Swiss Buttercream

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Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
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Yield: 5 cups

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Swiss Buttercream is the quickest way to a silky buttercream frosting that both spreads beautifully, and pipes well. You can flavor it with any extract you choose; or see the tips below for flavor ideas.

Swiss Buttercream

star rating (8) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Total time:
Yield: 5 cups
Published: 10/01/2012


  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 large) egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Tips from our bakers

  • The most basic flavor for this frosting is vanilla. But you can change it in all kinds of ways.

    *For coconut, add 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring and 1/2 cup coconut milk powder.

    *For chocolate, reserve 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of the butter from the recipe. Melt 1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate and cool to room temperature. Combine the melted chocolate and the butter until mixed, then add this mixture to the frosting.

    *For raspberry, add 2 tablespoons raspberry purée, or simply mix a half pint of fresh raspberries into the finished frosting.

    *For lemon (or orange), add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon (or orange) zest and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon (or orange) juice. You can also add 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice powder to the egg whites before beating.


1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt.

2) Place over a saucepan of simmering water (you should just barely see some lazy bubbles coming up), and whisk constantly until the mixture measures 161°F (71.7°C) on an instant-read thermometer.

3) Attach the bowl to your mixer and beat the meringue with the whisk attachment until it's stiff.

4) Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, with the mixer running. Let each blob of butter get completely mixed in before adding the next.

5) Once half the butter is in the bowl, stop and scrape the sides and bottom to make sure all the meringue is getting incorporated. Then finish adding the rest of the butter.

6) Beat in the flavoring of your choice.

7) If the frosting seems soft, chill for 15 minutes before using.

8) Store for up to 6 months in the freezer, or up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Yield: 5 cups frosting.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 41g Servings Per Batch: 20 servings Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214 Calories from Fat: 163 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 49mg Sodium: 27mg Total Carbohydrate: 12g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 12g Protein: 1g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.


  • star rating 01/04/2015
  • Dawn from Virginia
  • The directions for this were fine, though a picture of "stiff" would have been helpful. However, there is way too much butter in this recipe. All you can taste is the butter. KAF is my go to start place for a new type of recipe; this is the first one that has really disappointed me.
  • star rating 07/19/2014
  • Sarah d from KAF Community
  • this was my first time making this icing, and maybe I should give it another go, but it didn't live up to my expectations (although those may have been high...) It came together pretty well, despite my wire whisk coming apart halfway through the recipe. I loved the smooth silky texture, and it really isn't very sweet at all. It wasn't quite firm enough to spread on my cake, so I chilled it for about 20 minutes before doing my crumb coat. I am looking for an icing that I can color, and apparently this is not the one i need: when I added coloring, the consistency changed completely! It now looks like it started to separate, and mixing does not bring it back together. It made the icing very thin (watery). I was able to coat the cake (it's not for anything special, just practice, so I figured I would see what happened with it) but the icing is weeping colored drops of liquid. I put it in the fridge again to try to firm it up, but I think I need to find a better option for the future. any suggestions? (Italian buttercream looks nice, but I'm a little intimidated by it, and after this experience I'm wondering if that would work with color either, or should I just stick with american buttercream?)
    The buttercream should be able to accommodate a few drops of food coloring. You might try chilling the buttercream, and then re-whipping it in your mixer.~Jaydl@KAF
  • star rating 03/17/2014
  • Martye from Wa
  • Turned out great. I used this instead of the Italian buttercream frosting called for in the Irish Cream Cupcakes.
  • star rating 05/13/2013
  • Brittany from Asheville NC
  • I have to be honest, you really have to LOVE butter to love this recipe. I don't know if I didn't do something right, but the sugar didn't dissolve completely at the temperature specified so the icing was grainy. The flavor was ok, very buttery. I've done this recipe twice. 1st time I let my iced cup cakes stay out for less than 1 hour and the icing was melting. 2nd time I iced my cupcakes and put them in the fridge and the icing was solid like butter when I took them out. After reading the comments before me I wonder what happened to mine.
    Give the hotline a call, we'll be happy to help troubleshoot.
  • star rating 03/17/2013
  • Alicia from Jenkinsburg, GA
  • This is my go-to buttercream for just about everything that needs buttercream! I was nervous my first time but after my first review (from a crowd of parents), I ditched the supermarket canned frosting and relied solely upon KAF's recipe. I don't really like buttercreams made with confectioner's sugar; I think they are way too sweet. I have severe arthritis and this buttercream is a JOY to make, frost a cake with, and a breeze to, the piped decorations retain their shape(s). A true buttercream never has confectioner's sugar and this buttercream definitely deserves the name. My cakes/cupcakes definitely wear this buttercream with pride. I can only thank KAF for directing me to a product that is easy to pipe.
  • star rating 10/28/2012
  • Camcgu from KAF Community
  • I was nervous about this frosting and considered not using it because it tasted really sweet during my taste test. Nonetheless, I couldn't bring myself to toss out a pound of butter! So, onto the red velvet cake it went and anxiously off to the birthday party. A few hours later the cake was doled out and the frosting was hands down the best frosting I, (and all of the people there!), had ever had. Light, not too sweet, delightfully buttery! Thank you King Arthur!
  • 10/16/2012
  • Peggy from Ohio
  • Have not made the recipe ~ it sounds yummy ~ BUT ~ four sticks butter???
    It's true - Buttercream is Butter! It's a good thing we eat it in small amounts, not bowls full with a soup spoon! Happy Baking! Irene@ KAF
  • star rating 10/13/2012
  • joanelisabeth from KAF Community
  • WOW ! Easy to make and so delicious. I had to try it right away on a cake just made. I kept licking the leftover bits on spoon and beaters.

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