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white bowl with chocolate buttercream icing and knife chocolate cake and tea towel

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.