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.
4.85 from 302 votes
Did you make this recipe?


  • 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.

1,331 comments on “Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe”

  1. This is the BEST choc buttercream receipe!  The espresso powder really made all the difference.  It made twice the amount I was expecting but that is a good thing.  Is it possible to store this for a few days?  If so, just refrigerate?


  2. Can heavy cream be used instead of milk ? and if so what is the difference in taste

  3. Do I need this full recipe to use with the “Best Chocolate Cake” recipe? I see that you said it makes enough for a 3 layer cake but that is only a 2 layer cake. I already made the cakes and plan to frost them in the morning for my sister’s 10th wedding anniversary. Thank you so much!

  4. Can you use skin milk or almond milk for the frosting

  5. This is perfection for sure everyone loved it one person said it tasted like chocolate ice cream

  6. Do I use salted or unsalted butter?

  7. This is truly a fantastic frosting. Light and airy. Just the way I like it.

  8. I was looking for an easy chocolate buttercream recipe that was smooth and silky and didn’t taste like a pan of fudge. I found it. Great chocolate taste and really delicious. Will make again and again. 

  9. The website is forcing me to make a review, in order to see the recipe.

    • I’m sorry about that Tiffany. It should have only been a screen that came up to ask if you wanted to subscribe to emails I send when I post new recipes. You can close that screen if you don’t wish to subscribe, but if you do, I’m happy to have you as a subscriber. 🙂
      You aren’t required to do anything to read my posts or my recipes – I hope you enjoy the frosting!
      I’m glad you stopped by and hope to talk to you again! xo

  10. Do you have to use the espresso in it. Making it for kids party 

  11. This cake and frosting recipe is indeed wonderful. My family raved aboit it. A new favourite! Thank you!

  12. Perfect! Made it with the cake, it’s simple and DELICIOUS.

  13. Hi Robyn

    This looks like a great accompaniment to “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}”.

    I was wondering if you have any suggestions to add orange flavour to this icing (to make it choc-orange/jaffa flavour), by adding zest or juice or similar?

    Thank you!

  14. After 55 + years of baking and frosting cakes, I can tell you this is one of the best chocolate buttercreams around! the hint of coffee….perfection….and thank goodness it actually makes enough to frost a real layer cake.

  15. Is this a good frosting to pipe with?

  16. Hi, how much would I have to adjust the recipe if Im going to use six inch pans? or 7 inch?

  17. is it alright to put in a Tupperware overnight un the fridge to use the next day? Thanks!

  18. Can you freeze the icing for later use? I think I went overboard by doubling the amounts!!!

  19. This is by FAR the best chocolate cake I have made! My son helped me search for a chocolate cake recipe for his bday and we are SO happy we found this! Thank you!!!!!

  20. 5 cups of confectioners sugar is 625 grams.

  21. I am making this cake to travel 5 hours on a trip. I guess it would be OK to freeze for transport in an insulated box wouldn’t it?

  22. Hi. Can Dutch process cocoa be used? I am assuming it’s the same but unsure. Same question for the frosting. Thank you 

  23. OMG!! This is the best frosting I have ever tasted or made! Is it so light and airy and has the best chocolate flavor. It reminds me of chocolate batter. I will definitely be using this recipe from now on! It’s not grainy at all! This is the first time I’ve made this frosting and The best chocolate cake ever recipe. I’m going to assemble my cake in the morning. I had to stop myself from eating all the frosting before I’ve iced my cakes😉 For the questions on the espresso powder. It does not taste like coffee! It just enhances the chocolate flavor. I used Ghiradelli cocoa powder and McCormick’s pure vanilla extract. I’ve read you don’t want to skimp on those ingredients when baking. Can’t wait to try this cake!  Thank you again!

    • I’m so happy you enjoy this, Nikki! Can’t wait until you taste the cake! 🙂
      You are so right about the espresso powder – it’s such a delicious part of this recipe! xo

  24. Hi!
    Could I halve this recipe to make a smaller amount of frosting for a smaller cake?
    Thanks in advance!

  25. Wonderful flavor and easy to work with on a 3 tier cake! I did use butter Crisco for the butter.

  26. Does the cake need to be refrigerated after frosting?  

  27. Yes i did the cake was great. But the icing i did something wrong it did not set it was real lose i put more sugar in it and it wouldnt get tight so i put it on cake put in ice box can you think what i did wrong it taste good

  28. I pinned this recipe a few years ago and I use it every year. I make it vegan for my husband (with earth balance butter and almond milk) and it is FANTASTIC! Sometimes I try to mix it up, but he always asks for this frosting!! I can’t blame him for not wanting to try others when he knows this one is going to be tasty every time! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Love this recipe. I live in Holland and can’t find espresso power so I’ve made it without. and it’s delicious. I also have a steam oven and have adjusted the recipe for that. So chocolately and delicious my kids love it too.

  30. Wow,thank you so much. I will surely try this recipe 

  31. I have made this cake loads of times now and it is fabulous 🙂  I am now going to make my son’s Birthday cake with 2 cakes this year…10 inch on the bottom cake and 8 inch for the top tier. Dinosaur themed. I was going to just make 3 times the recipe? What would you suggest?  Thanks! 

    • I’ve not made that size so I can’t say exactly how much batter it will take, Carol, but it sounds like it will be so much fun!
      That may be a good guess to start – and if you see you’re going to have extra batter, you can always make cupcakes! 😉
      Happy birthday to your son! Enjoy the cake! xo

  32. Can I use buttermilk or is regular milk better?

  33. WOW. Made this cake for my 87 Year old neighbor’s birthday. Incredibly moist and fabulous. Frosting was amazing too. I used homemade buttermilk. A big hit, This is going to replace my homemade carrot cake as my favorite cake to bake.

  34. Can I use flora instead of butter for the frosting 

  35. I don’t usually care for frosting but this was delicious! No tweeks needed – loved it.

  36. hey robyn
    isnt 5 cups sugar too sweet

  37. hi
    isnt 5 cups sugar too sweet

  38. how come my chocolate buttercream is not brown? it’s grayish in color, pls help!

    • I can’t be sure what happened, but it sounds like something may have been left out or increased by mistake. I’ve never had that happen – it always turns out like the photos with my recipe. Thanks!

  39. How much is one cup in grams? 225 gm?  So are we using more than 2 pounds of confectioners sugar? 

  40. I recommend making this recipe with Penzies Dutch cocoa. I also put the espresso powder in the milk to dilute it because if you don’t mix it well, depending on the brand, you get a big coffee punch in the face.

  41. I’ve been searching for the perfect chocolate buttercream frosting for years. This is it! Thank you!

  42. heyy robyn,
    just wondering isn’t it better to whipp the butter for like five min to get it pale and white and double in volume then add the icing sugar like it says in some recipes or is the way u show us better.

  43. Hi I’m making this for my friends birthday tomorrow and was wondering if i could put the frosting in the refidgerator overnight? And will it still have the same like texture?

    • Hi Calissa,
      After the frosting returns to temp, whip the frosting again to get it to return to it fluffy texture. You can also just go ahead and frost the cake and cover it with a cake topper. No need to refrigerate the cake if serving tomorrow. Enjoy!

  44. Love this recipe
    What size tins would you suggest for a large birthdat cake to feed 40 people and how many times would I increase quantities..  thanks 

  45. Hi, Can I use this buttercream to ice a cake and put fondant on top?
    I want to try to make a 3D cake for my son’s birthday and this will be the first time for me! Want to know if this buttercream will be able to hold up fondant. Thanks!!

    • Hi Wynni,
      I’ve not used a fondant with this before. There may be other readers who have done it. I always suggest with anything new to give it a “test” ahead of your important celebration. Happy birthday to your son! xo

  46. The cake turned out great but the frosting was “gritty”.  Any ideas on what I didn’t wrong?  

  47. The name of this frosting is absolutely true .. This is P E R F E C T …. delicious is an understatement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *