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

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon
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 (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. 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 frosting piped with ateco 808 piping tip

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


Comments are closed.

  1. Great recipe thank you so much. I only had 2 eggs on hand and I had remembered I could use applesauce for a substitute for the 3rd egg and OMG it was amazingly moist and so good.

    1. Wonderful recipe!

  2. This is such a delicious and easy recipe! Thanks so much!

  3. My favorite secret ingredient in chocolate frosting is to add in Kahlua. So I made this replacing the vanilla essence and some of the cream with Kahlua. Yum Yum Yum!

  4. Hey Sally
    Thanks so much for sharing your recipes, I have been following them for years with wonderful results. Just a question it possible to use double cream instead of heavy cream in the frosting? I know the fat content of double cream is higher, just wondering if that would ruin the frosting

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, That should be fine for this frosting.

  5. This icing was amazing!!!!! I doubled the recipe and had plenty for a 3-layer, 9” round cake for my son’s birthday as well as had plenty left over to freeze. As far as taste, it was delicious! This will be my go-to recipe from now on.

  6. I made this and the chocolate chip cookie cake with my daughter. It was all fabulous. This buttercream tastes like eating fudge!

  7. It is sooo good!!!! This recipe is the best!!!!!

  8. UGH!! So good!!! My first time making home made frosting and it came out WONDERFUL with this recipe!! I’ll be sure to use this from now on, thank you so much!

  9. Is it possible to use almond milk as a substitute here or will it change the consistency too much? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can use almond milk in a pinch, yes.

  10. Henry David says:

    Hi Sally, I love your site and recipes. Quick question, have you ever made a buttercream with chocolate ganache? I just have some left over american buttercream and I’m wondering if I can combine it with a chocolate ganache, any thoughts?

    1. I haven’t, actually! Adding a little shouldn’t be a problem. Make sure it’s cool before beating into the buttercream.

      1. Henry David says:

        Awesome, thanks!

  11. Hey sally, how many cupcakes would this recipe make?

  12. Arlene Sarenana says:

    Hi, have you ever covered a cake with fondant using this recipe?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, this buttercream works well under fondant.

  13. Diane Matthews says:

    Hi Sally,
    I made the chocolate buttercream cake and chocolate buttercream frosting for my chocoholic sister’s birthday. She loved the cake. One thing I discussed with my sister who bakes often was to possibly drop the temperature to 325 degrees because I used a coated pan, and the cake was just a little bit drier than I would have liked. So, maybe that is something to add in your notes. I’m not a big baker, so I wasn’t aware to drop the temperature. I baked it at 350 for 34 min. In a 9 x 13 pan. Overall though it was a big hit with my sister and she told me it was fabulous. Thanks for the recipes and your recommendations. P.S. I did use the sour cream version you discussed.

  14. Should I store the frosted cake in the fridge or will it be okay on the counter for a few days?

  15. hi sally just wondering will salted butter ruin the recipie or is it fine to use

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can use salted butter here. No changes to the recipe needed. Before adding any salt, taste it, then salt as desired.

  16. hi, i see the recipe calls for heavy cream or milk. would buttercream work?

  17. This Choco buttercream is so delicious! I was wondering if I could share your recipes on my blog? I will make sure to link your website with the recipe. If not, I totally understand. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Raegan, Thank you for your interest in sharing Sally’s Baking Addiction content. You can certainly link back to the recipe. We just ask that you do not republish the recipe along with the photography unless we are compensated for the content. For any questions please email us at [email protected] Thanks!

  18. This is the best and easiest chocolate frosting I have tried. I have tried a few recipes from my cookbooks that were less than perfect (too chocolatey, too sweet, melted off the cake), so I looked online. I saw this recipe and another one that used the same ingredients but 5 cups of confectioner’s sugar and decided to try this one. Three and a half cups of sugar were plenty to make the frosting sweet and the right consistency. I frosted a 9-inch two-layer cake and had about 1 and 1/2 cups of the frosting leftover. I will make this again!

  19. This recipe was absolutely delicious! I did find that making it with half the butter makes it taste fabulous. But other than that it was amazing!

  20. This buttercream has a delightful texture and was super easy to make – Thank you! Do you have a preferred brand or type of cocoa powder? Also, I found it a bit sweet for my taste, but I’m wondering if I’m measuring the sugar correctly. What is your method for measuring out powdered sugar?

  21. I’ve really been trying to make my own Swiss meringue but it’s always a total failure. After cooking the mixture over boiling water when it comes to mixing it doesn’t turn out well it just keep creating more foams instead of getting stiff.


  23. Love this recipe and the chocolate cupcakes.. I did realize the texture of my buttercream was slightly grainy even with the powdered sugar. I didn’t sift my cocoa powder or sugar. Is that a key process? How can I fix it now?

    1. Hi Farah, I find some confectioners’ sugar to have a coarser texture than others. (I use and love Domino brand.) Anyway, regardless of the brand you use, sifting the confectioners’ sugar will help.

  24. I made the frosting and accidentally doubled the amount of cocoa. Even so I found it didn’t taste very chocolatey and would have prefered a more intense flavor. The texture was lovely.

  25. I made this yesterday to ice a 13 x 9 yellow cake. My husbands favorite. It is so tasty and smooth. Very easy to prepare. I will be making this again.

  26. Perfect recipe, just what I needed! Thanks a ton <3

  27. My mom and I made this to pipe onto cupcakes, and it took a few tries to get the right consistency. It was at too thick, so we had to keep adding more cream. Overall it was pretty good tho. One note is that is was SUPER rich.

  28. This butter cream frosting is by far the best tasting chocolate and so easy to spread. It will be my go to #1 frosting In the future, thank you.

  29. Is it possible to use whipping cream (33%) if I don’t have heavy cream? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      That should be fine, Rachel.

  30. Really good recipe. So soft and creamy. Buy the best cocoa and you’ll love it.

1 7 8 9 10

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love



Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

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