Favorite Chocolate Buttercream

Chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate buttercream and chocolate sprinkles

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.

Chocolate buttercream in a bowl

Even though it’s a wonderfully creamy chocolate buttercream, it holds its shape beautifully– just as Swiss meringue buttercream does. This is simply perfect for piping even the most intricate and fancy designs.

What Tastes Best with Chocolate Buttercream?

I’ve made this chocolate buttercream more times than I can count, but I love it with:

  1. Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
  2. Yellow Cupcakes
  3. Coconut Cupcakes
  4. Pumpkin Cupcakes
  5. Banana Cupcakes
  6. Chocolate Cupcakes
  7. If you scale it up, you can use it to frost a layered cake, like I do with my chocolate cake and yellow cake

Dive into this chocolate decadence!

chocolate cupcakes in a cupcake pan topped with chocolate buttercream and chocolate sprinkles

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon
Chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate buttercream and chocolate sprinkles

Favorite Chocolate Buttercream

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2.5 cups
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This is my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe. It’s incredibly rich, creamy, silky, smooth, and easy to work with for decorating cakes and cupcakes!


  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 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 1 full minute. Add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick.
  2. Use immediately or 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 on medium speed for a few seconds so it’s creamy again. After thawing or refrigerating, beating in a splash of heavy cream or milk will help thin the frosting out again, if needed.


  1. Quantity: This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or a thin layer on a 9×13 inch quarter sheet cake. Follow these ratios for a 2 layer cake and these ratios for a 3 or 4 layer cake.

And here is my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe!

vanilla buttercream in a glass bowl with wooden spoon


  1. AWESOMENESS! I love this chocolate buttercream on spice cake. Added a little coffee to it to bump up the chocholateness. Is that a word?
    Anyway, thanks for the awesome recipe. Spice loaf and cupcakes are demanding my attention.

    1. was really good with a pinch of espresso powder

  2. Hello Sally,
    This is my first time making this frosting and all I can say is, WOW! This is delicious!!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  3. Hi Sally (and/or others)!
    What would happen if I used salted butter?
    I like less sweet frostings (don’t have cream cheese ) and I kinda want to make cupcakes, so I even have unsalted butter, but I was wondering how it would work?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emma, You can use salted butter here. No changes to the recipe needed. Before adding any salt, taste it, then salt as desired. If using unsalted butter, feel free to play around with the salt measurement to get your desired level of sweetness. Or, you might like our Swiss meringue buttercream instead — it’s slightly less sweet than a traditional American buttercream like this recipe. Hope this helps!

  4. Love this frosting it super yummy! One question can this frosting be outside?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Reshmi, absolutely. This frosting can be outside, so long as it’s not for an extended period of time / too hot or too humid. Glad it’s a favorite for you!

      1. Awesome!!! Thank you soo much

  5. OMG! This is the best frosting. So easy too!

  6. This chocolate icing was the best ever! Had to keep my grandson & husband from eating with a spoon!
    Thank you so much & will be trying the vanilla, also!

  7. Amazing recipe! I was thinking of batch making for the cakes I have coming up. How long can this be kept in the fridge in an air tight container?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Beth, cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

  8. Can i cover this frosting with fondant?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ken, yes, this buttercream holds up well under fondant.

  9. AMANDA SUZEL says:

    Will this recipe be enough to frost a triple layer cake? I don’t like the frosting super thick.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, we’d recommend following the chocolate buttercream ratios from this cake to ensure there is enough for a three layer cake (even if you don’t like a thick layer). Enjoy!

1 10 11 12

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love



Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

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

View More

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

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally