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Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Lush and creamy, this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is silky and holds up well when piped. Plus, it’s melt in your mouth delicious and simply the best!

closeup of chocolate buttercream frosting swirled on chocolate cupcake

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

It’s taken me some time to find a chocolate frosting that is extraordinarily decadent but, today, my search is finally over. This frosting is so silky, smooth and yet it is sturdy enough to be piped.

I’ve made this buttercream several times now and it gets rave reviews with everyone who tries it. It’s practically the same as my basic vanilla buttercream frosting but with the addition of cocoa powder.

Chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting, and cream cheese frosting are now my three staple recipes that get used on rotation around here.

This easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe is one that will pair wonderfully with chocolate cakechocolate cupcakes, or vanilla cake! Made with the perfect ratio of butter, heavy cream, cocoa powder, and confectioners’ sugar, this frosting is incredibly silky and rich.

If you follow all the tips and advice I give you, you’ll have an amazing frosting that turns out perfect every time you make it!

overhead of chocolate buttercream frosting piped over cupcakes

Now, I must admit chocolate is not my favorite. I mean, it’s delicious but I’ll get sick if I eat too much of it. However, this frosting was something I couldn’t resist taking samples of.

It’s just so dang decadent. And it’s surprisingly not cloyingly sweet. You can eat spoonfuls without getting a toothache.

If you are a chocolate lover or know someone who swoons over ultra decadent desserts, then you must give this frosting a try. 


How to make this chocolate buttercream frosting recipe?

The light, fluffy, and silky chocolate buttercream frosting from fancy bakeries is truly a treat, but you can make this type of frosting at home! All you need are butter, heavy cream, vanilla, cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, and a mixer.

First, make sure your butter is properly softened. It should be malleable without being melty or oily. If your butter looks oil, put in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up slightly.

  1. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until it is smooth, creamy, and noticeably lighter in color.
  2. Add half the powdered sugar and beat it until it’s well mixed in. This can take up to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Beat until everything is very well combined. This will take about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the heavy cream and beat for about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer after about 2 minutes to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. This is also a good opportunity to test the consistency of the frosting. It should be soft and spreadable but not so loose it doesn’t hold its shape. If it’s not soft enough, beat in ½ tablespoon heavy cream at a time until the frosting reaches the proper consistency.
process shots showing how to make the best chocolate buttercream frosting

Can you make chocolate buttercream frosting with melted chocolate?

Yes, you certainly can! I love the light airiness when using cocoa powder but if you’d prefer, melted chocolate is a great alternative. Simply melt 4-ounces of coarsely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water then allow it to cool. Prepare the frosting as directed and fold in the cool, melted chocolate at the very end.

Does chocolate buttercream frosting need to be refrigerated?

American buttercream is stable at room temperature for 2-3 days but will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in the refrigerator. Let the frosting come to room temperature then whip it if necessary before using it.

chocolate buttercream frosting piped over chocolate cupcakes

Tips for making the best chocolate buttercream frosting

  • Make sure the butter isn’t too soft. It should be malleable without being melted or greasy.
  • Be sure to sift the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. This will break apart all those little clumps allowing the frosting to come together easily.
  • Use room temperature heavy cream. If you add cold heavy cream, it could cause the frosting to separate.

More tasty ways to serve chocolate buttercream

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chocolate buttercream frosting piped over chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 5 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Thick and creamy, this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is silky and holds up well when piped. Plus, it’s melt in your mouth delicious!

Makes 5 cups. It’s enough to frost 24 cupcakes or a double layer cake. Halve the recipe to make enough for 12 cupcakes or a single layer cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (340 g) unsalted butter, softened - SEE NOTE 1
  • 5 ¼ cups (630 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ¾ cup (64 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream, room temperature

Instructions

    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy and pale in color, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add half the confectioners’ sugar to the creamed butter and beat on low speed just until the sugar mixture has fully moistened then turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
    3. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt; beat on low speed just until the sugar and cocoa have fully moistened then turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
    4. With the mixer on low speed add 3 tablespoons of cream to the butter mixture. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until the cream is well incorporated, about 3-4 minutes. (after about 2 minutes of mixing, stop to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl then continue.)
    5. Check the consistency of the frosting and add more cream if needed, ½ a tablespoon at a time. (The frosting should be soft and spreadable but not so loose that it doesn’t hold its shape.)

Notes

  1. The butter must be properly softened. It should be soft enough to bend but not so soft that it looks oily.
  2. You can use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder if you prefer. Melt 4-ounces of coarsely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water and allow it to cool. Prepare the frosting as directed and fold in the melted, cooled chocolate at the very end.

Make ahead tip

  1. Frosting will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You must let the buttercream come to room temperature by setting it out on the counter for a couple hours, then beat it with an electric mixer if needed.
  2. Or it can be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to use, place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Let stand at room temperature to soften before use.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 25Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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Siggy

Tuesday 5th of May 2020

So I’m not a chocolate frosting fan or buttercream. It’s just too sweet for me and for my kids. I’ve always used cream cheese frosting. Everyone loves the cream cheese frosting in the family, and some of my customers (side hustle, lol) I am curious about yours, so I’m going to try it. Can you use vanilla bean stick? I had made buttercream long time ago and I used vanilla Bean stick. I’m excited to try this. I’ve try so many and it never comes out right, always too sweet.

Jen Sobjack

Tuesday 5th of May 2020

Yes, you can absolutely use the seeds from a vanilla bean!

Brenda

Thursday 5th of March 2020

(Continuation of my chocolate coconut buttercream question) OR, would it be better to make your coconut buttercream frosting and add cocoa powder to it? If that’s the case would I use the same amount of cocoa powder that the chocolate coconut frosting calls for?

Jen Sobjack

Friday 6th of March 2020

It would be best to make the chocolate buttercream with coconut cream instead of heavy cream.

Cassie

Friday 27th of September 2019

Which is better- paddle attachment or whisk? I always use a paddle but I feel like the whisk would allow more air to be incorporated.

Jen Sobjack

Friday 27th of September 2019

I always use the paddle attachment when working with frosting. You'll still get a good amount of air to make the frosting light and fluffy.

Sue Ross

Sunday 25th of August 2019

I used this recipe for my chocolate cupcakes. Wow. It truly is amazing! I did what you suggested and. I beat that butter..I beat it for about 8 minutes. It was light, fluffy and made a huge difference. I beat it before , then added the powdered sugar in a couple batches beating well, then beat it some more after I added the sugar, cocoa and the cream (which really needs to be room temp). I never realized what a difference it made by beating the butter so well... thanks. This is now my go to chocolate frosting recipe!!!

Brenda

Thursday 5th of March 2020

I want to make a chocolate coconut buttercream frosting...could I substitute coconut cream for the heavy cream? Maybe add a little more powdered sugar to stiffen it up?

Jen Sobjack

Monday 26th of August 2019

I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed the frosting. Whipping the butter really does make all the difference!

Kattia Rivas

Thursday 8th of August 2019

So does it matter if i use the paddle in my stand mixer or the whisk? i saw in your video you used a hand mixer and in the instructions part you say to use the paddle attachment. Just trying to get your exact recipe goinf for me :)

Jen Sobjack

Thursday 8th of August 2019

If you have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, use that. If you don't, a handheld mixer will work fine. The instructions state to use one or the other.

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