The Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe essential for birthday cakes and celebrations! It’s the best chocolate buttercream frosting I’ve ever tasted!

The Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is definitely a must  in my house! This Chocolate Buttercream is by far the best I’ve ever tasted and is frequently requested for birthday cakes and more!

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe | ©addapinch.com

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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!

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

To make this delicious frosting, first add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through the cocoa well to remove any lumps.

Then, cream together the butter and cocoa powder until well-combined. Then, add sugar and milk to the 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. Please make sure  you mix it like this – it makes the frosting into fluffy, delicious perfection!
You’ll then add your vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
If your frosting appears too dry, add more milk, only one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears too wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, only one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

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

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe | ©addapinch.com

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

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

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.
4.86 from 435 votes

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Print Recipe

Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  • Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  • 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.
  • Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  • 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.
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

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

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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1886 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Hi! Would I be able to substitute another type of sugar for the confectioners sugar(i don’t have enough and wondering if it’s worth a trip to the store or if i could use a different ingredient from home)? Thanks!!

    1. Maddy, I haven’t made this frosting with any other type of sugar and have always used confectioner’s sugar. I would think any sugar other than the powdered would cause the frosting to be grainy.

    2. Help! In the UK we don’t use cups, can you translate into weights and liquid measure please. I have really tried but our cups are a different size, varied from4 oz 8oz, and 16oz. Cake ended up tasty but dry. Love the method and taste .

  2. Hi – May I suggest you specify Salted Butter in the recipe/ingredients section? Just a suggestion. I am a novice baker and have always heard that unsalted butter should typically be used for baking. I’d really wanted to try my hand at your “tried and true.” I’m a little disappointed after already making the icing, to read later in the comments that you use salted. I haven’t iced or tasted the cake yet, but I’m wondering if the salted butter cuts or balances some of the sweetness slightly. Worried that mine might be too sweet. Hopefully it will be fine.

      1. Nisha, I haven’t added any orange flavoring to this frosting but others have commented on here that they have successfully. This is part of the comment Lynette made: ” I also used Orange extract in place of the Vanilla because I really wanted a chocolate orange frosting, and guess what…. it was the best frosting I have ever tasted!” I hope this helps.

    1. Is it unsweetened coca powder you use for the frosting? Making this for my son’s 10th birthday on Wednesday so I want to make sure I have it right! 🙂

      1. Yes, Staci, I use natural unsweetened cocoa powder for the frosting. Hope your son has the best 10th birthday! My son was so happy when he finally got to the “double digit” birthdays.

    1. You can freeze the buttercream frosting, Aoife. Put the frosting in a freezer safe, airtight food storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use after freezing, remove from freezer and place it in the fridge overnight to thaw. Right before you get ready to frost your cake, allow the frosting to come to room temperature and mix it well again to make it fluffy before using.

  3. By “sticks of butter” do you mean 250g sticks? Silly question but I broke my 1cup while baking the cake and I’m not good with measuring cups by eyes, silly me!

      1. After frosting cupcakes with this, do these have to be put in the fridge since there is milk in it or will it be fine for 24 hours on the counter ? Thanks

  4. Perfection! Easy recipe to follow. Take your time mixing the ingredients (icing sugar and milk). Left out the Espresso powder. (Had added it to the chocolate cake recipe, so I wasn’t sure it would over power the flavour for the kids.). Creamy, chocolaty goodness. Cut the recipe in half because I only had 2 1/2 cups of icing sugar and it was enough for a two layer 9″ cake.

  5. Great recipe! Easy and delicious. This will be my go to for chocolate cupcakes. I made the chocolate buttercream icing. Only used 3 cups of icing sugar and about 1/2 the milk. Absolutely out of this world!

  6. Can you please provide a vanilla buttercream frosting. My granddaughter has requested pink frosting on a chocolate cake 😃
    Thank you so much!

  7. Excellent chocolate icing. Will be my go to recipe!
    I reduced the icing sugar and used only 3 cups. Also reduced the milk. It was rich and chocolatey. Fantastic

  8. Hi! I was wondering if cocoa powder can be added to buttercream that’s already made? I have a batch of buttercream I made yesterday, can I just add cocoa powder to it, and then maybe give it a good mix in the mixer?

    1. You can add cocoa powder to buttercream frosting. Just place your buttercream into your mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder a little at a time and until it is well incorporated into the frosting, Saira.

  9. Made this over the weekend for my partners birthday…OMG it was sooo delicious. A huge hit with him and our friends. I will make it again some day…and look forward to trying other recipes of yours.
    Thank you
    Robert

  10. I live very remotely and don’t have quick access to express powder or beans. Can I just use regular ground coffee as a substitute for now for both the cake and frosting recipe. I have a birthday cake to make now! Yikes!

  11. Can i add chopped strawberries into this buttercream for in between the layers of my cake? I don’t want to mess it up, but think a chocolate strawberry filling would be super yummy!

  12. Simply amazing! I just made this cake for 4 times (I use coconut oil in the dough and in the frosting I use only 50% of the confectioner sugar) and everybody loves it! So chocolate-ly and moist and delicious!!!

  13. I followed the recipe and I had a load of buttercream frosting left over. Not sure if im meant to slather the frosting on in between the cakes and all over but it got too decadent. Will halve it next time, crowd pleaser at my house.

    1. Lonise, I always frost between the layers. If you have leftover frosting, you can always freeze it. Put the frosting in a freezer safe, airtight food storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use after freezing, remove from freezer and place it in the fridge overnight to thaw. Right before you get ready to frost your cake, allow the frosting to come to room temperature and mix it well again to make it fluffy before using.

  14. I had already baked a cake when i found your frosting recipe and so glad I did. Its easy to make and so easy to spread and works excellent with the piping bag , not to mention delicious too. Next time will try with the chocolate cake.

  15. I know buttercream frostings are pretty basic, but seriously guys? This one is the BEST!!! I’ve made buttercream and chocolate buttercream frosting many times and I always look at a recipe…just to be sure my measurements are on point….but I google a new recipe each time. I will be saving this recipe and using it forever more! I’m eating the cold leftovers with a spoon. 😂 It’s rich but not too rich, not too sweet, so creamy! Yum!!!

  16. Hi. Have you used instant coffee instead of espresso powder before? I’ve done this for other recipe because that is something I keep in the freezer. I was wonder how different they would be. Maybe I would need to grind the instant coffee more?

  17. So delicious. Didn’t have espresso powder, but did have Watkins Cafe Extract…i.e. coffee extract. My bf hates coffee, but loved this, adding, “What’s that flavor? Did you use expensive chocolate? ” Yes, of course! The frosting I’ve made for years, & always,to me anyway, tastes like the homemade truffles I make for xmad,er xmas. Thanks for the cake recipe . Making it again next week for my d-in-law & my bds. She’s going to love it. She’s a choco-holic. The daughters are going to decorate. They’re my granddaughters now. I’m meeting them for the first time next week. I told their Mom I was doing a bonding project with them. She said as long as it’s art, it will be great! Yeah, ok, I guess we can call it art. They are 4 & 6. It will be FUN! Thanks!

    1. Victoria, you can make this frosting ahead and always store it in the refrigerator or freeze it. If you refrigerate it, it’s good in the fridge for about 3 – 5 days. Just make sure you store it in an airtight container. If you want to freeze it, put in a freezer safe, airtight food storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use after freezing, remove from freezer and place it in the fridge overnight to thaw. Right before you get ready to frost your cake, allow the frosting to come to room temperature and mix it well again to make it fluffy before using.

  18. This is the best frosting I have ever had. I added an 8oz package of cream cheese to it and for me it was really good. The cake recipe turned out awesome as well. Thank you for your wonderful recipes. How long can I keep this refrigerated before it will go bad?

  19. I am making a cake for my son’s 3rd birthday, and needed chocolate icing to do a construction theme. I wanted to use America’s Test Kitchen recipe, but I don’t have time for a bain marie or water bath. I made this mostly as is, I only used 7 tbs of milk (there are 8 in .5 c) and I didn’t use espresso powder. I also used unsalted butter, and added literally 2 pinches of salt. This is so fluffy, balanced, and creamy. I just made and tasted it, i haven’t frosted with it yet, but it looks like it will do beautifully. So happy with this recipe!

    1. Emily, I’m so happy your cake turned out well for your first time. I hope your son has an amazing 3rd birthday. Those birthdays are so special when they are little. It brought back memories of my son’s 3rd birthday. Thank you!

  20. Hi,
    Will this chocolate buttercream hold up under fondant? First time trying this recipe and I’m so excited! I did try your chocolate cake and your strawberry cake, which by the way are AMAZING!!

    1. Mary, I haven’t used this buttercream under fondant so I can’t tell you from experience how it will hold up. Other people have commented that they have done it successfully. I’m so glad you love the chocolate and strawberry cakes. Thanks!

  21. What can I substitute for vanilla extract? I can’t have anything with alcohol in it so any type of extract would not work 🙁

    1. Asfa, there are brands of alcohol-free vanilla extract you could use. Some people recommend using the same amount of maple syrup as the vanilla extract in the recipe though I have not tried it.

  22. I can’t wait to make this for my husbands birthday Nov 2nd he loves chocolate cake I do have a question though I noticed you had 3 different types of milk and 3 different oils ( for the cake that is) which do you use ? I want to make a carbon copy of your famous chocolate cake 😂 Im a great cook but not so much baker🤞 lol

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