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 basic; it’s incredibly CREAMY, silky, smooth, and rich. Like a decadent brownie in frosting form. Melts in your mouth and tastes unbelievable on chocolate cupcakes.
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:
- Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
- Yellow Cupcakes
- Coconut Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Banana Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- 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!
Help! My Chocolate Buttercream is Really Light in Color
After beating so much air into the mixture, chocolate buttercream can lighten up in color. Of course this doesn’t change the flavor at all, but if you want it a little darker, I have a tried-and-true trick.
Take 1 cup of the prepared buttercream (you can just eyeball it, a little less than half). Place it in a heatproof bowl. Microwave it for 10 seconds. This loosens the mixture up and helps the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder combo absorb more of the liquid. Place that back into the big bowl of frosting and stir it in by hand. The frosting should be smoother, and darker in color.
More Favorite Frostings
- Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Cream Cheese Frosting & Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Favorite Chocolate Buttercream
- 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, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 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.
- 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand)
- Quantity: This recipe makes 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.
Keywords: favorite chocolate buttercream
And here is my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe!
Reader Comments & Reviews
Instead of cocoa powder such as Valrhona can I use Valrhona Caramelia Milk Chocolate Feves 36% cacao? I’m want to make a Caramelia Milk Chocolate buttercream frosting. How many ounces of Feves should I use?
Hi is this frosting stable enough for a filling and frosting under fondant? Thank you
What size tip did you use?
Hi Samantha, the cupcakes pictured here are decorated with a Wilton 1M Tip.
I’ve made this amazing buttercream a ton of times, love it. I would like to use it and color it black, do you think that would work?
Hi Gilah, you could use a bit of black cocoa to darken it or black gel food coloring should work, too. Let us know how it goes!
Hi Sally, this is my second time making this chocolate buttercream. The first time I followed the recipe exactly as written and it was an absolute disaster for me. The frosting was way too thick and very hard to spread onto the cake. Every time I did, the cake would crumble. This time I made it and added a lot more cream than it called for. After reaching what I thought was my desired consistency, I tried spreading it onto the cake. It was much easier this time but still a little too thick. Why do you think this is happening to me? I will admit I did not chill the first cake but my second cake sat in the refrigerator for almost 24 hours before I frosted it. Any tips will be helpful as I plan to use this recipe again for a cake in June. Thank you so much
Hi Sarah, we’re happy to help troubleshoot. Was your butter a bit too cold by chance? You’ll want room temperature butter to ensure it properly creams with the other ingredients. You can also try slightly reducing the confectioners’ sugar a bit, which helps just the frosting structure. Reducing it, along with adding some more cream like you did, should help thin it out considerable. Hope these tips help for next time!
I have made this frosting before and loved it, but today, I made two batches and both turned out lumpy. I sifted my sugar and cocoa powder and my butter was at room temp. Any ideas why it got lumpy? I beat the second batch following the exact times and it still turned out lumpy.
Hi Erica, was the lumpiness you were seeing big lumps of butter? Or was it chunks of confectioners’ sugar/cocoa powder? Make sure all of your ingredients are room temperature, and if you notice that your cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar are lumpy, sift them before using.
I use this recipe all the time for everything chocolate! It’s easy to make and it tastes amazing!
I made the Frosting and it was the best!! I will use this as my go to Chocolate Frosting.
I was wondering how stiff this frosting is. I am filling a cake with cream and want to know if it will be strong enough to support it.
Hi Julia! This buttercream frosting is quite sturdy.
Made exactly as recipe described, some of the best chocolate buttercream I’ve made, good deep flavor. Might add a little espresso next time for fun.
I agree 100%…Can’t wait to try the cupcakes!
I cant do dairy. However, there is Lactaid Whole Milk. I haven’t been able to find cream yet.
Will it be watery if I use the milk in stead of cream. My son’s party is tomorrow! baking all day today. eeek
Hi Theodora, it may not be as creamy, but that should work in a pinch. Hope it’s a hit!
Hi, what a fast response!
I dont want to sacrifice creamy. I’ll buy myself some lactose pills instead 😛
I’m using the updated yellow cupcake recipe from April 2022.
I need to make at least 36 cupcakes.
should I only double, or triple this recipe.
I’m trying to do a cupcake pullapart style
Hi Theodora, this recipe yields about 2.5 cups of chocolate buttercream. Doubling this should work!
So flavorful, excellent consistency, perfect every time!
Once on cupcakes, does this buttercream need to stay refrigerated? Looking for a frosting that can hang out away from the fridge (school party).
Hi Amma, you could leave the frosted cupcakes at room temperature for about a day, but we recommend refrigerating after that. Or, you can refrigerate them and then leave them out at the party for a few hours–no problem. Hope they’re a hit!
I love this buttercream recipe so much!! Perfect texture and chocolate flavour. I added a TBSP of espresso and it was AMAZING. Also so easy, whipped this up in under 10 minutes. Thanks
We absolutely loved this recipe.
I used this recipe a few times for cupcakes, and it’s gotten rave reviews. I decided to double it and use on a layer cake. Got the cake finished last night and put into an airtight container. I noticed this morning that there are darker spots in the frosting. Do you know what caused that and have any suggestions on how to prevent? I’m not sure if my cupcakes were like that since the frosting was swirled and not smooth like the cake.
I’m so glad you enjoy this buttercream! Are they large dark spots? Or small? I wonder if it’s some of the cocoa powder that hasn’t mixed fully yet, and has become moistened? (Darkens when it becomes wet.)
This recipe is lit af