How to Make Swiss Meringue

Fluffy, light, billowy—yes, that sounds like a description of clouds. It's also how we'd describe this versatile Swiss meringue! Use it to top cakes, cupcakes, and meringue pies, or bake it on its own to make crunchy meringues.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup (198 grams) sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Special equipment:


1 Combine egg whites through salt: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt.

Swiss Meringue Frosting Recipe combine egg whites, salt and sugar

2 Dissolve the sugar into the egg whites: Bring a saucepan with a few inches of water to a simmer. Set the mixer bowl over the simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.

Continuously, but gently, stir the mixture until the egg whites are very warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved, about 4 minutes. Test this by dipping a finger into the mixture and rubbing it between your fingers—the mixture should no longer have any grains of sugar in it and should be very warm to the touch.

How to make Swiss Meringue Frosting dissolve the sugar into the egg whites How to make Swiss Meringue without a thermometer test to see if the sugar has dissolved

3 Beat the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the meringue on medium-low speed until foamy, about 2 minutes.

Gradually increase the speed and beat until you achieve a stiff peak that droops only slightly when you lift up the whisk, and the bottom and sides of the bowl no longer feel warm to the touch, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat a few seconds to mix it in.

Swiss Meringue without butter beat the meringue How to Make Swiss Meringue without a thermometer beat the egg whites

4 Using your Swiss meringue: Swiss meringue is best when used immediately and served the same day. Do not refrigerated it in bulk or it will lose its lightness and become weepy.

However, you can frost your cake or cupcakes and refrigerate overnight if needed; the meringue will be less airy the next day, but still fine.

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  • May

    Can I add cocoa powder

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, May! Sure, you can add cocoa powder! Add it while your meringue is a little on the soft side because cocoa powder will cause it to thicken up quite a bit. Enjoy!

  • Sangeetha

    Can i use it directly on vanilla sponge available in stores??

  • Michele

    This looks wonderful!!

    I would like to make this and then bake it to make it crispy. Would I follow the same directions as other meringue recipes?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Michele! Yes, indeed! Here’s Elise’s preferred method for baking meringues, which I think would work just fine with this recipe: “Put the cookies sheet in the 300°F oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Leave them in the oven overnight. In the morning they should be ready – crisp on the outside, light and airy on the inside. If they are a little marshmallowy or chewy on the inside in the morning, just let them dry out for a few more hours.”