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 (41g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 1/8 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. Taste. Beat in another pinch of salt if desired.
  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. Whoa! This is the best buttercream chocolate frosting hands town! My kids love Nuttela so I added about 2T. It turned out really good!

  2. Best chocolate frosting ever! So good. Highley recommend. turned out so well on my cupcakes!

    1. LOVE this frosting! Went SUPER good on cupcakes for my Christmas party! Decorated them to look like reindeer! Amazing how easy it is to make and how creamy it was!

  3. Tastes so good!
    Does the cake need to be refrigerated because of the cream? It tastes very good but I am a home baker and wasn’t sure. Thank you.

  4. My new favorite frosting recipe – it is SOOOOO good!

  5. Made this to go with the chocolate cupcakes on this site and the result was simply delicious. Better than the cupcakes we buy at the specialty shops. Very easy to make as well. Thank you!

  6. thank You SO much. We all loved it.

  7. LeeAnn Siegmann says:

    Yet ANOTHER amazing recipe, girl!!! My husband has reached the point where he asks “Sally?!” on anything great that I make!! 🙂

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you so much for making and trusting our recipes, LeeAnn!

  8. Is this a crusting buttercream?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Connie, the buttercream will start to get hard after some time in the refrigerator, but for a more traditional crusting buttercream you can replace some of the butter with shortening.

  9. Easy, but not good at all. Sorry.

    1. I wonder if something went wrong when you made it? I’ve made this so many times and only to rave reviews, including a pastry chef in my family.

  10. Hi Sally, what brand of Dutch cocoa do you like to use? I usually have the Hershey’s in the can on hand. Thank you.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kris, we love Hershey’s too — not sponsored, just genuine fans!

  11. Just made this buttercream (which I don’t typically opt for) for my son’s birthday cupcakes and I am basically sitting here eating it by the spoonful. SO smooth and flavorful. Not overly sweet. My new favorite frosting!

  12. Cathy Strader says:


  13. Natalie Hansen says:

    This was absolutely DELICIOUS!! By far the best icing I’ve ever eaten

    Also is super easy! This was the first recipe to ever work out so thanks Sally!!

  14. I made it and then on a whim I added 3 melted Lindt balls and the result is amazing. You are the undisputed queen of cakes Sally.

  15. So good, i added a pinch of espresso powder to enhance the chocolate favor 10/10 recommend !! Thanks for the easy recipe!

  16. This is just right. The perfect amount for a two layer cake and absolutely delicious. I pinned it and make it for every birthday cake!

  17. It taste delicious! Keeping this recipe for sure!

  18. We made this frosting for my husband’s birthday cake today. It was so good! I wanted to be able to pipe with it, so I added an extra little bit of cream to a portion and it worked beautifully as well. My family says this is the best chocolate frosting I’ve ever made. Thank you so much!

  19. This buttercream recipe blew my mind! I used it to sandwich a chocolate cake and it was incredible. Everyone said it was the best cake I ever made. It’s got a great texture, spreads well and is lovely and chocolatey!

  20. The recipe is great I’m sure but can you help me figure out where I went wrong? I made it exactly as you instructed and mine just tasted like a stick of butter. I’ve had buttercream before and it doesn’t ACTUALLY have a butter taste, but mine really did. Do you think it could be that detrimental since I used salted butter?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rose! Using salted butter will definitely change the outcome of this recipe – you can read more about the differences in salted vs. unsalted butter in this post. How was the texture? With the sugar and cocoa powder, this buttercream should have lots of flavor.

  21. Wensley Moore says:

    Don’t know what wrong for me, but I had to add 3x the amount of heavy cream just to get the consistency close to spreadable with a hot offset spatula. Taste was too intense and consistency was chalky. Birthday girl scraped the frosting off, and no one asked for seconds…

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Wensley! How strange. The thickness sounds like your powdered sugar to liquid ratio was off. How did you measure your powdered sugar and cocoa powder? Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much into your measuring cups – or use a kitchen scale. You can read more about properly measuring baking ingredients in this post.

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