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Desserts | March 10, 2018

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is an essential recipe for every cook! I’ve been making this easy chocolate buttercream frosting for years. It’s my go-to recipe for frosting layer cakes, sheet pan cakes and 9×13 cakes.

Growing up my mom purchased little boxes of frosting mix and added melted butter and milk to make frosting. I’m not sure why she used a box mix for frosting, but I’m sure it had something to do with not understanding how simple it is to make really delicious frosting from scratch!

This is my go-to make every single time Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe. I’ve been making it for so long I never use a recipe, just throw everything in the mixing bowl and in a few minutes, one big bowl of creamy, smooth chocolate frosting appears. If you have a stand mixer, making Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is substantially easier, but not necessary. I highly recommend using a stand mixer or a hand held mixer, but Chocolate Buttercream Frosting can also be made using a little muscle power and a sturdy wood spoon! If you do have to make the frosting without the aid of an electric device, soften the butter to room temperature for a few hours before making, or  cut into tablespoons size pieces and microwave for about 15 seconds, or until soft in a bowl, then proceed with recipe as directed!

I use this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting on everything from cake to cupcakes, brownies, cookies and even just to make sandwiches with graham crackers at times! It keeps for days in the fridge if you need to make it ahead of time.  I haven’t tried freezing, so I’m not sure how well it freezes? Whenever I make a cake and have a bit of leftover frosting, I use it to spread on a graham cracker and then refrigerate the frosted grahams for a semi homemade treat. Kids love this!

If you’re going to frost a cake and want to make a decorative topping, double this recipe so you’ll have plenty of frosting to pipe onto the cake! Otherwise, one recipe will work perfectly for a 9×13, a double layer 8 or 9 inch cake, one sheet pan cake or about 30 cupcakes. Hope you love our favorite Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and it becomes your go-to frosting as well!

white bowl with chocolate buttercream icing and knife chocolate cake and tea towel
5 from 2 votes

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Author Si Foster, A Bountiful Kitchen


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into tablespoons
  • 2-3 oz unsweetened chocolate chopped, melted and cool until not hot or 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 pinches of salt about 1/8 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk cream or half and half


  1. Place butter in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Turn on medium speed and start mixing butter.
  3. Turn off mixer, Add melted or powdered chocolate to butter and mix for about 1 minute on low and then medium speed.
  4. Turn mixer off again, add 2 cups of powdered sugar to bowl. Mix on low until sugar is no longer visible. Turn mixer off again.
  5. Add remaining powdered sugar, salt, vanilla to bowl. Mix on low until sugar is incorporated and no longer visible.
  6. Add one tablespoon milk or cream while mixing on low.
  7. When all ingredients are in bowl, turn mixer to high and mix for about 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down sides a couple of times and then resume beating frosting.
  8. Add more milk if needed to spreading consistency.
  9. Use as needed on cake, cookies, brownies.

Recipe Notes

-I recommend mixing on low while adding any powdered ingredients to avoid a cloud of powdered sugar or cocoa rising from the mixing bowl! Better to mix on low and then on high after ingredients are incorporated.
-I do not sift the powdered sugar, but sometimes I place the powdered sugar in the mixing bowl and mix on medium high before adding butter. This helps break up any lumps in the sugar!
-If you are using the frosting to decorate the cake (piping on decor) double this frosting recipe.

8 thoughts on “Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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Recipe Rating

  1. Just made this and it was so so tasty. It did have tiny clumps I just could not get out! Any tips on that?? I did use powdered cocoa. Don’t know if it was too dry? I added a bit more milk as it wasn’t spreadable. But man does this taste good!

    1. Hi Morgan,
      Next time you may want to sift the cocoa and powdered sugar if you are having trouble getting rid of small lumps. The amount of milk or cream will vary according to the butter and how soft it is when added to the dry mixture. I think using melted chocolate works a bit better than the dry cocoa powder, but that said, I often use cocoa powder! Hope this helps for next time!

    1. You’ll definitely love these if you’re a chocolate lover. This is such a great frosting recipe for treats. Thanks for sharing, Ryan!

    1. Hi Amy, yes you can, if you leave the chocolate out it is just a plain vanilla buttercream. You can also add a little more powdered sugar. Thanks for asking and for reading ABK!