Favorite Chocolate Buttercream

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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.


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 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. Is this recipe overly sweet? Does it have a gritty texture? I find that sometimes recipes with coca and powdered sugar they can have a gritty texture and is super sweet and so swiss meringue is my go to but this sounds so easy and delightful!

    1. I love this recipe! It has a really smooth and creamy texture and has the right amount of sweet. I would definitely recommend this recipe!

    2. Highly recommend! I made this recipe just this morning. I don’t typically have an issue with my ABC being gritty but…I sift my powdered sugar always. For this recipe I sifted about 2c of powdered sugar w/the cocoa (I used dark chocolate because that’s all I have), added it to my creamed butter with about 1 T milk and the vanilla. I beat it for a few minutes until it was smooth, added the salt, and another cup ish of sifted powdered sugar. I then added milk to reach the consistency I wanted and beat it again for another minute or so. It is delicious and piped beautifully. I piped generous swirls on 12 cupcakes and have a bit left over so I put it in the freezer. I think because the recipe calls for cocoa powder, which is inherently bitter because it’s unsweetened, you don’t end up with it being cloyingly sweet–which is issue with most ABC recipes. I will for sure make this again.

    3. If you add a smidge more heavy cream, that will help with the texture. I thought it was gritty but it smoothed out with a additional table spoon. It may also be how the powdered sugar was milled.

  2. This is a lovely buttercream! Made it yesterday and it came out with a creamy and beautiful texture. @Carrie, if you find that your buttercream is slightly grainy, have a look at your powdered sugar, some brands add cornflour which will give it a slight grainy texture.

  3. If I added 1/3 cup cocoa instead of 1/2 cup would I need to increase my sugar a bit?? I like a very light chocolate frosting

  4. I need to fill 2 cakes with this buttercream, but i don’t know how much frosting i should have. It is a 2 tier cake. Bottom cake 7 in with 3 tiers, top cake 4.5 in with 4-5 tiers. Can you please let me know how much frosting i should do? I assume that if i make the recipe twice, it will suffice to fill it and dirty ice it…

    1. Hi JoAnn! I would make 2 batches of this chocolate buttercream to ensure you have enough. You can freeze leftover frosting if needed. See step 2 for instruction.

      1. Hi Sally,

        Thank you very much!!! I am sure that it will be perfection!

        Thanks a lot! I will come back with feedback after the party 😀

  5. This is literally the best frosting I have ever had. I use it for everything. I’ve never messed it up, and it is always the perfect consistency. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Is it possible to make this frosting without using an electric mixer? Going to make your cupcakes for my son’s birthday next weekend, but don’t want to spend money on a mixer that I might never use again. Thank you!

    1. It would be very difficult to make frosting by hand! You can definitely use a hand mixer thought – it doesn’t have to be a stand mixer.

  7. I have two dozen cupcakes I need to frost r a baaby shower. Could I just double the recipe or do i need to make two batches?

    1. Hi Dana! You can certainly double it, but I find the texture is better when I work with only 1 batch at a time. But that’s your call!

  8. I only have Nestle Toll House Cocoa. It doesn’t say if it’s natural or Dutch-processed. It just says “perfect for baking 100% pure cocoa” and the only ingredient is cocoa. Is it safe to assume it’s natural process?

  9. I have usually had problems with frosting in the past. So glad I found this – it is perfect. Used natural cocoa powder; only needed to add a little bit more cream.

  10. My boyfriend loves vanilla cupcakes and chocolate frosting. I tried this buttercream and needless to say they barely lasted a day! I plan on using this recipe much much more in the future! Delicious!

    1. Hi Natalia! Adding real melted (and cooled!) chocolate to this chocolate buttercream recipe would require a little extra confectioners’ sugar to ensure the frosting holds its shape. Let me know if you try anything!

      Alternatively, I have a white chocolate frosting made with real white chocolate if you want to try that. You can replace the white chocolate with semi-sweet (or other variety) real chocolate.

  11. I tried this recipe because I already had all the ingredients except cocoa powder. This chocolate buttercream frosting was a big hit for a family
    birthday celebration. It was easy to prepare light, creamy deliciousness, even for those who regularly forego dessert.

  12. This recipe is delicious! I whipped it a bit more as I incorporated each addition of powdered sugar in small increments to keep it from being too gritty. I also added a bit more heavy cream than the recipe called for. It was just enough to get a crumb coat and add on a second layer, although it peeked through in spots. I also think that’s because I used the frosting to repair a chunk of the cake that had fallen apart in the center. This is my go-to chocolate frosting recipe!

  13. Hi Sally!
    Thank you for posting this recipe. My buttercream frosting was not as creamy as I would have liked. Should I have sifted my powdered sugar? The butter was took temperature and creamed beautifully prior to the addition of the sugar. What would you suggest?

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