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

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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 frosting piped with ateco 808 piping tip

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


Comments are closed.

  1. So delicious and easy I couldn’t stop tasting it. Will use anytime I need chocolate frosting.

  2. This buttercream is perfect! I put in a little less sugar but it always comes out perfectly! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  3. My frosting came out salty, it was so weird I followed the recipe exactly as shown and the salty after taste was the worst! I don’t know what I did wrong

    1. I find when I use kosher salt, my recipes come out better. Regular table salt if much saltier tasting than kosher. I find kosher has that perfect hint of salt I want, especially with baking. I use it to bake and cook. I even use kosher salt on top of my warm chocolate chip cookies. It brings out the chocolate flavor.

      1. Yedda Marie de paz says:

        Hi sally! Can i use fresh milk instead of heavy cream?

      2. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Yes, that should be fine.

    2. Hi Lele,
      I find that adding just a tiny pinch of salt helps. If you are using kosher salt then it goes with the recipe perfectly; but if you are using table salt, halving the amount the recipe says or adding just a pinch is perfect.

  4. Hi Sally, I made this for one of your chocolate cake recipes and it was really yuumy, but a bit too “buttery-tasting” for me — just a personal preference. Could I use part margarine and part butter for this recipe instead? If so, would I use the same weight measurements? I usually weigh my butter for accuracy, but with margarine, I’d just fill a half cup. Any tips? Thank you! I want to try this with your pumpkin cake recipe 🙂


    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jill, We don’t recommend using margarine for frostings. You can certainly try to use a bit less butter or try increasing the amount of cocoa powder to give it more chocolate flavor.

    2. Teresa Toomer says:

      Its lovely but not thick enough to hold its look

  5. This is perfect!!

  6. Hi Sally, I followed your recipe almost exactly (I was 1/2 c short of powdered sugar) and it came out delicious! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  7. Hi Sally!

    Tried this one with your chocolate cupcakes! Though they’re marvelous, I wonder how I can adjust the sweetness??

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marie, Is it the frosting that tastes too sweet? If so, and extra pinch of salt next time can help!

  8. WOW! Followed the recipe exactly, and it was delicious and had the perfect consistency! Also made a batch with vegan butter/soy milk for my lactose intolerant brother in law, and it came out equally delicious (consistency was a bit different, as expected, but still worked great!)

  9. Fantastic cupcakes and buttercream frosting. I used Swerve confectionary sugar instead and it was perfect!

  10. Kristen Vargas says:

    Could I use Swerve confectioners Sugar? Would the measurements for that be different?

  11. Nancy Verhalen says:

    I just made your recipe for chocolate butter frosting, OMG this is the best frosting. The only thing I did different was to add a teaspoon of instant coffee to the 3 T of International Delight French Vanilla coffee creamer I used in place of the cream or milk. I frosted a white french vanilla flavored Duncan Hines box cake mix.

  12. The best frosting recipe I’ve tried! My kids and I are swooning. I printed it so I won’t lose track.

  13. OMG this is the BEST chocolate frosting I’ve ever made! As with all things chocolate, I added a smidge of instant espresso powder….not enough to taste “coffee”, just enough to make the chocolate more chocolatey! I may have to make a second batch because I just might eat the bowlful before the cupcakes cool!

  14. Can your upgraded German Chocolate cake iced with this icing be frozen for two weeks?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, the frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature or serve cold.

  15. HI, Your recipe is so easy and I wonder if I can use other flavor, such as matcha powder? If Yes, will it be the same measurement? Thanks!

  16. Will adding some peanut butter to a portion of the frosting (to use between layers) work? The person I’m gifting this mini mini cake to loves chocolate and peanut butter combos.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maria, Yes you can! You can see the proportions we use in the recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting.

      1. Thank you for your prompt response!

  17. Sally, I would like to use this for piping roses. Is this stiff enough? If not, how do i adjust it?

    1. Hi Karen, this buttercream is firm enough for piping roses.

  18. Hi Sally

    Is this buttercream suitable for filling, crumb coating and icing a 3 layer cake before applying fondant? I’m struggling to find a firm chocolate buttercream that doesn’t result in bulging fondant

    1. Hi Alisha, this buttercream is firm enough to hold up under fondant. See recipe note to yield enough for a 3 layer cake. You may have enough for filling and a thin crumb coat, but if you want extra to be safe– use the ratio via the link provided in the notes.

      1. Thank you so much! I made a batch last night, covered and chilled my cake overnight then covered it this fondant morning – it held beautifully and was so easy to get sharp clean edges on the cake 🙂 x

      2. Thank you so much! I made a batch last night, covered and chilled my cake overnight then covered it this fondant morning – it held beautifully and was so easy to get sharp clean edges on the cake 🙂 xx

  19. Yummy!! I used this to frost a chocolate cake to die for. It’s a great tasting buttery velvety frosting.

  20. Hi may I know if we can halve the icing sugar in this buttercream recipe? I have made this and my family finds it too sweet Thanks for your advise Sally!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Candy, Reducing the sugar would make this very thin. While you can try that you can also add a bit extra salt to help offset the sweetness.

  21. I’m usually not someone who enjoys buttercream, but this recipe is sooooo good!

  22. hey, can i use some oat milk in place of the heavy cream?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can!

      1. great, thanks!! have a great day :))

  23. Needed a buttercream recipe at short notice, Google was my friend that day. I decided to try this one, and must have done a good job as, to quote the birthday boy, “the frosting was light and dreamy!”
    It’s now my go-to recipe!

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