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!
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!
How do you make it?
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
- 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.
- Beat until smooth, then slowly add in the powdered sugar until mixed in.
- 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!
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Chocolate version: Add 4 ounces vegan chocolate, melted and cooled, when you add the vanilla and aquafaba.
This worked really well! I have a very old recipe from my mother-in-law that used an egg white. When raw egg became a risk years ago, I stopped using that recipe; but with the aquafaba in this recipe it’s almost exactly the same as that old one – fluffy and delicious! And instead of melted chocolate for the variation, I used 1/4 c cocoa powder.
Hi Maggie. Thanks for your great feedback and review! I’m thrilled you loved the frosting!
I’m not sure what I did wrong here — I followed the directions but the frosting never came together, it stayed too runny. I can still use it for my cupcakes as a type of icing, but I would love something pipeable! Wondering if my butter was too soft/warm, but I did try putting it in the fridge after 7 minutes of beating and that didn’t help. Neither did all the extra powdered sugar. Any thoughts?
Followed recipe exactly and was way too runny. Used Earth Balance
Would miyokos butter work well?
Yes, I’ve had great results with Miyoko’s.
I made a double batch following the recipe almost exactly (I needed to sub vanilla powder for vanilla extract, as I was out of extract). It’s a wonderful quick and easy frosting option. Not overly sweet (but plenty sweet for kids), nearly foolproof, and I can see endless possibilities for tweaking it for particular flavors/uses. Thanks for such a useful recipe!
Hi Liz. You are welcome! How fantastic that you loved the recipe! Sounds like you have lots of wonderful ideas for ways to use it! Thank you for taking time to share your fabulous feedback and review!
I tried this recipe today and it failed. It didn’t whip up, no matter how long I had it in my mixer at top speed. I finally had to add a LOT more powdered sugar just to get something usable… what went wrong? (I used powdered aquafaba… perhaps that was the culprit?)
Hi Liz, yes, using powdered aquafaba would greatly alter this recipe. I’ve only made it successfully with regular aquafaba from a can of chickpeas.
Thank you Nora — I’ll try it again – and maybe make some adjustments to get the powdered stuff to work, it’s so much easier to keep in the cupboard!
This frosting is sooooo good! Followed the recipe to a T and it came out perfect. Nora your vegan chocolate cake is the BEST so I used this frosting on that marvelous cake and can’t wait to try it.
I’m thrilled you loved the frosting! Sounds delicious with the chocolate cake! Thanks for your terrific feedback and review! Enjoy that cake!
I made this last year for my birthday and I am going to do it again! This recipe is delicious. I forget, is one batch enough for your double-layer chocolate cake or should I make two batches of this recipe?
I’m so glad you love the frosting, Alicia! One batch should be enough for a double layer cake. Enjoy, and happy birthday!
Is this the best buttercream to frost smooth sides on a cake?
Yes, it whips up to be very thick and creamy. Perfect for cakes!
This is my favorite frosting recipe! I am looking to make this along with the chocolate cake recipe you have. I want to make it Friday. How do you recommend storing the cake until Saturday evening? Should I assemble the two layers with frosting or have everything Un-assembled?
Hi Christina. The cake you’ll be making sounds delicious! I’m glad you are loving the frosting! The cake and frosting both will hold up well in the refrigerator, even when frosted. Either way will work! Happy baking!
First time I tried this recipe, it came out to runny. I used Melt brand of vegan butter. Next time I tried it with half the aquafaba – 2 tbsps – and texture was better, more firm. I also whipped up the aquafaba first and then added it to the frosting. I still like this recipe so thank you for sharing.
Thanks for sharing your feedback, Kulvinder!
I can’t wait to try making this ?
How far in advance can it be made? Does it whip back up after freezing like non-vegan SMBC does? Please forgive me if you already said it somewhere, I didn’t see you mention it but I may have missed it!
Hi Jordan. You can make the buttercream up to 1 week ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, and it freezes well too. It does whip up well after freezing. Hope this helps!
I just wanted to say thank you!! Because this recipe is amazing!! You just saved my baking game it is light and delicious! Thank you so much!
Hi Mariela. You are welcome! Thank you for sharing your great feedback! I’m glad you love the frosting!
Hi Mariela, how did you get the frosting to be thick and fluffy and not too soft?
Is this shelf stable?
Yes, it is.