How to fix Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

in Cakes & Cupcakes, Tips

How to fix Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Before today, I’d copy & paste an FAQ at the bottom of each recipe on this site that called for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Because as amazingly fluffy and decadent as Swiss Meringue Buttercream is, it’s also the problem child of frostings.

That FAQ had a couple of tips to “rescue” a broken swiss meringue buttercream, which is really helpful for people baking Margarita Cupcakes at 11pm on Quatro de Mayo. I thought I’d give those tips their own home and add a couple of pictures of the common problems that I encounter when making the frosting.

So a few months ago, I had my camera ready, just waiting on a batch of frosting to implode. I was going to take pictures of my bowl of “What the heck is this?! I can’t put that on a cake!” and then show you how I fixed it. And wouldn’t you know, it turned out perfectly. First try. And then it happened again and again. And again.

Typical. This stuff has given me some serious fits over the years but I’ve always been able to fix it. Except one time… but my math was wrong. And I can’t blame the frosting for that.

The Recipe
I use a slightly adapted version of Martha Stewart’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It’s smooth, fluffy, not overly sweet, and reliable – and scaled down, it’s basically the exact same recipe we used at my parents’ bakery ages ago. And the two issues that I randomly experience are totally fixable. One batch will frost a 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake and, for a normal person, should cover 24 cupcakes. But I’m an out-of-control liberal cupcake froster so I sometimes need an extra half-batch to get all my cupcakes frosted. I’m currently seeking help for my problem.

The first step
Beat, beat, beat. I’d let the mixer run for 30 minutes or more when I had problems with the frosting. It always came back together eventually but that was life BT – Before Toddler. I now have a 5 minute rule. If it doesn’t come back together after 5 minutes of beating, I just move on to Plan B. Nap time or those 12 hours of preschool a week are now far too valuable for me to stand there and watch the mixer go ’round.

Help! My frosting is too runny! (AKA, Plan B)

How to fix Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

That is Dulce de Leche Swiss Meringue Buttercream… syrup? Paint? It’s not frosting, that’s for sure. You’ve whipped the egg whites and sugar until it has cooled to room temp and you’ve just reached stiff peaks, you’ve added your butter and everything is looking absolutely perfect until you add the preserves, or citrus juice, or dulce de leche. And then Pbfffffffffffft, your fluffy frosting breaks into a watery mess.

When this happens, I stick it in the fridge for ~20 minutes and bring it back out. Beat the frosting for a few minutes and it should all come back together into a big bowl of magical fluffiness.

How to fix Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

That is Dulce de Leche Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. And quite possibly the best frosting I’ve ever, ever tasted. But if you’re still having problems with it, keep going.

Help! My frosting is… cottage cheese? What is that?!

How to fix Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

That’s a curdled mess. And just gross. It should have been raspberry swiss meringue buttercream. The technical term for that disaster is “no bueno.” I usually see curdling when I’m re-whipping leftover frosting that has been refrigerated or frozen but occasionally I get it when I’m making a fresh batch.

This was a tip I learned way, way back in the early days of the Daring Baker challenges: take about 1/4 of the frosting out of the bowl and transfer it to a microwave safe bowl. Pop it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and then stream it back into the bowl while the mixer is running on low. Increase the speed and whip it into a big bowl of fluffy magicalness.

How to fix Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Can you believe how that pretty, fluffy frosting started out?

So that’s how we do it. If this saves just one batch of frosting from being tossed, then I’ll feel like I’ve helped :) Do you have any frosting tricks or tips to share?

242 comments… add one

  • Great tips today! Thanks!

  • Great tips! I’m going to keep these in mind when I finally get around to trying out Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. It looks divine!

  • Thank you so much for this post! I remember trying to make the swiss buttercream for the margarita cupcakes (delicious, by the way!) and just wound up with a glaze (admittedly, I was whipping it up in the dead-heat of humid August without air conditioning, so I’m not too surprised it didn’t work out). As tasty as the glaze was, I’m eager to get the hang of the Real Deal. Time to get back on the horse!

  • Knock on wood, I’ve actually always had success with swiss meringue, but I’m bookmarking this because now that I’ve said it…you know my next batch will be the batch from hell.

  • I have yet to try Swiss Meringue Buttercream because I am intimidated by it, but these tips may help avert some disasters in my kitchen!

  • I once added honey to the early process and it turned into a runny mess. Even freezing it didn’t bring it back. Do you think it’s the honey and it should be added at the end? Great tips btw.

    • Yes – I always add the flavoring purees/liquid/juice at the end, anywhere from 1/4 – 1/2 cup, depending on what I’m using.

  • Huh…I totally didn’t see you standing behind me taking pictures while I was making dulce de leche swiss meringue buttercream last week. πŸ˜‰ That’s exactly what happened to me, and that’s exactly how I fixed it! I’m always so relieved when it works out in the end.

  • What a helpful post!!

  • Awesome tips – on the few attempts I’ve tried this type of frosting it’s almost always turned out like the first pic. Boo, hiss. But now I will know how to whip its butt into shape next time. Boom!

  • Great post. Thanks Shawnda!

  • Aryanna

    I’ve had so many people tell me they’re scared of Swiss Buttercream for this exact reason, but it’s my favorite and go-to frosting because I just love the rich silky texture. Here in New Orleans, it can get down right blistery in the kitchen when the oven is on, even with the a/c running full blast, so I often end up with exhibit A. Popping it in the fridge or freezer for a bit always fixes it right up.

  • Thank you for those tips on Swiss Meringue Buttercream, I do us the Martha recipe and I love it.
    I had the 3rd problem. I had made her recipe with the adding of fresh strawberries, and let me tell you it was to die for. I actually had some left, so in the freezer it went. Later I pulled it out to use on some cupcakes and it just that cottage cheese mess. I did rebeat it but I thought well maybe it can’t be frozen. If it ever happens again (in fact I do have some in the freezer) I will try that. Thanks so much for the help. And let me tell you, her strawberry swiss meringue buttercream can be eaten by the spoonful.
    But I do have a question, if it is warm outside what type of frosting do you use, so as not to melt.

  • Awesome tips thanks so much!!! I’ve thrown out a batch before but def will be using your tips :)

  • Very much appreciate the tutoring photos that show the different errors that can occur. It is so helpful to see rather than only to read words. Thanks.

  • I have never been able to make a successful batch of this buttercream (I’ve only tried three times). I think my problem is not cooking the egg whites and sugar long enough (I need to invest in an instant-read thermometer)? Would that cause me problems? I am going to have to attempt it again, because I hear about how amazing it is and I would really like to know what it should taste like!

    • You don’t *need* a kitchen/candy thermometer but I think having one is really handy because it takes the guess work out of it. If you cook the egg whites until they’re very hot to the touch, and you can’t feel any sugar grain when you rub a bit of the egg-sugar mixture between your fingers, then it’s ready to be whipped.

  • Justina

    Where was this posting around the 4th when I was making two dozen cupcakes for a gathering? The test batches came out great but in making a bulk batch, no bueno. It was painful to toss that much frosting.

  • Justina

    PS – Thanks for posting, I’ve bookmarked this page!

  • CurlyCupcake

    Great tips! When I first started making swiss meringue buttercream it would often look like #2 if I froze it or the butter was too cold when I added it in, and I never knew how to fix it! Once I had the great idea if adding powdered sugar to thicken it, BIG mistake! If I ever have that problem again I’ll be sure to use your tips instead of throwing it away like I used to.

  • Gracie

    You saved my cake!! Cottage Cheese. My frosting looked like a big bowl of disgusting cottage cheese. I popped a little bit of it in the microwave and streamed it back in, and Ta-da!!! Perfect icing :) Thanks so much!!

  • Mary

    This website was a life saver!

  • Heather

    Thank you soooo much for this post! I had some leftover strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream in the freezer and went to use it for a last min. Party dessert. It was a curdles mess and I was out of time to make a fresh batch. A quick google search yielded your miraculous post, and my buttercream was saved. Thank you! Now I won’t be afraid to freeze leftover buttercream!

  • Stephanie

    PERFECT! My first attempt ever and it went from a runny paint mess to “no bueno” cottage cheese! Both tips worked and saved it. It was delicious! THANK YOU SO MUCH. I would have for sure thrown it out otherwise.

  • Rebekha

    THANK YOU! I broke my buttercream. Your advice was brilliant. Back to work, phew…

  • You just saved Christmas dinner (well, at least dessert)! Thank you so much!

  • Ela

    Thank you so much for this post. It will save a lot of my Swiss Buttercreams. May I ask you on what to do if I make one batch of Swiss Buttercream and have to add about 3 different colors separately. Do I have to add the colors in the end? Do I divide it into 3 then add color then re-whip? I’ve done it before and my buttercream had streaks of color and it became oily. Any suggestion on how I should add gel colors? Thank you.

    • That’s exactly what I do – divide and then color separately. What kind of gel colors are you using? Americolor is the very best, in my opinion – it takes very little to get beautiful color but it’s not enough to throw off the delicate structure of the meringue.

  • JEAN

    Thank you SO much!! I have made Swiss Buttercream several times before without any problems, until today, yikes!!! I had that nasty cottage cheese looking stuff, I found your site, did the microwave thing and voila, problem solved!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

  • jboydbears

    Thanks! I will remember these tips for sure!

  • Hi I had a dredfull afternoon … made all the cupcakes for a wedding then started on some Italian Meringue frosting and … it curdled big time so I set it to oneside and started on another lot as I didn’t have time to mess around trying to work out what to do with it and then the second lot did exactly the same !!!! I just couldn’t believe it ! …. so I decided to check out the web and see if there were any hints and tips of why this happened and if there was anything I could do to save them …. and I found You ,,, YAY xx thanks soooooooooo much for your tips on how to get the buttercream scrummy again xx I think I had over whipped it before adding the butter and the mix became to cold ??? but heating in the microwave worked a treat .. thank you thank you thank you xx

  • Uriel Naomi

    I have made SMB twice. I should have looked at your website to save me from all the stress and disappointment. Thank you so much for your tips. My problem was definitely the cottage cheese. disgusting! Thank you again!

  • Mindy

    Thank you so much! My cooked buttercream (with egg whites and cream of tartar, I must’ve overwhipped it) turned out just like the cottage cheese one and I was *this close to dragging myself to the store to buy tons more butter. So glad I Googled this and you came up, the trick totally worked. Thank you!!!

  • Nancy

    Wow! Thank you SO much. I’ve just made my first ever batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream and it turned out runny so I started panicking. It’s in the fridge now so hopefully your wonderful advice will bring it back to life. A billion and nine thank you’s in advance πŸ˜€ !!!

  • K B

    Thank you you saved my frosting!!!!

  • Thanks for the tips! I didn’t have the luxury of reading this post until after my SMB failed and I added icing sugar to stabilize it, but I definitely will refer to this post in the future =)


  • Melissa

    I cannot find any advice for the mistake I made to my SMB. Can anyone suggest a fix if I didn’t beat my egg white enough before I started adding butter? My plan is to do some heated egg whites again, beat them properly this time, and add my flat batch of SMB to the new fluffy whites. Think this will work? Thanks!!

  • These tips just saved the cupcakes I’m bringing to a girl’s evening tonight! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  • Courtney

    I know this post is older, but I had to thank you for saving my butt this last weekend! I had made a perfect swiss meringue for my sister’s bridal shower cake, which I planned to frost with fantastic ruffles once I got to the church where her shower was held. Imagine my horror when I realized it had been put in the fridge! I took it out, and slowly but surely watched it turn into cottage cheese. Thank goodness I found this, had my mom bring her hand mixer, and managed to save my frosting and decorate a gorgeous cake. THANK YOU!

  • Chrispy

    Fantastic how-to! I did my first batch of Swiss meringue buttercream the day before my Birthday (had to impress my guests since they call me Miss Cupcake). How many times am I allowed to mess it up?? Apparently quite many times! First the buttercream looked like cottage cheese in a worse condition than pictured above. I put 1/4 of it into the microwave as advised. It became a smooth buttercream, and I was quite pleased whilst putting it in the fridge. The day after when I wanted to decorate the cupcakes, it became too runny :( And then it looked like cheese again somehow. I’m quite good at screwing up things in the kitchen πŸ˜€ Fridge, microwave and microwave again (didn’t put enough in the micro the first time).

    I think I’m in love with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and it’s lovely texture! <3 Thank you so much for these tips! I wouldn't have tried SMB if it wasn't because of your foolproof tips :)

  • I just came across your site in desperation…I’m making a cake for my husband’s 33rd birthday, and was THIS close to tossing a batch of curdled swiss meringue buttercream. Been beating it for a good 15 minutes, followed your advice for problem #2, and within literally 2 minutes it transformed. I suspect my butter wasn’t close enough to room temperature before adding it to the meringue. This was my very first time making swiss meringue buttercream…thank you!

  • liz

    I had issues with my swiss meringue via martha stewart’s cupcake cookbook. I will tell you I was very close to a major meltdown. When i calemed myself and typed in “swiss meringue curdled” and after visiting a couple of sites with no ideas I came across yours and thought…at this point I will try anything! Well, I tried it and the results were terrific! You are a life saver…my 7 year old daughters birthday party is tomorrow now I can sleep in peace! Thanks so much!

  • Morgan

    HELP!!! I have tried this recipe twice and still the mixture turns into cottage cheese. I have even tried the techniques to fix it. No such luck. The kitchen aid has been running for 40 minutes?!? What am I doing wrong? Should the butter be super soft? The meringue whips into peeks, but once I start adding the butter it goes down hill. Again…HELP.

    • The butter shouldn’t be *super* soft, cool but should dent easily when you press on it.

  • Morgan

    OMG!!! After 40 minutes of agony it finally worked. thank ya jesus … i know what the problem was….I kept looking at it…lol. Once I turned away to ask for help BAMM…tricky tricky SMB

  • Sheeba

    OMG!!!, I just came back from the kitchen with tears in my eyes as this was the first time I ever dared to make a Swiss meringue,my butter cream was exactly looking like pic1. Googled and just got your site. Thank God, there was help .

  • Cristina

    I stumbled upon this page because my Swiss meringue buttercream was way too soupy (I accidentally put the strawberry puree in at the wrong time. Eeek!). I put it in the fridge and after beating it for a few minutes, it also curdled! I followed the curdling tip here and it eventually became yummy and fluffy. Thank you so much!!

  • catherine

    thank you so much I was really beginning to despair about my frosting it was a curdled mess and now its beautiful frosting. Best tips ever!

  • LOVE this! I was wondering what solution you might have when adding cream cheese to the SMB and it becomes curdled??? I have tried to whip it to death and nothing, any ideas??

    • Jenny – I have never added cream cheese to SMB but maybe someone else can answer.

  • Chong

    I’ve tried making this recipe three times, but mine always turned out tasting like butter. It’s fluffy but doesn’t taste right. After frosting the cake and leaving it in the fridge for a few hours the frosting turned hard and tasted like butter. My thinking was that I probably didn’t the right whisk or maybe didn’t whisk the frosting long enough. Do u suggest using a special whisking tool when adding in the butter??

  • Thank you so much for the tips!!! I’ve made so many batches of Swiss Meringue buttercream that I can’t even count them and usually have no trouble (occasionally I might have the curdling problem.) I just got a new 7 qt. Cuisenart mixer and decided to quadruple the recipe I use (Martha Stewart’s) just to see if the mixer could handle that quantity. I ended up with way too much frosting for the bowl capacity and it is super runny. So I did a search and found your site. Hallelujah! I put half the mixture into another bowl and popped both in the fridge. I’m pretty sure my problem was that the butter had been out on the counter for awhile and was pretty warm, just short of melty. Anyway, thank you!!!

  • Thank you so much you saved my first attempt at buttercream! Just wanted to say a big thank you else it would have ended in the bin instead of becoming a sticky toffee pudding cake :)

  • Lexi

    Oh no! I have successfully made SMB twice, but this time I did everything exactly the same and it turned out horribly curdled! I tried your trick, but it only got worse. I don’t know what to do!

  • Lexi

    OMG! I kept whipping it, like, half the morning, and I think it might be okay! Thanks!

  • Pamie

    Wow, thanks a lot. I spent like an hour whipping it before i found this page, just put it in the fridge. ^_^

  • Beth

    Thank you so much! I made the margarita cupcakes and everything was moving along nicely until I added the lime juice and tequila to the frosting. But this fixed it right up. And the cupcakes were a huge hit! Thanks again!

  • Novice

    You saved the DAY! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  • Jewel

    Hi! What if I do not have a microwave at home; and it becomes curdled? How should I rectify it? Thanks!!

  • Ariel

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I think you have just saved my SMB and taught me a very valuable trick–and lesson! Cake saved!

  • Thank you for this post. You just saved my SMBC.

  • Tracy

    Question: What’s the best way to “smooth” swiss buttercreme once it’s on the cake? With regular “American” Buttercreme, you can use warm water to smooth out the frosting for a nice flat and smoothed surface. Can you do that with Swiss Meringue?

  • Heather

    Thank you so much for the tips. My buttercream was a curdle mess. You are a life saver :)

  • Veiga

    Thank god for you, I was making SMBF for the first time for my daughters birthday. And it was all going wrong and I nearly gave up, but fist I thought of checking for rescues online and found your fix it tips. first my frosting was runny so I popped it in the fridge for 20 minutes and it stopped being runny but it turned curdled, so I took a querter and popped it in the microwafe. Then I held my breath as I pored it in the whipping again, and voila all of the sudden a magic started to happen and now it is sitting fluffy, creamy and oh so successful in the fridge waiting to be put on a lovely cake. Thank you a million times for saving my frosting and my sanity. :)

  • bao kim

    Dear Shawnda, First of all, I must say your Fresh Strawberry Cake is AWESOME, I have made this cake several times to rave reviews from my friends, so THANK YOU from all of us homebakers out there:) Of course I made YOUR Swiss Meringue Strawberry Buttercream for the cake, but I just wanted to try the French Buttercream (Made of egg yolks) to experiment, and found that the French Buttercream was a bit looser and doesn’t hold its shape as well as the Swiss Buttercream. I was wondering if it would be okay to mix in some of the Swiss Buttercream together with the French Buttercream to make the French Buttercream a bit sturdier??? I really dont want to throw away the French Buttercream, it would be such a waste, PLEASE give me your advice. Thank you for your help:)

  • Becky

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just made my second batch of SMB and it was so weird–both watery and cottage-cheesy…so strange! I was about to give up hope, but your FAQ gave me some great pointers! I ended up having to microwave some of the frosting because the butter was too cold to incorporate correctly. If it hadn’t been for your post, I never would have figured that out and might have had to start over! What a life saver (or at least a cake saver)!


    OMG Thank you soooo much for that help…. I had a bad case of curdle, I had to microwave the thing 4 times and then i had perfection…. I nearly cried of happiness…. Thank you soooo much!!!

  • syoung

    Up last night at 2 AM panicking; hours of work on margarita cupcakes (Martha Stewart’s recipe) for my brother-in-law’s 30th birthday party, all for nothing… Then I found your website with this easy fix. I had been trying to re-whip the curdled (#2) frosting for like 20 minutes, but after I added a bit of the microwaved stuff, It came back to life. It did take about 3 cups, each added and incorporated after one was fully blended in.

    thanks thanks thanks :-)

  • Thank you for the help! I was starting to panic when my frosting turn its drastic turn. I stuck it in the fridge for 20 minutes, beat it, and it’s now as good as its pre-butter stages. :) Thanks!

  • Anna

    You are a saviour! I made the most stunning Italian Meringue Frosting with the help of a friend and her kitchenaid the day before planning to ice 40 cupcakes and a large chocolate cake. Pulled the frosting out of the fridge and started to pipe in 32 degree C heat and voila….curds & whey!!! I wanted to lie on the floor crying clutching the bowl like Julie in “Julie & Julia” (if you haven’t seen it get it on DVD now!!) with my husband saying “I knew that wouldn’t work”. But instead of floor sobbing & a divorce I googled and found your site and rescued the whole batch!!

  • SNM

    Thanks so much- your tips saved me! I was making a frosting for 4th of July cupcakes on July 3rd at 10 pm and my frosting looked like your cottage cheese picture! I thought I was done for as I had no eggs or sugar left (a special lavender sugar I had been “prepping” for days!), but that microwave trick worked perfectly! You saved Independence day :)

  • Sarah

    Hi not sure if you can help me but I’ve stuffed my smbc up and I’m
    afraid it’s beyond repair! I made a huge batch – 15 eggs whites, 800 gr sugar and 1 kg butter. because it was so much my mixer couldn’t accommodate it all after it had reached 140 degrees so I split it into two batches at this stage. I proceeded to made the first batch which came out great but the 2nd batch will not proceed to the glossy stage during the cool down stage. I ignored that and added the remaining half of the butter anyway and still it’s a lumpy runny mess. I’ve put it In the fridge in an attempt to ‘thicken’ it up but I don’t have faith in this theory. I believe this happened be ausr I didn’t clean the bowl or paddle before proceeding to whip the second warmed batch. Any ideas? Also I forgot to change back to the whisk as it was getting late so maybe this also affected it? Please help I would hate to throw this out after spending all that time in the kitchen! Thankyou!

    • I’d try everything that I could before giving up (cooling, microwave method), but I wouldn’t be very hopeful. You usually can’t get a meringue if there are any traces of fat in the bowl when whipping the egg whites.

  • phew, gee thanks! The curdle one happened to me yesterday and I was like so disappointed of the buttercream and myself. But now I have faith in swiss meringue buttercream, again! Thanks you once again :)

  • PD

    Thanks so much for your tips……although this is just the second time I’m making SMBF, I wanted to really stiffen it up to make some Wilton roses……..not the oh-so fluffy and glossy kind…that Is typical of SMBF…….could you help with some tips for achieving this…….maybe my meringue should be made of more egg whites….or should I use shortening instead of the butter?? Pls help….

  • Bo

    brilliant post…brilliant save

  • Kate


  • I just wanted to say thank you sooo much, I was making a batch of frosting and it turned into cottage cheese so I microwaved it and it saved it! Thank you :)

  • Thank you, thank you! I usually make Italian Meringue buttercream & never had this problem until I made Swiss today. This totally saved it for me.

  • mickey

    Just wondering if I can add some lemon curd and/or a little lemon juice to my SMBC which I made yesterday. It looked perfect before putting in fridge. I would hate to ruin it at this point. Should I let it sit out awhile before remixing to make it smooth again? When, and how much lemon juice, curd should I add to a recipe in which I used 8 whites and 6 sticks of butter?


  • Mrs. Q.

    Thanks you! I did not make Swiss buttercream, but had similar issues. This was a regular butter/conf sugar/cream recipe that you add boiling water to and mix. I’ve made it before and this time– soup. I chilled for a while and re-whipped. It’s not the texture it should be, more like whipped cream, but enough for me to pipe it on cupcakes and then pop then in the fridge. Saved. Thanks, and after all that, I think I’ll try your recipe suggestions next time.

    • jmk

      I had a cottage cheese disaster yesterday and threw it away, I had made it the day before and refrigerated it !

      How stable is this stuff for celebration cakes, if they get too cold will it go cottage cheese like and if it gets too warm will it melt ? I love the flavour of it but the instability of it worries me.

  • S Levy

    These tips saved mybutt today. Thank you!!!!!!!!

  • Charlotte

    I was about to throw away my curdled buttercream and call it quits but the microwave trick actually worked!!! Rescued!

    I love you, kind internet stranger.

  • Jessica

    YOU ARE MY HERO! I just put my first successful Swiss Meringue Butter cream icing project in MONTHS into the fridge. All thanks to you! I am not even going to start cleaning up the giant mess in my kitchen until I take a moment to properly thank you for your super-helpful post.

    I made my first batch of SMBCI last fall and had done dozens of cupcakes and cakes with it since, then just a few months ago (when the weather started to get nice mid-summer. I have never had to worry too much about the way temperature or humidity would affect my baking. I live in Seattle.) All of the sudden I kept ending up with “soup” I was flabbergasted and my confidence was seriously shaken. It had worked so well for me for months, then one day- nothing. Nothing I did seemed to correct it. I threw out more batches than I can count thinking that the butter was bad, ot the eggs were not at room temprature or something. I ruled out my bowl or beaters being oily because I could get to the meringue stage everytime, but it would collapse when I added the butter.

    Your moment of silence for those lost batches, is more like an hour for me! I just kept tossing the soupy batches out and trying again, and again, and again to no avail. One day I made (and failed) with 4 batches! I gave up and made a ganache that day instead.

    I never thought to pop the bowl into the fridge!!!!

    Well, that’s what I did today. I nervously accepted a request from a friends husband for red velvet cupcakes for his wife’s birthday not knowing if I was going to have a huge failure again. But I had since read your post and I knew there was no way for me to know if it will work unless I try…. SUCCESS! I now have 24 beautiful chocolate swiss meringue butter cream – red velvet cupcakes. My confidence is restored! I will never let SMBI discourage me from baking up another cake again! I now know I can defeat it and bend it to my will!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together! I REALLY appreciate it!

    ….Now to turn all this positive energy back to cleaning my kitchen. Best of luck to YOU in your baking adventures.

  • Rhaelyn

    Wow….am I ever glad I found this! I unfortunately had the cottage cheese looking meringue and your tip to fix it was perfect!! The meringue looks fantastic now!

    Thank you so much!

  • Naomi

    I have successfully made Swiss Meringue Buttercream countless times, particularly the chocolate kind, with no problems at all until this time. My project was a bright red fire engine for my oldest son’s 3rd birthday. We had a busy few days planned so I made things in batches, the cake on the Friday morning, the buttercream on the Friday evening and then into the fridge (for the first time ever, although I didn’t realise the ‘problem’ with this plan at the time), all ready to assemble on Saturday night for the Sunday party.

    Cue Saturday night, kids are bed, I assemble everything on the kitchen bench and proceed to (try to) stir my brilliant red buttercream, only to see if separate and curdle in front of my eyes!

    Thanks to you and this wonderful blog post, I was able to resurrect the buttercream and within a few hours had a wonderful fire engine assembled and decorated! And, long before midnight! I’d had visions of being up all night whipping up a new batch (although with no more red colouring in the house I was in dire straits!) but you saved me.

    Thank you!

  • Joseph

    Thank you! I almost threw away my soupy mess, but you saved me! God bless internet forums.

  • Victoria

    Thank you for just saving my curdled batch :)

  • Jonna

    You saved me ! I refrigerated my frosting thinking it needed to be cold!! Thanks gain

  • Naaz


    I’ve always used fresh cream for my frosting and I’v never had any problems with the consistency and is very smooth to spread on the cake. However yesterday I made the SMBC for the 1st time. It turned out to be good except that it was a bit stiff to spread. I am in Uk and its cold here. I am under the impression the cold weather makes the butter in the SMBC go a bit stiff or is it to do something with under or overbeating. Please advice..


  • Kaytie

    I can’t tell you how many batches of refrigerated frosting I’ve thrown away, only to start a fresh batch! I am SOOOO thankful for your tips – no more cottage cheese frosting for me. It whipped up beautifully today!

  • Jen

    I am making Ina Garten’s coconut cupcakes, which are delicious. I have followed the icing recipe to a T. But the icing is super watery. It is cool in my kitchen, and I have checked the measurements a million times. I am going to pop it in the fridge and remix and see what happens. But why do you think this happened? So weird!
    Thanks for your blog,

  • Thank you for the tips! I wish I had found your website last July when I tried to save my curdled strawberry SMBC to no avail (and had to deal with the heart-break of tossing it down the sink…). Now I know what to do if I have that problem again. Thank you!

  • this post totally saved my butt this weekend! thanks so much for the info!

  • Lauren

    Hey, thank you so much for posting this. I’ve never had curdled swiss before, and I had no idea what to do. you just saved my double batch, thanks!

  • Cindy

    I know this is going to sound strange to you buy, is there another method of heating the frosting? I don’t have a microwave! :-(

    • I’d try a sauce pan over low heat for just a minute or set over a small sauce pan of simmering water for a minute or two.

      • Kathleen

        I just tried your microwave tip for my > 5 day old SMB that had been stored in an airtight container in my fridge. It was a success! It returned to its original smooth consistency!
        I have no plans to use this SMB but wondering if you have ever used SMB older than the 5 day recommendation.
        Also is there an explanation why the addition of the warmed icing into the SMB works to restore its consistency? Emulsion related?
        I’m so thrilled that I came across your site!
        Many thanks!

  • Nabiya

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve made SMB frosting tons of times an today was the first time it came out looking like picture #1 and I was ready to pull my hair out cos the thought of separating all those eggs again was giving me a stomach ulcer. You’re a goddess xx

  • Janessa

    Here’s how I rate the 4 types of frosting:

    1. The Swiss
    2. The Italian
    3. The American

    I’ve yet to try the the French. Maybe next week. But srsly I love the Swiss. It’s perfect and holds up in my country’s humid weather. It’s terrible living one degree north of the equator.

    I digress. I’m sure Italian is great but I’m scared to death of it. I’ve been burned from making the sugar syrup. As for American. Well I love love it cos I have a major sweet tooth but its always a soupy mess in the heat even if I throw in a sack of icing sugar in the bowl. Not to mention, my mum just developed mild diabetes so definitely a no no in my household.

    Anyway I’m bookmarking this in case things go wrong with the Swiss but so far, it’s been perfect. Except for that one time where I accidentally made scrambled eggs.

  • Meredith

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  • Amanda

    Thank you so much – I had a nasty curdled mess trying to make my first batch of a German buttercream – tried your microwave trick and I now have lovely billowy frosting! The pastry cream must have been too cold, but I was freaking out until I found your site- you saved my batch!

  • dbs

    HELP! I made a batch of Caramel Swiss Buttercream and despite the fact that the color is sort of strange- sort of a weird orange-pink, it tastes like sweet butter – I made more caramel but it didn’t help with the taste much. I don’t know if I can save this batch – any ideas?


  • Kristi

    Thank you for saving my ‘cottage cheese’ frosting for hubby’s birthday cake!!! Appreciate ya!!

  • Janis

    You just saved my life! I must have walked away while leaving the mixer on high speed- seriously just for a few seconds to get something from the freezer and came back to what look like a curdled mess in my mixer. I almost cried, but thank goodness for the internet and this very helpful post…. I followed your tip and now I have nice pink fluffy buttercream for my daughter’s dinosaur cake. Thanks so much!!

  • Thank you so much for this. You saved my Bailey’s Irish buttercream for my husband’s Guinness chocolate birthday cake. I had zero eggs left after baking the cake and making the buttercream, so you really saved me! This worked like a dream. Thanks again!

  • Toni-Jane

    OMG!! Thank you so much! its approching midnight and I was already on my 3rd batch of cupcakes having disarsters with the rest, having finally perfected the cupcakes I almost screamed when by buttercream collapsed! fast running out of ingredients at almost midnight with sleeping children upstairs I was at my witts end! I had beautiful tasting slop! I’m expecting a house full of mummys in the morning who had been promised cupcakes with their coffee!! In desperation I ran to my laptop and googled it! mostly I got recipies! finally I came across this and figuring I has nothing to lose shoved my gloop in the fridge, 30 minutes later I had beautiful buttercream and the day is saved!

  • NO FREAKIN’ WAY!!! I read your tips with some skepticism. Was about to throw out an entire batch of curdled buttercream when I tried the “heat 1/4 in microwave” tip … and it totally worked!! I am still in disbelief, but I now have a huge bowl of salvaged swiss buttercream ready to go.

  • Monique

    You are my HERO. I happened upon this post last night after stupidly trying to flavor my smbc with fresh strawberry puree…only problem was I wasn’t patient enough to let my frosting reach room temp…enter exhibit B – the broken, separated, looks-like-barf MESS! You saved me! I took it all out this morning and let it come to room temp, then beat it with the paddle. Creamy, pinky-white perfection. I wish I’d taken pictures because it was like watching a miracle unfold in 3 minutes flat! Wish I could hug you right now :-)

  • Shannon

    OMG!! I was about ready to throw away my whole batch of Swiss buttercream because it had curdled!! But it took less than a minute to fix using your tip! Thank you so much!!!

  • Amy

    This SMB fix totally worked! You saved me $20, a trip to the grocery store, and probably a late night!

  • Tais

    Thank you soooooooo much!
    I had tried to make the swiss buttercream with martha’s stewart recipe and at first the meringue was just perfect but then when I had to add the butter everything just became a mess.
    I was left with a quite disgusting-looking frosting all watery filled with stubborn butter bits!
    When I looked at your INCREDIBLE website and saw the solution I dashed to the kitchen and put 1/4 of all the frosting in the microwave for 15 seconds just like you said and it freaking worked! :DDD
    I was SO HAPPY! It really feels good when the desserts we make turn right πŸ˜‰
    Thanks again, seriously! You made my day πŸ˜€
    You are amazing I absolutely LOVE YOU! and your miraculous website of course :)

  • M Anderson

    You just saved me BIG TIME.
    Spend forever making a strawberry meringue buttercream for the filling in a six layer cake I was making, and then had to go eat dinner. Thought it would be fine if I put it in the fridge while I ate, WRONG.
    Took it out and tried letting it thaw out, it was very hard so I thought maybe I ought to whip it in the mixer. Turned out horribly curdled and thought I was doomed. I was about to throw it out and just use a more simple filling (I was exhausted by making the first meringue and didn’t want to have to go through it again.)
    As a last resort decided to check and see if there was a solution and found your site. THANKS so much! My cake is now chilling before I put a chocolate glaze over and it still has the same fantastic strawberry meringue buttercream I made earlier now and I am oh so very happy :)

  • You know, I’v been making swiss meringue buttercream perfectly for years. Until I read this article, then my batch turned into soup! Guess it’s good this was here.

  • Lily

    Hi! So, I’m new here, but I just wanted to say thank you. I’m making Swiss Buttercream for the first time right now, and your tip for curdled-looking frosting saved my best friend’s birthday cupcakes! Thank you so much!!

  • Fi V

    My hero! Thank you for the rescue remedy for curdled Swiss meringue. I’ve never made it before and was about to abandon all in the bin when I found your top tips. Meringue buttercream saved. Cake back on course. Thank you!

  • m4nic baker

    You are a star.
    Today was my first attempt at making this kind of frosting.
    It was all going perfectly till I put the butter in , and even then it did not seem to bad, but then it started to curdle!!!!!
    I was about to bin it till I read your suggestions
    I took out some of the curdled mixture and heated it up for 20 seconds, then drizzled it back in
    worked a treat
    It was like magic
    Thank you…..!

  • Nata D. Coco

    Just wanted to say thank you! I’ve made SMBC for myself many times with no problem… and of course, the first time ever a friend asks me to make a cake for her, that’s when I get sneak-attacked by a curdled batch. Cue your wonderful advice to save the day, my cake, and my sanity and a LOT of butter. Thanks again!

  • I tend to fall in the 2nd example. Thanks for the tips!!

  • Melinda

    I think I owe you a box of chocolates or my firstborn child or something! I was utterly skeptical at trying your tips for my second scenario batch of frosting. But since I was just going to toss the frosting anyway, I figured I might as well give it a try. It came back together beautifully!! Thank you!!! I’ll never doubt again. :)

  • Tasha McClam

    I was crying over a gigantic bowl of strawberry frosting Martha Stewart style, when I came across your advice!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Everywhere else recommended I start over, well I couldn’t because I had already use A TON of butter (the good kind even!) and about a million eggs, not to mention all my blood, sweat, and tears! So, I threw it in the fridge and BAM!!! It went from awful paint texture to beautiful, fluffy, goodness!! You are going straight to heaven, I am certain!

  • Emily

    thank goodness for your tips! I thought I was going to have to throw over 1 pound of butter in the trash! I had cottage cheese frosting and your tips worked perfectly!!! THANK YOU!!!

  • Kelly

    Your tip for curdled swiss buttercream worked! Thank you for saving my cake!

  • jadda main

    Thank you! GREAT TIP! As with the others, you turned heartbreak and diasater into a sweet vanilla bean dream. One pound butter, 1 vanilla bean, farm fresh range free eggs and mastering the perfect devil food (with shaved premium scharfenberger chocolate) cupcakes and it was all down to the icing when I created a grainy, curdled liquid oozing mass. Into the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temp and rewhip. It should have worked, it had to–it didn’t. 5 minutes whipping time next 10 then 15 –nothing doing; it was still grainy, curdled, oozing mess. Now going on 22 minutes amd about to call it quits. In a final bit of desperation, off to the internet. Did someone have a magic cure? I am indebted to you and humbled–your tip worked like a charm!

  • Dawn

    I have tried this buttercream 3 times now the first time its work perfectly but put the left overs in the fridge and yeap tried to remix it and got cottage cheese, the other twice I’ve made it gain it was just like cottage cheese :( I did add some icing/powdered sugar and seemed to do the trick but obviously made a little sweeter but still no where near as sweat as regular buttercream.

    Can I just ask, I cook the egg whites and sugar just until I can no longer feel the sugar grain, should I be cooking it so the egg white are very hot?

  • Dawn

    Forgot to say THANKS for the tips will sure try them out if I fail again :)

  • Mariah

    You are a godsend!! I was prepared to give up on my “cottage cheese” italian buttercream but within seconds of your trick it turned gorgeous. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  • Meg

    Thank you!!!you saved Easter!!!!thank you thank you thank you!! :)

  • Ma

    I have tried to make this more than once but everytime it is time to add the butter, this thing goes FLAT! Watery!! Uuggghh. Can someone please help? Maybe post a video or something. This is very frustrating.

  • Jonny

    You have saved my bacon!

    thank you so much for generously sharing your knowledge with us.

    much love

    Jonny xx

  • Judy Malatras

    Thank you for this great article. I made Swiss buttercream twice and both times it came out soupy. I tried one more time, and this time beat it 16 minutes and it was better but still not there. So I googled “problems” and found your site. Great information. Thank you!!! Love your site. Will try your margarita cupcakes! Judy

  • Nies

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! you saved the day!!!!

  • JReid

    Thanks so much, this post was a lifesaver! I was at my wits end after my third batch turned to cottage cheese and I would have tried anything. Your tips saved my buttercream in 5 minutes, and I wish I had read this before I threw out two earlier batches! I’ve made it before and it worked beautifully, but I should have known not to make when it was rainy out. Unfortunately I needed it for a party the next day. Now I know it can be saved, and will def check here the next time it gives me trouble!

  • Loren

    OMG! Thank you so much! There I was pacing back and forth in my kitchen trying to figure out what I could have possibly done wrong. Shaking my head and refusing to throw away 3 sticks of butter (I was already feeling bad for the 4 yokes I had already trashed); I came on the internet and found this site. There will be cake after dinner after all. Thanks a million!!

  • Andrea

    my first time making a meringue…. total disaster. when i added sugar the whole thing went down.. BIG TIME!! so now it looks maple syrup. i don’t know what to do.

  • Lavinia

    Thank you soooo much!!! I canΒ΄t believe this actually worked! IΒ΄m so happy as it is my first time making SMB. Firts it turned out like a soup, after some hours in the fridge, it curdled! I used the microwave trick, kept beating for a while and it all went smooth u__u

  • Mel

    Thank you for saving my curdled buttercream! I had honestly lost all hope. I tried your trick once and it didn’t seem to come together that easily…..I was also losing patience. I decided to take off some of the excess fruit juice, let it chill again in the fridge, tried one final time and TA-DA! Success!! This trick works wonderfully! Truly appreciate your great advice!


  • Tiff

    Hello! I would like to sincerely thank you all for creating this extremely helpful website! I was in deep deep deep buttercream looking like cottage cheese trouble until I found you guys! I cannot thank you enough! I had to ice 100 cupcakes and didn’t have any time to start over so when I crossed my fingers and tried your helpful tips I was greatly saved! Thank you sooooooooo much again!!!!!

    Thank you Thank You Thank You!
    (: I’m now truly in love with buttercream frostings and will start using it to cover just about all my pastries.

    I can’t thank you enough! WEEEEEEE!

  • Faith

    Thankyou so much! Made SMB for the first time today, and first of all it was runny so I figured I should put it in the fridge, then I got it out and stirred it and it curdled!! Googled a solution and your amazing website came up, you have saved my life, I had 20 cupcakes to cover for a school fete tomorrow. THANKYOU!!!!

  • Mary Beth

    Oh Thank you Thank you! I put in the butter after it got too soft and looked like pic 1, then I refrigerated the icing and got pic 2. I did have to beat it for about 10 minutes and then the most amazing thing happened! It became beautiful fluffy buttercream icing! Thank you again for posting such simple and succinct instructions. BTW – I used Elisa Strauss’s recipe from Confetti Cakes – super yummy and now super fluffy!

  • Max

    Hello, I have a question, if you don’t mind answering. I put my swiss meringue buttercream into the fridge, and the next morning I had watery liquid separated from the rest of the frosting. Is this fixable? Thank you.

    • Let it come all the way to room temp and then beat it. It might finish breaking on you and look soupy. But I’ve always been able to fix a broken buttercream.

      • Max

        Thank you very much. But in the end, my mother had me tossed it because she was afraid it wasn’t safe to consume. I will have to try that next time.

  • Valerie

    Holy Molly! This actually worked !!! You saved my mango swiss meringue buttercream!!! Thank you sooooo much xoxoox

  • Sarah

    I made a perfect Red Velvet today, and a second of extra whipping of the cream cheese frosting ruined it and made it look like cottage cheese. I microwaved, and rescued, and YOU SAVED ME. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I’m caplocky because of the utter despair I felt when I saw what had happened to my frosting, and how your instructions literally were magic. Thank you!

  • Cammy

    Thank you,thankyou,thank you.
    Soupy mess that I whipped for about 40 minutes. Thief the fridge and still nothing….then added a little extra butter and ….BAM, not bad for a first try. I appreciate the help!!!!!

  • Melissa

    Thank you so much for your tips. I was making a batch of Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Meringue Buttercream and everything was great until I added the pureed strawberries. That’s when it turned into the cottage cheese disaster. I didn’t have time or the ingredients to make another batch, so thank goodness for your post. It saved me from throwing it out!

    Do you know why that happened? I’d like to know to prevent it from happening, but at least i know if it does that there is a quick fix!

    Thanks again!

  • Lola


  • Wensday Bermudez

    Thank you for your tips! So lucky to have people like you to help us with our frustations with baking..

  • Rae

    Thank you for saving me from a cottage cheese disaster! I would have never thought about microwaving it but it came back together.

  • Ang

    You saved my buttercream!!! I was about to toss the cottage cheese mess after beating to death, trying the wisk, then the paddle, refrigerating… I thought I tried everything. But genius! Melt, pour then beat. Magic! Smooth glossy goodness. And I don’t have to dump in the garbage. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • Magnus

    Is this for real? I was just standing with a batch of curdled No Bueno Buttercream in my hands, a random batch of Dulce de Leche in the fridge and family coming over to witness what they have been told is gonna be a a beautiful cake. Thanks to you, my pending disaster may still turn into possible success! Thank you so much!

  • Gloria

    Thank you so much for this!!!! This safed my daughters first birthday cake … Phew thanks again!!!!!

  • Gina

    You just saved me from ruining my cupcakes for the bakesale today, my frosting was all curdely in the morning. What an awesome tip!!!!!! Thanks for sharing, your awesome!

  • asha

    I really thought I was going to sayonara this experimental pumpkin swiss meringue buttercream I tried to make, due to the cottage cheese-y effect. I’ve never had a problem with buttercream doing this before, but your post gave me hope. I tried the melt method, but it didn’t work. Tried beating it to death, didn’t work. But your post did point out that these things work only if you’ve got the ratios right, and I suspected the pumpkin puree had wreaked havoc on the balance. So I added another tablespoon of butter, walked away from the stand mixer, came back 10 minutes later to a transformation to typical frosting. I’d looked at a few tutorials, but this one was the best in terms of really thinking through troubleshooting, so thank you!

    • Yay! Also? Pumpkin swiss meringue buttercream sounds completely fantastic!

  • Nora

    Thank you! I found you by googling “how to fix swiss meringue buttercream frosting”, and you saved the day!

  • Janna

    So glad I found this page. The reheating trick saved me from breaking into tears after working on this meringue for what seemed like forever. Thanks!

  • nadia

    Thank you so much for sharing! I worked up the courage to try SMB and it worked just perfectly for piping onto cupcakes or as a filling between cake layers. However both times that I tried to apply a smooth frosting on the outside of a cake with the SMB, it began to curdle again as I was actually working on smoothing the frosting on the outside of the cake. I take quite a while to add the buttercream to the cake, smooth and scrape the sides but I keep popping both the SMB as well as the cake in and out of the fridge just as I do with regular buttercream. However it started to separate and get curdled looking; not leaving a smooth finish at all. Any advice on how to avoid this for frosting smooth cakes with SMB?

  • christine

    You saved my life!! My buttercream curdled and I followed your tip to microwave 1/3 of it and BOOM!!! It was back to it’s glorious self!!


  • Thank YOU!!! You saved my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I just wanted to thank you for posting instructions AND pictures! Mine was the cottage cheese version, but the microwave tip worked out beautifully! Thanks :)

  • Elizabeth

    Hi, my mom is working on her 30th Anniversary cake for her and my dad, and we weren’t liking the flavor so we added powdered sugar (and thanks to me a tiny bit of milk and cream cheese) and I think I ruined her frosting. After awhile of trying to sweeten it up (because it tasted like butter) it started to thin out. We put it in the fridge after finding your page, but I’m not sure if this will fix it or not. I’m desperate. She’s been working on this for hours for her cake and if I ruined it and we have to start all over I think we’ll both cry. Do you have any advice?

    • Plain SMBC is definitely a more buttery frosting than standard. I don’t want to be the one to give you bad news on Christmas Eve… but I have never seen powdered sugar “fix” swiss meringue buttercream frosting. But I’ll have my fingers crossed for you guys!

      • Elizabeth

        Thank you anyway. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to fix. It isn’t thickening up in the fridge like I had hoped. I’m going to try to save the day with another type of frosting. It won’t be fancy, but if I can save her cake somehow I’m going to do it. Especially since their anniversary is today. For future reference, to have a tastier buttercream frosting, what would you recommend?

        • Elizabeth

          Also, thank you so much for responding. I wasn’t sure if I would hear back because today is Christmas Eve. We’re going to start over on the buttercream frosting because my mom is determined, LOL! And Merry Christmas to you and your family! =)

  • Josee

    I comb the web regularly for ideas, inspiration, recipes, etc. I never leave a comment on the sites. I must comment here. I threw out a double batch of SMBC yesterday. I tried again today. It looked “ruined” again. I couldn’t bear to throw out another batch. I hit the web. I found this entry. I put the bowl in the fridge. Twice. No good. I took out some of the SMBC and microwaved for 20 sec. Not enough. Took out some more and microwaved for 35 sec. And then a light shone down on my mixer and pure smooth goodness appeared. I shed a tear of gratitude to you. Thank you

  • Michi


    Thank you so much for your wonderful post. I made a swiss meringue buttercream and it was beautiful and fluffy until – doom! – I added food coloring to it. It completely broke into that nasty scrambled egg/cottage cheese mess.

    I’m very new to food coloring – this was actually my first attempt at coloring (any) buttercream, so I was very sad that I ruined it. I used gel paste by Americolor. Is there a good method for adding gel paste color? Have you ever had food coloring break a buttercream beyond repair?
    However, having said all that, I recall I did leave the frosting in the K.A. bowl for about 15 min. and it was cold enough in my kitchen that it “set.” Having read through your post, I wonder if the microwave trick would have fixed my meringue? What do you think? Apologies for the long question, but I appreciate any help! Thank you.

  • Jenna

    The microwave trick!!! You saved me!!! Thank you so much!

  • Calla Chamberlain

    Bless you. Bless your family. Bless your dog. Bless your third cousin, twice removed.
    You helped me bring my lumpy mess of frosting back from the dead. On the brink of disposal, your easy fixes gave my cake hope! You saved the icing and the rest of my day. You’re a wizard! And I am forever grateful!!

  • Karla

    This tips are awesome! i just tried the plan B and it tourned out just great! even better than the first time! thank you so much! :)

  • betsy

    you’ve completely saved me at the 11th hour! I’ll definitely remember the tip about microwaving a portion and then whipping it back into the rest of the icing. Total life saver!

  • Leslie

    thank you for saving my frosting! great micro tip

  • Maryanne Kuvochi

    Thank you! you just saved my opera cake!

  • ChloeG

    OMG! You save my day! Mine buttercream was like the cottage cheese! Now it is fixed! Thanks!

  • kat

    you saved my SMB’s life! can’t thank you enough!

  • You just saved my husband’s birthday cupcakes, THANK YOU!!!!

  • Andrea

    Hello! Thank you in advance for your time! It’s sad to say that I haven’t had many successes with SMB. I just attempted a batch last night – after I added my butter (very soft butter), it became soup. Taking into consideration that the butter was probably too warm, I refrigerated for 20 minutes. It started to thicken and fluff up, but then it curdled. So, then I microwaved a portion and tried again. It became soup again! Determined to win, I put it back in the fridge. I repeated this twice before throwing it away.

    I’m not sure what went wrong with this one. I usually make a smaller batch so I don’t have mountains of leftovers. Do you think it’s a proportion issue? I also underestimated how much butter I had on hand before I started and thought I could get away with a little less. I appreciate any insight you have! Thanks!

  • Grace

    Most helpful post i’ve ever read on imbc and smbc ever, thank you so much for the tips. :) it’s saved me throwing out many a batch!

  • M

    OMG!! I just had failed miserably and accidentally saw this page and… it WORKED!!

  • Jayne

    I can’t believe this worked. I had a curdled mess a few minutes ago and now I have the icing on the cake! My first time with Swiss buttercream. It really is easy but takes a watchful eye. I know what I did wrong now so next time I expect it to be perfect! Thanks for the tips.

  • Matty

    Wow. I have made swiss meringue buttercream probably a hundred times. Tonight I made the strawberry one with fresh strawberry puree. I got the curdled mess. I started over before reading this blog. Just plain SMB and still got the cottage cheese. I was about ready to give up on them all together and the 15 seconds in the microwave fixed it!!! I will never understand food science or anything French! I just get really happy when it happens to turn out okay. Thanks for making my night!!!

  • Sarah

    Worked perfectly! Thank you!!!

  • amanda

    I have just thrown away 3 batches of swiss meringue…what a waste if only I had taken the time to read your article. Thanks

  • It’s a miracle! Thank you!

  • Laura

    Thank you thank you thank you! Your page came up first on my search for separated Swiss meringue buttercream worked like a dream, thanks so much :)

  • Susie

    THANK YOU. I was in the process of making a birthday cake for my wife, and my chocolate swiss merengue buttercream curdled. I beat it for about 30 minutes – no change. Then I found your trick to heat some of the frosting. Bingo. You saved the day, seriously.

  • Orla

    Thank you SO much. Normally have no problem with my buttercream but today I ended up with a bowl of curdled mess!! Followed your “fix” and could hardly believe my eyes as it returned to a lovely smooth perfect buttercream. :-)

  • Lyn

    Thankyou so much you saved the day for me and it worked perfectly!!!

  • Cindy Goodwill

    Thank you for saving my frosting from disaster! You rock!

  • Katie

    When I make my swiss meringue buttercream, the first step doesn’t turn into stiff peaks- it looks more like glossy marshmallow fluff – this has happened everytime I make it. Do you have any idea what could be causing this? Thanks!!

  • Dhanya

    Thank you a million times…like so many others have mentioned above, you saved my cake :) Similar story – First time Swiss Buttercream, Husband’s birthday cake (and our wedding anniversary on the same day), cottage cheese and on the verge of tears – but your microwave tip worked like magic, and that too within a few seconds, the cheese-mess turned into a fluffy cream instantly. I bookmarked the page right away, not only for future attempts, but also for thanking you :) Again, I can’t thank you enough!!

  • Ben

    Thank you so much for spreading he good word on swiss meringue butter cream! I have a whole other issue: I use Bo Friberg’s “the Professional Pastry Chef” which calls for butter and margarine. In the past I have made it with just butter and added some melted white chocolate at the end like he suggests if you cook without margarine. But this time I happen to have some margarine sitting around so I tried it and it tastes like marshmallow fluff. Also in the fridge, the frosting usually hardens to the consistency of cold butter, but now it still has the texture of marshmallow fluff. Is this because of the margarine? Is it suppose to taste like this?

  • Need to no can you add powder sugar to swiss meringue
    to sweeten it up after it have been thawed to me it isn’t
    sweet enough.

    • You can try but you run the risk of breaking the meringue and not being able to salvage it.

  • Jaime

    I just wanted to THANK YOU for posting this helpful tip! I was about to throw out a triple batch that I was using to fill a wedding shower cake with…but then I found your post and was able to rescue it!!! Phew! You saved me lots of time, money and frustration!!!

  • Dana

    THANK YOU!!! My frosting was looking like cottage cheese, and this just saved my cupcakes πŸ˜€

  • Tracey

    Wow! Thank you for the tip. Just used it to rescue my “cottage cheese” frozen SMB.
    Best tip ever!!!

  • Hendrika

    Hi! But how to fix it when your frosting starts to get runny while already on your cake?
    It was perfect before I iced it! Can the amount of butter in the buttercream cause this? I made IMBC with a reduced % of butter , it came together beautifully but started to break after one hour…I can actually see tiny “lakes” on the surface of the cake…ideas?

  • Yanning

    Hello, you guys are brilliant you have made my WEEK and saved my buttercream!!! It was for a really important cake and I was running out of time & money oh good lord thank you for this wonderful blog!

  • OMG, thank you thank you thank you. love you for these life saving tips.

  • Julie

    Thank you so much. I’ve made Swiss meringue Buttercream twice with success and you know it would happen to be the one day before my son’s 13th birthday that I pulled it out of the fridge super hard but shiny and smooth, tried to re whip it and it became cottage cheese using your microwave tip it salvaged all my time, butter and eggs. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • Hannah

    I know this is a really old post, but found it on Google today. Your tip about curdled buttercream literally saved a wedding cake I’m making for today!!! Thank you!!!!

  • hafizah

    I made a huge rainbow cake for a friend to bring to a party yesterday in 5 hours (it was a challenge and my friend really needed it). I decided to try making Swiss meringue buttercream for the first time in my life (oh no) and it got runny. I popped it in the fridge like the instructions told me to, brought it back out and whipped it up and it began to curdle up. I panicked. I was about to drive out to get more butter to make basic buttercream when I saw this and thought, yeah why not. This article saved my life!!!!! Thank you so much!!!

  • Shawna

    I have never left a comment on a website before but today I had to take the time to do so! You literally saved my daughters birthday cake! I made swiss merengue buttercream icing last night and today it was a separated mess! I must say complete panic set in! Most sites said keep whipping…well that just added to the soupy mess but then I found your site and tried your tip of microwaving 1/4 of the icing and slowly streaming it back in. I did hold my breath but then like magic, and I mean magic….the icing cake back together and looked even more beautiful than it did last night when I made it! Thank you so much! What a valuable tip!
    Shawna : )

  • Anne

    I had made smbc once before and it turned out perfect, froze perfect, thawed perfect. Altogether, I fell in love with it! But I made a batch of Caramel smbc yesterday which came together beautifully (and tasted out-of-this-world!) and stuck it in the fridge. When I took it out today, it was a curdled mess. Thankfully, I found your site and did your refrigerator-and-microwave trick, and it worked! So I iced my cake with it and stuck it in the fridge for 15 mins for it to cool. Imagine my horror when I saw that the smbc had curdled all over again, and while on the cake!! And it looked like it had melted too! I don’t think I can save the cake now…but what on earth did I do wrong??

  • Stephanie

    You saved my frosting. It was a curdled mess, I thought it was a gonner. I whipped it slowly with a fork though after microwaving some of it like you suggested and it magically fixed.

  • michelle

    You saved me with one batch twice..thanks!

    First it went to i put in the fridge. Then this morning i whipped it up ans it curdled…microwave to the rescue. Amazing @

  • Colleen

    Thank you thank you thank you! I thought the fix for my curdled gross mess seemed unlikely, but worth a shot to salvage all those ingredients. The transformation was almost magical! A beautiful buttercream, a beautiful birthday cake. You’ve done a good deed!

  • Chris

    That curdled frosting tip just saved two cups of mocha chocolate ganache. Brilliant!

  • Christina

    Holy cow, you saved me! I didn’t realize that my 100 year-old house could be too cold to make Swiss meringue buttercream, but it was. I tried the microwave trick, and my curdled mess turned into delicious frosting in no time. Thank you so much!

  • Thank you so much for this post, you saved my first attempt at SMB! :)

  • Cate

    Amazing! I had the curdled mess issue after trying to refluff frosting which I had refrigerated overnight. I am astounded by how well it came back together, following your advice!

  • Not to pull the broken record move, but you just saved my ass. And my frosting. (I don’t have a microwave, but basically melting 1/4 of the frosting into a syrup on the stove over low heat and re-incorporating it did the trick!) SCHPANKYOU.

  • Claude

    Omg youve totally just saved my strawberry meringue buttercream!! The microwave trick is awesome!!!

  • Elaine Feliciano

    Hi Shawnda,
    Thank you for this post. My Swiss buttercream turned into cottage cheese mess. I do not own a microwave so when I take 1/4 of the frosting out p, should I melt it in double broiler? What’so the consistency when the 1/4 frosting is put in a microwave. Thank you.

  • Vanessa

    Thank you for the tips! You just saved my runny SMBC!

  • Karla

    You actually just saved my sketchy cheesy buttercream!!!! So thankful

  • Renee

    Endless thanks for the curdling tip!! My 12 year old considers himself a budding food scientist, and he (ok, “we”) are usually successful with SMBC. Today I tried to take a shortcut with packaged egg whites. The egg mixture took at least twice as long to come to stiff peaks, but finally got there. We added our room temp butter as usual and things looked normal. My son loves maple and poured in 1/4 cup maple brown sugar reduction and… blech! Cottage cheese mess! Found your advice ASAP and followed it. So far so good, but the frosting is still soupy. It’s gradually thickening up so I believe we’ll recover.

    Your helpful advice is still making a difference for bakers years later! Thank you… and many, many blessings to you :)

  • Jordan Lynn

    thankyou thankyou thankyou! I found this article just in time. =)

  • I made a raspberry cream cheese frosting and it has separated and looks curddled, but tastes amazing. Can I use the technique listed about – microwave one and fix my frosting despite it having cream cheese?

  • Maya

    I could kiss you! You just saved my life with that swiss maringue buttercream tip!! Thank you thank you so much!

  • sangardanareswari

    You saved my life :). God bless you. I ‘m kissing you on the lip! XXXXXXXX

  • Sharmala

    Help! The egg whites for my swiss meringue buttercream won’t beat up. I tried 2 batches and the same result. The egg whites are flat. This is the first this has happened. Would like some help solving this problem.

  • Leslie Buff

    Thank god I found your website, you just saved me 6 stickies of butter, egg whites, 2 pounds of strawberries and preserves. I made Martha Stewart’s Swiss Buttercream frosting with strawberries but was too tired to frost my cupcakes last night. put it back on the mixer and it turned to a cuddle mess, I was so upset thought I had to start over. So I googled and your site came up and you knew just what to do. I took 1/2 cup of the frosting put it in the microwave for 30 seconds turned on mixer at full speed and like magic it came back together, thank you thank you didn’t know with the strawberries in it if it would but you were right, saved!!!! Love your sight have bookmarked it.

  • Leslie Buff

    Thank god I found your website, you saved me 6 sticks of butter, 8 egg whites, 2 pounds of strawberries and heartache. Last night i too made Martha Stewart’s Swiss Buttercream Frosting with the strawberries, but i was tooo tired to frost my cupcakes. I put the frosting in the refrig and got up this morning to frost. I put it back on the mixer and what happen is exactly like you said I got a cuddle mess, and i was heartbroken, I immediately googled and your site appeared and thank god, thank god, you knew what to do. I followed the last instruction took 1/2 cup of the liquid frosting put it in the microwave for 30 seconds turned my mixer on full speed, added the liquid slowly and what magic, SWISS BUTTERCREAM STRAWBERRY FROSTING!!! Cant thank you enough, have printed your page for future reference, you are a lifesave.!!!!!

  • Kim

    THANK YOU!!! I was so scared to do this caramel buttercream and it would have been horrible had I not found your tips to fix all of my accidents!

  • Maya

    I have repeatedly tried to make this icing and each time I cannot get past adding the butter. I make the egg whites and suger, heat them appropriately and then whip them to fluffy perfection. Add just ONE room-temp cube of butter and the whole thing has turned to soup. Not curdled, or even just ‘falling’. It is soup and no amount of mixing will bring it together again.(Im talking about an hour work . I wasted a lot of time but after a while, the structure of the egg whites broke and I had some very gross soup. I tried all your methods, everything! But it will not come together and normal buttercream is far too sweet for me. Thanks in advance if you reply :)

  • May

    So glad I found this but before I threw out the first batch of Strawberry Miregue Buttercream I made today. The first time I made it I didnt have problem but I don’t know what’s up today that it became a watery mess. I thought I mixed the butter before it was totally cooled off that’s why I threw that batch out (what a waste of good frosting!) Then I made another batch, made sure my egg white and sugar mixture has totally cooled off an soft stiff peaks forme but it happened again after I added my butter. And that’s when I used Mr google and found your website! What a relief because I was about to run out of butter, time and patience. Thanks so much!

  • May

    So glad I found this but before I threw out the first batch of Strawberry Mirengue Buttercream I made today. The first time I made it I didnt have problem but I don’t know what’s up today that it became a watery mess. I thought I mixed the butter before it was totally cooled off that’s why I threw that batch out (what a waste of good frosting!) Then I made another batch, made sure my egg white and sugar mixture has totally cooled off an soft stiff peaks forme but it happened again after I added my butter. And that’s when I used Mr google and found your website! What a relief because I was about to run out of butter, time and patience. Thanks so much!

  • Megan

    Stumbled upon your blog after some desperate Googling, and your cottage cheese texture fix did just the trick. It was magic. Thank so muuuuch for helping a broke student who loves to baking save a little money and learn a lot.

  • Irene

    Four years later, your tricks and tips are still helping us folks out here!

  • Syira

    THIS METHOD WORKS LIKE MAGIC! Thank you and god bless you for sharing this miraculous tip!! (:

    So glad I found this. It makes any disastrous smbc into smooth, silky ones. How is that not magic!


  • Anne

    I had that curdled disaster happen to my frosting, tried out your microwave trick and wow it works…I was amazed! Thank you for the tips.

  • Mame

    Thank you!!! The microwaving helped perfectly. I was bringing back a raspberry frosting that was just in the fridge from this morning. I had used this exact (Sweetapolita) recipe a few times and never had a problem. I live in the south now, SUPER humid, I don’t know if that’s what made is a shloppy, wet mess but the microwave tricked worked wonders. Thank thank thank you!!!

  • Layla

    I know this is not a newer post, but had to thank you for completely saving my bacon! Making my first ever wedding cake, for a ceremony tomorrow. The first test batch and cake came out perfectly, but my “official” batch of SMBC turned into that cottage-cheese look, only with the lovely addition of appearing weepy, too. Nasty! It’s late, I definitely don’t have the ingredients or the time to re-do, and your microwave tip was like magic! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!!!

  • Valerie Marie

    Thank you very much for your tips. It saves my curdle cream. You’re my life savior!
    It’s my first time making swiss meringue buttercream

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