Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (2024)

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting! No need to cook sugar and eggs for this creamy, thick and irresistible frosting. It whips up like magic before your eyes, thanks to a secret ingredient!

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (1)

Perfect for piping tall on cupcakes, sandwiching between chocolate chip cookies or decorating your favorite vegan cake, this Vegan Swiss Meringue Frosting will be your new go-to frosting.

It’s unbelievably fluffy, smooth and wonderfully sweet. If you have ever attempted to make swiss meringue frosting with eggs and sugar, you might remember it’s quite a difficult process. Well, rejoice! My vegan version is not only free of animal products, but it’s super easy to make!

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (2)

How do you make it?

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

  1. Add the vegan butter to a large bowl of a stand mixer (or you can use a hand mixer.) The butter should be barely softened to room temperature, but not at all melted. I like Country Crock brand best for frosting, but Earth Balance, Melt and other brands work as well.
  2. Beat until smooth, then slowly add in the powdered sugar until mixed in.
  3. Add the aquafaba (literally the liquid from a can of chickpeas!) and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Do not cut this time short, it needs that long to fluff up!
  4. When it’s done, it will be thick and perfectly pipeable. If it’s too thin, add a little additional powdered sugar until it thickens up.
Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (3)

How to use aquafaba?

If you haven’t heard of aquafaba before, it will blow your mind! It’s just the liquid from a can of chickpeas, and it works similar to egg whites. It can be whisked and added to cakes, or turned into whipped cream. You can make lemon meringue pie or meringue cookies, even marshmallows!

For this frosting, it works like magic to fluff up the frosting and make it thick and creamy. Don’t worry, you can’t taste even a hint of beans!

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (4)

Can I make it sugar free?

I haven’t tried it myself, but if you need a sugar free frosting, try a powdered sugar alternative. Lakanto has a monk fruit sweetened sugar, as does Swerve and several other brands.

But you definitely need some sort of powdered sugar for it to work. Granulated or liquid sweeteners will not work here.

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (5)

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

For a chocolate version, add 4 ounces of melted and cooled vegan chocolate, when you add the aquafaba and vanilla. Yum!

Other flavor variations

Try adding a teaspoon of peppermint extract for a minty frosting, to go with Vegan Peppermint Mocha Cake.

Or add some freeze dried strawberries for strawberry frosting to go with Vegan Strawberry Cake.

You can add lemon extract and lemon zest for lemon frosting. Or coconut extract for coconut! The possibilities are endless.

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (6)

What recipes go with swiss meringue frosting?

  • Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Vegan Funfetti Cake
  • Vegan Chocolate Cake
  • Vegan Ginger Cookies (make cookie sandwiches!)
  • Vegan Carrot Cake
  • Vegan Boston Cream Donuts (pipe in the frosting instead of custard)

Recipe inspired by Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery.

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (7)

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting! No need to cook sugar and eggs for this creamy, thick and irresistible frosting. It whips up like magic before your eyes, thanks to a secret ingredient!

Prep: 10 minutes mins

Total: 10 minutes mins

Servings: 12 servings



  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter, slightly softened to room temperature*
  • 2 cups powdered sugar + more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • Optional: vegan friendly food coloring, if desired


  • Add the vegan butter to a large bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or you can use an electric hand mixer.) Beat the butter until creamy and smooth.

  • Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time so it doesn't jump out of the bowl, until all the powdered sugar is mixed in.

  • Now add the vanilla and aquafaba to the bowl, and beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Don't cut the time short, it really does take that long to get perfectly creamy and silky smooth. If after 5 minutes the frosting is not thick enough, add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until the frosting is thick, fluffy and creamy.

  • If adding color, mix in just a few drops of vegan friendly gel food coloring, or more until you have your desired color.

  • Use Swiss Meringue Buttercream to frost cupcakes, cakes or in between cookies. The recipe makes enough for about 12 cupcakes or a double layer cake.


  1. Vegan butter: Don’t let your butter get too soft or at all melted, or the frosting will be too soft for piping. It should be just barely softened. If you leave the stick at room temperature for 20 minutes or so, that will be perfect. Vegan butter tends to be softer and less stable than dairy butter. I like Country Crock brand best for frosting, but Earth Balance and Melt both work great for me as well.

  2. Sugar free: To make a sugar free frosting, use a sugar free powdered sugar. Lakanto has a monk fruit sweetened powdered sugar, and there is also Swerve and other brands.

  3. You don’t need to first whip the aquafaba. Literally drain a can of chickpeas and use 4 tablespoons of the liquid. It fluffs up as it mixes.

  4. Chocolate version: Add 4 ounces vegan chocolate, melted and cooled, when you add the vanilla and aquafaba.


Serving: 1of 12 servings | Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 3mg | Sugar: 20g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Author: Nora Taylor

Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Posted In: Dessert, Gluten Free, Method, Nut Free, Special Dietary Needs

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Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (2024)


Can I use dairy free butter in Swiss meringue buttercream? ›

For best results, use Miyokos vegan butter in this recipe. Our test kitchen found that it had a fluffier texture and also held up better during piping than other brands. The classic flavor for this frosting is vanilla: add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste, to taste.

What are the disadvantages of Swiss meringue buttercream? ›

Cons: Requires some time and patience, as well as a double boiler and candy thermometer, which can be intimidating. SMBC will soften quickly in warmer conditions. Learn how to make and decorate with Swiss meringue buttercream like a pro in the FREE Bluprint mini-class Modern Buttercream.

Is buttercream frosting the same as Swiss meringue buttercream? ›

American buttercream is sweeter than Swiss or Italian. It forms a “crust” when exposed to air – perfect for paining and piping on. Swiss Meringue buttercream is silky smooth and light. It's perfect if you're looking for a slightly less sweet buttercream.

Why is my butter not incorporating into Swiss meringue buttercream? ›

Temperature: If the butter is too cold, it won't incorporate well with the meringue, resulting in curdling. On the other hand, if the butter is too warm, it can cause the buttercream to become too runny. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, around 68-72°F (20-22°C), before adding it to the meringue.

Why won t my Swiss meringue buttercream whip up? ›

This happens when you're butter is too cold. It can also happen to chilled SMBC that has not fully been brought to room temp before mixing. Again the butter is too cold to whip together with the meringue and they separate.

Which dairy free butter is best for buttercream? ›

Two good options for this recipe would be Earth Balance sticks and Country Crock Plant Butter (my personal preference). If you have another butter that's at least 79-80% oil/fat though, it should be fine.

Why does my Swiss meringue buttercream taste weird? ›

Maybe the meringue whipped too long, cooling to well below 75°F (24°C). Maybe the butter came straight from the fridge. Maybe your buttercream was even frozen in advance, but didn't fully thaw. Doesn't matter why—if your Swiss meringue buttercream looks dense and greasy (or even tastes that way), it's simply too cold.

Which buttercream do most bakeries use? ›

Swiss meringue buttercream is probably the most standard buttercream for pastry professionals. It is incredibly smooth, making it an extremely popular choice for icing cakes.

Does Swiss meringue buttercream firm up in the fridge? ›

If you are uncomfortable with that, feel free to pop your frosted cake in the fridge. The buttercream will get super firm in the fridge (after all, it is mostly butter). I like to wait until the buttercream has firmed, remove it from the refrigerator, wrap it in plastic, and then put it back.

Is Swiss meringue buttercream too buttery? ›

– SMBC does taste more buttery than American buttercream, but it shouldn't taste like you're eating butter! Firstly, check the quantities you have used carefully. Secondly, make sure you're whipping your SMBC long enough after adding in the butter.

What is the advantage of Swiss meringue buttercream? ›

Swiss meringue buttercream is a favorite among many cake decorators because of its smooth finish on the outside cakes and its ability to hold piping detail. If I'm not using one of my custom Sugarologie frostings, this is my favorite for cake decorating.

Why does Swiss meringue buttercream crack? ›

That means the butter in your Swiss meringue buttercream is too warm. Now you've likely formed a stable emulsion because it looks hom*ogenous and not split. The problem here is that the fat based ingredient (butter) is liquid. In baking and cooking we can use butter in both its states: liquid and solid.

What happens if you add butter too early to Swiss meringue buttercream? ›

Why is my Swiss Meringue Buttercream Soupy? This is usually due to the mixture being too warm or adding the butter before the meringue has fully cooled down. Thankfully, it is easy to fix. Refrigerate the bowl for 15-20 minutes then continue mixing until the frosting thickens.

Can you over beat Swiss meringue buttercream? ›

Yes. Swiss meringue buttercream can be whipped for too long. This usually happens when the mixture becomes too cool, and it will start to look curdled and greasy. To fix this, simply place the bowl of buttercream over a pot of simmering water for a few seconds at a time, mixing constantly.

Why does my Swiss meringue buttercream look like cottage cheese? ›

If the buttercream splits and looks curdled, like cottage cheese, it means the mixture didn't emulsify because the temperature of the butter was either too cold or the meringue was still too warm. There's a few different ways to fix this: Remove a few spoonfuls of the buttercream and place it in a heat safe bowl.

What can I substitute for butter in buttercream frosting? ›

  • MARGARINE. Margarine is a fat that is made mostly from vegetable oil that's flavored to taste like butter. ...
  • SHORTENING. Shortening is 100% fat, made from hydrogenated vegetable oils. ...
  • COCONUT OIL. ...

What can I substitute for milk in buttercream frosting? ›

Milk in most recipes hydrates the dry ingredients and adds flavor, and there are plenty of substitutes that can do just that without compromising the final result.
  • Half and half. ...
  • Heavy cream. ...
  • Nondairy milks, like soy and almond. ...
  • Sour cream. ...
  • Yogurt. ...
  • Evaporated milk. ...
  • Canned coconut milk. ...
  • Water.
Dec 3, 2021

Why does my Swiss meringue buttercream taste so buttery? ›

But the buttercream should be light and fluffy, not thick and greasy. If yours tastes like you're eating a stick of butter, perhaps your meringue wasn't whipped to stiff peaks before adding butter, or the butter was too cold, in which case it just needs some more whipping. Or you added too much butter.

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