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.

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 245 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.

1,120 comments on “Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe”

  1. Can you freeze the frosting?

    • Yes, Alex, you can freeze the frosting in an airtight container. When ready to use, place in the refrigerator and allow to thaw overnight. Before frosting a cake, stir the frosting really well to get it back to desired, fluffy consistency. xo

  2. Hello. I want to make this buttercream for a 9 inch 3 layer cake. How much will I need to make

  3. Hi there, I’ve been asked to make this for a wedding cake so the tins will be a lot bigger. Have you done bigger versions and worked out quantities for them at all? Also, I baked in two tins as above recipe for a trial today and they’re quite thin. Is that what you found? They’re only a couple of cm high at the sides then dome up in the middle…thanks so much for your help. Mine are also cracked on top and not sure why…baking in the UK x

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Emma,
      I haven’t sized this as a larger tiered wedding cake. The chocolate cake batter is very thin, but the finished, baked cake layers are not thin. There have been a few people from the UK that have had issues with their cake not rising as much as mine does here in the US. Maybe the differences in ingredients?

  4. Hi! I’m making this for my sons birthday, but was wondering what kind of milk you use? Is heavy whipping cream okay? 

  5.  Can I use almond milk instead of normal milk? (I have someone allergic to whey in normal milk)

  6. I made this cake and chocolate butter cream icing it’s by far not the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. I was very disappointed it’s not that moist and the icing was runny and I had enough left over for two more layers. I added extra powdered sugar to icing and it’s still runny. What a waste  of my time and money. I should of went with my cream cheese icing that never lets me down. 

    Rating: 1
    • I’m sorry you didn’t like the cake or the frosting, Pamela. I’ve never had a problem with either and make this often. First, this is a very moist cake, so I don’t know what happened that it was not moist when you made it. I don’t know why the frosting was runny as it should be thick & creamy. The only thing I can think could possibly have happened is that either the butter was too warm or that the frosting was not beaten well enough after each cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk was added as per the recipe instructions. Thanks.

  7. Can I Skip espresso powder?

  8. I just made this and it turned out amazing. Went very well with German chocolate. I did skip the espresso for those who want to do that. 

    Rating: 5
  9. hello your recipe doesn’t specify salted or unsalted butter – which is it?

  10. Could I use a bunt tin and make one large cake.

  11. This one gets a 10 thumbs up. I couldn’t stop dipping my finger in for…”one last lick” (shhh). Sooo good and creamy and Perfect!

    Rating: 4
  12. Oops. Big fingers. This deserves 5 stars! Followed it to the letter except didn’t have expresso so I brewed hazelnut coffee and used that in place of the water . DEELish!

  13. Gah! What are the ingredients in metric?

  14. I’ve made this recipe for cakes and love it. I wanted to use it for cupcakes and won’t need a whole batch. Will it work if I halve the recipe? Thanks!

  15. I made the cake (cupcakes) and the chocolate buttercream frosting. Both excellent. I used buttermilk. Anyhow, one hint: DON’T use chocolate frosting to make a swirl! The effect was totally not what I wanted! But a remediation with knife and sprinkles fixed it! 😉

    Rating: 5
  16. Best chocolate cake EVER!

    Rating: 5
  17. Tried this today for the first time and it came out delicious! Just as predicted and shown in the pictures! Super tasty and yummy with the right consistency! I made mine without the espresso powder and it still turned out yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe!! Cheers! 

    Rating: 5
  18. Over whipped it by accident….but can’t keep my fingers out of the bowl! Lol! It is delicious!

    Rating: 4
  19. Made this frosting today for a birthday party and it came out perfect.  This will definitely be my go to recipe from now on:)

    Rating: 5
  20. Is this frosting more like a crusting frosting? 

  21. Oh my goodness. This is amazing. My boyfriend, his daughter, and myself are chocoholics. I’m also very picky about cakes and frostings, as I grew up in a bakery.
    I just did a test run of this, so I know what to expect, for when I make it for my bf daughter’s birthday when she comes next month. Big thumbs up from both of us and we’re sure his daughter will agree.

    Rating: 5
  22. Great recipe.

    Rating: 5
  23. Oh my! What a great tasting frosting! I used dark cocoa and it is awsome!

    Rating: 4
  24. Just made this frosting and it came out amazing! Love it. Would definantly recommend . 

    Rating: 5

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