Vegan aquafaba Swiss meringue buttercream frosting

You can make a beautiful and fluffy vegan Swiss meringue buttercream without any egg whites. Just use chickpea water!

Vegan aquafaba Swiss meringue buttercream

Several weeks ago, Addie went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. I didn’t want her to arrive empty-handed so I thought about making a dessert for everyone to enjoy. In any normal situation, I’d bake brownies or make some fun cupcakes. However, the friend’s family has a lot of food allergies that I had to navigate.

Addie’s friend has a dairy allergy. Her sister and dad both have gluten allergies. Mom is allergy-free but tries to eat dairy- and gluten-free since her family cannot consume those ingredients. I ended up baking this healthy deep dish chocolate chip cookie pie and they loved it.

Vegan aquafaba Swiss meringue buttercream

That particular recipe leveraged two cans of chickpeas. I usually throw out the water that the chickpeas come in but have heard that the chickpea water (also known as aquafaba) can be pretty useful in vegan cooking. In particular, I read that one can make a Swiss meringue buttercream out of it.

Intrigued, I saved my chickpea water and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it. I did not have any vegan butter so I used regular butter for my version of the recipe. If you want your buttercream to be truly vegan, be sure to buy vegan butter.

Vegan aquafaba Swiss meringue buttercream

I was astonished when my buttercream came together as advertised. My frosting looked clumpy after whipping, but after a few strokes of my spatula to scrape down the sides, the buttercream smoothed out like a normal Swiss meringue buttercream. The aquafaba worked!

The same day, I baked some chocolate cupcakes and frosted the buttercream on top. Nobody knew that the frosting was made from aquafaba, and I definitely could not tell the difference. I will certainly keep this recipe handy in case I make more treats for our friends with food allergies.

The one edit I made was that I only used 2 sticks of butter in my frosting. The frosting already appeared to be done, so I omitted the last stick of butter.

Husband’s rating: 4 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
My rating: 4.5 out of 5

Vegan aquafaba Swiss meringue buttercream
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5 from 2 votes

Aquafaba Swiss meringue buttercream frosting

A light and fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream that is made with aquafaba - not egg whites!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake, Cupcakes
Servings: 4 cups
Author: Eva Bakes


  • 1 and ¾ cups canned chickpea water It will equal the amount of liquid from two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 and ½ cups (3 sticks) vegan butter softened (I used 2 sticks)
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening


  • In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the chickpea water and sugar to a boil. Allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the chickpea sugar mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer). Allow the chickpea water to cool slightly.
  • Whisk the chickpea water on your highest speed setting until you achieve stiff peaks. This may take more than 5 minutes and even longer if using a handheld mixer. Be patient - it will come together.
  • Add the cream of tartar and the powdered sugar and keep whipping until both are fully incorporated.
  • Add the vegan butter and shortening until your frosting is smooth and shiny. Finally, add the vanilla.
  • Note: My frosting appeared curdled after whipping. However, when I took out my spatula and folded the frosting around a bit, it smoothed out.


Leftover buttercream should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will last about a week. You may need to re-whip it after thawing.
Source: Gretchen's Vegan Bakery


  1. June 4, 2022 / 9:57 am

    5 stars
    This is my go to frosting. It’s absolutely perfect! Thanks for coming up with this recipe.

    • evabakes
      June 5, 2022 / 7:14 am

      I didn’t come up with it, so I can’t take the credit. Glad it’s now your go-to frosting!

  2. Gulcan
    February 21, 2023 / 6:40 pm

    I have everything except vegan shortening. Can I omit or substitute it? Thanks a lot!

    • evabakes
      February 21, 2023 / 7:22 pm

      You could try to substitute it with more vegan butter. I have not personally tried so cannot verify that it works. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out!

  3. Reham
    March 30, 2023 / 2:35 pm

    Hello, I’ve made this recipe several times and is the best vegan buttercream!

    Not sure what happened this time, but the mix went soupy after adding the powdered sugar. Is there a fix for it or do I start over?

    • evabakes
      March 30, 2023 / 2:44 pm

      Hi Reham – while I haven’t had this happen before, I wonder if you had too much liquid. You can try chilling the frosting and re-whipping it, or add more powdered sugar or corn starch. Hope that helps.

      • April 1, 2023 / 9:59 am

        Thank you so much for getting back to me. I ended up chilling the mix I started with and making a fresh batch. I then re whipped the first batch and it came together!!! So I now have 2 batches of frosting to use 😁

        Thanks again you saved the day ❤️

        • evabakes
          April 9, 2023 / 1:52 pm

          That’s wonderful, Reham! Glad you now have two batches of frosting to use! 😊

  4. Lee Bee
    May 10, 2024 / 2:00 pm

    5 stars
    This worked out great! I did 2 sticks of vegan butter instead of 3, and used brown sugar instead of white and it turned out amazing. When I added butter and whisked it appeared curdled, then I swapped out whisk for paddle with scrapper that I use for regular buttercream and it came together perfectly. This will be my go to vegan frosting.

    • evabakes
      May 16, 2024 / 3:47 pm

      Fantastic – I’m glad your substitutes worked, Lee Bee! 🙂

  5. Ana
    May 29, 2024 / 10:12 pm

    I’ve seen some recipes calling for low sodium chickpeas, do you think that matters for this recipe? Thanks

    • evabakes
      May 30, 2024 / 12:09 pm

      I haven’t tried it myself so cannot tell you if it will work or not (or have a salty aftertaste). Please let me know if you try it!

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