Desserts/ Recipe

Chocolate Buttercream

August 10, 2020 (Last Updated: October 26, 2020)

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A perfect chocolate frosting for everyday! This chocolate buttercream is smooth and creamy and perfect for spreading on a cake or piping onto cupcakes.

Three chocolate cupcakes topped with swirled chocolate buttercream.

A classic buttercream frosting is perfect for adding to any cake or cupcake. This chocolate version is full of flavor and easy to make. This is my favorite frosting for adding to my chocolate mayonnaise cupcakes.


A complete list of ingredients and measurements can be found below. Just scroll to the bottom!

The ingredients are pretty simple:

  • Butter – I use salted butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Vanilla
  • Milk or Cream
Butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla displayed together.

To make frosting

A complete list of instructions is available below! Just scroll to the bottom!

  • Place softened butter in a mixing bowl. Mix until creamy and smooth
  • Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Mix until incorporated. Mixture will be thick
  • Add vanilla and two tablespoons of milk and mix
  • Continue adding one tablespoon at a time of milk until desired consistency.

I use a stand mixer to mix up this frosting. It does make the job quick and easy.  My mom always mixes this by hand. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her do it any other way. Either way works fine, just make certain your butter is softened before you begin.

What to do with leftover frosting?

If you end up with any leftover frosting, you can store covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Another idea is one my mom uses and is one of my dad’s favorite treats! Take two graham crackers and spread the top of one with frosting. Place other graham on top and you have a graham cracker frosting sandwich!

When I was little, my mom would always make this treat anytime she made a cake or cupcakes with frosting. The best part was we were able to snack on these as an afternoon treat and then we would have the cake for dessert after dinner. She still makes these treats today and my dad still loves them!

Chocolate frosting being piped onto a chocolate cupcake.

Frequently asked questions

How long will this frosting keep?

This frosting will keep up to two weeks if covered and refrigerated

Will this frosting hold up to hot temperatures?
This frosting is made with butter and will not hold up to hot temperatures.

What if the frosting is too thick?

You can add a bit more milk if the frosting is too thick

How much buttercream do I need?

The amount of buttercream you need depends on what you are using it on and how you are using it. This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of frosting. That is enough frosting to cover a 9 x 13 inch cake if you apply with a knife. It will cover 24 cupcakes when spread with a knife. The coverage is less if piping the frosting.

Chocolate frosting being spread on a chocolate cupcake.

Tips for making buttercream

  • Make certain your butter is very soft but not melted
  • Sift powdered sugar if lumpy
  • Add milk a little at a time until desired consistency is met
  • If too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar
  • Don’t over whip frosting or it may become full of tiny air holes
A chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate swirled frosting.

Other Buttercream Recipes

Don’t forget to PIN for later!

Chocolate frosting swirled on a chocolate cupcake.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @beyondthechickencoop

Check out all my delicious dessert recipes!

A chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate swirled frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream

Creamy chocolate buttercream frosting
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 2 Cups
Calories 182 kcal


  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar (approximately 3 1/2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons cream or milk


  • Place butter in bowl. Mix until creamy and smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Mix until incorporated. Mixture will be thick. 
  • Add vanilla and 2 tablespoons of cream. Mix well. Continue adding cream until buttercream reaches the desired consistency. 
  • Use right away or cover in an air proof container and refrigerate. 


Tips for making buttercream
  • Make certain your butter is very soft but not melted
  • Sift powdered sugar if lumpy
  • Add milk a little at a time until desired consistency is met
  • If too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar
This recipe makes approximately 2 1/2 cups of buttercream. 
Nutritional values were calculated at 2 tablespoons per serving.


Serving: 2TablespoonsCalories: 182kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 1gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 83mgPotassium: 16mgFiber: 1gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 328IUCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
Keyword buttercream, buttercream frosting, chocolate buttercream, chocolate frosting
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

 This post was originally published in January of 2018. The pictures, the post and recipe have been updated.

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  • Reply
    Kelly | Foodtasia
    August 13, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    5 stars
    Kathy, this chocolate buttercream is absolutely dreamy! Love the idea of putting leftover frosting on graham crackers. My mom used to make those for after school snacks when we were young. I had totally forgotten about them!

  • Reply
    August 11, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    I have never made frosting before. This looks super creamy. I find your recipe very easy for a beginner like me. Thanks

    • Reply
      August 13, 2020 at 8:02 am

      Thanks, Raul! Enjoy!!!

  • Reply
    David @ Spiced
    August 11, 2020 at 5:15 am

    5 stars
    A good chocolate buttercream recipe is worth it’s weight in gold! I love keeping recipes like this in my back pocket as they can be used in so many different ways…like on graham crackers!? Why am I just now hearing about this idea??

    • Reply
      August 11, 2020 at 5:18 am

      It’s been a closely guarded family secret for years – 😉 You’ve got to give it a try.

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