Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

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Learn how to make the best chocolate buttercream frosting with this easy recipe! It tastes amazing and is perfect for frosting cakes and piping onto cupcakes! I use it all the time and it’s one of my favorite frosting recipes!

Pinterest Image Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate buttercream frosting is a true staple. I’ve already shared a recipe for a Fudgy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting that uses melted chocolate, so today I want to share the classic version with you. Creamy, smooth chocolate buttercream made with rich cocoa and loads of butter. Totally to die for and my most used chocolate buttercream!

What to use Chocolate Buttercream With

You can really use chocolate buttercream with just about anything – even a spoon! But some of my favorite recipes that I use it with are these:

Best Moist Chocolate Cake
Moist Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Homemade Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
Moist Vanilla Layer Cake
Marble Cake
German Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting on paddleChocolate Buttercream Frosting on cupcake

How to make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Making buttercream is really quite simple, whether it’s vanilla buttercream or chocolate. The steps are fairly similar.

First, add your butter to your mixer and beat until smooth and creamy. Be sure it’s at room temperature so that it will smooth out and not give you lumps.

Next, you’ll add about half of the powdered sugar. It doesn’t have to be exact. Mix it all together until it’s nice and smooth. If you don’t use your powdered sugar often, you might find that it’s a little lumpy. If so, sift it before adding it to the butter.

Then add your cocoa powder and mix it all together.

Next, add the vanilla extract and some water or heavy cream. You want to add some liquid to keep the buttercream from getting super thick as we continue to add the powdered sugar. I usually add about 2 tablespoons of liquid at this point so that I don’t over do it. You can always add more later if it’s too thick, but you once it’s added you can’t remove it.

Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.

Now you’ll want to add additional liquid as needed. How much you add may depend a little on what you’re using your chocolate buttercream frosting for, but somewhere between 4 and 8 tablespoons is plenty. I leave it a little thicker for a cake and make it a little thinner for cupcakes so that piping goes a little more smoothly. You can refer to my post on frosting consistency for a little more help on how much liquid to add and how much is too much. Also, check out my posts on frosting a smooth cake and how to frost your cupcakes. Both tutorials work great with this buttercream.

Finally, add a little salt for flavor.

How to make black frosting

If you’re looking to make a black buttercream frosting, you’ll want to start with this chocolate buttercream and then add black gel icing color to it. Vanilla buttercream won’t work well. You’d end up with a dark grey frosting, rather than black. So add as much gel icing color as needed to get a full black. Just keep in mind that the frosting color will darken as it sits. So if you’re adding more and more color and it seems like it’s not getting any darker, than it’s probably good enough and it darken as it sits. For this recipe, I’d say you’ll need at least half of an ounce container of gel icing color to get a really full black.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting piped on counterChocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe on cupcake side view

Make ahead suggestions

You can easily make this buttercream ahead. Make it 2-3 days ahead and refrigerate it until you need it. Let it come to room temperature and stir it well before using. You can even store it in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

To freeze the buttercream, put it in a container and freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw it in the fridge before using, then bring to room temperature and stir it well before using.

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chocolate buttercream piped onto table
Recipe

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: about 2 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Learn to make the best chocolate buttercream frosting with this easy recipe! It tastes amazing and is perfect for frosting cakes and piping onto cupcakes! I use it all the time and it’s always a hit!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (403g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (57g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 48 tbsp (60-120ml) heavy whipping cream (or water)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

1. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
2. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
3. Add the cocoa powder and mix until well combined and smooth.
4. Add the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of water or cream and mix until smooth and well combined.
4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
5. Add more water or cream until desired consistency is reached, then add salt.


Keywords: chocolate buttercream frosting

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Recipe rating

29 Comments
  1. Christine Wiseman

    Will this be stiff enough to make roses with?  And how much should I need for a half sheet cake ( I am also a heavy handed frosted)

  2. Carrie Lindsey

    Thank you for this recipe – it was exactly what I was looking for and came out perfect!

  3. Leesha

    Thanks for the recipe of chocolate butter cream,
    Is it okay for smooth frosting too?
    And will its stick in tissue trick?
    Will it be okay to just add cocoa to your american butter crean frosting? Because i liked it alot and tomorrow 

    1. Lindsay

      This one will work with my smooth frosting technique. And this is the same as my vanilla buttercream, but with cocoa and a little less powdered sugar.

  4. Susanne

    HI There,
    Will this icing recipe be enough for a two or three layer cake?
    You are very talented and make such beautiful recipes!

    Glad I found your site.
    Susanne Kitchener Ontario

    1. Lindsay

      It depends a little on how much frosting you use on your cakes. When I frost cakes, I either double this recipe or do 2 1/2 recipes worth, but I’m a little heavier handed with frosting than some.

      Thank you, Susanne! Glad you’re enjoying it!

    1. Lindsay

      Yes. When butter is cold, it gets hard, which the primary component of buttercream. To use it after refrigerating it, you’ll need to bring it back to room temperature.

  5. Sydnee

    Will this chocolate frosting work with the viva paper towel trick as well? And I love your recipes so much! I’m 

  6. julie terwilliger

    This made such delicious creamy structured frosting! It was almost bouncy in texture, definitely would be great for piping. 
    It had a wonderful rich flavor without being too gritty or too sugary. Can’t wait for my husband to bite into his chocolate birthday cake I made him, he will love it. 

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12