Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Yield: enough frosting for 2-layer cake or 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Tessa's Recipe Rundown...
Taste: Tons of rich chocolate flavor with just the perfect amount of sweetness! If you find regular buttercream too sweet, you’ll adore this recipe.
Texture: Outrageously smooth, creamy, and fudgy yet light.
Ease: This is definitely more advanced than regular American buttercream, but I’ve loaded tons of tips, pictures, and a how-to video into this post so you have everything you need to make this recipe with success.
Pros: Possibly the best buttercream ever!
Cons: A little more time consuming and messy than American buttercream.
Would I make this again? YES.
Not only does this buttercream icing taste absolutely incredible, it’s also super easy to work with. It makes frosting a cake a breeze! Seriously, it’s so light and creamy you don’t even need a crumb coat. It also pipes onto cupcakes beautifully.
It’s a little too smooth for really intricate designs, but I prefer simple cakes and cupcakes anyways. Let’s get right into the nitty gritty because I have a LOT to share to ensure your SMBC is perfection every time.
How to Make Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream VIDEO:
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Tips
There are step-by-step photos down below as well, but these tips are super helpful to read before you make your own SMBC!
1. Use a thermometer
The first step in making Swiss Meringue Buttercream is to cook egg whites + sugar over a double boiler. You can cook the egg whites either in the metal bowl of your stand mixer over a saucepan of simmering water, or if your bowl doesn’t fit without touching the water you can use a standard double boiler.
We want to make sure we cook it to the correct temperature the frosting comes together properly and so we make cook the eggs enough so they’re safe to consume. You can use either a candy thermometer that clips onto the side of the bowl, or an instant read thermometer. You’re looking for the sugar to dissolve completely and for the mixture to become slightly thickened and foamy. Don’t step away while this is cooking! You want to whisk the entire time so it doesn’t stick to the pan. I find a flat whisk works best for this.
2. Don’t freak if it looks curdled!
99% of the time, if your buttercream looks runny or curdled as you’re whipping it in the stand mixer it CAN be saved. Just keep beating away until it becomes smooth! This forces the fat to emulsify completely. If it still doesn’t come together, your butter may be too warm. Try refrigerating the bowl for 10 to 15 minutes then continue beating until smooth.
3. Use high quality ingredients
This particular recipe relies heavily on the quality of both the chocolate and the butter. There’s a LOT of butter here. Use high quality chocolate and fresh high quality unsalted butter for best results.
After you’ve cooked your egg whites, beat them with the whisk attachment until they’ve cooled off slightly and are thickened in consistency. Now we start adding in the butter!
Add pieces of cool room temperature butter, one chunk at a time.
Again, if your mixture becomes curdled, soupy, or otherwise gross looking – don’t worry!!
Just keep beating until it becomes smooth:
It may take several minutes. If you can’t get to this point, try refrigerating the bowl for 10 to 15 minutes then continue to beat until smooth.
If you still can’t get it to smooth out, then the egg whites may have been overcooked or your ingredients mis-measured. I always recommend using a kitchen scale when you bake!
Next up, add in the melted and cooled chocolate! It may seem like a lot of chocolate, but believe me the final result will be perfectly rich, creamy, and fudgy. I definitely prefer semisweet chocolate in this recipe, but feel free to use milk or bittersweet.
Voila! If you’ve never had chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream you are in for a REAL treat. There’s seriously no frosting out there that’s as smooth and creamy with just the perfect amount of sweetness. Even people who don’t usually like frosting LOVE this stuff.
More Frosting Recipes:
- How to Make the Best [American] Buttercream
- The Best Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 Secrets for Perfect Buttercream
My Favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream Tools:
This post contains affiliate links. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Ultra smooth, creamy, and perfectly sweet, this Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream is quite possibly the BEST frosting you'll ever taste!
- 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and at room temperature
- 12 ounces (340 grams) semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with 1-inch of gently simmering water. Whisking gently and constantly, heat mixture until sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened and foamy and registers 150°F on a candy thermometer or a digital thermometer, about 3 minutes.
Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat the egg white mixture on medium speed until slightly cooled and thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. If the mixture looks curdled, that’s okay. Just keep beating until it becomes smooth. If the butter becomes too warm and greasy, refrigerate the bowl for 10 to 15 minutes then continue to beat until smooth.
Add chocolate and vanilla and mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Frosting can be made 1 day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm frosting in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and stir until creamy again before frosting cake.
Frosting can also be transferred to a ziptop bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight then rewhip in the stand mixer until light and smooth.
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