Have you ever had issues with making Swiss buttercream?
If so, you are in the right place!
Today, I'm sharing how to make perfect Swiss buttercream at home: Fluffy, smooth, and stable Swiss meringue buttercream with just 3 ingredients.
🧁 What I love about this Swiss buttercream:
- It's very stable: It can sustain heavy or oversized cakes such as a large birthday or wedding cake.
- It's stiff: The buttercream is ideal for detailed piping works such as piped flowers or fine lines.
- No need to re-whip it: There is no need to re-whip it after storing it in a fridge or thawing it from a freezer.
- It's quick and simple: You can add the butter all at once and still get an amazing result!
- It's not overly sweet: Just enough sugar is added to make stable Swiss meringue buttercream.
- The texture is so smooth: Swiss meringue makes light, fluffy buttercream.
💬 Use it for any baking project, such as macarons, cakes, cupcakes, cookie sand, etc. It'll make them taste exceptionally good!
In this post, you'll learn essential baking tips such as:
- Tips for making stable and stiff Swiss meringue for Swiss buttercream
- How to avoid loose Swiss buttercream
- Determining when to add butter to the meringue
- Common troubleshooting
- How to store it properly
... and so much more!
Let's get started.
📌 Ingredients for Swiss Buttercream
The 3 Simple Ingredients:
You'll only need 3 essential ingredients to make Swiss buttercream: egg white, sugar, and butter.
- Egg white
- Ensure that no yolk, liquids, or dirt is mixed in the egg white to make a fluffy meringue.
- Granulated sugar
- Swiss meringue is made by whipping heated egg whites and sugar in a water bath.
- Unsalted butter
- Use soft butter to make fluffy and smooth buttercream. Leave it at room temperature beforehand.
- (Add any flavor you like!)
💬 I sometimes add salt to it to enhance the flavor of an additional ingredient, like when I make lemon buttercream.
📌 how to make Swiss Buttercream
The 3 simple steps:
- Heat egg white and sugar in a water bath until it reaches 160 F | 71 C.
- Whip the heated egg white and sugar at high speed while it's hot. - Gradually turn it down and stop once it cools completely.
- Add soft butter to the meringue and whip until it's evenly incorporated.
📝 10 Essential Tips
Here are the 10 essential tips for making Swiss meringue buttercream successful:
- Ensure all the ingredients and tools are clean without oils and liquids. (Check if there is no yolk mixed in egg white.)
- Water bath: The water should not touch the bowl directly. Avoid using boiling water to prevent egg whites from getting cooked partially.
- Mix constantly and evenly while heating the egg white and sugar to prevent egg white from getting cooked partially.
- Heat the egg white and sugar to 160 F | 71 C to make a stiff, stable meringue.
- Start whipping the heated egg white and sugar at high speed while it’s hot, and gradually turn it down as it cools:
- Touch the bottom of a bowl or meringue and check: Turn it down to medium speed when it feels comfortably warm.
- Turn it down to low speed when it feels slightly warm.
- Stop whipping the meringue when it's at room temperature. Butter melts when it's added to warm meringue. And the meringue slowly starts losing the volume when it's over-mixed.
- Use soft butter at room temperature so it blends easily.
- Clean the bowl, whisk, and spatula a few times between the mixing process to make an even buttercream.
- [Optional] Whip the buttercream at a lower speed at the end to eliminate some big air holes, especially when you whip it at high speed for some time.
- Control the room temperature to get the desired texture. - The buttercream gets firmer when it's colder and looser when it's warmer.
YES, that's a lot of info!😅 But no worry!!
Let me break them down even deeper with images to better understand each process below!👇🏻
I'm confident you'll feel ready to make Swiss buttercream after reading it.
📝 Detailed Steps with Images
Tip 1: All the ingredients and tools are clean without oils and liquids.
Enemies of fluffy meringue
Oil, liquids, or chemicals, such as soaps - They all prevent the egg white from getting whipped well to make stiff meringue.
Egg yolks contain oil, so separate them carefully.
The loose meringue leads to loose buttercream. Ensure all the tools and ingredients are dried and clean!
First, add egg whites and sugar to a bowl. And mix them with a whisk until it looks even:
Tip 2: Do not use boiling water for a water bath. It also should not touch the bowl directly.
Use a water bath for Swiss meringue to heat egg white gently and avoid it from getting cooked.
Simmering water is ideal even though the meringue might not get cooked with boiling water if you constantly mix while heating.
We want to avoid any chance of cooked meringue, so I wanted to include this in one of the tips!
💬 Also, ensure that the bowl is not touching the hot water directly so eggs are not getting cooked with extreme heat.
Tip 3: Mix constantly and evenly while heating egg white and sugar.
Egg whites can get cooked partially when you don't mix constantly and evenly.
👩🏻🍳 We tend to miss the spot around the edges. - Scrape off the egg white often before it gets cooked or dried.
This is the most time-consuming part, and the rest is easy. Keep going!
Tip 4: Heat the egg white and sugar to 160 F | 71 C.
Heating Swiss meringue to 160 F | 71 C
This is very important!
By heating egg white to 160 F | 71 C, you can create a very stiff and stable Swiss meringue that does not collapse easily.
You can also kill salmonella in case it's there by heating it to the temperature. It’s best for food safety as well.
When you heat less, the meringue gets looser and less stable. (which leads to a looser, less stable buttercream)
And when you heat too much, egg whites can get cooked. (which leads to a not-smooth, grainy buttercream)
You might see different temperatures on different recipes, but I recommend the temperature for those reasons.
Immediately remove it from heat as soon as it reaches 160 F.
Pour it into a mixing bowl.
Scrape off all the meringue in there!
💬 Don’t forget to wipe off the water under the bottom of the bowl so it does not go in as you pour.
Tip 5: Start whipping at high speed while it’s hot, and gradually turn it down as it cools.
💡 Egg white whips A LOT more when the temperature is higher. Once it reaches 160 F | 71 C, don't wait; start whipping immediately!
How to whip Swiss meringue:
Turn down the speed as it cools down.
Touch the bowl and check:
- In the beginning, it feels hot. Continue whipping it at high speed.
- We need to whip it at high speed initially to make fluffy meringue.
- Turn it down to medium heat once it feels comfortably warm.
- Turn it down to low to medium-low speed when it feels slightly warm.
- Stop right away when it doesn't feel anything.
Tip 6: Turn off the mixer when the meringue is at room temperature. Add butter right away.
💬 The meringue eventually starts getting loose if you continue whipping after it cools down. - Turn it down to low speed when it feels slightly warm to avoid over-mixing.
Touch the bottom of your bowl or meringue and check:
You should not feel anything: it's not cold or warm. And that’s when you should add butter.
⚠️ The butter melts when you add it to warm meringue!
The finished meringue should look stiff but still elastic, smooth, and shiny:
When you lift your whisk, the tips will curl up.
The causes of loose Swiss Buttercream
Check the possible causes below if it looks loose at this point:
Making Swiss buttercream with a hand mixer
You can make Swiss buttercream with a hand mixer if you don't have a stand mixer. You'll need to constantly whip the meringue with your hands, which requires more work, but all the same tips apply.
💬 By the way, today I used a separate bowl to heat egg whites and sugar, but you can also use the bowl of a stand mixer.
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.
Tip 7: Use soft butter at room temperature.
Going back, now we add butter.
The butter's consistency (and the temperature) is the key to blending meringue and butter beautifully.
Do not use cold or warm butter.
- When using cold butter: Cold butter leaves pieces of butter in the buttercream, and the meringue can lose some volume by forcing it to blend with the solid butter.
- When using partially melted butter: The buttercream gets looser.
💬 Scrape off the butter attached to the paper to get an accurate result!
You can add all the butter at once.
💬 Whip at medium speed. - Some speed is needed to let them blend well.
Tip 8: Clean the bowl, whisk, and spatula on the way to mix evenly.
Cleaning is essential to make an even and smooth buttercream.
I usually do that at least a few times during this mixing process.
Tip 9: Reduce to lower speed and mix for at least one minute or longer.
As an option, reduce to low speed at the end and mix for at least one minute or longer, especially when it's whipped at medium to high speed for some time.
That can eliminate some big air holes.
How much should we whip the buttercream?
It's your choice, but you don't have to whip a lot here because the buttercream is already fluffy, thanks to the meringue.
Whip it longer if you want to make it a little more airy.
As a last check, flip the bottom of a bowl with a spatula and see if I didn't miss any butter or meringue:
And the buttercream is all complete!
Adding flavors or food colorings
You can add flavors or coloring with butter or at the very end.
I recommend gel or paste food coloring. They color better and won’t affect the consistency much compared to liquid food coloring.
Tip 10: Control the room temperature to get the desired texture.
My last tip is about after it’s made.
Any buttercream gets softer when the room is warm and firmer when it’s chilled due to the butter inside.
I recommend using it immediately or leaving it at room temperature for some time after chilling it in the fridge to enjoy a fluffy and creamy texture.
This time, I baked the cupcakes with my chocolate banana cake recipe to frost them on top. 🧁
📌 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 is made by heating egg whites and sugar in a water bath and then whipping it.
Some people call it Swiss meringue buttercream, but they are the same thing.
📌 How to store Swiss buttercream
One batch of the buttercream fills a 1 32-oz container.
Store the buttercream in an air-tight container.
I also like to wrap it sometimes because I can cut the edge and pipe right away.
You can store it 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. But I recommend storing it in the fridge if the room is not nice and cool.
How to thaw it:
This one was chilled in a fridge:
On average, it takes a few hours to make it soft again. But that can fluctuate depending on the room temperature and the amount of buttercream.
And this one was frozen:
It usually takes 5 - 7 hours to soften at room temperature.
No need to re-whip the buttercream after thawing it; you can use it immediately! It should stay nice and fluffy.
📌 My golden ratio for Swiss buttercream
Lastly, I'd like to share my formula to make the stable, fluffy, and not-too-sweet Swiss buttercream.
Egg white : Sugar : Butter = 1 : 1.5 : 3
I sometimes change the amount slightly, but I try not to go off too much.
💬 Remember the ratios and all the tips I shared in this post. And you can make perfect Swiss buttercream anywhere you go! 💪🏻
📌 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 overnight, but I do not recommend leaving it more than that. Ensure your room is not warm so 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 other ingredients to them, but they are the main components!
📌 Common Troubleshooting
There are some possible causes 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.
The most common causes are:
1. Meringue: See if it's grainy due to the cooked meringue. To avoid this, mix constantly and evenly while heating it, and try not to overcook it.
2. Butter: It also could be because your butter was too cold. Cold butter doesn't blend well in the meringue. Ensure it is soft before adding it (about the same consistency as the meringue.)
📌 VIDEO: Watch How To Make It!
To learn how to make Swiss buttercream visually and have a deeper understanding of all, watch this video!
Don't forget to subscribe if you liked it 😉
📌 Printable Recipe
💬 If you loved this recipe, please share your feedback on this post! I always love hearing how you enjoyed it with your friends and family.
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- 5.3 oz Egg white From about 5 eggs
- 7.9 oz Granulated sugar 1 ⅛ US cups
- 16 oz Unsalted butter 4 US sticks
- Heat egg white and sugar in a water bath while mixing constantly until it reaches 160 F | 71 C.5.3 oz Egg white, 7.9 oz Granulated sugar
- Whip the heated egg white and sugar at high speed:* Touch the bowl and check: Initially, it should feel hot. Continue whipping at high speed. * Turn it down to medium speed when it feels comfortably warm. * Turn it down to low or medium-low speed when slightly warm.* And turn it off when it doesn't feel anything.
- Add soft butter and whip.Scrape off the bowl with a spatula a few times to ensure it's incorporated evenly.16 oz Unsalted butter
- [Preparation] Make sure no oil or liquids are attached to any ingredients and tools you use. They prevent egg whites from whipping well.
- [At step 1] The water should not be hotter than simmering water so that egg whites are not getting cooked. Also ensure that the hot water is not directly touching the bowl.
- [At step 1] Mix constantly and evenly while heating so that eggs are not cooked partially.
- [At 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 overheat it.
- [At step 2] Start whipping at high speed while it’s hot so that it whips 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.
- [At step 3] Touch the bowl or meringue and check: Turn off the mixer when you don't feel anything. 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 after it's cooled down.
- [At step 3] Use soft butter so it blends well with the meringue.
- [At step 3] Clean a bowl, whisk, and spatula a few times on the way to make an even buttercream
- [At step 3] In case you see big air holes, reduce the speed to low speed and mix for at least one minute or longer. - It'll eliminate some large air bubbles.
- [After it's made] The buttercream gets harder when it's colder and looser when it's warmer. Control the room temperature for the desired texture.
How to store it:Store in air-tight containers for up to 5 days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. ** For best results, measure ingredients with a scale. All recipes are designed with weighed ingredients using grams/ounces. Cup measurements are provided for your convenience. **
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