Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

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

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

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


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!


  • 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


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.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 3393
  • Sugar: 412.4 g
  • Sodium: 625.3 mg
  • Fat: 192.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 445 g
  • Protein: 9.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 496.5 mg

Keywords: chocolate buttercream frosting

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Recipe rating

    1. Lindsay

      Using all salted butter would give you quite a salty buttercream. If that is something you would like, then you can certainly do it. Ideally you would use unsalted butter and then add as much salt as you like to taste so it isn’t too salty.

  1. Kelsie

    I usually stick to my trusted buttercream recipes for my decorated cakes but I needed a quick and fluffy ‘pipe on’ icing for a cake to take to work today. Turned out very soft and fluffy, and delicious! Will definitely be a keeper for cupcakes as well!

    1. Lindsay

      It depends a little on how much frosting you like, but I often increase this just a bit, by 1/4 of the recipe.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29