Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

The Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe is essential when it comes to birthday cakes and other celebrations around my house.

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe | ©

It compliments so many delicious cakes and cupcakes, but my favorite is when it paired with my favorite chocolate cake recipe, chocolate cupcakes or even my white cake recipe. But seriously, it is pretty delicious on anything it touches. Like a spoon works just fine, too! Ha!

Thankfully, this chocolate buttercream frosting recipe comes together quickly and makes plenty of buttercream frosting to frost a three layer cake or three dozen cupcakes beautifully.

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe | ©

Here’s my Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe. I can’t wait to hear how you love it.

4.8 from 71 reviews
Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is an essential when it comes to birthday cakes and other celebrations. Get this family favorite, perfect chocolate buttercream frosting recipe.
  • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  1. Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  2. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  3. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  4. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  5. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

Robyn xo


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  1. 209

    Violet says

    I LOVE this frosting! I make it with peered xylitol, and no espresso powder. I only use about 1 and a half powdered xylitol though, I think it’s just fine without 5.
    This frosting has actually saved a cake I previously made, and I’m hoping it’ll go well with this quinoa cake I’m making right now. Thanks!

    • 210

      Claudia says

      This recipe sounds delicious and I want to make it. However I need to know how many cups it yields and I don’t see that information indicated. Can anyone help me out with that questions please? Thank you!

  2. 211

    Cherylene says

    Hello everyone, I made this cake tonight for tomorrow’s ThanksGiving Holiday and all I can comment on for now is the Yummy Icing, I followed the exact recipe for the icing and I didn’t even need all the milk, I like a thicker icing. I will post after dinner to let everyone know how the cake was. Thank you Robyn for sharing your recipe and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  3. 212

    Alina says

    The best chocolate frosting I ever did! I love the texture and the pinch of coffee. I had to reduce the sugar amount a great deal since I’m from Germany and German recipes are a lot less sweet so I had to adjust.
    1 cup of sugar instead of 5 and a little bit less of the cocoa powder in case anyone wants to try it the European way ;)
    Thank you very much for this one. It was a big hit!

    • 213

      Jenna says

      Alina…I am so glad to see this modification. Frosting done a little less sweet is exactly how I like it. I am going to try 2 cups for my mom’s birthday tomorrow. She is more of a sweet tooth than I am so I want it the way she would like it! Thank you for the recommendation!

    • 214

      Antje says

      Hi Alina, thanks for this!
      I’m German as well and not too fond of the über-sweet/ sugary cakes here Australia.
      Since this will my first frosting ever I’m glad to see your comment, I’m sure it’ll help me heaps! xx

  4. 217

    margaret girgrah says


  5. 220

    Shazia says

    Hey the buttercream looks amazing. Is it okay if i use powdered sugar or icing sugar instead pf confectioners sugar?

  6. 224

    Agi says

    Hi Robyn, I”m baking your best chocolate cake ever right now for my fiance’s birthday which is only tomorrow. I was wondering if you’d recommend putting the frosting on the cake today or wait until tomorrow. If latter, is it OK to prepare the frosting today and apply it only tomorrow? Can it sit in the fridge for a day? Many thanks!

    • 225


      You can go ahead and frost the cake today and doesn’t require being refrigerated, depending on your climate. Happy birthday to your fiance!

  7. 226

    Charlotte K says

    I made a third of this recipe to frost 12 cupcakes, and used only about 5 tablespoons of powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk (all the other ingredients I used per the recipe, just divided by three e.g., one stick of butter, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, and 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder), and it turned out very well. Not too sweet, very chocolatey, and by far the easiest buttercream recipe I’ve tried to date (it’s great not to have to involve any whipped egg whites). Am looking forward to making it again.

  8. 228

    Laura Moore says

    Salted or unsalted butter? I’m making this for my grandmother’s 80th birthday this weekend. She’s going to love it!

  9. 230

    Athi says

    Hi Robyn,
    Tried your chocolate cake recipe using tofu as a egg replacer it came out very well . Thanks a lot. Planning to make this choco butter cream frosting too, I just wanted to know the shelf life? Does it stays fresh for a week if stored?

  10. 234

    Christie says

    Would it be okay to replace the cocoa with baking chocolate? I’m looking forward to making this for my family for Christmas.

    • 235


      Hi Christie,
      You can. It will change the ratios of liquids to dry ingredients since you’ll be adding melted chocolate. You’ll just want to adjust to compensate.

  11. 236

    Martha Sample says

    Just made this frosting and it is the best. Not bitter but smooth and delightful. I made as directed but omitted the espresso. It frosted two 2-layer cakes with generous slatherings between the layers and over the cakes. Thank you.

  12. 241

    tomekia says

    I made this cake for a friend last december it was so good! I will make it again this decemeber this is a delicious recipe thanks for sharing!

  13. 245

    Lisa says

    I normally don’t like buttercream frosting, but this is the best chocolate buttercream frosting I’ve ever tasted! I will use this recipe again. So happy I found your blog.

  14. 248

    Hope Cammareri says

    I was in a pinch and did not have time to make my usual chocolate frosting. Now, I won’t go back to my old frosting! This is so good, so full of fudge flavor-it’s perfect! I used a stick less of butter because that’s all I had and three cups of sugar was sufficient for me. For the second cake I used this on, I added a bit of cream cheese to add more of a salty flavor. I always use salted butter, too. What I love is that it’s foolproof- the texture was effortlessly smooth. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  15. 249

    Ann Robinette says

    Just finished making this frosting for a church social tomorrow. Didn’t have the espresso used instead 1 tablespoon black coffee and decreased that much milk. Turned out great. yum yum. I will be using this again, thanks

  16. 250

    Val macNeill says

    I like to read the reviews before trying a new recipe and there are some great ones here, I can’t wait to try this recipe today.. Thank you

  17. 252

    Angela says

    Love the cake! Love the recipe! The steps are so easy to follow.

    This is the first cake that I baked and everyone loved it.

    Cant wait to try the White Cake recipe. This will be always be my Chocolate cake recipe!

    Thank you for sharing!

  18. 254

    christy says

    Hi Robyn,
    Im making this recipe for the best ever choc. Cake and as im making it for my parents iwas wondering if i can lessen the sugar. By how much will i be able to reduce it for the icing to still remain tasty?? Thank you

  19. 255

    Joy says

    I followed your most delicious chocolate butter cream frosting recipe and I must tell you, it’s the best of the best frosting I have ever made. Thank you! I also put it on your chocolate cake recipe and can’t wait to serve my hubby his birthday cake tonight.

    • 256


      Happy birthday to your husband! I’m so glad you love the buttercream frosting recipe. It is absolutely one of our favorites as well! xo

  20. 257

    Ramona Galea says

    hi Robyn thanks for sharing this chocolate cake recipe. i have tried it several times and its always a huge success. The cake comes so moist! The only change in the recipe is that i use strong instant coffee instead of expresso powder. (You cannot taste the coffee at all for all those skeptical, it just makes the chocolate flavour come out more)
    I will also try the frosting today after all the positive reviews!
    Thanks again

  21. 258

    Dovid says

    This recipe sounds excellent. I just have two questions.

    1) Should butter be salted or unsalted?
    2) Do you know how I might use espresso coffee grounds as opposed to the espresso powder? Should I use the same amount?

    Looking forward to tasting this,

    • 259

      Dovid says

      Just a follow-up to my questions on 1/19. I made the icing, which was delicious. Used unsalted butter. As for the espresso coffee grounds (as opposed to the powder called for by the recipe), I used 1/2 tsp, which made the coffee flavor a little too strong. If you’re using espresso coffee grounds (like Illy, for instance) you may want to cut it it 1/4 tsp. Anyway, the icing was geshmak (as we say in New York), thank you for sharing it.

      • 260


        I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Great tip for using espresso coffee grounds. I, too, found that espresso coffee grounds gave the icing too much coffee flavor for what I was looking for in the recipe and gave it a slight bitter aftertaste. If you can find the espresso powder, it works beautifully without that, but if you can’t, you can always omit.

  22. 261

    Jennifer says

    Hi made this recipe exact, besides the espresso powder, yesterday and the consistency was a little runny. Instead of using more confectioners sugar, is there something else I can add to make it thicker or should I omit the milk? Even though it was a little runny, the taste was delicious.

    • 262


      Hi Jennifer,
      One thing to be sure of is that your butter is softened, but not overly softened or melted, which can cause the texture to be off a bit. As you suggested, you can omit the milk to see how that works for you as well. I hope that helps!

  23. 263

    Lori A Berry says

    Just made the frosting recipe! Yummmmmy! I creamed the butter first and then sifted the cocoa powder with the powdered sugar. Looks and tastes great! Thank you :)

  24. 266


    This was my first time making buttercream frosting, and I love how it turned out! I made it to frost your chocolate cake I made yesterday ( Both turned out amazing. I didn’t add coffee to either. For the frosting, I only used 2 sticks salted butter, 2/3 C. unsweetened cocoa, about 2 2/3 C. powdered sugar, 4-5 Tbsp. milk, 2 tsp. vanilla. I love the texture of the frosting. After frosting a 2-layer cake (including between layers), I still have about 1 C. extra frosting. I guess it’s better to have a little leftover than not quite enough. :)
    Thanks for the awesome recipes!

    • 267


      I’m so glad you liked it. I always pile all the frosting on the cake, but if you have left over I can’t even begin to tell you how good it is on a graham cracker or a vanilla wafer. Heaven!

  25. 269

    Annikki says

    Hey Robyn!

    I have made this recipe multitudes of times, both as a cake and cupcakes. Every time I make it, it has been a huge hit! Thank you for new standard recipes in my kitchen!
    However, I was wondering if you have any experience baking gluten free? I wanted to make this recipe again today for a super bowl party, but the family I am making it for eats gluten free, and I was wondering if you would have any suggestions on what to use as a flour substitute?

    I would greatly appreciate any advice you have! Thank you so much!

    God Bless!,

    • 270


      Hi Annikki,
      Thank you so much for your comment! While I’ve not used it for this recipe specifically, I’ve heard great results with using Cup 4 Cup as a gluten free flour blend in this recipe from readers who have emailed me. I hope that helps!

  26. 271

    Rochelle says

    I’ve just made your ‘best ever chocolate cake’ once again. This time I’ve doubled up the recipe and I’m going to stack it up high (so four cakes!) and decorate it with construction vehicles (diggers, grader etc) for my son’s third birthday. I hope my cake turns out just as well as the first time I made it as I got lots of kind compliments then :)

  27. 272

    Nic from Australia says

    Simply devine. Be sure to remove yourself from the kitchen if the cake hasn’t cooled… you’ll find yourself eating the icing it’s so good. I had to place myself on a total ban. Couple of rookie mistakes… be sure your butter has softened to room temp. Mine was still a little hard and when I placed it with the cocoa and turned on the mixer…. oh boy did I create a cocoa snow storm! Covered myself, the bench, the floor, the kettle and the mixer with a lovely layer of chocolate! Then trying to finish up and get to bed, I didn’t allow the cake to completely cool so the icing became a little bit liquid on top. I had waited an hour but it wasn’t enough. Threw the cake in the fridge and all was solved.

  28. 274

    Jessica H. says

    Thanks for this delicious chocolate frosting recipe! I’ve made other buttercream frostings, but they usually turn out too gritty and sweet. This was reminiscent of a chocolate truffle center and was creamy and not overpoweringly sweet. I’ll be using it again for sure! I’ve made this for my husband’s birthday cake today and it turned out great! Thanks, Robyn!

  29. 276

    Barbara says

    Hi Robyn
    Thank very much for sharing your receipe
    I was wondering if I need to put the frosting in the fridge or can it stay room temperature
    I will need to frost the cake for tomorrow
    I will be covering it with fondant

    Thank u

  30. 277

    Joanna says

    My daughter make cupcakes and used your delicious buttermilk chocolate icing. It’s so tasty and good. It totally “made” the cupcakes. However, she has tons of icing left over. I don’t want to throw it out. Can it be stored in the freezer and if so, how long? How about the refrigerator?

    • 278


      I’m so glad she enjoyed it! You can definitely store any remaining in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for several months. To use, just allow it to come to room temperature.


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