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.
4.84 from 374 votes

Review Recipe

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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1541 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Hi, I want the icing to be less sweeter! 5 cups icing sugar feels too sweet for me. Any tips to make it less sweeter and still have a perfect consistency? 

    1. Just don’t add as much sugar! It sounds simple and it really is, the consistency is perfect as long as you add one cup of sugar and one tablespoon milk at a time.

  2. I made a gluten-free chocolate cake for my granddaughter’s birthday as per her request. This is the frosting I decided on because it looked like it would make enough to decorate a cake with maybe some left over. I have to tell you that we thought this was absolutely delicious! It went so well with the King Arthur Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake mix (I know—-a box cake, but it was really good!). This will be added to my recipe box! Thank you so much!!

    1. Yay! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the frosting, Marianne!
      I hope your granddaughter had a great birthday! Sometime when you feel like baking, I hope you try my Best Chocolate Cake Ever – I have instructions with it to make it gluten-free if you want. 😉
      Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the frosting! xo

      1. Hi Jackilyn,
        You can refrigerate or freeze this frosting. 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.
        Hope this helps! Thanks so much

  3. This cake is divine. I put whipped cream in the middle and chocolate buttercream frosting on the outside for my daughters birthday. Can’t recommend enough 

  4. I have loved your chocolate cake recipe for years- and this year it saved my kid’s birthday party! 
    This will be my first time for the frosting- would you recommend storing the frosted cake in the fridge or room temp overnight? 

    1. Hi Kt,
      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the cake and hope your child had a fabulous birthday! There’s no need to refrigerate the frosted cake – it will be fine for a couple days stored under a cake cover on your counter. So happy you made the frosting – so good! Thanks! xo

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy it! You sure can refrigerate or freeze it, Brenna! I’m with you – no wasting this frosting! 😉
      If you refrigerate it, it’s good in the fridge for about 3 – 5 days. 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 or cupcakes, allow to come to room temperature and mix it well again to make it fluffy before using.
      Hope this helps! Thanks so much

      1. I live in Queensland Australia, and make buttercream with Nuttelex which is a dairy free spread. It is too hot for buttercream outside in summer, and this doesnt melt

  5. This was my first time making frosting from scratch and it was so easy. The frosting is the best chocolate frosting I have ever had.

    1. If I make it for a cake and it’s the night before does the cake need to be refrigerated then bc it has milk in it? Or can it sit out? Thanks so much.

  6. Made it this morning, turned out really good. I had read some of the comments and chose to only use 4 cups of icing sugar We like the hint of bitterness you get from the cocoa

    thank you for posting this recipe 🙂

      1. I’ve made a vegan version multiple times using Earth Balance ‘Butter’ sticks in this icing recipe, with great results.

  7. I made the cake and icing years ago for my husband’s birthday. It is now a tradition. Everyone looks forward to John’s birthday cake! Thank you for the amazing recipes!

  8. Hi Robin, Can I use heavy cream instead of milk in this chocolate frosting . If so, s it the same amount. ? I also have buttermilk -for some reason I thought it call for this when I was at the store. Thanks ,I simple love love the chocolate cake !!!! Got many people now having me make all the birthday cakes.. YES 

    1. Thanks, Anne,
      You can use heavy cream for this frosting. Just use the same amount as the milk listed in the recipe. I would have never used buttermilk in the frosting so not sure how that would work.

    2. Perhaps Anne A. had been thinking of making the cake along with the frosting and the buttermilk was to use in the cake recipe. (Just a thought)

  9. My son’s communion is Saturday and he requested your chocolate cake and chocolate butter cream frosting.. but he asked can he have it all! Lol lol

    Just wanted to say thank you for the recipe, we all love it

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Sounds like your son has a great idea! Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to have an entire cake all to yourself! That is so funny! So glad your family loves the cake. Thanks!

  10. Is this recipe good for a 3 layer cake? I’m planning to make a big cake want to see how much frosting this recipe makes.

  11. Loved this cake and so easy to make. Could you tell me what weight a cup or stick of butter is please? Here in Australia everything is in metric or imperial weight. 

  12. Great recipe.. trying out the day of my daughters birthday.. talk about procrastinating.
    Anyway I added 6 cups instead of 5. My daughter has a sweet tooth. But in all I like it. She wants an all chocolate cake and I think this will make her day. Thank you.
    P.s
    I made it with salted butter because I see no salt in your recipe so I figured the salted butter would take care of that and it did..
    Thank you again.

  13. I made this with heavy whipping cream, because I didn’t have any milk on hand and it was AMAZING!! I used it with a German Chocolate Cake that I was making. Unbelievably delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Hi, so I love your recipe, and am using it for my husband birthday cake. When it comes to the frosting, i ran out of unsweetened cocoa powder and where is curious if I could use unsweetened bars of chocolate rather than the unsweetened cocoa powder? If so, how many bars should I melt down? Thank you 🙂

  15. This was very tasty! FYI I cut out half the milk and replaced it with brewed coffee so you can still get the espresso taste (brings out chocolate flavor doesn’t taste like coffee) if you don’t have espresso powder on hand.

  16. Can this be halved and still come out ok? I only have a dozen cupcakes to frost (they were leftover from a cupcake cake). I know some recipes get testy when you half or double them 😆 thanks!

  17. Have you ever used this BC as a crumb coat and filling or dam between layers under fondant? Sounds delicious but just wondering if the consistency would be stiff enough under fondant. Thanks!

  18. No worries Robyn, thanks for the reply! I’ll make up a batch this weekend for my father-in-law’s 80th birthday cake and will report back on how it turns out 🙂
    Thanks again!

  19. Hi! I’ve made this recipe twice now and absolutely love the taste!! However both of the times the buttercream has been a bit grainy. I’ve messed around with temperature and the mixing time (5-10 minutes usually) but they don’t seem to change anything. Do you know how/why this happens and what I can do to make it nice and fluffy like in your recipe? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Micky,
      First, make sure the cocoa and butter are mixed until creamy and there is no loose cocoa powder in the mixing bowl. If you have been adding 1 cup of confectioners sugar at a time, try adding only 1/2 cup at a time with a teaspoon of the milk and mix until they are mixed well. Then turn the mixer on the highest speed possible and mix until the mixture is fluffy. Repeat these steps until all the sugar and milk have been added. I hope this helps.

  20. I have made variations of this for years, using varying amounts of these same ingredients. I am so glad to FINALLY have the perfect proportions laid out in this recipe!! Thanks, Robyn!!

  21. Our family just loves this recipe! My daughter was 12 at the time and looking to make the best cake ever, she came upon this recipe and our family has been making it ever since. We just love it

    1. I’m so glad you love this chocolate cake recipe! It is definitely our favorite go-to as well! I love that it has become your family tradition as well! xo

  22. This is the best chocolate icing I have ever made! It did a 2 layer round cake with plenty left over and spread beautifully. So delicious!

  23. It’s been years since I made chocolate cake or frosting. No one ever wanted anything but yellow cake. Well the kids are all grown and along came my chocolate loving 5 year old grandson. I looked for a frosting recipe and came across yours. It’s so hard to find a recipe on line because so many don’t review as written however a lot did on your recipe. I followed it exactly as written and it’s the best I’ve had in my life (I’m 63). My grandson will love it! Thank you for sharing

    1. You can refrigerate or freeze this frosting. 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.
      Hope this helps! Thanks so much, Irene.

  24. WOW! I was a professional cake decorator before retiring so when I say WOW I mean it! So creamy and delicious, spreads easily. No need to double this recipe to frost a 9 inch cake, this recipe can handle it. I used Callebaut cocoa. (I think it’s the best cocoa around and it just shined in this recipe.) I didn’t have any espresso powder so I made it without. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I’ve made this frosting once before and it was so yummy! I’m wondering if I can make that same frosting but in pink for my daughter’s birthday. Instead of the cocoa can I just put food coloring? would that work too? Please help me! Thank you =)

  26. The cake and frosting are absolutely great! Love it. But now I need to make it for someone that is dairy-intolerant. Can I use milkfree butter and almond milk instead when making the frosting? Thank you!!

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