Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe By Tessa Arias
August 24th, 2018
4.5 from 22 votes
4.5 from 22 votes

Ultra smooth, creamy, and perfectly sweet, this Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream is quite possibly the BEST frosting you'll ever taste! Step by step photos AND how-to video below!  Download my free Buttercream guide here!

Yield: 1 recipe is enough frosting for a 2-layer cake or 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook: 5 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.

Today we’re making quite possibly the BEST frosting you’ve ever tasted. It requires a little extra work, but I’ve laid out all my best tips and tricks below so you can make perfect Swiss meringue buttercream.

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.

Ultra smooth, creamy, and perfectly sweet, this Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream is quite possibly the BEST frosting you'll ever taste! Step by step photos AND how-to video included!

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.
How to make Swiss meringue buttercream

Again, if your mixture becomes curdled, soupy, or otherwise gross looking – don’t worry!!

How to save Swiss Meringue Buttercream when it curdles

Just keep beating until it becomes smooth:

How to make the creamiest smoothest icing ever!

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!

Ultra smooth, creamy, and perfectly sweet, this Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream is quite possibly the BEST frosting you'll ever taste! Step by step photos AND how-to video included!

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.

Ultra smooth, creamy, and perfectly sweet, this Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream is quite possibly the BEST frosting you'll ever taste! Step by step photos AND how-to video included!

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:

My Favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream Tools:

This post contains affiliate links. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

4.5 from 22 votes

How to make
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Yield: 1 recipe is enough frosting for a 2-layer cake or 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Ultra smooth, creamy, and perfectly sweet, this Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream is quite possibly the BEST frosting you'll ever taste! Step by step photos AND how-to video below!  Download my free Buttercream guide here!


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Make Ahead:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Linda Card — November 17, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Some temps would be helpful – like for melted semisweet chocolate – what is temp of “cooled slightly” ?

  2. #
    Wendy Hacault — November 30, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Hi, your Swiss chocolate buttercream looks divine! I’ll be trying it today. Thanks for the recipe x

  3. #
    Mrs. P² — December 5, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    This recipe sounds awesome, and I’ll definitely be using it next month, but I’ve tried SMBC several times, and my egg/sugar mixture has always taken at least eight to ten minutes of beating to cool before adding the butter. Looking forward to trying this!

  4. #
    Sue Hicks — February 1, 2019 at 4:05 am

    I have just made you Swiss choc meringue cream it’s fabuous would I make vanillawith rhe same Ingredients but without the choc please

  5. #
    Jennifer Smyser — February 14, 2019 at 8:09 am

    My new favorite! So silky and not too sweet. This was my first time making Swiss Meringue and it turned out great. It did curdle, but I followed your instructions and it came out perfect. Thank you for sharing your talents. I enjoy trying your recipes and watching your videos. They are very helpful.

  6. #
    Wendy Aguayo — February 16, 2019 at 9:47 am

    I accidentally put too much chocolate and it is pretty funny. What can I do to fix it?

  7. #
    Jessica — April 27, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Hi there! So glad to have come across your page! Reading and learning a lot but I tried making Swiss meringue Chocolate Buttercream and it was certainly a fail. I made soup! I was sure to have the bowl clean, and the butter wasn’t…melty. It was pliable and didn’t squish when pressed. I made sure the egg whites and sugar was cool (touched the side) and the chocolate wasn’t hot. Where did I go wrong?!

  8. #
    Eesha — April 29, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    Hi! I tried this recipe recently and followed the recipe exactly. The texture was perfect, very silky and smooth. But it tasted very buttery. I used room temperature butter so it whisked into the meringue very nicely but the end result just tasted like butter. What can I do next time to make sure it doesnt just taste like sweetened butter? Thanks!

    • #
      Tessa — April 30, 2019 at 8:19 am

      Since buttercream is essentially sweetened butter, I’m not sure that can be changed 😉 Perhaps try a different brand of butter?

  9. #
    Diana Taylor — May 22, 2019 at 6:28 am

    love the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream love love it

  10. #
    Bobbi Jo Reinking — June 16, 2019 at 9:53 am

    This is by far the best chocolate frosting I have ever made. Time and time again I’ve tried recipes and they always taste off. This one is the most perfect balance of sweetness and chocolate. I did have a hard time getting the egg whites to whip up, but I added in the butter and just let it whip for 15-20 minutes and it came out perfect. I do recommend to MAKE SURE your chocolate is 100% cooled off. If there’s any warmth it will melt the butter and you’ll have soupy frosting.

  11. #
    Andrea — June 21, 2019 at 5:36 am

    Would this buttercream hold in warm weather?

  12. #
    T — August 15, 2019 at 2:04 am

    Can you half this recipe?

  13. #
    Rachel — August 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    For people who are wondering, the whipped meringue should be at roughly room temperature (shouldn’t feel heat at the touch) before adding the butter, which should also be very soft – sitting at room temperature overnight. The melted chocolate should also be roughly at room temperature before adding it. If you want an even richer flavor, you can dissolve up to a tablespoon of espresso powder in the melted chocolate before adding it to the meringue buttercream. I’m planning on using this buttercream with these modifications to go with the cake from Buzzfeed’s ultimate chocolate cake for my mom’s birthday, and since that’s a 3-layer cake I’m doing a 3/2 recipe of this. That cake is so rich as it is that I think the Swiss buttercream would pair better with it than the American buttercream they use in their recipe.

  14. #
    Cheryl Courtney — September 12, 2019 at 10:46 am

    I have a frosting I already love, but I love to try new things. Does this frosting deflate over time.

  15. #
    Crystal — October 18, 2019 at 8:04 am

    How much frosting does this make? I’m making a tiered cake and wondering if I need to double the recipe.

  16. #
    Alex — October 21, 2019 at 1:26 am

    Made this for a birthday cake just the other day and it turned out perfect! It was my first time making a swiss meringue buttercream, and I definitely was worried for a minute in the middle there, but once all the butter was fully incorporated it was amazing! I used about half of the amount of white chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate and it was just the right amount of sweetness. Will definitely be making this again!

  17. #
    Donna Hingston — October 21, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    “Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat the egg white mixture on medium speed until slightly cooled and thickened, about 2 minutes”

    Two minutes ain’t going to cut it. Ten minutes is more like it as you need to cool the meringue and the mixing bowl. I often cool the bowl in the fridge after meringue is made just for insurance. I also got taught at Pastry School to change from whisk attachment to paddle attachment when adding butter.

    Great recipe. Nice and rich!

  18. #
    Angela — December 9, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! Made them to frost some chocolate cupcakes and they turned out beautifully 🙂

  19. #
    Irsa — January 28, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Tessa! Can I use this as a base for black frosting? Will black gel color incorporate well into this? TIA!

    • #
      Tessa Arias — January 29, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      I’m not sure, I haven’t tried!

  20. #
    Claire — February 2, 2020 at 1:28 am

    Definitely adding to my ‘to try’ list!
    Can you swap out the semi-sweet chocolate for white or dark chocolate? Do you know if the amounts would be the same? TIA!

  21. #
    Clark — February 13, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Total let down of a recipe – the finished product is so soupy it’s impossible to for cake building and decorating. I had to stabilize it with so much powdered sugar just to make it stiff enough to pipe

    Great taste and flavor and would be wonderful for a tart or used as a filling but this isn’t “buttercream”

  22. #
    Molly — March 6, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    I made this recipe twice and both times the meringue broke after a tablespoon of butter was added. Even after adding more butter or putting it in the fridge, nothing worked. Egg whites should actually be cooked to 160F and it’ll take up to 10 minutes of whipping for the meringue to cool before adding butter. I really wanted to like this recipe, sorry.

  23. #
    Hali — April 10, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Turned into soup. Upon more research, I realized I needed to actually whip it into a meringue before adding butter. That step was super unclear.

  24. #
    Michelle — April 10, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Omg…how could i have never heard of this frosting before? It is even better than described. Don’t be intimidated by the extra steps. Most definitely worth it. I actually thought it tasted even better the the next day.I made it exactly as written, came out perfect.

  25. #
    Laurence — April 18, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    I’ve made this recipe and LOVED it !
    It’s perfect. SO SO SO good.

  26. #
    Beth — May 8, 2020 at 2:48 am

    Hi Tessa,

    I do not have a microwave. So can I just leave it outside until it reaches room temprature after taking out from the fridge? And then only I frost the cake?

  27. #
    Nicki — May 9, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    This buttercream is amazing!! I was nervous to try a swiss meringue buttercream for the first time because I’ve heard it’s difficult, but this recipe was great and made it easy! I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I had to guess when it was ready to take off the heat, and it still turned out perfectly. It’s so silky, which makes for a beautiful cake, and it is delicious. I will definitely continue to use this recipe.

  28. #
    Rachel Dice — May 16, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Definitely the best chocolate icing I’ve ever made!!!

  29. #
    Gilda — May 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    I loved this frosting, which I used for the Best Chocolate Cake. At first I was worried it was going to be too sweet, but using 70% dark chocolate helped reaching a very rich and deep flavour without losing the sweetness, which was just enough. I live ina very hot and humid country, so I had to put it in the fridge for 30 mins before using it and it really helped. After that, it held perfectly in partially airconed environments, So happy with this!

  30. #
    D Canby — May 17, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Was wonderful. First step tricky but doable. I used Swiss chocolate bars. 2 had almond pieces and one of the four had orange flavoring. Delicious. Refrigerated finished cake. Loved the video run through.

  31. #
    Karma — May 19, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Wanting a chocolate malt buttercream 6 oz ot chocolate and 6 ounces of malt powder?

  32. #
    Shiela — June 19, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    This is definitely the best chocolate buttercream ever!! I am an amateur baker and this recipe sounded like it was way out of my league. But, with your pictures and great directions I was able to pull it off. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  33. #
    Vicky zumwalt — July 4, 2020 at 9:24 am

    I’m wondering I usually decorate over buttercream with fondant for my 9 year old grandson !Can I use fondant over this chocolate buttercream? I’m thinking probably but I’m sure you could tell me a positive yes or no, thank you making this cake now and if it’s as good as it looks I’ll be making it for his birthday in two weeks! Thanks Vicky

  34. #
    olivia — July 11, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    omg this turned out amazingggg. when i was making it, it began to curdle so i took your advice to keep whipping it and it came together!! i was so surprised!!

  35. #
    Jay — July 29, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Am I supposed to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks then add butter?

  36. #
    Rik — August 7, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Love this recipe. It is a dream to use.

  37. #
    Ana — September 6, 2020 at 4:20 am

    Dear Tessa,
    Just wanted to drop by and say Thank you! You are cool, miss! Best of luck!

    Ana from Germany

  38. #
    Rebecca — October 2, 2020 at 9:12 am

    I was wondering if i can use white chocolate chips.

  39. #
    judy — October 4, 2020 at 8:13 am

    fantastic swiss buttercream! not as sweet as regular buttercream, lighter and silky.

  40. #
    Crystal Green — October 4, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    My go icing is swiss meringue. My husband is a chocolate lover so i need to make a chocolate version. This is amazing!!! it really was perfect and it tastes straight up amazing. this has been filed in my keeper pile!!!

  41. #
    Christa Churchwell-Burnett — October 4, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    It was the most delicious frosting I have ever had and made thank you for the recipe

  42. #
    Rachel Wardzinski — October 16, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Hi Tessa! I made this to decorate you ultimate chocolate cake! It was delicious and I was able to pipe the top of the cake, but it was very soft and did not want to stick to the sides. Any thoughts on what might have gone wrong? Or is that just the nature of swiss merguine buttercream? (I saw you said it’s not the best for super intricate design, but I found it difficult to manipulate using an offset spatula)

    Thanks so much!

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