My Favorite Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

November 10, 2012

This Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is what dreams are made of. It’s fluffy, creamy, smooth, rich, indulgent, chocolaty, and delicious! Adapted from my popular vanilla buttercream frosting, this chocolate frosting is simply perfect.

chocolate buttercream frosting on a whisk

Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate. Do we need much more in life? I know I definitely have a serious weakness for chocolate.

I have a really hard time understanding people who don’t. Like my sister, for instance. I love ya sis, but I will never understand why you pick the chocolate chips out of your chocolate chip cookies.

Plus, even chocolate has its nutritional value with the antioxidants it contains, right? How much, well that’s not important.

All I know once upon a time I heard chocolate contains antioxidants which helps slow aging so I need not ask further questions. I simply just say that means I need to eat more chocolate.

With that said, chocolate buttercream frosting for breakfast? Mmkay.

I love when my mom comes to stay and she get’s excited when I have some left over buttercream frosting in my fridge that she can pile on her morning oatmeal. What a great way to start the day.

I’ve had a few people ask if my recipe for My Favorite Fluffy Buttercream Frosting could be adapted to make chocolate buttercream frosting. So rather than guessing to answer your questions, I’ve decided to create and post what I thought are the best proportions.

Don’t be fooled by its pale shade, this is a very rich chocolate buttercream. The pale color is just due to all the whipping of the butter, so the rich chocolate flavor may take some by surprise.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

For this chocolate frosting recipe, you’ll need:

  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla extract

How to Make Chocolate Frosting

  • In an electric stand mixer, whip butter until pale and fluffy.
  • Sift in powdered sugar and cocoa powder, followed by vanilla and heavy cream.
  • Whip the chocolate buttercream icing until fluffy.

How Much Frosting Does This Recipe Make?

This chocolate buttercream frosting recipe should yield enough for 24 cupcakes or a two layer 9-inch cake.

Can I Add Espresso Powder to This Recipe?

Yes, for an even richer flavor you can add 1/2 to 1 tsp instant espresso powder. You’d want to add it in when you sift in the cocoa powder.

chocolate buttercream frosting in bowl of standing mixer

Can I Use Milk Instead of Cream?

Yes. The frosting will be slightly less fluffy, but milk would work as well in this recipe.

Can This Frosting be Made in Advance?

Just like whipped cream, this homemade chocolate frosting will start to deflate after a few hours. It will still taste delicious, but it won’t be as fluffy if you wait a couple hours to serve it.

To keep the frosting as fluffy as possible while you’re waiting to serve it, keep it in the refrigerator.

Can You Freeze Frosting?

I haven’t tried freezing frosting myself, but according to the Kitchn you can easily freeze and thaw chocolate buttercream.

Tips for the Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • For a slightly milder, more milk chocolate-like flavor, increase the amount of powdered sugar to 4 cups and decrease the cocoa powder to 1/2 cup (leave other ingredient measurements the same).
  • The butter must be at room temperature, otherwise it won’t whip up properly.
  • Melted chocolate can’t be substituted for the cocoa powder in this recipe.

More Buttercream Frosting Recipes You’ll Love:

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4.67 from 6 votes

Perfectly rich and silky smooth, brimming with chocolate flavor and the perfect finish to any chocolate or vanilla cake. 

Servings: 18
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups butter , at room temperature (I like to use 1 cup unsalted and 1/2 cup salted)
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (scoop and level to measure)
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp heavy cream or half-&-half
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment (paddle attachment works too. Whichever you use just pay attention the the shade of the butter), whip butter on moderately high speed until very pale and fluffy (nearly white in color), about 6 - 8 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl. 
  2. Sift in cocoa powder then add in powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp heavy cream and vanilla and mix on low speed until combine, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed and adding up to 1 tbsp additional cream to thin if desired. Increase mixer to medium-high speed and whip mixture until pale and very fluffy about 4 - 5 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl.

Recipe Notes

  • For a slightly milder more milk chocolate-like flavor, increase the amount of powdered sugar to 4 cups and decrease the cocoa powder to 1/2 cup (leave other ingredient measurements the same).
  • Note that similar to whipped cream the frosting will lose some of its "fluff" after a few hours, it will still taste the same it just loses some of the air that was whipped into it (similar to whipped cream how it loses it's stabilization after a few hours). It is best to prepare and use within a few hours for best (fluffiest) results.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chocolate Frosting
Author: Jaclyn