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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4.5 from 4 votes
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posted: 01/14/17

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

This Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is fluffy, creamy and so chocolaty. With just six simple ingredients, it’s super easy to whip up!

On a stand mixer whisk, the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting has a stiff peak and has a fluffy and airy texture.

This Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is the cocoa flavored counterpart to my scrumptious Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. I posted it years ago after my sister-in-law asked if I had a good frosting recipe. Um, yes ma’am I do! And because you are my people, it became one of my top searched for posts on the blog! Since I posted that recipe, I have had many requests for a chocolate counterpart. Basically the same recipe in chocolate. So here it is! This is light, fluffy, easy to make and so chocolaty delicious!

What’s your favorite kind of frosting? Are you frosting lovers like me? I can’t get enough! Please leave me a comment below and we can swap frosting tips!

A chocolate muffin in a Valentine's day wrapper has a Chocolate Buttercream Frosting with chocolate sprinkles.

SIX SIMPLE INGREDIENTS

Just like my vanilla frosting, this chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is easy, with ingredients you probably already have in your fridge! Here’s all you need:

  • Unsalted Butter: I’m going to get stern with you about something really quick: use real butter, friends! I beg you. I have friends who use the salted, sweetened butter, and that’s yummy too. But with unsalted butter you can control the sodium and flavor a little bit more, and it won’t come out too sweet. Also, make sure it’s at room temperature. More on that in just a minute.
  • Chocolate Chips: It’s really easy to melt chocolate chips in the microwave, and you just can’t beat the smooth, rich texture and flavor that melted chocolate adds to this frosting recipe. I like using semi-sweet chocolate chips but you could use milk or bittersweet chips too.
  • 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: Along with the chocolate chips, cocoa powder gives this homemade buttercream frosting a rich chocolaty taste.
  • Powdered Sugar: Regular confectioner’s sugar works great in this recipe; the finer the better.
  • Heavy Cream: Here’s where your frosting will achieve its fluffy, airy texture. That heavy whipping cream blends in with the other ingredients beautifully, making this frosting lighter than air!

TIPS FOR PERFECT FROSTING

  • Make sure your butter is room temperature! Don’t microwave it or this recipe won’t work. Leave it on the counter for about an hour until you can gently press your finger into the cube to make a dent but not push it all the way through. If the butter is too soft (like if you’re making it on a hot day) throw it in the fridge for a few minutes until it’s soft but not too soft.
  • Whip that butter in a mixing bowl for at least thirty seconds to a minute until it’s nice and fluffy before adding your chocolate and vanilla.
  • Sift the powdered sugar before adding it slowly cup by cup to the mixture.
  • You can also alternate adding the powdered sugar and heavy cream, mixing well between each addition.
  • 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.

HOW TO USE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

Frosting is my absolute weakness. I remember as a kid how my mom would let me put frosting between graham crackers for a treat. A little frosting sandwich. And I was HOOKED. Every time I make a bowl of frosting I have to stop myself from eating it by the spoonful. Or not. A girl’s gotta live! Try this frosting in all kinds of ways:

  • Do like I do: spread some chocolate frosting on a couple of graham crackers and you’ll have a delicious after school snacks for your kids.
  • Use it is a dip for strawberries. YUM!
  • Pipe it onto cupcakes. A good chocolate buttercream tastes delicious on chocolate, vanilla, yellow, peanut butter, or even strawberry cakes.
  • Spread it on this Chocolate Snack Cake
  • Frost this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Cake for your next birthday!

Using a star tip, the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is piped in a zig-zag shape.

MORE TASTY FROSTING RECIPES

In addition to my favorite Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, try a few of these favorite frosting flavors next time you bake. You’ll love them all!

I can’t wait to hear how your frosting turns out! Please feel free to drop me a comment below. If you have any questions, I look forward to helping you with anything you need. Enjoy this delectable frosting recipe!

4.5 from 4 votes

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
This Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is fluffy, creamy and so chocolaty. With just six simple ingredients, it's super easy to whip up!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature (see note)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips melted
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Beat the butter in a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand held mixer.
  • Add in the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract.
  • Slowly add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Then add in the heavy cream.
  • Store in an airtight container until you are ready to use.

Notes

The butter **must** be room temperature for this recipe to work. Do not microwave it. You should be able to easily dent the butter with your finger but NOT push all the way through. If your butter is too stiff or too soft, the recipe will not turn out.
Calories: 455kcal (23%) Carbohydrates: 50g (17%) Protein: 1g (2%) Fat: 28g (43%) Saturated Fat: 18g (113%) Cholesterol: 73mg (24%) Sodium: 1mg Potassium: 29mg (1%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 46g (51%) Vitamin A: 19IU Iron: 6mg (33%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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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.

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  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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