Seven-Minute Frosting

This traditional frosting is fluffy, white, and almost meringue-like in texture. It’s easy to make and takes 7 minutes to cook.

A large stand-mixer beater covered with white, fluffy seven minute frosting.

Seven-minute frosting is named for the length of time it must be beaten in the final stage. Made with beaten egg whites, it’s similar to meringue, but is more stable and sturdy enough for piping yet still has a delicate flavor and lighter-than-air texture. The frosting will harden quickly, so have the cake you are going to frost already prepared before making the frosting and spread it on while the beaten egg whites and sugar are still pliable. Once frosted, the cake may sit out for up to several hours before being served, but no longer than that.–Martha Stewart


Yes, technically speaking, this is Seven-Minute Frosting, although we prefer the more whimsical nickname of Marshmallow Frosting. It’s easy to understand how this came to be, given the luscious, billowy, lick-the-batter inducing photograph above from the indubitable Smitten Kitchen. And, of course, there’s always the recipe’s trademark sweet, sweet, sweetness. No matter what its name, though, you can rely on this frosting to lend a sophisticated edge to many a made-from-scratch-baked good. It can even double as a pastry filling for–and we say this in all seriousness–homemade Twinkies.

Seven-Minute Frosting

A large stand-mixer beater covered with white, fluffy seven minute frosting.
This traditional frosting is fluffy, white, and almost meringue-like in texture. It’s easy to make and takes 7 minutes to cook.
Martha Stewart

Prep 5 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 10 mins
4 cups
175 kcal
4.91 / 10 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook cookbook

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  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In the metal bowl of a standing mixer set over (but not touching) a saucepan of simmering water, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, egg whites, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has completely dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on high speed until glossy, thick, and billowing peaks form, about, well, you know, 7 minutes. (Although truth be told, sometimes it doesn't take quite that long. When in doubt, just look at the picture above; that’s what you want.) Beat in the vanilla. Use to frost a cake or cupcakes immediately. Best when consumed within several hours.
Print RecipeBuy the Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 175kcal (9%)Carbohydrates: 42g (14%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 1g (2%)Sodium: 118mg (5%)Potassium: 42mg (1%)Sugar: 42g (47%)Calcium: 3mgIron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

The grandchildren asked me for cupcakes they could take to school in their lunches, so I decided to try this frosting recipe as a filling. I used my KitchenAid to mix this with and it didn’t quite take the full 7 minutes.

I put the frosting in a pastry bag and squirted a generous amount into each cupcake as a filling. Then I sealed each cupcake in a resealable plastic sandwich bag to make the cupcakes easy to pack in their lunches. They were a big hit.

This is a lovely frosting. I used it on a coconut cake and it was perfect in combination with the rich and coconut-y cake and as the base for the sprinkling of coconut atop and all the way around the cake. There was more than enough frosting for the pair of 2-layer, 4-1/2-inch cakes the recipe yielded. I

cannot stress enough the seriousness of the sentence in the instructions that read, “Use immediately.” We baked the first two layers of the cake, cooled the cake, frosted it, and then baked the second two layers of the cake because we had two, not four, 4 1/2-inch cake pans. By the time the second two layers had cooled and were ready to be frosted, the frosting was not in the optimal state for spreading that it had been when first made. Next time, we would make all of the cakes first, cool them, and then frost both at the same time.

Originally published March 12, 2011


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    1. Axa, some recipes call for a microwave. If you want to use one, I suggest finding one created for that purpose as the instructions are different. That way you’ll be assured success!

  1. I beat the mixture for almost 20 minutes and it was still liquid. Is it possibly because the sugar was not completely dissolved before I started whipping it? If so, could I salvage it by placing over double boiler again, stir it til dissolved, and try whipping it again?

    1. There are several possibilities as to why your frosting is still liquid. Your egg white mixture may not have cooked not enough to allow the egg proteins to form new bonds. It also could be that a bit of yolk got into the mixture, or that there is some grease residue on your beaters. I’m not sure that it can be salvaged, but it is certainly worth a try.

  2. 5 stars
    This was an easy recipe to follow and it came out great. For seven minutes, it tastes more like a half-hour recipe. It was very fast to make and tasty too. I would recommend this recipe to my friends. Thank you again.

  3. 5 stars
    Wow!! It tastes delicious! I put it on a chocolate cupcake then torched it to a golden brown. I would definitely recommend this recipe, it tastes like a marshmallow!

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