Vanilla Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe

If Oprah ever asked me her famous question “What is the one thing you know for sure?” Without skipping a beat, I would firmly reply “A cupcake without frosting is only a muffin.”

Now that you understand exactly how important frosting is in the whole line-up of life lessons, we can move on. 😉

I hit gold when I came up with my Paleo Carrot Cake recipe, and I seriously love the cake plain, but like I said above, it’s just a carrot muffin if it doesn’t have frosting. I used to slather my carrot cakes with cream cheese frosting, but now that all dairy (except butter) is off the table for me too, I had to come up with a gluten free, dairy free (butter acceptable), Paleo friendly frosting recipe that would not only keep my reputation in tact, but that could stand up to the challenge of my ultra-picky cream cheese frosting loving family. 

I did a little research and hit on this Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting at Her’s was chocolate, and I found Martha Stewart’s instructions to be more to my liking, so I combined the two to make a Vanilla Buttercream Frosting that is truly decadent enough to make any cake special!

If you’re sensitive to all dairy including butter, please see *notes in the recipe below, as this recipe can be made completely dairy free.

Vanilla Meringue Buttercream Frosting


Prep time

20 mins

Total time

20 mins

This silky frosting is stable, buttery and truly delicious!


  1. 3 large egg whites

  2. ½ cup organic sugar (this is the brand I use)

  3. pinch of fine sea salt (omit if using salted butter)

  4. 12 Tbs (2 sticks) *unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces, at room temp.

  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in the top portion of a double boiler, or in a heat proof bowl over a pan of water (that does not touch the bottom of the bowl). I used the the metal bowl from my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and just put it on top of a small pan of water (that allowed the bowl to sit about 2 inches inside the pan, without touching the water). The handle got in the way a bit, but I just held onto it and it was no problem.

  2. Whisk the egg white mixture constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved. (The mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between two fingers)


  1. Remove from heat and attach the mixer bowl to the mixer and insert whisk attachment.

  2. Starting on low and gradually increasing to med-high, whisk until stiff peaks form. Continue whisking until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and the outside bottom of the bowl is completely cool to the touch. About 7-10 minutes.


  1. Turn the mixer down to med-low speed, and slowly add butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth between additions.

  2. Once all the butter has been added, whisk in vanilla.


  1. Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are gone, about 2 minutes.

  2. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.

  3. Keep butter at room temperature if using the same day, otherwise refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using.


If you are intolerant to butter, please note that this recipe can be made using a palm shortening. You'll likely have to add a bit more salt, and possibly more sugar to get the taste to "come alive" but it will still be great (keep in mind that most store bought cakes that are frosted with "buttercream" frosting are made using a shortening and not actual butter)!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 1672 Fat: 138g Saturated fat: 87g Unsaturated fat: 41g Trans fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 101g Sugar: 101g Sodium: 330mg Protein: 12g Cholesterol: 366mg


#vegetarian #frosting #cake #dessertrecipe #Paleo

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