My Favorite Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Published October 24, 2019. Updated October 25, 2019

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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.

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Chocolate buttercream frosting on top of chocolate cupcake
4.92 from 24 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



  • 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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  • Lady Deatherage

    Hi Jaclyn! This recipe is fantastic! I have made this chocolate frosting for all of my cakes for kids’ birthdays, just because, and any occasion that calls for chocolate frosting. Your chocolate cake, carrot cake and plain butter cream, as well as cream cheese frosting are ALL my go-to recipes for my cakes. I only ever tweak down the powdered sugar in the frosting, but that is my preference. You have tonnes of recipes that I have bookmarked and I just felt the need to say thank you so much for taking your time and putting all of these wonderful recipes here for the public to find. I really appreciate you and pray that you are blessed.

  • Kimberly Hudon

    I have used tis recipe before and it was great, just seemed a bit short. I plan on doubling. Yellow cake recipe is great too. Thank you from Atlanta Ga.

  • Paul DeLong

    I never really knew how much butter and sugar went into buttercream frosting – scary but delicious! This recipe was terrific and easy to follow.

  • Paul Maiorana

    The Frosting over all was good but not special. Store bought would have been comparable so not worth my time and effort. It was not nearly as buttery as I like. We could chalk it up to personal preference but to put the effort into making buttercream frosting, I would have loved it to be a true melt in your mouth, BUTTERcream. Perhaps more butter next time?

  • Heather Berry

    I made this delicious frosting for a 3 layer birthday cake and it was a HIT! Everyone at the party was raving and a few asked if I’m a professional baker! I quadrupled the recipe, using all salted butter and omitted about half the vanilla because I ran out. I also used half Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder and half regular, I liked the combination of flavors. This will be my go-to chocolate frosting recipe (and yes it’s great eaten with a spoon!)

  • Leona Dunn

    I made this to go on top on a Choclate zucchini cake. It is a great tasting frosting.

  • Helen M Demarest

    This butter cream is not dairy free. You use butter and heavy cream. How do you make it Dairy Free?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Did you find it listed somewhere as dairy free? I’ve never tried making it dairy free but I would maybe try coconut cream and a vegan butter. The vegan butter I would reduce to 1 c and I would start with just 1 tbsp coconut cream.

        • Jaclyn

          Jaclyn Bell

          I’m sorry I don’t have a chocolate cake tagged dairy free. Was this link coming from another site?