Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream - Handle the Heat

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

By Tessa Arias
  |  
August 24th, 2018
4.70 from 36 votes
4.70 from 36 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. This Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream 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!

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 the best chocolate flavor and texture.

I definitely prefer semisweet chocolate in this recipe, but feel free to use milk chocolate or bittersweet chocolate. I haven’t tried this recipe with white chocolate or dark chocolate. Note: chocolate chips will not work here as they have added ingredients that prevent them from melting down. Save those for cookies!

How to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream

After you’ve cooked your egg whites, beat them with the whisk attachment in your mixing bowl 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 cooled and melted chocolate! It may seem like a lot of chocolate, but believe me the final result will be perfectly rich, creamy, and fudgy.

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!

Scrape down the sides as needed until everything is beat together in the stand mixer bowl.

And 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:

 

4.70 from 36 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!

Ingredients

  • 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 to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  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. This may take several minutes. 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

This post contains affiliate links. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

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!)

Tessa Arias

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. #
    Minerva Benavides — October 18, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    I love that your informative, but sometimes I just want to get straight to the recipe.❤️

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 19, 2022 at 7:55 am

      Hi Minerva! Thanks so much for your feedback. There is a little button, right below the title of each recipe, that says ‘Jump to Recipe’. You can click that to skip everything else on the page and land right at the top of the actual recipe. I never recommend doing that on Tessa’s recipes, however; there is SO much useful, valuable information that will be so helpful while making any recipe – especially something as tricky as Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

  2. #
    Ines — July 28, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Did you use dark chocolate?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 29, 2022 at 11:44 am

      Hi Ines! As stated in the recipe, we used semi-sweet for this recipe. Check out all Tessa’s expert tips and tricks in the pink tip box, above the recipe, so you’re a total expert before you even start 😉

  3. #
    Sam — June 23, 2022 at 4:17 am

    Hiya,

    Could i add orange extract to this recipe to make it chocolate orange SMBC?
    Thanks

    Sam

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 23, 2022 at 6:42 am

      Hi Sam! Absolutely! Start with just a little (even a 1/4 teaspoon – that stuff is strong!) and mix it in and taste. Keep mixing just a 1/4 teaspoon in at a time, until it tastes perfect to you! Enjoy 🙂

  4. #
    Fatema Fahd — March 7, 2022 at 3:12 am

    Hi tessa. Hoe u are well. I am doing something very wrong. The chocolate smbc is just divine.
    I use the same recipe for white smbc and it curdles. No matter how much I beat it (I have a hand beater). If I reheat it on the boiling water it gets better, smooth but runny. As soon as it start getting colder the curdling starts and leaves a liquid like whey. But when I add the melted chocolate in it it gets together.
    I have tried microwaving it and then but no luck.
    Help

    • #
      Emily — March 8, 2022 at 11:04 am

      Hi Fatema! I’m pretty sure I understood your question correctly. So this recipe works great for you as a chocolate SMBC, right? But you’re having issues removing the chocolate and making this into a vanilla SMBC, correct? If that’s the case, this recipe was actually specifically designed to be used as a chocolate SMBC – the amount of chocolate that is added to this specific recipe is quite a lot, and it does add extra fat from the cocoa butter of the melted chocolate, and structure, so we don’t need quite as many egg whites. It also has more sugar in the ratio compared to our classic SMBC recipe.

      Due to that, I would not recommend using this recipe as a vanilla SMBC recipe. Instead, try using our classic SMBC recipe, which also includes flavor customizations above the recipe. If I misunderstood your question, please let me know, and I’ll help troubleshoot further, but hopefully this helps!

  5. #
    Mollie — January 12, 2022 at 3:38 pm

    Can you send use quality choc chips for melting

    • #
      Emily — January 13, 2022 at 10:03 am

      Hi Mollie! We don’t normally recommend chocolate chips in place of baking chocolate because they have added ingredients that help them maintain their chip shape when exposed to heat, and they won’t melt down as smoothly as a chopped baking bar. If you’re in a pinch, feel free to give them a try, but just know the results may vary a bit. Please let us know how it goes!

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