Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Favorite Chocolate Buttercream

Deliciously soft, creamy, silky, and easy PERFECT chocolate buttercream recipe!

Here we go! This is my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe. I’m tempted to call it a “basic” chocolate buttercream, but it’s anything but– it’s incredibly CREAMY, silky, smooth, and rich. Like a decadent brownie in frosting form. Melts in your mouth and is unbelievable on chocolate cupcakes.

Deliciously soft, creamy, silky, and easy PERFECT chocolate buttercream recipe!

Even though it’s a wonderfully creamy chocolate buttercream, it holds its shape beautifully. So it’s perfect for piping even the most intricate and fancy designs.

I’ve made this chocolate buttercream more times than I can count, but I adore it paired with cookies and cream cupcakes, yellow cupcakes, and coconut cupcakes (yum!). If you scale it up, you can use it to frost a layered cake, like I do with my marble cake recipe.

Dive into this chocolate decadence!

Deliciously soft, creamy, silky, and easy PERFECT chocolate buttercream recipe!

Favorite Chocolate Buttercream


  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature2
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick.
  2. Cover tightly and if not using right away, store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9x13 quarter sheet cake. Follow these ratios for a 2 layer cake and these ratios for a 3 or 4 layer cake.

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And here is my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe!

Deliciously soft, creamy, and easy PERFECT vanilla buttercream recipe!

Deliciously soft, creamy, silky, and easy PERFECT chocolate buttercream recipe!



  2. Thank You so much for the recipe. You’re a lifesaver. 
    I’ve just put the batch in. Hope it does well. 

  3. This was great! (I kept this in my recipe book) The only thing I would change is maybe a little less vanilla. Maybe 1.5 tsps. instead of 2. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop licking the kitchen utensils!

  4. A co-worker wanted vanilla cake with chocolate frosting for her baby shower and I found your recipe tonight. Heavens this is a delicious mix. It frosted 24 cupcakes perfectly and I used a star tip for flair. There was just enough left in the bag for me to enjoy an index finger’s worth, but there  is no way I could have saved it for another use if there had been more. It’s that good. 

  5. I have a quick question i won’t have time to put it one week in the freezer would it still work??

    • I’m not sure I understand the question?

    • You don’t need to put it in the freezer. You can just keep it up to one week in the fridge.

    • Putting it in the freezer is optional- it’s only for if you are not using the frosting right away. You can make it and use it right away, or store it in the refrigerator for a week and then use it, or put it in the freezer if you are saving it to use in a few weeks. 

    • It says you can store it for 1 week in the fridge. You don’t have to but I can see where that might be confusing.

  6. Is this a crusting buttercream? Thanks!

  7. Great yummy chocolate frosting. The first time I’ve ever made frosting from scratch. I have a question though. I already used some to frost some cupcakes but I still have a lot left over. Like a lot a lot. I don’t think I’ll be using it again any time soon. Can I freeze it and use whenever I need it again?

  8. I made this for the first time today and it was perfect, definitely my go to recipe from now on.

  9. Hi Sally. If i use half of your choc buttercream recipe to my 6inch cake(just a thin layer of buttercream inside and on top of the cake,without anu frostinh on the outer layer) will it be enough?

  10. Hi! Can i just use nestle cream for my heavy cream? Many thanks..

  11. Can you use Dutched Processed Cocoa Power?

  12. Hi Sally,

    Please can you clarify the maths as I work in grams. You have one cup = 230g of butter but you have 3.5 cups = 420g of sugar. But this doesn’t make sense. 420g is 1.83 of a cup. So do I need 420g of sugar or do I need 805g of sugar (230*3.5)


    • Hi Rachel! 1 cup of butter weighs more than 1 cup of sugar. It can definitely be confusing. The amounts written are correct.

  13. Can you use salted butter and omit the salt?

    • Hi Kelley! You can use salted butter. I never find that it’s enough salt by just using salted butter though. You may still need a pinch. Taste and see what you like.

      • Thank you Sally! I used the salted butter and you are right, I needed to add a bit more salt. But it turned out delicious!

        Thank you for your reply!

  14. Hi Sally I wanted to ask that I’ve been looking at other recipes of chocolate frosting and some use melted chocolate not cocoa I’m making a chocolate cake and I’m using this recipe but I wondered if I can use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder but I’m not shore which one tastes better or maybe chocolate and cocoa together

  15. Can I add a hazelnut spread such as Nutella to make this a Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream? Would I then just up the powdered sugar?

    Thank you!

  16. Hi there, I love your recipes! I’m just now starting to experiment with buttercream and  was wondering if you make this buttercream and frost cupcakes the night before a family event without refrigeration? Just looking to see how far in advance I can frost and leave out cupcakes without worrying about food poisoning. TIA! 

  17. Amy, I’m so happy that you were able to make these work for you!!!

  18. If I whip this frosting will it be lighter in color and the same thing as a whipped chocolate buttercream? Or do I need a whole new recipe? I’m looking for a chocolate buttercream that’s light in color and not as rich and decadent to not overpower the other flavors of my cake. Thanks!

  19. Thanks so much!

  20. I don’t have heavy cream. I do have 1/2 & 1/2. Can I substitute it in the Favorite Chocolate Buttercream recipe?

  21. I made this for your super moist chocolate cupcake recipe. I substituted homemade Irish cream liquor for the cream and it was amazing! The cupcakes were great too.

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