the main component. Swiss meringue itself is made by heating egg whites and sugar in a water bath and then whipping it.
Some people call it Swiss meringue buttercream or Swiss buttercream but they are the same thing.
If you want to know about how Swiss buttercream is different from another buttercream such as Italian buttercream or French buttercream, check out the Q & A section at the end of this post.
Let’s make some Swiss meringue!
📌 How to store Swiss buttercream
One batch of the buttercream fills 2 16 oz containers. Store in air-tight containers. You can chill in a fridge for up to 5 days or 3 months in a freezer.
Can I leave this Swiss buttercream at room temperature?
This buttercream was in the room overnight. It stays stiff and fluffy at room temperature. Just be careful with the room temperature as I said! No need to re-whip it later even after touching it a lot.
How to use Swiss buttercream after it's taken out of a fridge
This one was chilled in a fridge. It takes a few hours on average to make it soft again. But that can fluctuate depending on the room temperature and the amount of buttercream. No need to re-whip it as you can see.
What about the freezer?
And this one was frozen. It usually takes 5-7 hours to soften at room temperature.
And the consistency is still great and you do not need to re-whip it. Use it right away!
📌 My golden ratio for Swiss buttercream
I'd like to end this post by sharing my golden ratio for Swiss buttercream.
Sugar is 1.5 times more than egg white. And it means butter is about 3 times more than egg white. That is my golden ratio to make this stable, fluffy, and not-too-sweet Swiss buttercream.
Just remember the ratios and all the tips. and you can still make perfect Swiss buttercream.
📌 Frequently Asked Questions
You can store it in a fridge for up to 5 days or about 3 months in a freezer. You can leave it at room temperature for a day but I do not recommend leaving it for more than that. Make sure your room is not warm so that it does not start getting loose.
You do not need to re-whip if you follow the recipe and all the tips I mentioned. It should stay stiff and stable.
* Swiss buttercream: Swiss meringue + Butter
* Italian buttercream: Italian meringue + Butter
* French buttercream: Pate au bombe + Butter
* American buttercream: Sugar + Butter
* German buttercream: Pastry cream + Butter
* Russian buttercream: Condensed milk + Butter
* English buttercream: Anglaise sauce + Butter
.... and so on!
You can add extracts or any other ingredients to them but they are the main components!
There are some reasons you can think of such as:
* The meringue was warm and the butter melted partially.
* The meringue was loose. (Read the meringue section in this post to see a list of the possible reasons.)
* It was whipped for too long.
* The room was warm and the butter got loose.
.... and so on!
📌 Learn how to make Swiss buttercream visually!
To see all the steps visually and get a better understanding of all, check out the video tutorial:
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📌 3 Ingredients for Swiss Buttercream
Enough amount for a little less than 2 16oz containers.
- Egg white: 150g | 5.3oz ( 4.5-5 eggs)
- Granulated sugar: 225g | 7.9oz
- Unsalted butter: 453g | 16oz (4 US sticks)
- (Add any flavor you like!)
📌 how to make Swiss Buttercream
The 3 simple steps:
- Heat egg white and sugar in a water bath.
- Whip the heated egg white and sugar.
- Add butter and whip until it's even.
Check out below to see the steps with more detailed tips and images
📍 The printable recipe with instructions is at the very end of this post.Jump to Recipe
My very first tip comes before we even start. Which is:
Tip 1: All the ingredients and tools are completely clean with no oil and liquids.
That is because they prevent the egg white from getting whipped well to make stiff meringue. Egg yolks contain oil and that is why it is the enemy of fluffy meringue.
All the tools and ingredients should be completely dried and free from oil, liquids, and even chemicals.
📌 Step 1: Heat egg white and sugar in a water bath.
First, add egg white and sugar to a bowl. And mix them with a whisk until it looks even.
To heat egg white gently without cooking it, we use a water bath method.
Tip 2: Do not use boiling water. The water should not be hotter than simmering water.
That is because there is a chance you can cook the egg white with extreme heat.
Tip 3: Mix constantly and evenly while heating.
Egg whites get cooked up partially when you don't mix constantly and evenly. We tend to miss the spot all around the edges, so scrape off often before it gets cooked or dried.
This is the most time-consuming part and the rest is easy. So keep going!
Tip 4: Heat to 160F | 71C.
I know each recipe says different temperatures but this is what I recommend.
We want soft meringue today to make fluffy and stiff buttercream that can hold shapes. When you heat up less, the meringue gets looser. When you heat up more, egg whites can get cooked (we don't want scrambled egg whites). And it makes the meringue grainy and not so smooth.
By heating up to 160F, you also kill salmonella in case it's there. It’s good for food safety as well.
As soon as it reaches 160F, remove it from heat.
And pour it into a mixing bowl. Don’t forget to wipe off the water under the bottom of the bowl so that it does not go in as you pour.
Scrape off all the meringue in there!
📌 Step 2: Whip the heated egg white and sugar.
Tip 5: Start whipping while it’s hot so that it gets whipped well to make a stiff meringue. And continue whipping at high speed until it cools down enough.
You need the high temperature and speed to make this meringue fluffy and stiff. To check the temperature, touch the bottom of your bowl or meringue itself: At the very beginning, it feels very hot. When it changes to comfortably warm, reduce to medium speed. And reduce to low speed when it feels slightly warm.
After it cools down completely, do not keep whipping. The volume starts to go down and get loose eventually if you continue whipping. That's why I like to turn it down to low speed when it feels slightly warm before it completely cools down.
Timing is important, so check more frequently toward the end.
Tip 6: Turn off the mixer as soon as the meringue is at room temperature. And add butter right away.
Touch the bottom of your bowl or meringue itself and check. You should not feel anything: not cold or warm. That’s when you should at butter.
The butter melts in warm meringue and that is a common mistake.
The finished meringue should look stiff but still elastic, smooth, and shiny. When you lift your whisk, the tips will curl up.
If it looks loose at this point, potential reasons why are below:
Follow all the tips I shared above and you should be able to make it successfully!
By the way, today I used a separate bowl to heat egg white and sugar but you can use the bowl of a stand mixer if you are using it. The benefit of it is that you can start whipping right away. The con is it's a bit harder to mix because of the shape of the bowl. It’s harder to scrape off the edge for example. Be more careful not to cook egg white and you can still make beautiful meringue.
Can you make Swiss buttercream with a hand mixer if you don't have a stand mixer? YES! You have to continue whipping with your hands constantly at this stage. And it requires harder work for sure but all the same, tips apply!
In the past, I made a tutorial on Swiss meringue itself. Check it out if you want to learn about it more in-depth and become a master!
And check out this post to learn 5 tips to make the perfect Italian meringue.
📌 Step 3: Add butter and whip until it's even.
Going back, now we add butter. The temperature of the butter is also very important.
Tip 7: Use soft butter at room temperature.
Do not use cold or warm butter. It should not be partially firm or melted. This is the key to getting meringue and butter to blend easily.
When their consistencies and temperatures are the same or close, they blend easily.
When butter is not soft enough, it's harder to blend them easily. And the buttercream gets loose when the butter is partially melted.
I add the butter all at once but you can divide it into two if you like.
Whip at medium speed. You need some speed to let them emulsify.
Tip 8: Clean off all the sides, and bottom, whisk, and spatula on the way to mix evenly.
Cleaning is important to make even smooth buttercream. So I usually do that at least 3 times during this mixing process.
Tip 9: Reduce to low speed and mix for at least one minute or longer. It eliminates some big air bubbles.
No need to whip for a long time here because it contains a lot of meringue in this buttercream and it's already airy. But it is totally up to you and the dessert you are making.
Once you see that they are even, you can stop. Or as an option, reduce to low speed and mix for at least one minute or longer. That can eliminate some big air holes. The speed is very slow. It is almost like just stirring.
As a very last check, clean off the side, flip the bottom and see if it looks smooth.
And that’s all complete!
When it's made successfully, it should be stiff yet fluffy and smooth.
You can add flavors or coloring if you like. I recommend gel or paste food coloring. They color better and won’t affect the consistency much compared to liquid food coloring.
My last tip is about after it’s made.
Tip 10: Control the room temperature to get the most desirable texture you want.
Because it contains butter, it gets softer when the room is warm and harder when it’s chilled.
And control the room temperature to get the desirable texture by the time you serve it. I recommend using it right after it’s made while the condition is the best.
I baked the cupcakes with my chocolate banana cake recipe to frost them on top. It was a heavenly pair! This buttercream is stiff and stable. It’s great for detailed decorations such as buttercream flowers.
💬 If you loved this recipe, please share your feedback on this post! I always love to hear how you enjoyed it at home with your friends and family.
📌 The Printable Recipe
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- 5.3 oz Egg white 4.5-5 eggs
- 7.9 oz Granulated sugar
- 16 oz Unsalted butter 4 US sticks
3 Simple Steps:
- Heat egg white and sugar in a water bath to 160 F | 71 C.5.3 oz Egg white, 7.9 oz Granulated sugar
- Whip the heated egg white and sugar at high speed until it cools down to room temperature.
- Add all the soft butter and whip until they are blended well.16 oz Unsalted butter
- [Preparation] Make sure no oil or liquids are attached to any ingredients and tools you are using. They prevent egg whites from whipping well.
- [Step 1] Do not use boiling water so that egg whites are not getting cooked. The water should not be hotter than simmering water.
- [Step 1] Mix constantly and evenly while heating so that eggs are not cooked partially.
- [Step 1] Heat them to 160 F | 71 C. Heating enough makes a very stiff meringue. The meringue gets looser when you heat it less and can get cooked if you heat it more.
- [Step 2] Start whipping at high speed while it’s hot so that it gets whipped well to make a stiff meringue. Touch the bottom of your bowl and check: When it feels comfortably warm, turn it down to medium speed. And when it feels slightly warm, turn it down to low speed.
- [Step 3] Turn off the mixer when you don't feel anything when you touch the bowl or meringue itself. And add butter right away. The butter melts partially when you add it to the warm meringue. And the meringue starts getting loose if you continue whipping for too long even after it's cooled down.
- [Step 3] Use soft butter at room temperature so that it blends well with the meringue.
- [Step 3] Once it's blended well, clean a bowl, whisk, and spatula and clean them off. and repeat until it gets completely even.
- [Step 3] Reduce to low speed and mix for at least one minute or longer. It eliminates some big air bubbles.
- [After it's made] Control the room temperature to get the most desirable texture you want. The buttercream gets harder while it's chilled and loose when it's warmed.
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