Whether you call it seven-minute frosting, marshmallow frosting, or Swiss meringue, you’re going to want to swoop and swirl this light, airy, and oh-so-sweet topping on every cake, cupcake, and tart that comes your way. Thankfully, it’s incredibly easy to make and is ready in just 10 minutes.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

The testers were incredibly pleased with how quick and easy the seven-minute frosting recipe was to make, and that it made plenty for filling cupcakes and frosting large cakes.

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for seven minute frosting--eggs, granulated sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla.
  • Corn syrup–The addition of a little corn syrup helps to prevent your sugar from crystallizing when it cools. Don’t skip it.
  • Egg whites–Whipping the egg whites creates volume in the 7-minute frosting. Take care to use only the egg whites and no yolk, as the fat from the yolk will prevent the meringue from whipping up. When separating your eggs, you can save and freeze the yolks for making pastéis de nata.

How to Make This Recipe

Egg whites being added to a sauce pan of sugar on a burner with a thermometer on the side.
  1. Combine the sugar and egg whites in a small saucepan or in the bowl of a stand mixer set over simmering water.
  2. Add the corn syrup, water, and salt.
Seven minute frosting mixture being whisked in a saucepan then beaten in a mixer.
  1. Whisk the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Cook over low heat until the mixture reaches 160°F.
  2. Use the stand mixer to whip the frosting until thick and glossy, abut 7 minutes.

Common Questions

how can i use this frosting?

Use this anywhere you want a sweet, airy frosting. It’s stunning atop this classic coconut cake, swooped into airy clouds on a pumpkin meringue pie or s’mores bars, or even piped into homemade Twinkies. The frosting can also be beaten with butter to create Swiss meringue buttercream.

what is seven-minute frosting and why is it called that?

Seven-minute frosting is a light, fluffy icing traditionally used for cake decoration. It’s made by heating sugar, water, and cream of tartar together and then gradually pouring this mixture into whipped egg whites while beating them.

This process creates a silky, meringue-like frosting that’s glossy and holds its shape well, perfect for creating swoops and swirls on a cake. The name “7-minute frosting” comes from the total time it generally takes to beat the frosting to the right consistency, which is around 7 minutes.

how does seven-minute frosting differ from italian meringue?

Seven-minute frosting, also known as Swiss meringue, differs from Italian meringue in a few ways. While both are made with sugar and egg whites to create light, airy frosting, Italian meringue is made by adding a thin stream of hot sugar syrup to beaten egg whites, while Swiss meringue is made by cooking the egg and sugar mixture in a double boiler, then whipping.

Seven-minute frosting is sweeter and lighter than Italian meringue, which is a less sweet but more stable meringue. Since Italian meringue is more stable, it is better suited for decorating cakes and tarts that won’t be consumed immediately.

how can i tell when my frosting is ready?

There are two steps to making perfectly fluffy 7-minute frosting.

First, you need to make sure that the sugar is fully dissolved in the egg whites before whipping. To check this, rub a little bit of the mixture between your fingertips. If it feels grainy, keep cooking.

Once your egg white mixture no longer feels grainy and has reached 160°F, if you’re using a thermometer, you can whip it. It should take about 7 minutes, but it may be more or less. You will know it’s ready when it is light, fluffy, and holds firm peaks.

Helpful Tips

  • Make sure that all of your equipment is very clean before making your meringue. Even trace amounts of oil or fat can prevent the meringue from whipping properly.
  • Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of your frosting. It’s cooked when it reaches 160°F (71°C).
  • Don’t be tempted to increase the heat to speed things along. This can result in the eggs cooking too quickly and creating lumps in the meringue.
  • Use the frosting immediately. It will start to set and become difficult to work with as it sits.

More Amazing Frosting Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

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.

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

Seven-Minute Frosting

4.89 / 18 votes
This traditional Swiss meringue is fluffy, white, and almost marshmallow-like in texture. It's easy to make and takes 7 minutes to whip to fluffy perfection.
David Leite
Servings4 cups
Calories175 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time10 minutes


  • 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


  • Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, egg whites, and salt in the metal bowl of a standing mixer. Set it over (but not touching) a saucepan of simmering water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has completely dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes, and the mixture reaches 160°F (71°C) on a thermometer.
  • Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and beat the mixture on high speed until glossy, thick, and billowing peaks form, about, well, you know, 7 minutes. It may take a little more or a little less time.
  • Beat in the vanilla. Use to frost a cake or cupcakes immediately. Best when consumed within several hours.


  1. Use clean equipment–Make sure that all of your equipment is very clean before making your meringue. Even trace amounts of oil or fat can prevent the meringue from whipping properly.
  2. Don’t rush it–Don’t be tempted to increase the heat to speed things along. This can result in the eggs cooking too quickly and creating lumps in the meringue.
  3. Use the frosting immediately–It will start to set and become difficult to work with as it sits.


Serving: 1 cupCalories: 175 kcalCarbohydrates: 42 gProtein: 3 gFat: 1 gSodium: 118 mgSugar: 42 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 David Leite. Photos © 2023 David Leite. All rights reserved.

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 vanilla 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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Continue mixing while on the double boiler. The frosting was well set within that seven-minute timer!

    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!

  2. 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.