Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

If you think plain cream cheese frosting is the best, wait until you try chocolate cream cheese frosting! It’s silky, undeniably creamy, and the flavor is absolutely delicious.

chocolate cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl and on a whisk attachment

If we think regular cream cheese frosting is the best, we’re definitely backwards. Because this chocolate cream cheese frosting is, in fact, the best in the biz.

  • it’s silky smooth
  • and pipe-able with your favorite piping tips
  • it’s rich and easily spreads
  • and creamier than any chocolate frosting you’ve had before
  • you’ll want to eat it with a spoon!!

Tip for piping cream cheese frosting: Refrigerate the frosting inside the piping bag for at least 30 minutes prior to piping. Cream cheese frosting holds its shape much better when it’s piped cold.

chocolate cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl

Unlike most frostings, chocolate cream cheese frosting is not overly sweet. Rather, its sweet and tangy flavors are perfectly balanced and it tastes much better than buttercream on even the sweetest of cakes!

What Tastes Best with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting?

Besides zebra cake, you’ll also love it with:

overhead image of cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting and sprinkles on a marble cake stand

If you’re in the mood for vanilla, here is my plain cream cheese frosting recipe.

Avoid Runny Cream Cheese Frosting

Make sure you’re using a block of cream cheese, not cream cheese spread.

  • Cream cheese is sold in 8 ounce blocks– and you’ll need 1 and 1/2 blocks of the full-fat stuff. I’ve gotten many questions about cream cheese frosting being too runny and the #1 reason is because bakers have accidentally been using the spread instead of the block.

There’s a HUGE difference!

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chocolate cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl and on a whisk attachment

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4-5 cups


Chocolate cream cheese frosting is silky, undeniably creamy, and absolutely delicious.


  • 12 ounces (335g) full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature*
  • 3/4 cup (175g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup (55g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • pinch salt


  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, 1 Tablespoon milk, and salt and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy. Add 1 more Tablespoon of milk to slightly thin out, if desired. Taste, then add another pinch of salt if desired.
  2. Cover and store leftover frosting for up to 5 days 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.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Cover and store leftover frosting for up to 5 days 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.
  2. Cream Cheese: Make sure you’re using the blocks of cream cheese, not cream cheese spread. They’re typically sold in 8 ounce blocks, so you’ll need 1 and 1/2 blocks.
  3. Tip for Piping Cream Cheese Frosting: Refrigerate the frosting inside the piping bag for at least 30 minutes prior to piping. Cream cheese frosting holds its shape much better when it’s piped cold.
  4. This recipe is enough to frost 18-24 cupcakes, one 9×13-inch sheet cake, or one 3 layer cake.


  1. This really is the best chocolate frosting that I’ve ever tasted. It was easy to make and the recipe is perfect. Thanks so much Sally – I’m so glad that I found your blog!

  2. Jennifer Warren says:

    This frosting is Ahhhmazing! It’s easily, honestly, the best chocolate frosting I have ever tasted. I used it on some Dariok chocolate cupcakes and it was smooth as silk! It’s now the only chocolate frosting I’ll be making!

  3. Smooth, creamy, absolutely DELICIOUS! Easy to make and everyone loved it. Frosted a homemade red velvet cake with it.

  4. Elizabeth Kenerson says:

    Used this recipe with the chocolate cupcake recipe in 2 – 6 inch pans. Raspberry jam + frosting in the middle. Cake is SO moist and frosting not too sweet. Excellent recipes that along with the yellow cake with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting are now my go to for birthdays. Simply delicious. Your directions and tips are informative and spot on. Thanks ever so much!

  5. Hi Sally! Groceries are so hard to come by right now, and I’m having trouble finding more than one block of cream cheese. How will the texture change if I mix block and spreadable Philadelphia? Any tips on making it work? Thanks so much, hope you’re well!

    1. Hi Chelsea, I recommend using more butter to make up for the missing cream cheese. The spreadable cream cheese in a tub will make your frosting too thin to work with.

  6. Can you use salted butter? Thank you!

    1. Yes you can, Mattie.

  7. Hi Sally, I have 1-8oz Philly cream cheese, can I still follow your recipe? What do I need less of?

    1. Hi Helen, You can just use extra butter to make up for the 4 ounces of cream cheese.

      1. Chocolate cream cheese icing came out perfect! Thank you Sally!!!

  8. Muriel W. Coppage says:

    I made this icing YEARS ago!! It’s the BEST ICING ever!! I do recommend using unsalted butter & only a SLIGHT pinch of salt !! Thank you for updating this recipie!!

  9. I made your banana cake and used this frosting! The banana cake was amazing but this frosting topped it off! My husband is very picky and he couldn’t get enough of this combination.

  10. Anne Callender says:

    Thanks Sally! This was SUPER helpful! I’ve never really been able to find a recipe that ACTUALLY works! I CAN PIPE!!! Whoo hoo! Thanks again! This recipe is perfecto

  11. This is hands down the best chocolate cream cheese frosting I’ve ever had!! I’m not typically much of a baker but quarantine has me taking up new hobbies! Thanks for the recipe! It’s incredible!

  12. This recipe is great! I have to say it was still a tad too sweet for me (almost all frostings are, my daughter had no complaints). For myself, I added 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt to it and voila! The perfect chocolaty tangy creamy frosting of my dreams! Thank you for the amazing recipe

  13. Hi Sally, can I substitute melted dark chocolate in place of the cocoa powder? If so, any suggestion for the quantity?
    Just finished making your triple chocolate cake. We prefer a cream cheese buttercream so going to use this recipe instead. 🙂

    1. Hi Jan! I haven’t tested it, but I would use at least 6 ounces of melted and cooled pure baking chocolate. Not sure if the flavor will be strong enough, but that’s where I would start. I would also add more confectioners’ sugar to make up for the loss of cocoa powder.

  14. Dale Quinney says:

    Made your chocolate cream cheese frosting used 25 g cocoa and 60 g dark chocolate melted , the chocolate beaded to give a chocolate speckled affect in the frosting first time will be making it again thanks

  15. Rebecca Truxillo says:

    Hi Sally! Love it but I forgot to put the salt in it. Don’t think it matters too much but not sure! Thank you for sharing it.

  16. Hi Sally,
    I would like to know if I can substitute coconut milk for milk.

  17. I made this today. It was creamy, and very spreadable. It wasn’t as sweet as regular cream cheese frosting.

  18. Margaret Chapman says:

    I just finished making this frosting and was lucky to have all of the ingredients on hand as I’m trying to limit trips to the store while sheltering in place. This is cream cheese frosting going to cover a mediocre vanilla bean cake I baked earlier today and all I can say is “WoW – so easy and so good!” After I blended the cream cheese and butter I was hestistant to put in 3 1/2 cups or powdered sugar and 2/3/ powdered cocoa (thinking the ratio would make the frosting too dry) but I was wrong, it all blended perfectly with my mother’s old reliable eletric hand mixer. My husband is napping, but he’ll be stoked with his dessert tonight! Thank you for providing us with your recipe! Stay safe out there.

    1. Laura Armstrong says:

      I guess I should have sifted the sugar and cocoa but this turned out gritty. The flavor was great but next time I will be sure to sift the dry ingredients.

  19. I bought the spreadable cream cheese by accident instead of the blocks. Is there anything I can add to the recipe to make it work, or should I just order some block cream cheese and wait to make it later?

  20. Delicious!!!!

  21. I don’t even generally like frosting and often scrape it off. We used this on our wedding cake and I actually liked it. Was able to get it pretty smooth on a cake, considering we had no real tools.

    1. Hi Sally,

      I am addicting this chocolate cheese cream frosting.. I need to make it vanilla cheese cream frosting because i will do cake with white Marshmallow fondant so can we use the same recipe but not to add the chocolate powder and it will not be thinner texture?

  22. This is some FANTASTIC frosting! You’re right, IMO it’s the only chocolate frosting I’m making from now on. Perfect consistency, great chocolate flavor, beautiful rich color, and all the luscious richness I want without the cloying sweetness of buttercream frostings.

  23. I love this frosting. I cannot stand buttercream. I always have preferred cream cheese frosting, but hadn’t ever tried a chocolate version! How do you normally store the frosted result?? Fridge due to the dairy components?

    1. Hi Rene! Yes, exactly. See the last step!

  24. Very good icing. The texture is spot on and easy to spread. My 2nd time making it, I modified the amounts to use 2 full blocks of cream cheese. I also used some mocha hot chocolate mix in lieu of some of the cocoa… that really amped up the chocolate flavor.

  25. Hey Sally, I have a question, so I want to make your yellow layered cake, and frost with this chocolate cream cheese, but will it hold if I want to make 3 layers and put the frosting between the layers and also all around the cake?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      It will!

  26. Can I put this frosting on your triple chocolate cake? My dad loves cream cheese icing!

    1. Absolutely! You’ll have enough from this recipe.

    2. Donna Stewart says:

      Hey Sally can I use shortening instead of butter??

  27. This was a rich and creamy frosting. My family loved it!

  28. This is sooooo good! Next time I’m going to add a pinch or so of instant expresso powder! Yummy!! I love your website!!

  29. Can you use 1/3 less fat blocks of cream cheese rather than full fat?

  30. I’ve made this many times now as it’s a family favorite. Everyone wants me to make their Birthday cake and use this frosting. I’ve used it with salted butter and leave out the pinch of salt, I’ve used it with 16 oz of cream cheese, I’ve made it partially substituting cocoa with chocolate syrup and lessening the amount of powdered sugar, and each time it’s always turned out wonderful with heaps of praise. Thank you.

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