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.

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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. Eshm on October 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm


  2. Shivani on October 17, 2017 at 2:34 pm

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

  3. Shantelle on October 31, 2017 at 10:45 am

    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. Kelsey on November 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    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. Ana Sastre on November 9, 2017 at 12:55 am

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

    • Sally on November 9, 2017 at 6:40 am

      I’m not sure I understand the question?

    • Anonymous on November 22, 2017 at 3:14 pm

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

    • Brenda on December 4, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      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. 

  6. Lauren on November 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Is this a crusting buttercream? Thanks!

    • Sally on November 12, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      It’s not.

  7. Clara on November 22, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    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?

    • Sally on November 23, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Absolutely. Freeze for up to 2-3 months and thaw in the refrigerator.

  8. Rosslyn on December 2, 2017 at 5:12 pm

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

  9. Sarah on December 13, 2017 at 8:10 am

    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?

    • Sally on December 13, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Should be, yes!

  10. Icay on December 17, 2017 at 12:16 am

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

    • Sally on December 17, 2017 at 11:58 am

      You can use that.

  11. TomTom on December 25, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Can you use Dutched Processed Cocoa Power?

    • Sally on December 27, 2017 at 6:41 am

      Sure can!

  12. Rachel on January 2, 2018 at 12:47 am

    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)


    • Sally on January 2, 2018 at 10:32 am

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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


  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Caitlin on June 29, 2018 at 4:50 am

    This is the best chocolate buttercream in the whole world. Thank you Sally

  22. 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.

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

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

  24. Erin on July 8, 2018 at 11:43 am

    This is the first time I’ve made frosting from scratch instead of buying pre-made.

    I will never buy store bought again. This is to die for! It’s not even in the same stratosphere. So, so delicious and easy to make! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Sally on July 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      I’m so happy you made the leap to homemade! You are right – there is no comparison!

  25. 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!

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. Debra on July 31, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Perfect as written. 1 1/2 batches (with leftovers) generously frosts 24 cupcakes. A note about pastry bags – for the first time I didn’t use a disposable bag and won’t go back! Frosting no longer melts and I didn’t feel in such a rush. Thank you for a delicious recipe.

    • Sally on August 1, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      Yay! Glad it worked for you!

  30. 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.



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