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



  2. Thank You so much for the recipe. You’re a lifesaver. 
    I’ve just put the batch in. Hope it does well. 

  3. This was great! (I kept this in my recipe book) The only thing I would change is maybe a little less vanilla. Maybe 1.5 tsps. instead of 2. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop licking the kitchen utensils!

  4. A co-worker wanted vanilla cake with chocolate frosting for her baby shower and I found your recipe tonight. Heavens this is a delicious mix. It frosted 24 cupcakes perfectly and I used a star tip for flair. There was just enough left in the bag for me to enjoy an index finger’s worth, but there  is no way I could have saved it for another use if there had been more. It’s that good. 

  5. I have a quick question i won’t have time to put it one week in the freezer would it still work??

    1. I’m not sure I understand the question?

    2. You don’t need to put it in the freezer. You can just keep it up to one week in the fridge.

    3. Putting it in the freezer is optional- it’s only for if you are not using the frosting right away. You can make it and use it right away, or store it in the refrigerator for a week and then use it, or put it in the freezer if you are saving it to use in a few weeks. 

  6. Is this a crusting buttercream? Thanks!

    1. It’s not.

  7. Great yummy chocolate frosting. The first time I’ve ever made frosting from scratch. I have a question though. I already used some to frost some cupcakes but I still have a lot left over. Like a lot a lot. I don’t think I’ll be using it again any time soon. Can I freeze it and use whenever I need it again?

    1. Absolutely. Freeze for up to 2-3 months and thaw in the refrigerator.

  8. I made this for the first time today and it was perfect, definitely my go to recipe from now on.

  9. Hi Sally. If i use half of your choc buttercream recipe to my 6inch cake(just a thin layer of buttercream inside and on top of the cake,without anu frostinh on the outer layer) will it be enough?

    1. Should be, yes!

  10. Hi! Can i just use nestle cream for my heavy cream? Many thanks..

    1. You can use that.

  11. Can you use Dutched Processed Cocoa Power?

  12. Hi Sally,

    Please can you clarify the maths as I work in grams. You have one cup = 230g of butter but you have 3.5 cups = 420g of sugar. But this doesn’t make sense. 420g is 1.83 of a cup. So do I need 420g of sugar or do I need 805g of sugar (230*3.5)


    1. Hi Rachel! 1 cup of butter weighs more than 1 cup of sugar. It can definitely be confusing. The amounts written are correct.

  13. Karla Garcia says:

    Great chocolate buttercream recipe, I just finished making it and it’s the best I’ve made so far!! Thanks!

  14. Is this icing stiff enough for icing a sheetcake?

  15. My roommate’s girlfriend asked me for a cake for her birthday today. She wanted a chocolate frosting so I came to you. The frosting can not be any simpler to make. I did use 3 cups of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. It was enough to frost a 13×9 sheet pan. I’ll be making this one over and over again. Thanks for making the birthday girl even happier!

    1. Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review on my chocolate buttercream!

  16. Barbara Lee says:

    Will the given recipe be enough for a double layer cake with frosting between layers or would you make 1 and 1/2 receipt.

    1. Hi Barbara Lee! See my recipe note for some tips.

  17. If I make and frost cupcakes and a cake tonight for a party tomorrow evening will that be ok or should I frost them tomorrow before the party tomorrow?

    1. You can do it tonight! Just store them in an airtight container until tomorrow.

  18. Do you use the Dutch coco powder for this like you use for the cupcakes?

    1. Hi Rachel! You can use either dutched cocoa or natural cocoa for the buttercream.

  19. I have a question. Whenever I’ve tried to make chocolate frosting with cocoa powder (instead of melted chocolate) in the past, it tastes more like hot chocolate than rich frosting, like pure cocoa powder. Do you know why this might be? I’d like to try this recipe because it seems easier than melting chocolate but I’m worried about having this happen again.

    1. Hi Brianna! This chocolate frosting tastes like real chocolate to me, so I encourage you to try it. You can always add a couple ounces of melted (and slightly cool) chocolate too.

  20. Once you have iced the cupcakes do they need to be stored in the fridge because there is cream in the buttercream, or can they sit out? I can leave normal buttercream iced cakes out of the fridge but not sure with this recipe?

    1. Usually a day or 2 at room temperature is OK.

  21. This is the best chocolate buttercream in the whole world. Thank you Sally

  22. Hi, quick question. Can I frost a 3 layer 6” cake and do some pippin on top with this much frosting? First time

    1. Hi Favanna! This amount of frosting should be enough for your cake.

  23. Klis Cakery says:

    Love this recipe, so light and chocolatey and moorish! Thank you for sharing.

  24. This is the first time I’ve made frosting from scratch instead of buying pre-made.

    I will never buy store bought again. This is to die for! It’s not even in the same stratosphere. So, so delicious and easy to make! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I’m so happy you made the leap to homemade! You are right – there is no comparison!

  25. Hi! This frosting looks and sounds delicious, but I have a question. I have to frost around 20 cupcakes, do you think it’ll be enough with just one batch? Thanks!!

    1. If you don’t go too heavy on the frosting– should be just fine!

  26. Hi Sally, can I half the recipe? I intend to use this frosting as a crumb coat so I don’t think I need so much. Thank you!

    1. Yes, absolutely!

  27. This recipe is great! I had 2 dozen cupcakes to frost and I decided to double the recipe. (Too much frosting is always better than too little!) I had enough frosting to make the cupcakes extremely decadent and put some in the freezer for later. Got many compliments from my husband and coworkers 🙂

    1. Hi Jeannette! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review on my chocolate buttercream recipe. Appreciate it and so happy you enjoy it!

  28. What difference does it make to use milk instead of heavy cream?

    1. Hi Sarah! The frosting has a creamier consistency when made with cream.

  29. Perfect as written. 1 1/2 batches (with leftovers) generously frosts 24 cupcakes. A note about pastry bags – for the first time I didn’t use a disposable bag and won’t go back! Frosting no longer melts and I didn’t feel in such a rush. Thank you for a delicious recipe.

    1. Yay! Glad it worked for you!

  30. Hi could I use this as both a crumb coat and a final all,over frosting for a 9 inch layer cake. I would probably have to double the recipe?

    1. The amount depends on how many layers, but yes this frosting works well as both a crumb coating AND frosting decor.

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