7 Minute Frosting
7 Minute Frosting – The classic meringue or marshmallow-like frosting that is light, fluffy, and holds perfect peaks. Great for cakes and cupcakes!
There are so many different frostings in this world that I feel like I could devote at least an entire month to talking about all of them (maybe we should do that??!). While I use variations of American buttercream the majority of the time (a combo of butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla), I love to experiment with other frostings like Swiss meringue buttercream and ganache, to name a couple.
A couple of weeks ago I made a devil’s food cake, and while I would usually slather it in chocolate frosting, instead I Googled what types of frostings are typically used on devil’s food cake. The far and away favorite was seven minute frosting, which I had heard of, but had never made or eaten before. I KNOW. (I’ve also discovered that it’s a very popular frosting for angel food cake!)
Challenge accepted. And oh my gosh, did everyone love, love, LOVE this frosting!
What Is 7 Minute Frosting?
In a nutshell, seven-minute frosting is very similar to a meringue or homemade marshmallow frosting, which is to say… it’s like a cloud and totally melts in your mouth.
It’s made with egg whites, water, sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla, and sometimes corn syrup; you beat it with a hand mixer in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, and you beat it for… seven minutes (or until you get beautifully glossy, stiff peaks).
When I set out researching recipes for seven-minute frosting, I looked at tons of recipes online and in dozens of cookbooks and found that every single recipe was nearly identical. Some had one extra egg white or a little more or less sugar or vanilla, but by and large, they were all the same. I actually love that because that probably means that all of our grandmas were using the same recipe, right?!
Tips for Making 7 Minute Frosting
- If you don’t have an actual double boiler, no worries, you can totally make this without a double boiler. Simply use a small saucepan with simmering water and a heatproof bowl on top (I like to use my stainless steel bowls for this).
- Using corn syrup is totally optional and I decided to skip it, although many recipes call for it. Some people prefer the added sweetness it imparts, but I think the frosting is plenty sweet without needing it. If you decide you want to make it with corn syrup, however, then you can use 1 tablespoon in place of the cream of tartar.
- If you want to make a “no cook” version of seven minute frosting, bring the water and sugar to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running, slowly pour the sugar syrup in a steady stream into the egg mixture. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture cools to room temperature and is thick, glossy, and stiff.
- Make this frosting as soon as you are ready to assemble and decorate your cake or cupcakes, as the frosting will start to harden as it sits; it will not last sitting at room temperature for very long.
If you like meringue or marshmallows or just light-as-air frosting that melts in your mouth, you HAVE to make 7 minute frosting if you’ve never done so. I’m so thrilled to have this new-to-me frosting recipe in my repertoire!
Also! I saw there is another recipe called seafoam icing that is very similar, but uses brown sugar. I want to try it soon, so if you have a favorite recipe for it, please be sure to share it with me (you can leave it below in the comments or email me!).
(p.s. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the devil’s food cake recipe – it’s the BEST and you don’t want to miss it!)
Five years ago: Bourbon Pecan Pralines
Seven years ago: Best Buttermilk Pancakes
7 Minute Frosting
- 1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (83.33 ml) water
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
- Fill a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low to maintain a steady simmer.
- Place the sugar, water, egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large, heatproof mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer on medium-low speed for 30 seconds to combine.
- Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and beat on high speed for 7 minutes, or until stiff and glossy.
- Remove the bowl from the heat, add the vanilla, and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Use the frosting immediately, as it will start to set and be difficult to spread. Cakes or cupcakes frosted with this should be served within 12 hours of frosting, or stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 days.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
When I was growing up, my standard birthday cake was chocolate cake with seafoam frosting. I loved it! My granddaughter bakes it for me now. I encourage people who have not tried it to do so.
Several desserts can be enhanced by the use of ‘brown’ sugars over white ones. I use brown sugar and dark corn syrup for pecan pie–yum!
I use to make it all the time but now everytime I make it it gets crusty, do you know why?
Hi Debra, If you didn’t have an issue before, did you happen to change type or brand of ingredients? Or did the temperature/humidity where you live change? Those both could make a difference.
Thank you! I haven’t yet made this but have been searching for decades for this recipe. This is the frosting my Mother would always make and put on a Devil’s Food Cake each year for my birthday when I was a child! I’m going to ask my children to make this and your Devil’s Food Cake for me this year for my birthday. You brought me tremendous joy!
hi there!! this recipe looks awesome!! do you think you could torch it as if it was an actual meringue??
example: i think it would be cool to put this all over a cake and torch it! :)
Do you think I could use lemon extract instead of vanilla for a lemony flavor?
I’m curious to see if anyone has made a butter cream frosting out of this recipe?
Could you melt 8oz. Semi sweet choc. And add to recipe to make frosting chocolate?
Heather, Swiss Meringue Buttercream is the buttercream equivalent of 7 minute frosting. I prefer Italian Meringue Buttercream, though. That’s the most stable between the two.
This seems like swiss meringue, but swiss meringue doesn’t have water. Also this might have a much higher ratio of sugar to egg whites than swiss meringue. Can you clarify?
My mother used to make this frosting. It never got hard. She always added 1 finely grated Granny Smith apple to the frosting. Maybe that’s what kept it soft?
Probably the corn syrup kept it soft
while in college at a Woman’s University class of 1971( College of Household Art and Sciences) we had to learn this method for icing cakes, it was mandatory for a good grade. My professor came from Kansas State University in Food Science( Home Economics). WE even learn how to to do the Seafoam icing and coconut marshmellow frosting toasted coconut Using grated fresh coconut. The did not play in those days in class.
I’d like to use this frosting on box devils food cupcakes. 35 to be exact. Can I make these the night before? If so, how do I store them? THank you!
Never mind I just reread directions!
Would 7 minute frosting be a good filling for Whoopie Pies?
Hi Nora, Yes, absolutely!!
I’m looking forward to making your 7 minute icing recipe. I’m making a bunny cake and it calls for 5.5 cups of icing. How much will your recipe make? I’m curious if I have to double it for my purposes.
Hi Bea, It yields 2.5 cups (check the yield box in the recipe above for serving sizes), so I would definitely double it.
I’m so doing this for Easter This Sunday ! Thank you for posting . XX HOPPY EASTER to you and your family .
We made this frosting this afternoon and it is great! It tastes delicious and is so pretty, shiny and fluffy. Thanks for the recipe!
I love your recipes and I often get birthday requests for your cakes. Here’s my question: my daughter wants your Oreo overload cake (which I’ve made many times) but when I saw this recipe I wondered about trying this new frosting with your devil’s food and crushing up Oreos for the icing on the inside and then some on the outside. What do you think? Or I could do this frosting with the other cake that you use for the Oreo cake? I thought about doing a test run but don’t have that much time. :/
Hi Daphne, I think your idea sounds fabulous with the crushed Oreos! You could also still use this 7 minute frosting along with the chocolate cake that’s used for the Oreo overload cake. Either one would work well!
My Mom used to make a wonderful, white 7-minute frosting, and she generally used it on a homemade coconut cake. Her frosting would develop a sort of “crust” after sitting . . . the outside layer of the frosting was almost like a thin candy shell, while the inside was creamy and sweet. Does this particular recipe result in a frosting like that??
Hi Ruth, It SHOULD… complete honesty… I’ve never had it sit around long enough to tell!
Love this on coconut cake. Mom used to put it on Angel Food Cake too. So good!
I have been waiting to hear you talk about using your new instant pot. I have been thinking about getting one, but I wanted to hear from someone that has used one.
Hi Patricia, Honestly I need to do more experimenting with it! I’ve used it a couple of times and have loved the recipes I’ve made in it, but haven’t done any recipe development for it yet.
Hi! I was wondering if this can be used to frost cupcakes that have the potential to sit at room temp all day? Can you pipe it or is it just for spreading?
Hi Vanessa, You could use it for cupcakes, for sure. You can pipe or spread. And yes, you can leave them sit at room temperature for the day.
Thanks for the memories- this was the first frosting I made on my own and put on a spice cake mix cake.
It was late 50’s! Everyone at that time seem to be making cake mix cakes. After I was married in the sixties, I really wanted to learn to cook by scratch- my wonderful mother, with six children to take care of, always preferred the newest and quickest way to do things. I still remember tasting the first brownies I made using a recipe! How wonderful! Thanks for sharing as you continue to learn! At 73, I am still loving to cook and still learning.
Just love keeping up with your beautiful family.
Aww love the memories!
Does this frosting freeze well?
Hi Rena, While I have not frozen it, I have read that others have had success. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 months, then thaw in the refrigerator and stir well before using.
I’ve never made this frosting, but my mom used to make it. I can remember a birthday cake she made for one of my little sisters. She made an angel food cake, iced it with pink frosting & put a doll in the center hole so the cake looked like a skirt. You’ve inspired me to make seven-minute frosting!
Aww that sounds like an adorable cake! I hope you enjoy the frosting :)
I made this brown sugar icing & it was delicious! I put it on a blueberry cake. Half of the people eating it said they don’t like blueberries but they still ate it because the icing was so good.
Oooh thanks so much for sharing, Jen! Sounds wonderful!
Chocolate cake with 7-minute frosting has been one of my favorites since I was a little girl — over 60 years.
I can totally see why! It’s a crazy delicious combo!
A month of icing recipes would be great! Here’s a question for you: is there a difference between ‘icing’ and ‘frosting’? Also have you ever made European buttercream? It’s a bit tricky but so delicious! Eating the entire bowl with a spoon after making it would not be a hard thing to do.
Hi Michelle, I think some people use the terms “icing” and “frosting” interchangeably, but generally speaking, icing is thinner and glossier (more like a glaze), while frosting is the thick, fluffy mixtures used to cover the outsides of cakes and cupcakes. I have made Swiss meringue buttercream but not Italian buttercream. LOVE how silky smooth it is!
Me again! 😂 obsessed with your site! Anyways, I have a birthday cake to make for a little girl who is obsessed with baking and she requested a chocolate cake. Do you have a favorite chocolate cake and do you have a favorite frosting for chocolate cake? I SO trust your opinion. Please and thank you!
Hi Carrie, I do have a favorite! This one: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/peanut-butter-cup-overload-cake/. That basic cake recipe is my very favorite chocolate cake recipe for ANYTHING. I also used it to make a Snickers cake (https://www.browneyedbaker.com/snickers-cake/).
You state the recipe makes 2.5 cups. Will that frost a two layer cake? How much is enough for a batch of cupcakes?
Hi Elisabath, Yes, that should be enough for a two layer cake or a batch of cupcakes.
My mom made this when I was growing up! A favorite, even now!
I love recipes that conjure up nostalgic feelings!
Personally I’d love more frosting recipes!!!!!
Wooo! I will plan on it!
Looks incredible! I love this kind of frosting, the best!
Thank you Tori!
Does this frosting harden??
Hi Allison, It doesn’t get “hard” but it does “set” if that makes sense. You wouldn’t be able to spread it if you let it sit out at room temperature for an hour or two before using it.
Love seven minute frosting. It’s great for cakes that need to be dairy free! Recently made Mel’s kitchen cafe’s carrot cake with this kind of frosting and toasted it. So pretty, dairy free, and delicious.
Awesome tip that this is naturally dairy-free!
I made a couple of your recipes for the Super Bowl and they were a big hit. The chocolate cupcake recipe called for bread flour (only 3/4 cup). I don’t make bread so can I use the rest of the 5# bag as all purpose flour?
Hi Sandy, So awesome to hear the recipes you tried were a hit. Yes, you can substitute all-purpose flour for the bread flour in the chocolate cupcakes.
I make 7 minute frosting all the time! It’s my go to recipe because it never fails. I think I’ve had it not turn out once and it was my fault cause I rushed the recipe and added the hot sugar mix too soon. I make mine by whisking the whites in the mixer until they are starting to get airy and on the stove top I mix water egg whites and sugar and bring it to a nice boil. I don’t really go by temp any more because I’ve made it so many times I just know what it looks like. Then I slowly drizzle in the hot sugar mix into the mixer and mix for abut 7 minutes or so. Love it on chocolate cake, it dyes extremely well and I’ve used it for design decoration (not flowers and such but like making a picture and using the frosting transfer method) and it works excellently. It’s probably my favorite frosting.
Hi Adrianne, Thanks so much for sharing your tips, love the idea of using it for designs!
This is commonly used on coconut cake, and it’s delicious on it!
I’ll have to try that the next time I make coconut cake! Thanks for the suggestion!
So good and very special. This recipe was my Mom’s go to icing for her chocolate Easter cake. Often complete with green coconut for decoration.
Ooooh what a great idea for an Easter cake! Love it!
My mom made this with brown sugar and it was awesome on chocolate cake.
That sounds delicious, I can’t wait to try that version!
I would love a recipe for a vanilla or chocolate Swiss Meringue.
Hi Angela, I’ve made some great vanilla Swiss meringues, but haven’t tackled chocolate yet. Will definitely plan to share soon!