Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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This amazing chocolate buttercream is rich, decadent, and so chocolaty! It’s the chocolate version of my vanilla frosting, and it’s easy to make and requires only a few ingredients.

This is great on cupcakes, but it’s also wonderful on cakes and as a filling for cookies.

Chocolate buttercream

This and my vanilla version are musts in your arsenal of frosting recipes!


You’ll need some pantry basics to make this recipe:

  • Butter – Choose unsalted butter so that you can control the salt content of your frosting.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa powder – Just like in my chocolate cream cheese frosting, the cocoa powder that you choose can make a big difference in the end result of your frosting, both in terms of color and taste. Appearance-wise, if you choose a really dark cocoa powder, like Hershey’s Special Dark, the frosting will be much darker than a regular cocoa powder. The best cocoa powder to use entirely depends on your preference and to whom you are serving your baked goods.
  • Salt – A touch of salt goes so well with the chocolate flavor.
  • Vanilla extract – You might find it odd to have vanilla in chocolate frosting, but the vanilla actually enhances the chocolate flavor.

How It’s Made

Make sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature.

Start by beating the butter for three full minutes with an electric mixer on high speed. This will incorporate lots of air into the frosting to make it nice and light.

Beating butter in a KitchenAid mixer

Mix in the cocoa powder, starting on low speed, until completely incorporated.

Adding cocoa powder to frosting

Mix in the powdered sugar in multiple additions, then mix in vanilla extract and salt.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes or cake.

Expert Tips and FAQs

How long does this frosting last?

This lasts for up to a week at room temperature or for months in the freezer. Always store it in an airtight container.

If you’ve frozen it and are ready to use it, first bring it to room temperature and then mix it again for a minute or two before you start piping.

How can I enhance the chocolate flavor?

Experiment with adding 1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder to the frosting. Don’t use more since the goal is to use the little bit of coffee to intensify the chocolate flavor. You may not even taste the coffee.

Can I make this frosting stiffer?

Yes; add more powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) as needed before mixing in the cocoa powder.

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting


Cupcakes and Cakes

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Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting
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4.62 from 13 votes

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate buttercream is rich, decadent, and SO chocolaty! It's easy to make – with just three ingredients – and perfect for cakes and cupcakes.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 6 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 111kcal
Author Stefani


  • Stand mixer
  • Piping bags
  • Piping tips


  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar add more if needed to get desired stiffness
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a handheld electric mixer, beat butter at high speed for three minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in cocoa powder.
  • Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  • Mix in vanilla and salt.
  • Pipe over or spread onto desserts.


Frosts 24 cupcakes or a two layer 8″ round cake. Double the recipe if you like your cupcakes with really tall frosting swirls.
Add more powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) as needed if you want a stiffer buttercream.
The frosting lasts for up to a week at room temperature or months in the freezer.
If frozen, you will need to bring it to room temperature and mix it again for a minute or two before you start piping.


Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
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