Seven Minute Frosting is an old-fashioned recipe that should never go out of style. It’s sweet. It’s fluffy. It’s a veritable cloud of a frosting. Even better, you need just a handful of pantry ingredients and about 7 minutes to make this recipe.
What is Seven Minute Frosting?
Have you heard of Swiss Meringue? Whisk egg whites and sugar over simmering water until fluffy and you’ve got a Swiss Meringue, and you’ve also got a batch of Seven Minute Frosting.
Old recipes instruct you to whisk the egg whites over simmering water for 7 minutes until they’re at full peak. Hence the name, “Seven Minute” Frosting.
Rather than standing over a pot of simmering water for a full seven minutes, I heat the egg white mixture to 160°F, then take it off the heat.
At this temperature the egg whites are in the safe zone to kill any bacteria. Also, the sugar is melted and the whites are coagulated for a stable meringue.
I finish whipping the whites on my stand mixer until they are cooled and at stiff peak. That takes about 4-5 minutes.
All told, it still takes about the same amount of time. I just prefer not to stand over the stove the entire time. With a stand mixer those last 4-5 minutes are hands-off and you get a little more volume.
- Granulated sugar
- Egg whites
- Cream of tartar
- Vanilla extract
How to make Seven Minute Frosting with a stand mixer:
- Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tarter in a mixing bowl.
- Whisk the egg whites over simmering water until the temperature reaches 160°F.
- Transfer the bowl to the mixer and whisk until the meringue is at full peak. About 4-5 minutes.
- Use right away as it will begin to set.
- The frosting must be used right after it’s made.
- Once it’s made it will begin to set and will be difficult to spread.
- A cake iced with seven minutes frosting can be held at room temperature for one day.
Pastry Chef Tips for making Seven Minute Icing:
- I always use fresh egg whites. If you use pasteurized egg whites from a carton make sure the package says they can be used for meringue. Some markets sell pasteurized eggs still in the shell, those can also be used for this recipe.
- Make sure your mixing bowl is absolutely clean. If there’s a trace of grease or egg yolk the whites won’t whip properly.
- You can use a hand mixer and whip the whites for the traditional 7 minutes over water. I find mixing off the water easier.
- The water under the bowl should be at a low simmer, not a full boil.
- Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
- Bring the whites to at least 160°F before removing from the heat. You can even go a bit higher to be sure the whites are hot enough to make a stable meringue.
- You can toast Seven Minute Frosting with a blow torch or under a broiler for a pretty finish.
This is the perfect frosting for Lemon Meringue Cupcakes!
Now that you’ve made this recipe what should you do with the extra yolks? Check out this collection of recipes that use extra yolks for some great ideas.
If you love this light and fluffy frosting you should try making Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It’s exactly the same, but with the addition of butter. For another old fashioned frosting you might enjoy Ermine Frosting.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Seven Minute Frosting
- 8 oz granulated sugar (1 cup)
- 4 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 8 oz granulated sugar, 4 large egg whitesm ½ teaspoon cream of tartar, and ¼ teaspoon table saltSet the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisk the egg whites until the temperature reaches 160°F.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Whip the whites on high speed until stiff peaks form and the whites are cooled. About 4-5 minutes.
- Use immediately as the frosting will stiffen upon standing.
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