Favorite Chocolate Buttercream

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– 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

Dive into this chocolate decadence!

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

Chocolate buttercream recipe

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. Cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing or refrigerating, thaw in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature then beat the frosting for a few seconds so it’s creamy again. You may need to add a little milk if it’s still too stiff.


  1. Quantity: This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9×13 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!

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

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


  1. Came out so good! Next time I might use a little less confectioners sugar but it’s so yummy, pretty and easy.

  2. Just absolutely fantastic. Quite literally the best chocolate frosting I have ever tasted, and everyone that tastes this agrees. Thank you for such a great recipe!!!

  3. Sally, I absolutely adore this chocolate frosting, and have made it several times. This time, I need to make ahead and will store in the fridge for 2 days before I need frost my cupcakes. How long should it set out of the fridge before recreating it, I assume it needs to come to room temp.
    Michelle V

    1. Depending on the temperature where you live about an hour on the counter should bring it back to room temperature. Give it a mix before you use it!

  4. Delicious frosting! Instead of vanilla extract I added a little oil and chocolate sauce because we ran out of the vanilla extract. So good!

  5. I just got back from the store & I forgot to get the cocoa powder! Can I use melted unsweetened bakers chocolate or dark chocolate syrup? If so, what adjustments would I have to make?

    1. Hi Carol! Use melted and slightly cooled unsweetened Bakers chocolate. Add a little extra confectioners’ sugar to thicken it up.

  6. Hello, I am going to make this frosting this week and had a quick question. Why does the recipe for the least amount have 2 t of vanilla, but then the recipe for the 2 layer amount has 1 t of vanilla and the same amount of powder sugar as the first? I usually just double the same recipe for frosting if I need more but I’m guessing now that is not that right way to do it!!
    Also, do you anywhere on your website that you have brand recommendations for the different supplies? Thanks so much

    1. Hi Kellie! Vanilla flavoring is an addition that you can really use to your liking. Add at least 1 teaspoon, then add more if desired. I began adding more vanilla extract to my chocolate buttercream more recently when I published this recipe for it. I have a few blog posts with my recommended baking products and they can all be found in my Baking Tips section: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/category/baking-tips/

      1. Thanks so much for the reply! We made the chocolate chip cookie cake a few weeks ago and my daughter is requesting it this week as a last day of school treat. SO yummy 🙂

  7. Hello Sally,

    This is the second time i’m making your buttercream recipe. However, i still can taste the icing sugar in the cream. Is it because i halved the recipe?

    Please, please reply soonest. Thanks.

    1. Hi Esther! What brand of confectioners’ sugar are you using? Perhaps try to replace some of it with more cocoa powder if you decide to try it again.

  8. Hi Sally. I’m a new, but loyal follower of your site Have been trying many of your recipes and my family and kids are so excited about this new found hobby:) I’ve tried a few frostings including this one, but can’t seem to get that silky smooth texture I’m craving! The taste and flavor is wonderful, but it’s gritty and not silky
    One question I have is about the confectioner’s Sugar. So i’m currently residing in the Middle East and the powdered sugar is plain ground sugar—no cornstarch added. Does that make a difference? Should I add cornstarch to the sugar?
    I also don’t have a stand mixer, just a hand-mixer—could that be part of my problem?

    1. Hi Kariman! Using a hand mixer isn’t a problem at all– in fact, I love using a hand mixer for buttercream! If you’re tasting granules, it’s the sugar. Can you process it in a food processor until it’s powdery? It will eventually turn into fluffy powdered sugar!

    2. Kariman: I find that my American buttercream frostings can be gritty at times, and usually it’s due to the fact that I haven’t beaten the sugar with the butter for long enough. Whipping them for longer yields a lighter and fluffier frosting. Of course, keep in mind that if you whip the completed frosting for a longer time (around 3-5 minutes), it will achieve a lovely consistency, but the colour will lighten quite a bit as well. So if you want to whip it for longer, you could consider swapping out some of the confectioner’s sugar for additional cocoa powder. Also, adding a bit more cream can help yield a silkier frosting, too. Hope this helps you, or any other bakers who are experiencing a similar problem!

  9. I would adore this recipe if I could get that silky texture but mine is granulated and I can taste sugar in spite of processing the sugar. I added half a teaspoon of milk but it didn’t get absorbed into it. Do tell me what to do

    1. Hi Sarah! Are you using icing sugar? It sounds like you are processing the granulated sugar itself. It may not be powdery enough. Can you get your hands on icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar?

      1. Hi Sarah! I just wanted to add to Sally’s reply by saying you can make your own powdered sugar at home, if it isn’t available to you where you live. I found a post on Genius Kitchen that details how to do it; you use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for every 1 cup of granulated sugar, and pulse the two in a food processor until a powder forms. Hope this helps!

  10. Giving credit where credit is due: this is a definite go to recipe. 5 minutes with handy ingredients and you have a silky, delicious, cooperative and freezable buttercream. Thank you!

    1. Hi sally, I’ve frozen this from a month ago and using it today. How long will it last now? And can I refreeze it? (Made a fresh batch of your amazing chocolate zucchini cake!) Thanks!

  11. Super delicious, and so creamy! Due to dairy intolerance, I substituted 1/2 vegan margarine and 1/2 Crisco shortening, and used coconut milk. Worked perfectly, and I’ll use this recipe as my go-to from now on! Thanks!!!

    1. Hi!
      I made this recipe with Hershey’s unsweetened natural cocoa and it tasted great! I am trying to get a buttercream that is darker brown in color. If I substitute the unsweetened natural cocoa with dark cocoa, will that make it darker? And also will it still taste as great?

      1. You could add more cocoa powder instead of same amount of confectioners sugar to get a darker color. Dark cocoa is pretty great. If you like it as much as your unsweetened natural cocoa then there should be no problem. If it’s darker in color then it most likely will make a difference in color for the frosting, although it probably won’t be a mindblowing change.

  12. Absolutely delicious buttercream! Not too sweet and perfect chocolate flavor, and it’s beautifully thick for piping. I’m putting it on your super moist chocolate cupcakes for a neighbor. She’s going to love them!

  13. Quick question, which specific brand did you use for the cocoa? Also did you use the Dutch processed cocoa or unsweetened natural cocoa

    1. Hi Chelsea! I usually use Hershey’s unsweetened natural cocoa powder. Sometimes I add a little Hershey’s Special Dark in there too!

  14. Hi sally….I just love all your work. Please tell me if I can mix half butter and half margarine to make this buttercream?

    Or will it taste different or less flavorful if I use margarine entirely??

  15. If I want to make double frosting, can I just double the recipe? I looked at your “2 layer cake” recipe for frosting and it looks like the measurements aren’t doubled?

    1. Doubling would be a little too much for a 2 layer cake. If you want double this quantity, though, you can simply double the ingredients.

  16. Can the frosted cake be left at room temperature for a few days, or must it be refrigerated immediately?

    Thank you!

  17. this is my new favorite baking site! Yesterday I tried the soft pretzel recipe. I made bites and pretzel dogs. They were ugly(i made a few mistakes) but yummy. And I made the nacho cheese sauce for dipping. I will NEVER buy another jar of cheese sauce! I did add a bit of velvetta just because I love it (don’t judge me) but I think I’ll leave it out next time. Today i made the butterscotch filled cupcakes but used homemade caramel sauce instead. Holy YUM!!!! Thanx Sally. Looking forward to trying many more of your fabulous recipes

    1. I’m thrilled you are enjoying so many of my recipes! Thanks for sharing your feedback, Shelly! Happy baking 🙂

  18. I made this recipe to frost cupcakes for my daughters 2nd birthday and it was a hit! I’m making it again this morning for my son’s birthday party and have a question. We are having the party in the backyard and it will reach 90*F today. Will the frosting last?

    1. Hi Heather! I’m unable to respond to comments on the weekends, so I’m just seeing this comment now. Sorry about that! Yes, the frosting should be fine for a few hours in heat. It won’t melt or anything like that.

      1. No worries – I ended up refrigerating them before bringing out in the heat. After about an hour or two it was pretty melty, but not to the point where it was dripping off the cupcakes. We got lots of compliments on it, thanks again!

  19. Best ever chocolate frosting I’ve made! I used a few and this was so creamy and easily piped. Loved it and I’ll use again that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally