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. I just found your website about three weeks ago and I tried this recipe along with the vanilla buttercream frosting recipe last night, I made it into the cake version and it was my first time making a homemade cake and frosting, it turned out perfect! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes, I’ll definitely be making this again and trying other ones.

    I also took your suggestion and bought the pans you recommended, love them!

    I do have a question about the vanilla buttercream recipe, do you think if I reduced the amount of confection sugar to 3.5 cups, it wouldn’t be sweet enough or it would have more of a buttery taste? 4.5 cups was just a little sweet for me and I added some salt as you suggested to make it less sweet but it was still a little sweet for me but the frosting was absolutely delicious.

    1. Hi Giselle, I’m so happy to hear that you baked a homemade cake and frosting for the first time! Yay! Buttercream frosting is very sweet and if you reduce the sugar that much it would be pretty thin. You can certainly try it, but if you want it to hold up well or pipe anything you will need the full 4.5 cups. You an also try cream cheese frosting as it’s a bit more tangy: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/favorite-cream-cheese-frosting/

      1. Thank you so much for your response, you answered my question and I’ll take your advice. I’ll also be sure to try your cream cheese frosting recipe, sounds amazing! Since my initial comment, I made your vanilla cake with the help of my kids again, they enjoyed being able to make them with me and they loved eating them even more! Today we’re making the chocolate cupcakes with “chocolate” buttercream! Yum! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Worked perfect! I normally don’t care for buttercream and opt for cream cheese or ganache but the picture looked so nice that I tried it and it was delicious. Easy to pipe too! Thank you!

    1. This was very helpful! Thank you SO much. My kid had a french project and we made a cake but couldn’t find frosting. He looked it up and we made a successful cake.

  3. I’m not a huge fan of buttercream – I prefer ganache or whipped cream, but I had a craving for a good old-fashioned chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream yesterday. I found this recipe for your favorite chocolate buttercream and whipped it up and I can honestly say it was perfect with my favorite chocolate cake recipe! Thank you so much, I’m definitely using this buttercream recipe again!

    1. You can, yes, but cacao powder tastes more bitter. That might be exactly what you crave in a sweet chocolate buttercream, though. Enjoy!

  4. SO GOOD! this is a delicious and super pipeable icing. I replaced 20 g of icing sugar with cocoa to make it extra chocolatey and dark (it was still plenty sweet), and followed the mixing times closely and it made a very beautiful dark rich icing. I also blitzed the cocoa powder and some of the icing sugar in a food processor before adding them to get rid of any lumps. Good reviews from everyone at the birthday party I brought the cupcakes to!

  5. Hi! Can I frost a cupcake night before and leave in a airtight container till next morning? I wanted to make these for my daughter’s preschool birthday party, but there won’t be time in the morning to frost and decorate.

  6. I made the chocolate butter cream frosting and a 2 layer cake today!! My first time Ever doing everything homemade and it was a huge success!! I’m so happy and it looked beautiful!! Thank you for sharing this recipe! I will definitely try your other recipes! It was AWESOME!

  7. I don’t exactly have enough vanilla extract to equal the amount needed for this recipe. Will that alter the consistency or taste too much?

  8. Sweet Success! Made this the morning of my 6 year olds party and it was delicious! Even better the next day. The kids loved it too! Followed the recipe completely. I’m the worst cook on earth and you make me look like I have talent. Thanks Sally!

  9. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! And thank you for breaking it up into manageable and informative chunks. I am not a baker, but your directions made me feel confident.

  10. This recipe sounds perfect for a chocolate cake I’m going to make. Jacques Torres (from “Nailed It!”) says that buttercream must be beaten a minimum of ten minutes. I tried that on a lemon buttercream which I made last week, and I have to agree with him. It does something to the butter, which in turn tones down the sweetness. I’m going to try this recipe, but I will beat it for ten full minutes. I think it will be really good.

    1. Sounds great! Keep in mind that the longer you beat the buttercream, the more air bubbles it will have. It will not be as silky and smooth.

  11. Incredible recipe for basic but delicious chocolate frosting. I just used it on another batch of cupcakes last night. Thanks Sally>!

  12. Delicious frosting and easy to make. I used my food processor for the same so it was not messy at all. Looking at the earlier comments, will certainly blend it longer and see how it turns out . I added much lesser sugar though . About 2 cups.

  13. I honestly Love Red Velvet cake. I’ve tried making it before, and it tasted great other than the constant crunching of sugar beneath our teeth I literally just realized it was sugar. I also couldn’t get the frosting right. It was too liquify. I’ll try your recipe soon, and see how it works out for me. See you soon

  14. Definitely the most perfect chocolate buttercream frosting ever!
    Thanks for sharing and clear, concise instructions. BTW have noticed since joining website that ads are constantly popping up with greater frequency. Not only annoying, but gives me a headache. Hope you remedy this ASAP, otherwise a great site.

    1. Hi Tavo! Thank you so much, so glad you enjoy this chocolate buttercream. We’re constantly changing the outlay of the site and while no more placements have been added in over a year (just moved around), we’ll definitely take your feedback into consideration! Thanks so much. 🙂

  15. Love the recipe, consistency and ease. I used salted butter BUT added the recipe’s amount of salt so it is a little salty but good. What is the best way to eliminate or cover up MY mistake? Confectioner sugar and milk? Just hate to mess up the perfect consistency!!!!!

  16. Hi Sally! I have to say you really got me into baking 🙂 I will be making this frosting with super moist chocolate frosting and I was wondering if I could get away with using buttermilk instead of heavy cream or regular milk. Please let me know!!

  17. Does this butter cream recipe crust at all after sitting on the cake? Or is it still going to be super soft like store-bought Frosting?

  18. I made the chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing for my daughter’s 8th birthday today. I found the icing sweet as per comments and after all it is buttercream icing so it is going to be sweet. I added some blood orange zest and a touch of it’s juice and it turned out fabulously just the bit of ‘zest’ I thought it needed!! Thank you

  19. Cup cake and frosting were so good!
    I made it and kids and my husband loved it!
    This recipe makes a lot of frosting for our taste, so I will try to cut it in half.

  20. I tried this chocolate buttercream recipe with your brownie recipe….amazing!!!

    I also refrigerated the leftover buttercream and then rolled them into little balls of icing. They were a hit! We called them chocolate bombs 🙂

    1. You can certainly use a different flavor extract. I haven’t tested one in this particular frosting but I recommend that you cut the vanilla extract in half and then add another flavor instead of cutting it out completely.

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