My Favorite Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

October 24, 2019  ·  Published November 10, 2012

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This Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is what dreams are made of. It’s fluffy, creamy, smooth, rich, decadent, perfectly chocolaty, and just absolutely delicious. So good you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful!

Adapted from my popular vanilla buttercream frosting, this chocolate frosting is simply perfect.

Chocolate buttercream frosting on top of chocolate cupcake

Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This frosting really is the ultimate icing on the cake! From it’s melt-in-your-mouth texture to its indulgent flavor, it’s dreamy in every way.

And it all starts with chocolate, in pure cocoa form. I mean 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. It’s hard to watch, until I proceed to eat them.

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

I’m only kidding but I do 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’m telling you everyone is going to love this frosting! It will make that heavenly chocolate cake or yellow cake perfectly divine.

chocolate buttercream frosting ingredients

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

For this chocolate frosting recipe, you’ll need:

  • Butter – I recommend using both unsalted and salted. Whenever I’ve added salt to frosting it never seems to fully dissolve and evenly distribute. You just taste those little bits, easy fix salted butter. But you don’t want all salted butter or frosting will be too salty.
  • Powdered sugar (confectioners sugar) – this extra fine sugar creates a perfectly smooth frosting.
  • Cocoa powder – use good quality cocoa for best flavor, use unsweetened natural cocoa.
  • Heavy cream – I like to use this to keep the frosting rich and fluffy. Milk won’t work as well.
  • Vanilla extract – this pairs perfectly with the flavors of the chocolate. Use real vanilla.

Steps to making chocolate frosting

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 well combined.

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. If you like lots of frosting you can make 1 1/2 the recipe.

Chocolate frosting on a spatula

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.

What About Using Dutch Cocoa?

Yes dutch process cocoa will work great here too.

Can This Frosting be Made in Advance?

Yes you can make it up to 4 days in advance. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Before using bring to room temperature. From there you can whip again to fluff it back up a little if desired.

Can You Freeze It?

Yes it can be frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator then rest at room temperature until soft.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting in a mixing bowl.

Tips for the Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • The butter must be at room temperature (or nearly room temp), otherwise it blend with other ingredients well and won’t whip up properly.
  • Don’t let the butter get too warm or it will melt.
  • Sift cocoa first especially if it’s clumpy.
  • Melted chocolate can’t be substituted for the cocoa powder in this recipe.

More Buttercream Frosting Recipes You’ll Love:

Chocolate buttercream frosting on top of chocolate cupcake
4.91 from 21 votes

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Perfectly rich and decadent, silky smooth, brimming with chocolate flavor and the perfect finish to any chocolate, yellow or vanilla cake. Makes enough frosting for a 2-layer cake or about 24 cupcakes (unless you like a tower of frosting).
Servings: 18
Prep15 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes


  • 1 cups (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups (480g) powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup (70g) cocoa powder (scoop and level to measure)
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • In a the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, whip butter on moderately high speed until very pale and fluffy (nearly white in color), about 5 - 8 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl. 
  • 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.
  • For added fluffiness if desired continue to whip about 3 - 4 minutes longer.


  • Frosting can be made a few days in advance. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before using. If desired rewhip a little for added fluffiness.
Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 257 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 44mg15%
Sodium 49mg2%
Potassium 62mg2%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 26g29%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 507IU10%
Calcium 11mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.
Recipe originally published Nov. 2012, photos have been updated.


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  • Cindy

    Great frosting! I added more heavy whipping cream for more coverage.

  • DJ

    Is this recipe supposed to say sticks of butter instead of cups? 3 cups of butter total to 4 cups of powdered sugar seems pretty heavy on the butter.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes that is 3 sticks or 1.5 cups, sorry where are you seeing the 3 cups?

        • Jaclyn

          Jaclyn Bell

          For the cake? For the chocolate cake you can make a homemade buttermilk substitute by mixing 1/3 cup milk with 1 tsp lemon juice or plain vinegar. Let rest 5 minutes.

          • Janeen

            I’m sorry I guess I should have been more specific sorry…I meant in the frosting…right now cakes are in the over, and they smell delicious!

          • Jaclyn

            Jaclyn Bell

            No worries! Milk can be used instead of cream in the frosting it just won’t be quite as fluffy and rich. I’d start with just a little less since it’s runnier.

  • K

    Looks very yummy but I haven’t never come across a recipe that asks for 400g of sugar for the cake plus another 400g for the butter cream!

    For the eyes only…

    • Nadine Highland

      Hi there, this frosting looks amazing! Would this make enough to completely cover a 2 layer cake, with a layer in between? Thanks :)

      • Jaclyn

        Jaclyn Bell

        Yes it makes enough for a two layer cake to cover tops of each layer and sides.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      If you keep scrolling down the page ingredient amounts and directions are there in a recipe box.

  • Amy Merrow

    This is the best chocolate frosting I have ever had! It also makes plenty of frosting.


    Hope it tastes better with the cake I made than by itself. Very slick mouthfeel. Used both unsalted and salted and it still needs salt.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Maybe perhaps you are looking for more of a texture you’d get in a Chocolate Swiss Meringue frosting? Then as far as salt goes this really can very based on personal preference but you can always add a pinch or two of salt as needed or next time go with 2 sticks of salted butter 1 unsalted.

  • Deb Stuart

    I made this frosting tonight for my daughter birthday Thursday. It was my 1 st time using my new Kitchenaide mixer. I was very messy, but the frosting turned out great. Sweet and buttery flavor and it whipped up so nice and light. Tomorrow I will bake the Cake and then assemble on her day. Thank you, I will definitely use this recipe from now on & share with friends.