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.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword best chocolate buttercream, buttercream recipe, chocolate buttercream, chocolate buttercream recipe, easy chocolate buttercream

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Total Time 15 minutes
Prep Time 15 minutes
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.
4.83 from 263 votes
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  • 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.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

Robyn xo

You may also want to try my White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe as well.

1,206 comments on “Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe”

  1. Made this today as an 8″ two layer cake and two large cupcakes. The cake layers didn’t rise as much as I’d hoped but I blame where I live, not the recipe. I’m a missionary and live in Kenya at 7,000′ so most things I bake require several tries and a bit of tweaking. I reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup and the b.p. a bit too. I will try this recipe again and keep making high altitude adjustments until I get the perfect cake. The taste is FANTASTICALLY yummy!

  2. If you use the espresso can you taste the coffee flavor at all? The person I am making it for hates coffee…..

    • Hi Connie,
      The espresso powder enhances the richness of the chocolate. It doesn’t taste like coffee but you can also omit it if you aren’t certain you want to use it. Enjoy! Thanks!

    • I was worried about the coffee flavor as well. My husband does not like coffee, but I always try the recipe exactly as is the first time. He ate plenty of cake, so he must not have detected the coffee flavor at all.

  3. Do you use salted or unsalted butter for the frosting?

  4. I am serving this tomorrow with your Best Chocolate cake recipe, wondering if i should frost today? Will the icing stay fresh in a sealed cake container? Or best to whip up tomorrow before the party?

  5. Made this cake with Valhrona cocoa powder for an 80th birthday. I used the coconut oil and butter milk. The cake was so moist and deicious. Everyone raved about. This is a keeper.

  6. I tried out your recipe together with the perfect chocolate cake and I loved it – so did everyone else! Thank you very much for sharing! I will be baking it again and again <3

  7. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Perfect recipe ….thank you very much

  8. Could you tell me if this cake is good to put fondant over it? I really want to make this cake for a family party and just wanted to know if the cake will hold up to having fondant covering it? I’m making the cake to look like a hockey puck since my uncle is a huge hockey fan. Thanks for any feedback you can provide me. It looks absolutely delicious!

    • Hi MK,
      I’ve not covered it in fondant so I can’t personally say, but there may be others who have left comments who’ve used fondant. It is a really moist cake and so delicious! I hope you enjoy it! Thanks! xo

  9. Perfect recipe – Thank You very much xx
    Just wanted to ask  how to store it if I bake it over nigh??

  10. Hi! Do you think there will be enough frosting if a halve this recipe for the 2-layer 9-inch chocolate cake? It seems like the full recipe makes a whole lot. Thanks!

  11. The frosting is amazing! Best I have ever had!

  12. Can you make this icing using almond milk? Thanks!

  13. Hi there, 

    This recipe sounds delicious! I was just curious if the 5 cups of confectioners sugar makes the frosting too sweet? Would reducing the sugar change the consistency of the frosting! 

  14. Beautiful cake

  15. Hi Robyn!
    I’m thinking of making this along with your chocolate cake recipe, and I don’t have an electric mixer on hand. Do you have any tips on how to make this without a mixer?

    • Hi – I hope you enjoy the cake and the frosting! The cake can be made easily without an electric mixer. The frosting will require a little more “elbow grease”, but make sure to get your butter super, super soft and beat with a wooden spoon to cream the mixture together. A sturdy wooden spoon and sturdy mixing bowl will help. Enjoy! Thanks!

  16. Hi! I would like to make this for an upcoming birthday party. I cannot have gluten, dairy, or eggs. I read your substitutes—will it work well to use all the subs in the same cake? GF flour, coconut oil, applesauce, and coconut milk?

  17. Hi I’ve made this a few times now it’s amazing. I have some left over frosting as I made your egg free recipe into cupcakes can it be frozen please? X

    • Hi Kerry,
      I’m glad you enjoy this! You can freeze the frosting if you wish – just thaw in the refrigerator and whip really well again before using. Thanks!

  18. My chocolate lover did not like it. Too bitter. Not very sweet.

  19. Is the frosting overly sweet? I don’t like overly sweet frosting.

  20. This cake tastes very much like a mayonnaise cake that I make. I made 24 cupcakes. My husband says they are not sweet enough. I’m hoping that frosting them with the chocolate frosting will bring up the sweetness for him. I’m an making this for a cookout tomorrow.

  21. I cannot wait to try this amazing cake recipe. I looks just so fine and dandy!

  22. Can I use dark Coco powder in place of normal unsweetened Coco powder?

  23. This whole chocolate cake, with frosting is amazing—so rich and moist.  I’ve made it twice.  Trust me though—do NOT make this frosting with black/Special Dark cocoa.  It’s not a good look.  Charcoal grey.

  24. I’ve made this cake and the frosting 3 times, now my family won’t let me make any other kind! It is the best ever!

  25. Oh my GOD!  I just made my first from scratch chocolate cake. I made it from this recipe, it came out PERFECT. The taste is AMAZING. Thank you so much! 💋 ( oh and I used instant coffee and ground it up like powder).  

  26. Does this frosting work well for piping on cupcakes?

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