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Possibly one of the most perfect frostings imaginable.

This isn’t a confectioners’ sugar icing, it starts with a Swiss meringue (a cooked meringue made by heating the sugar and egg whites before whipping). Pure, sweet, unsalted butter is mixed into the fluffy white meringue creating a melt-in-your-mouth texture with a taste that isn’t overly sweet.

It pipes and spreads like a dream and colors like a charm. Keep this basic recipe handy. Very handy.


5 from 2 votes
Meringue Buttercream
Work Time
20 mins
Cook Time
4 mins
Total Time
24 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Yield: 5 cups
Calories: 859 kcal
  • 5 large egg whites
  • cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter softened
  1. Meringue Buttercream
  2. Makes about 5 cups
  3. 1. Whisk together 5 large egg whites and 1 ¼ cups sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer over a pan of simmering water until sugar has dissolved, about 5 min. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers--you shouldn't feel any sugar crystals.

  4. 2. Transfer bowl to the mixer stand with the whisk attachment and beat on high until mixture cools and stiff peaks form, 10 to 12 min.
  5. 3. Reduce speed to medium-high and add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 4 sticks unsalted, softened butter a little at a time. (Buttercream may curdle but will become smooth as you continue to beat it.)
  6. 4. Use within a few hours or refrigerate up to a week. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat on low until smooth.
Nutrition Facts
Meringue Buttercream
Amount Per Serving
Calories 859 Calories from Fat 657
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 73g 112%
Saturated Fat 46g 230%
Cholesterol 194mg 65%
Sodium 60mg 3%
Potassium 70mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 50g 17%
Sugars 50g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 45.2%
Calcium 2.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe adapted by Tara Bench

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