Desserts/ Recipe

Chocolate Buttercream

August 10, 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 pipping 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 is available 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
    Fran @ G'day Souffle'
    August 10, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Kathy, I see that I already made a comment here more than 2 years ago- how time does fly! When I saw your recipe for Chocolate Butter Cream appear in my in-box, I knew I had to come over and say ‘hi’ again- since you are definitely the BUTTER CREAM QUEEN!

    • Reply
      August 10, 2020 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Fran! So glad to hear from you again! You just can’t go wrong with a classic. 🙂 And the Buttercream Queen! Wow!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ashley I Benstrends
    February 12, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    5 stars
    Looks creamy, chocolatey and the texture must be good. I love the many options it can be made from and how easy it can be done. I must try this with my kid! 🙂

  • Reply
    Agness of Run Agness Run
    February 2, 2018 at 2:28 am

    This chocolate frosting recipe seems like the ultimate recipe I will use for my cookies and cakes, Kathy! Thanks for the simple, easy, and detailed instructions. Saving your post!

    • Reply
      February 4, 2018 at 5:48 am

      Thanks, Agness! It will quickly become your favorite, go to recipe.

  • Reply
    Stacey @ The Sugar Coated Cottage
    January 30, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Yes please!! This buttercream looks heavenly!! Pinned. Take care.

    • Reply
      February 4, 2018 at 5:58 am

      Thanks, Stacey!

  • Reply
    David @ Spiced
    January 29, 2018 at 4:47 am

    Umph…glad to hear you’re back in the land of the living. The flu this year is particularly bad, and I’m just waiting for it to race through Robbie’s daycare…which in turn means it comes home, too. (So far, we’ve been lucky.) And what a way to welcome you back after the flu with this buttercream post! It looks perfectly creamy, and I kinda just want to grab a spoon and dig straight in!

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    January 28, 2018 at 5:43 am

    5 stars
    ‘Germ factory’ – that’s so funny!!! Happy to hear that you’re feeling better, Kathy! This looks like one creamy chocolately buttercream. I’d like to think delicious for cupcakes, but it would be tempting to eat straight up, lol. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2018 at 4:09 am

    5 stars
    This buttercream looks delicious and has the perfect texture!

    • Reply
      January 29, 2018 at 5:38 am

      Thanks, Natalie!

  • Reply
    Melissa Griffiths
    January 27, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Oh flu season has been so bad this year – glad you’re feeling better! Buttercream is SO good – just the way to welcome yourself back into eating again! 🙂

    • Reply
      January 29, 2018 at 5:34 am

      Thanks, Melissa!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    January 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Oh no Kathy! Glad you’re on the road to recovery. I’m hoping I can escape the flu this year. This buttercream looks delicious. It’s one of my favorite types of icing. Thanks so sharing. Get better!

    • Reply
      January 29, 2018 at 5:27 am

      Thanks, MaryAnn! I’m on the mend. 🙂

  • Reply
    Fran @ G'day Souffle'
    January 27, 2018 at 7:39 am

    HI Kathy, I remember several of your previous Butter Cream Icing posts- that certainly seems to be your specialty! I am envious of your piping technique- I can never get those ‘frills’ to come out nicely when I pipe (I probably need to get a different piping nozzle). Good to hear you’re feeling better!

    • Reply
      January 29, 2018 at 5:23 am

      Hi Fran,
      The piping tip does make a difference. I use a large tip when piping cupcakes.

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