Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Frosting

This luscious Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Frosting has a buttery caramel flavor and a hint of sea salt. Pipe it onto cupcakes for an elegant twist on a classic buttercream.


What is Swiss Meringue Frosting

A cupcake is only as good as its frosting. We can all agree on that, right?

I love frosting in all of its forms. Give me that Chocolate Buttercream and that Cream Cheese Frosting and every other iteration of butter, sugar and cream that you can swirl on top of cake!

Swiss Meringue Frosting, though, is in a category all its own. This frosting is made by heating egg whites and sugar, then whipping to form stiff meringue peaks.

Adding butter and vanilla creates a frosting that’s stable but fluffy and spreadable.

Unlike many buttercreams, Swiss Meringue Frosting won’t leave a sugary film in your mouth. It’s just sweet enough to compliment your cupcakes without tasting syrupy.

I added caramel sauce and a sprinkle of coarse salt to create the best salted caramel frosting I’ve ever tasted. This frosting is the perfect topping for a batch of Chocolate Cupcakes or White Chocolate Cupcakes!


Ingredient Notes

  • Egg whites – You need the whites of five eggs for this recipe to give the frosting its unique meringue consistency.
  • Kosher salt – You can sub another coarse salt, like sea salt but not table salt, which is much finer and won’t produce the same results. Ready why I always use kosher salt.
  • Vanilla – Make your own Vanilla Extract for optimal flavor; store bought tastes great too!
  • Caramel sauce – Any variety of caramel sauce you love on your ice cream is a perfect choice! My Homemade Caramel Sauce recipe works beautifully here but I usually use Hershey’s ice cream topping.

Step by Step Instructions

Making swiss meringue frosting takes a little more effort than many cupcake frostings but the results are more than worth it!

STEP 1. Heat

Cover the bottom of a sauce pan with an inch of water and bring to a low boil. In a mixing bowl placed over the pot, heat egg whites and sugar, whisking until the mixture reaches 140 degrees.

STEP 2. Beat

Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites as they cool. Keep beating until the whites are fluffy and completely cooled, then add butter, salt and vanilla. Blend in the caramel sauce.

STEP 3. Pipe

Use a frosting bag to pipe the salted caramel meringue frosting onto cooled cupcakes. If desired, drizzle the frosted cupcakes with another couple of tablespoons of caramel sauce.

I love how pretty the caramel swirls look on high mounds of frosting!


Tips & Tricks

  • Add the butter gradually. I add mine a tablespoon or so at a time while beating to ensure it gets thoroughly combined with the other ingredients.
  • This recipe makes enough frosting to pipe HIGH onto 14 – 18 cupcakes. If you prefer less frosting, you’ll be able to frost two full dozen cupcakes.
  • Make sure the egg white and sugar mixture reaches 140 – 150 degrees before removing from the heat. I take mine off when the candy thermometer reads 145 to get the perfect meringue texture.
  • Keep in mind that this is NOT a super sweet topping. Swiss Meringue creates a buttery smooth icing similar to what you’d get on a bakery cake than a homemade whipped cream or buttercream frosting.

Recipe FAQs

Why is my butter curdling? How can I prevent this?

The butter may appear curdled as you add it to the egg whites, especially if the egg whites aren’t yet fully cooled. This is totally normal and fine. Keep blending and eventually the butter will get fully incorporated!
To minimize curdling, make sure the egg white mixture has cooled. This should happen as you beat it until double in size.

What’s the best way to store this frosting?

You can keep any leftover Swiss meringue frosting in an airtight container in the fridge. Make sure to bring any chilled frosting to room temperature before piping it onto cupcakes for best consistency and flavor.

Can I make this without a candy thermometer?

I don’t recommend taking your chances and guessing at the temperature here. Egg whites need to be heated to a precise temperature to create the chemical reaction needed to get the meringue frosting’s signature texture. You really need a candy thermometer here!

Yield: 24 servings

Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Frosting

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

This luscious Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Frosting has a buttery caramel flavor and a hint of sea salt. Pipe it onto cupcakes for an elegant twist on a classic buttercream.


  • 1 batch chocolate cupcakes
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup caramel sauce, plus 2 Tbsp (I used Hershey's ice cream topping)


  1. Heat a small saucepan with one inch of water on the bottom to boil. Turn to low (simmer). Place mixing bowl over simmering pot. Add egg whites and sugar to bowl, whisk until combined. Use a candy thermometer and continue whisking and heating until temperature reaches 140-150 degrees. (I took mine off at 145 degrees).
  2. In mixing bowl, attached to stand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until the egg whites have doubled in size and cooled. For me, this was about 8 minutes.
  3. Slowly add butter, one tablespoon at a time. Keep mixing until all butter has been added. It may appear curdled, but that is okay. Keep mixing. Add salt and vanilla extract. This process took me another 8-10 minutes. When frosting becomes desired consistency, beat in the caramel sauce.
  4. Pipe onto cooled chocolate cupcakes! This is enough frosting to pipe HIGH onto 14-18 cupcakes. Or frosts two dozen, not so high.
  5. Drizzle with extra 2 Tbsp caramel sauce, if desired.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 79mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 1g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream blended with salted caramel is paradise in frosting form! It’s time to elevate your favorite cupcakes to new heights with this luxuriously delicious frosting recipe.

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on September 6, 2012

Comments & Reviews

  1. Oh my word these look so good! I am going to make this icing, looks YUMMY! thanks for sharing! i would love it if you link up to Heavenly treats Sunday (Opens tomorrow morning)

  2. Looks perfect. I’ve never made frosting with egg whites before, but have see nit done many times! my mom makes an easy frosting with 7 egg whites! 7! Anyway, I love the salted caramel. 🙂

  3. wow did not know the meringue frosting my mother made for her chcolate cakes even had a name. I thought it was something she improvised on because of a shortage of white sugar and it was successful so she made it often after that..

  4. this looks so fluffy and delicious! i’ve never made anything like this before but the flavors are just amazing sounding!

  5. looks absolutely amazing! I love your photography. I’m now following and invite you to come over and take a look my place… Deb

  6. Oh yessssss! I’ve never made, but have definitely tasted a frosting just like this and it is outta this world amazing!! Now I have a recipe to try for myself…thank you!

  7. I totally was thinking they looked like ice cream cones…and then you wrote it:-) They look gorgeous! I kinda want to face plant right into the caramel-y goodness!!! Never mind that it is first thing in the morning…

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