Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe
This silky, smooth frosting and filling is one of our absolute favorites. It starts as a vanilla-based frosting, and can be jazzed up with chocolate, peanut butter, spices, nutella, caramel... and the list goes on. But before we get to those jazzy recipes, it's important to start with the basics - the most creamy and delicious Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream ever. Now don't get us wrong, not everyone will love this frosting... it's not made with powdered sugar so it doesn't have that sweet taste like American buttercream. But we definitely think you should try it for yourself!
Before You Get Started Making Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Measure/Weigh all the ingredients
Bring an inch or two of water in a heavy saucepan to a simmer
It's very important to wipe down your heatproof bowl, whisk attachment, and whisk with lemon juice or vinegar to get rid of any grease residue. Grease will deflate your meringue
Take out your butter and cut it into pieces. Let it come to room temp
Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream Ingredients & Amounts (Yields ~8 cups)
10 (300g) egg whites - room temperature
2 cups + 2 tbsp (424g) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 & 1/2 cups (568g) unsalted butter - room temperature
4 tbsp (60g) vanilla bean paste - see notes below for variations
Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream Step-By-Step Directions
1) Put an inch or two of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
2) Place egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heatproof bowl (we like to use our stand mixer bowl), and place on the saucepan with the simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water.
3) Whisk egg whites slowly but constantly so the egg whites heat up but don't cook (if you do end up with scrambled egg whites, just discard and start again).
4) Whisk until a thermometer reads 160 degrees (F).
5) When the egg whites reach 160 degrees (F), take the bowl off the saucepan (be careful bowl is hot), wipe the condensation off of the bottom of the bowl, and place on stand mixer with whisk attachment.
6) Start turning your mixer up slowly to #8 (high speed), leaving it there until you see all the steam escape. Once you don't see any more steam, turn up mixer to #10 (highest speed).
7) Let this mix for about 10 minutes. Your egg whites should be mixing up nicely at this point and the outside of the bowl should start to cool down (If after ten minutes your bowl is still warm, keep mixing, your bowl should feel about room temperature).
8) Once your egg whites are thick and glossy, and the outside of the bowl has cooled down, switch to the paddle attachment, turn down your mixer to stir, and put in your butter. You can put the butter in by chunks or by pieces, whatever you prefer, just make sure the butter is room temp, or only slightly chilled.
9) Your meringue will go through many stages: soupy, curdled, and then miraculously silky and beautiful. Don't panic if you're watching the frosting and it looks like it wont come together, it simply takes time (~10 min).
10) Once it's silky and smooth, add the vanilla bean paste and stir until combined. Voila! You did it. If you're frosting a cake, check out this free online frosting tutorial from Craftsy for some tips.
Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream Sweet Notes
When making Swiss Meringue Frosting, use a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl. A plastic bowl stores built up grease, resulting in un-whipped egg whites
When you're separating the whites from the yolk, avoid getting even a bit of yolk in your egg whites, as this will deflate the meringue. Feel free to use pasteurized egg whites from the carton as well, remembering to also let them come to room temperature
If you don't have vanilla bean paste, you can use 4 tbsp of vanilla extract. You can even do a variety of vanillas. Example: 3 tbsp of vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of vanilla bean paste, 2 vanilla beans with 2 tbsp of vanilla extract. All you have to remember is 1 tbsp of vanilla extract = 1 tbsp of vanilla bean paste = 1 vanilla bean. We love using vanilla bean paste because of the flavor and the nice bean speckles it gives. Our favorite vanilla bean paste is Nielsen Massey
You can store swiss meringue buttercream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for about 2 months. Don't forget to label and date it. Take it out to come to room temperature and then re-whip the frosting for a few minutes before using. Personally, we like to use the buttercream right after making it because the consistency is nice and smooth, but it's nice to know you can store it if you need too
Recipe adapted from Three Little Blackbirds