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!


  1. Oh god it’s a beautiful thing, Sally! 🙂

  2. Can’t wait to try!

  3. I love your frostings, Sally and especially how you always use them to decorate cupcakes. I need to hone my frosting skills a little more – huge swirls of frosting atop a little cupcake are the best!

  4. Sally, I don’t like a super sweet buttercream. So instead of adding cocoa powder to a lot of sugar, can I just replace some of the powdered sugar with cocoa powder and add less cream? You’re the frosting expert, please answer! Haha.

    • That would work, yes, but you’ll have less frosting– and it will be slightly greasy because of all the butter (and not enough dry ingredients).

  5. I’m going to make this chocolate but was wondering if you mnew a recipe for frosting  that is good to make flowers with! I’m still learning to decorate. Teaching myself would be easier if I could find the right recipe for frosting I can use. Thank you for your time Debra

  6. Hi Sally,
    Any ideas for less sugary frostings? I.e., less than a cup of powdered sugar? Like Mily I don’t like it super sweet…or the guilty feeling when I eatmore than one frosted treat!

    • I always halve the sugar in any frosting recipe, which leaves it plenty sweet. Of course, I get a little less frosting that way, but I don’t like them super sweet either.

  7. That looks absolutely amazing! I might have to try this on my Dutch oven cake. 

  8. I was looking for a frosting recipe to go with a chocolate birthday cake and cupcakes.
    This is great! I love the texture of it.

  9. Please pass me a spoon – this buttercream is pure perfection!

  10. Could I replace the vanilla extract with almond extract?

  11. I just made this frosting, and the taste and texture are perfect!! What are your thoughts about storing it, if I’m making the cupcakes to serve the following day? Refrigerator or room temperature?

  12. Hi..i want to know by heavy cream in the buttercream recipe you mean whipping cream??

  13. Sorry if you stated previously Sally, but what Wilton Tip # did you use to frost these delicious looking  chocolate cupcakes? 

  14. Hello Sally,

    I have a handheld mixer, and I do not have a paddle attachment. I was wondering if Hamilton Beach’s “soft scrape beaters” would do the job ? I would really appreciate a response (:

  15. Made these last night to take to the office – just because I love to bake 🙂 OMG! They are wonderful and were a huge hit! Definitely will make these again. Thank you, Sally!

  16. Hello sally,
    Just checking If I don’t not use heavy milk, normal milk as stated is it going to work out fine too the frosting? 

  17. Would the buttercraem be ok to make and store in a container over night ready for wedding the next day? I don’t want to make everyone ill ?

  18. I don’t have a paddle attachment for my mixer.  Can I still make this icing? What would the difference be if I just used the regular mixer attachments? 

  19. Hello, can I still make this butyercream, if I don’t have a paddle attachment. The only thing I have is a Hand Mixer with the regular attachment. Thank you.

  20. Made these with these cupcakes and came out great!  Hit at my 3 year olds birthday.  I just put an M&M on each one.  I whipped by hand.

  21. If I want more frosting, can I just double the ingredients?

  22. This frosting is amazing made some tonight and paired it with yellow cupcakes Yum!! i was wondering if you knew the nutritional value or the calorie content of the frosting?

    • Hi Kristen! Calorie counting calculators online can often be inaccurate (different brands/products/etc) and I would hate to publish wrong information on my website. Sometimes I share an estimate, but that’s rare– feel free to calculate at your own discretion!

  23. This is an incredible recipe! My husband said it’s the. Eat I’ve made…thanks!

  24. I made this as well as your vanilla buttercream to frost some cupcakes we’re taking to a BBQ…I’ve never seen my husband so enthusiastic about licking the frosting bowl!

  25. If I only have salted butter to use, can I use it and just not add in the extra salt?

  26. Hi Sally!

    Can I use this recipe and add black frosting gel to turn it into a black frosting?


  27. If I am using this for a cake how long can the cake be at room temperature after frosted and still be safe for consumption?

  28. Can I replace the butter with shortening? Because if I use butter will melt easily in here

  29. Hey Sally….does this hold up well in 80 degree weather.  Wedding in a barn this weekend and no AC.  I know my normal frosting will melt.  Thanks. Claire 

  30. Love your recipes…they print out beautifully (for those of us that like a printed copy)…and I own some of your books.  Frosting question (I haven’t made frosting since 4H) – if I frost brownies with this recipe, can I wrap individual frosted brownies?  I’m doing a little fall bazaar at a nursing home.  Wasn’t sure if the frosting will stick to the wrap or brownie.

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