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Chocolate Frosting Recipe

4.6 from 5 votes

posted: 10/23/23

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

My Chocolate Frosting recipe comes together with just five ingredients. It is perfect for all of your cupcakes, cookies, and cakes.

Homemade frosting is so easy to make. It requires just a few ingredients, and is far better than store-bought frosting. In fact, my Vanilla Frosting was one of my first recipes to go viral. When it did, I had so many readers ask me for a chocolate counterpart.

This Chocolate Frosting is bound to become a favorite in your house. It is easy to make and perfect for all of your cakes and cupcakes. That being said, I you want to just eat it with a spoon then we are birds of a feather, my friend.

The Best Vanilla Frosting

This is the best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe. Make this easy buttercream frosting recipe and you’ll never want cake without vanilla buttercream again.
This is the BEST Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Make this easy buttercream frosting recipe and you'll never want cake without vanilla buttercream again.

Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

Just like my vanilla frosting, this recipe for chocolate frosting is easy and made with just five ingredients you probably already have on hand.

  • Unsalted Butter: You can’t make a buttercream without starting with butter. I like to use unsalted butter because it allows us to control the amount of salt in the recipe. Additionally, it is absolutely key that the butter is room temperature.
  • Vanilla: Even though this is chocolate frosting, the vanilla adds a smooth, rich flavor to help keep the chocolate from tasting too bitter or chalky.
  • Cocoa Powder: This is what gives the homemade buttercream frosting a rich chocolaty taste.
  • Powdered Sugar: Regular confectioner’s sugar works great in this recipe; the finer the better. Many recipes call for you to sift the sugar first so it doesn’t clump. This isn’t a step that I find necessary, and as you can see the frosting is smooth and creamy.
  • Heavy Cream: Here’s where your frosting will achieve its fluffy, airy texture. Heavy whipping cream blends with the other ingredients beautifully, making this frosting lighter than air!
  • Salt: Adding salt to recipes helps enhance the flavor of all the other ingredients. This applies to savory and sweet recipes. We are adding just a pinch here and it is the perfect final touch.
overhead of stand mixer bowl of chocolate frosting. Bowl of cocoa powder and measuring spoons sitting beside

How to Make Chocolate Frosting

Here is a brief overview of how this easy chocolate frosting recipe comes together. For the full recipe and all measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Whip the butter. It is important that your butter is at room temperature. Beat it with a hand mixer or in your stand mixer. Add in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
  • Add the powdered sugar. Slowly add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Then add in the heavy cream and mix until combined. The frosting might seem really thick at this point, but when you add in the heavy cream it will turn into the delightful smooth frosting you see here.
  • Use right away or refrigerate until ready to use.

The Key to The Best Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Make sure your butter is room temperature. Room temperature butter is key to making sure that this recipe works well. If it is too cold it won’t blend well with the other ingredients. If it is too soft, it won’t pipe well or hold its shape. Room temperature butter is the perfect balance and results in the best frosting.

A few things to keep in mind with room temperature butter:

  • Room temperature butter is cold to the touch.
  • You should be able to easily dent it with a finger without your finger going all the way through.
  • Do not microwave the butter to achieve room temperature. The outside of the butter will melt while the inside of the stick of butter is still too cold.
  • To achieve room temperature butter quickly, cut the stick of butter into one inch pieces and leave it on the counter for 30 minutes.
mixer attachment with Chocolate Frosting

Tips For The Perfect Frosting

  • Once all the ingredients are added, whip at a high speed for a couple of minutes until the chocolate buttercream frosting is fluffy.
  • If the frosting seems too soft, you can add a tiny bit more powdered sugar, but be aware that it does stiffen up slightly once it sets. It pipes beautifully, then sets up a little bit more.
  • If it’s too stiff, add a bit more heavy cream until the chocolate frosting is the consistency you like.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

This Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake is perfect for celebrating! It is delicious and easy.
Photo of a slice of Cookie Cake served on a plate and garnished with ice cream and chocolate syrup. Fork for serving.

Frosting Cupcakes

This homemade chocolate frosting can be spread on cupcakes, cakes, or cookies. It makes about 2 3/4 cups of frosting. If you use 2 tablespoons of frosting per cupcake you can frost 22 cupcakes. If you would like the cupcakes to have that beautiful piped swirl, I recommend doubling the frosting recipe and using a good piping set like the one below.


Piping Set

This Piping Set is so affordable and perfect for decorating cupcakes and cookies!
Product Image

Frosting Cakes

If you are making this frosting to frost a 9 by 13 inch cake, you can make the recipe just as written. If you are making a layered cake, I would suggest doubling the recipe here so that you have plenty for each layer and to coat the cake.

Storing Frosting

Store any leftover frosting in the refrigerator for up to two days. You may need to whip it for a minute or two to make it fluffy again. If you plan to make the frosting ahead of time, I would store it separately from the cupcakes and frost them when you are ready to eat them so you don’t have to keep the cupcakes in the fridge.

mixer attachment with Chocolate Frosting

How to Use Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Frosting is my absolute weakness. I remember as a kid how my mom would let me put frosting between graham crackers for a little frosting sandwich treat. Try this easy chocolate frosting in all kinds of ways:

  • Sugar Cookie Bars: Use it as the frosting for these delicious cookie bars
  • Pumpkin Cupcakes: Chocolate and pumpkin go great together and this frosting would be fantastic on those cupcakes.
  • Banana Cake: This would go fantastic on my banana cake – one of my very favorite flavor combos.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake: I love it for decorating this great cake. Make it for your next birthday!

I can’t wait to hear how your frosting turns out! If you try this easy chocolate frosting recipe, please drop me a comment below and let me know what you think.

glass jar of chocolate frosting with measuring spoons
4.60 from 5 votes

Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Serves: 22 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
My Chocolate Frosting comes together with just five ingredients. It is perfect for all of your cupcakes, cookies, and cakes.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature (113 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (42 grams)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (454 grams)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (118.29 ml)
  • pinch of salt


  • Beat the butter in a stand mixer or a large bowl with a handheld mixer.
    1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • Add in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Slowly add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Then add in the heavy cream. Finally, add a pinch of salt.
    2 teaspoons vanilla, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 4 cups powdered sugar, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Use right away, or store in an airtight container until you are ready to use.
Serving: 2tablespoons Calories: 147kcal (7%) Carbohydrates: 23g (8%) Protein: 1g (2%) Fat: 6g (9%) Saturated Fat: 4g (25%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0.2g Cholesterol: 17mg (6%) Sodium: 5mg Potassium: 37mg (1%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 22g (24%) Vitamin A: 208IU (4%) Vitamin C: 0.03mg Calcium: 8mg (1%) Iron: 0.3mg (2%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
glass jar of chocolate frosting with measuring spoons

did you make this

Chocolate Frosting Recipe

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


    Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you & seeing what you made!

    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Becky says

    I can’t wait to try this frosting. It looks so good and I’ve been looking for a yummy chocolate frosting for all the cupcakes I make. :)

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you like it Becky!

      • Vicki Fletcher says

        I Know I will change the amount of Chocolate [ I like a darker frosting ] This sounds very easy. Thank you for sharing.

        • Lisa Longley says

          I hope you like it Vicki!

  2. Afsaneh says

    How many cups of frosting does this recipe make?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t measured out the recipe in cups, but I would say it would lightly frost 24 cupcakes, heavily frost 12 cupcakes and will need to be doubled for a layered cake.

  3. Jill says

    What brands of cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and powder sugar do you use? I always have a hard time figuring out what brands of chocolate I should buy. :) Thank you!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Jill! I tend to use Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder, and Nestle’s chocolate chips.

      • Robin says

        Do you use milk choc. chips or semi-sweet?

        • Lisa Longley says

          I always use milk chocolate, but either would work with this recipe.

  4. Mary says

    First — this frosting is completely delicious! All of my family commented on it’s goodness and my adult daughter licked every last drop. It really is yummy!!

    Second — I had a severe consistency issue and maybe you can help. I whipped the butter (which wasn’t melted, but I could definitely push my finger all the way through), added the melted chips, vanilla and cocoa powder — but could only add 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar before it was too thick to pipe. Then I added the heavy cream, but could only add another 1/2 cup sugar before it was again too thick to pipe. I even put it in a frosting bag and TRIED to pipe it.

    So to salvage it — I doubled everything (but the powdered sugar), but could only get in an additional 3/4 cup of sugar. My total sugar was maybe 4 1/2 cups, but I had to double everything else.

    It worked (yay!) and was still delicious (yay!) I piped it onto the cupcakes (yay!) and the world was saved (yay!) — but where did I go wrong in the beginning with the consistency issue?

    • Lisa Longley says

      So, I guess the good news is, hooray it still worked! You really do have to have the butter just at room temperature, but I wouldn’t think that would make it too thick, I would think if anything runny butter would mean you need to add MORE powdered sugar than is called for. Is there any chance that you packed the powdered sugar? That can add a TON more powdered sugar without intending to. I just loosely poured mine into a measuring cup and tossed it in.

    • Jon says

      5 stars
      If you are using a spatula to frost the cupcake or cake…etc. try using two different metal spats. One in hot water and the other in cold water. The hot spatula will allow the frost to soften whereas the cold one will help it set. if you’re having issues with a piping bag try taking some of the frost out. Hen knead the frosting that remains in the bag. A warm towel can help soften it as well. Sometimes the biggest challenge isn’t just the ingredients but rather the surroundings of The person working with the pastry. Imagine frosting ten triple layered cakes with this frosting in a proofing station meant for baking breads. The air would be way too hot. On the other side of things imagine the same but trying to frost the items while in a very cold kitchen. The frosting would be too hard to work with and may cause your cake to start crumbling where you put the frosting.
      Another idea is to try not to allow the butter to over soften, leading to a almost melted texture. Especially as it requires to be whipped in a mixer. Over whipping that with the other ingredients can lead to a very grainy texture and continuing to mix it may even lead churning a very messy butter. I hope these tidbits help. Enjoy baking!

    • Ellen says

      I had the same problem! 2 cups of sugar in and the icing was as like a ball of play-doh! I added the cream then had a ligh butterscotch colored icing, very fluffy, decent taste but not very chocolate. I noticed once it was on the cake it looked like it was breaking down.

      I dipped the powdered sugar out of the bag. So, I may have had some packing, inadvertently. The color was so off too. I used semisweet chips and Hershey’s cocoa, brown vanilla too!

      • Lisa Longley says

        How was your butter? I find that the biggest variable in frosting making is the butter. It can’t be rock hard, it can’t be melty. It needs to be perfectly room temperature.

  5. Theresa says

    Should this be unsalted butter?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yes! Thank you for asking this Theresa!

  6. Eva says

    Hello!!!* How much time could stay out of fridge?One day?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I would say one to two days.

  7. Charles C says

    Can I use this frosting immediately on cooled cupcakes or should it be refrigerated for some time first?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I would use it right after making it. Refrigerating it first will make it hard to pipe.

  8. Louise says

    Hi can you please tell me how much time do you take tge butter out for it to be right for this recipe.
    Thank you

    • Lisa Longley says

      Louise, I don’t think I can give you at time frame because it totally depends on the temperature of your house. Generally, in my house if I cut up butter into one inch pieces it takes about a half hour. You want to be able to dent it, but you don’t want your finger to go all the way through.

  9. Grennell says

    I am always looking for different buttercream frosting’s, i make a pretty good vanilla buttercream, looking for a chocolate one and it looks like i found it, now do you have a maple flavored buttercream? or maybe tell me how i can get one, thank you

    • Lisa Longley says

      I don’t have one, but two of my friends do! You can find one here and one here.

  10. Sara says

    4 stars
    I used Carnation evaporated milk instead of cream. It was delicious and should improve stability of not being refrigerated. More choco chips could be used for a darker chocolate icing, but I like the lighter flavor. I piped it on small thick butter cookies.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners