Favorite Chocolate Buttercream

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

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! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure 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. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 2 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 store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting for a few seconds so it's creamy again.

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.

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

And here is my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe!

Deliciously soft, creamy, and easy PERFECT vanilla buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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



  1. Jessie on June 2, 2017 at 11:57 am

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

  2. Nissa on June 3, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Can’t wait to try!

  3. Hayley on June 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    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!

    • Sally on June 3, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      practice makes perfect!

  4. Mily on June 3, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    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.

    • Sally on June 3, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      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. Debra Rice on June 3, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    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. Steph on June 3, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    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!

    • Kathryn Grace on June 4, 2017 at 3:43 am

      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. Bobbi on June 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

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

  8. Malika A. Black on June 8, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    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. Laura | Tutti Dolci on June 9, 2017 at 8:13 pm

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

  10. Kristen on June 10, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Could I replace the vanilla extract with almond extract?

    • Sally on June 11, 2017 at 11:07 am

      If you like the taste of almond extract and chocolate together, yes!

  11. Nicky on June 15, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    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?

    • Sally on June 16, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Refrigerator 🙂 And cover it tightly!

  12. Megha on June 22, 2017 at 8:00 am

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

    • Sally on June 22, 2017 at 9:03 am

      depending where you live, that product is heavy cream or heavy whipping cream. Similar milk fats. 🙂

    • Holly Burrows on June 10, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      heavy cream is double cream in the uk

  13. Sharon K (The Farm Chick Bakes) on June 25, 2017 at 11:43 am

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

    • Sally on June 26, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Wilton 1M

  14. Margot on June 26, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    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 (:

    • Sally on June 27, 2017 at 11:09 am

      That should do the trick.

  15. Jen on June 26, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    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. Blackie on June 30, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    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? 

    • Sally on July 1, 2017 at 10:19 am

      You can use whole milk instead. Heavy cream will provide the creamiest consistency though.

  17. Emma on July 3, 2017 at 2:41 am

    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 ?

    • Sally on July 3, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      That’s completely fine. Make sure it is refrigerated.

  18. Johanna on July 7, 2017 at 1:12 am

    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? 

    • Sally on July 7, 2017 at 10:03 am

      A whisk attachment works too!

  19. Dominique Haddad on July 16, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    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.

    • Sally on July 16, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      Hand mixer works!

  20. Julie on July 23, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    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.https://www.google.com/amp/www.food.com/amp/recipe/moist-deluxe-dark-chocolate-cake-mix-copycat-duncan-hines-129855

    • Sally on July 24, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Glad they were a hit! Happy birthday to your little one!

  21. Beth on July 31, 2017 at 4:41 pm

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

    • Sally on August 1, 2017 at 7:15 am


  22. Kristen R on August 6, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    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?

    • Sally on August 7, 2017 at 8:41 am

      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. Chelsea on August 14, 2017 at 7:30 am

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

    • Chelsea on August 14, 2017 at 7:30 am

      *the best 🙂

  24. Susan on August 20, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    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!

    • Sally on August 20, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      I love that!!! 🙂

  25. Rae on August 21, 2017 at 9:33 pm

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

    • Sally on August 22, 2017 at 11:33 am

      I would taste it before adding salt, then add some if you feel it needs it.

  26. Naz on August 22, 2017 at 2:10 am

    Hi Sally!

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


    • Sally on August 22, 2017 at 11:28 am


  27. Laura on September 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    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?

    • Sally on September 15, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Usually a couple days, covered tightly, is fine.

  28. Silvia on September 28, 2017 at 11:52 am

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

  29. Claire on October 5, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    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 

    • Sally on October 6, 2017 at 7:20 am

      Sure does!

  30. Kristin on October 7, 2017 at 9:52 am

    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.

    • Sally on October 7, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      The frosting will likely stick to the wrappers a little bit. 🙁


  1. Karla Garcia on May 3, 2018 at 5:36 am

    Great chocolate buttercream recipe, I just finished making it and it’s the best I’ve made so far!! Thanks!

  2. Jennifer on May 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    My roommate’s girlfriend asked me for a cake for her birthday today. She wanted a chocolate frosting so I came to you. The frosting can not be any simpler to make. I did use 3 cups of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. It was enough to frost a 13×9 sheet pan. I’ll be making this one over and over again. Thanks for making the birthday girl even happier!

    • Sally on May 14, 2018 at 6:01 am

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review on my chocolate buttercream!

  3. Klis Cakery on July 5, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Love this recipe, so light and chocolatey and moorish! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Jeannette on July 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    This recipe is great! I had 2 dozen cupcakes to frost and I decided to double the recipe. (Too much frosting is always better than too little!) I had enough frosting to make the cupcakes extremely decadent and put some in the freezer for later. Got many compliments from my husband and coworkers 🙂

    • Sally on July 20, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      Hi Jeannette! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review on my chocolate buttercream recipe. Appreciate it and so happy you enjoy it!


  1. Kate on May 3, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Is this icing stiff enough for icing a sheetcake?

    • Sally on May 4, 2018 at 5:50 am


  2. Barbara Lee on May 14, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Will the given recipe be enough for a double layer cake with frosting between layers or would you make 1 and 1/2 receipt.

    • Sally on May 14, 2018 at 11:39 am

      Hi Barbara Lee! See my recipe note for some tips.

  3. Mia on May 17, 2018 at 10:47 am

    If I make and frost cupcakes and a cake tonight for a party tomorrow evening will that be ok or should I frost them tomorrow before the party tomorrow?

    • Sally on May 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      You can do it tonight! Just store them in an airtight container until tomorrow.

  4. Rachel on June 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Do you use the Dutch coco powder for this like you use for the cupcakes?

    • Sally on June 11, 2018 at 6:08 am

      Hi Rachel! You can use either dutched cocoa or natural cocoa for the buttercream.

  5. Brianna on June 20, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    I have a question. Whenever I’ve tried to make chocolate frosting with cocoa powder (instead of melted chocolate) in the past, it tastes more like hot chocolate than rich frosting, like pure cocoa powder. Do you know why this might be? I’d like to try this recipe because it seems easier than melting chocolate but I’m worried about having this happen again.

    • Sally on June 21, 2018 at 6:21 am

      Hi Brianna! This chocolate frosting tastes like real chocolate to me, so I encourage you to try it. You can always add a couple ounces of melted (and slightly cool) chocolate too.

  6. Kati on June 21, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Once you have iced the cupcakes do they need to be stored in the fridge because there is cream in the buttercream, or can they sit out? I can leave normal buttercream iced cakes out of the fridge but not sure with this recipe?

    • Sally on June 21, 2018 at 9:29 am

      Usually a day or 2 at room temperature is OK.

  7. Favanna on July 3, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Hi, quick question. Can I frost a 3 layer 6” cake and do some pippin on top with this much frosting? First time

    • Sally on July 5, 2018 at 11:02 am

      Hi Favanna! This amount of frosting should be enough for your cake.

  8. Ella on July 14, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Hi! This frosting looks and sounds delicious, but I have a question. I have to frost around 20 cupcakes, do you think it’ll be enough with just one batch? Thanks!!

    • Sally on July 16, 2018 at 10:20 am

      If you don’t go too heavy on the frosting– should be just fine!

  9. Pravina on July 18, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Hi Sally, can I half the recipe? I intend to use this frosting as a crumb coat so I don’t think I need so much. Thank you!

    • Sally on July 20, 2018 at 6:55 am

      Yes, absolutely!

  10. Sarah Crow on July 25, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    What difference does it make to use milk instead of heavy cream?

    • Sally on July 27, 2018 at 6:10 am

      Hi Sarah! The frosting has a creamier consistency when made with cream.

  11. Sharon on August 8, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Hi could I use this as both a crumb coat and a final all,over frosting for a 9 inch layer cake. I would probably have to double the recipe?

    • Sally on August 9, 2018 at 11:24 am

      The amount depends on how many layers, but yes this frosting works well as both a crumb coating AND frosting decor.

Leave a Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Top 5 Recipes


Recipes You'll Love




Cookie Palooza

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More...


Baking Challenge

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.

View More...


Pie Week

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More...

My Cookbooks