7 Minute Frosting – The classic meringue or marshmallow-like frosting that is light, fluffy, and holds perfect peaks. Great for cakes and cupcakes!

A devil's food cake covered in seven minute frosting on a cake stand.

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!

A bowl with seven minute frosting in it.

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?!

Beating 7 minute frosting in a bowl with a hand mixer.

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!).

A layer of devil's food cake with 7 minute frosting on top.

(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

A bowl with seven minute frosting in it.

7 Minute Frosting

The classic meringue or marshmallow-like frosting that is light, fluffy, and holds perfect peaks. Great for cakes and cupcakes!
4.55 (22 ratings)


  • cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • cup (83.33 ml) water
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 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.


Nutritional values based on one cup of frosting
Calories: 484kcal, Carbohydrates: 120g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 54mg, Potassium: 88mg, Sugar: 120g

Did you make this recipe?

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