Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This easy chocolate buttercream frosting recipe comes together in minutes and tastes amazing! The secret is in the cocoa powder! This chocolate frosting isn't too sweet and tastes like chocolate ice cream! Soooo good!
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Print Recipe
Total Time: 20 mins
Serves: 6 cups

Chocolate buttercream frosting that is so delicious and can be made ten minutes!

Homemade chocolate buttercream frosting is super easy to do and tastes amazing! I like to make my chocolate frosting with a good quality cocoa powder for maximum taste and fluffy texture. You can definitely use melted chocolate to make chocolate frosting but it’s a bit more finicky and I’m a big fan of easy!

chocolate buttercream frosting

When I was growing up, ice cream was the ultimate treat in our home. Chocolate ice cream to be exact. One of the main reasons I LOVE this chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is that to me, it tastes exactly like chocolate ice cream! I would mix my ice cream up in the bowl until it was creamy and smooth before savoring every bite.

We didn’t have a lot of money but my Dad always managed to have a box (back when ice cream came in a rectangular box) in the freezer for special occasions. He would open up the box and literally cut us a slice of ice cream. I didn’t actually know until I was much older that the rest of the world serves ice cream with a scoop. Please tell me I’m not the only one in the world who ate ice cream in slices up until I was about 14.

I also spent an awful lot of time arguing with my sisters about who’s slice was bigger and how unfair that was.

chocolate buttercream frosting


Easy chocolate buttercream frosting with cocoa powder

A lot of cake decorators ask me how to make chocolate buttercream. At first I didn’t really have a recipe because I literally would start with some easy buttercream and just add in cocoa powder until I liked the way it tasted.

Unfortunately not many consider that a real recipe so I actually measured out how much cocoa powder I added this time but the fact I have never measured before should tell you something. You don’t HAVE to measure. If you want more chocolate, by all means add more!

How to make chocolate buttercream frosting

To me, the perfect buttercream frosting is light, fluffy and smooth! This chocolate buttercream frosting is alllll that.

  • Start by placing your pasteurized egg whites in the mixing bowl with your powdered sugar and your cocoa powder.
  • Let it mix on medium until it looks like royal icing. Start adding in your butter and let it incorporate then finish with your vanilla extract and salt.
  • Let the buttercream mix until the top looks nice and smooth and there are no air bubbles in the buttercream.

Now this is where I mix things up (literally)

To make this frosting I actually make a batch and a half. Why I don’t just up my recipe to reflect those numbers I don’t know. I don’t want to confuse anyone who uses the old recipe I guess but the reason I make a batch and a half is so that the buttercream covers the top of my paddle attachment in my mixing bowl.

That’s where the magic happens.

When you let the buttercream mix on low, you slowly work out allll those air bubbles and end up with super duper smooth buttercream. If you have extras you can always freeze it in a ziplock bag to use later. Always defrost and re-mix before each use.

chocolate buttercream frosting rosettes

Can you make chocolate buttercream frosting with melted chocolate?

Yes! You can totally make buttercream with melted chocolate. I love using white chocolate in my buttercream to make it more stable but the same thing applies with melted chocolate for buttercream frosting.

Instead of using cocoa powder, you can melt down 4 oz (or more) of melted chocolate of your choice. Just remember, the better the chocolate the better tasting the buttercream will be. I personally love valhrona chocolate! Place your chocolate in a heat proof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water (about an inch is all you need) make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir until melted.

Make sure you let your melted chocolate cool to about 80 F before you incorporate it into your buttercream or you’ll end up with butter soup.

chocolate buttercream frosting

Why does my chocolate buttercream get darker overnight?

Have you ever noticed when you first make your buttercream it’s a very light chocolate and then over time it might get darker? Or maybe if you use a hot spatula to smooth your buttercream you get some splotchy dark spots in some areas.

There’s a reason for that. Oxidation. Sometimes you like it, sometimes you don’t.

chocolate buttercream frosting

Sometimes you might want your chocolate buttercream to be darker though right? It’s easy. Just combine your cocoa powder with a little of your butter and melt it in the microwave. Let it cool to 80F and add it into your buttercream. This will make your buttercream much darker. The other thing to do is up the amount of cocoa powder in your buttercream and use a special dark or dutched cocoa powder.

What makes the BEST chocolate frosting?

This chocolate buttercream frosting is indeed my favorite due to it’s amazing taste and because it’s so easy to make but there are many other kinds of chocolate frosting you can make as well!

You can make chocolate ganache which is basically the fudgiest and richest of the frostings. It’s basically melted chocolate and a bit of cream to keep it soft. Definitely a favorite for those chocolate lovers out there.

piped chocolate buttercream frosting

There’s also chocolate american buttercream. Same rules apply here to our easy buttercream recipe. Either add in melted chocolate or cocoa powder to this crusting buttercream. American buttercream is much firmer than easy buttercream and a favorite for decorators in hot or humid areas. It “crusts” after a few minutes meaning it gets a crust of sugar on the outside of the cake and is much sweeter than easy buttercream.

Last but not least, you can make chocolate whipped cream! Um yes please! This is by far the lightest and least sweet of the frostings but not very stable, especially if it’s really hot out. You can add in your cocoa powder to the whipped cream (start with 1 oz and see if you want more) along with the powdered sugar and then whip. Add in 1 tsp of melted gelatin (cooled to 80F) to make the whipped cream more stable.

Can you use chocolate buttercream frosting as a cake filling?

Absolutely! In fact, I highly recommend it. Chocolate buttercream frosting is actually a really popular if not THE most popular filling for classic yellow cake which is what I used in these photos. The little kid in me just loves a moist, classic yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and sprinkles! So fun!

Will this buttercream hold up under fondant?

The great thing about making buttercream is the butter! If you want to cover your cake with buttercream and get it super smooth and then cover with fondant, this buttercream is great for that! You can watch my tutorial on how to cover cakes with fondant for more info or even make your own fondant using my marshmallow fondant recipe (LMF).

Need more chocolate? Of course you do. Check out this video on how to make chocolate buttercream frosting the easy way!

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Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

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5 cups

Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This easy chocolate buttercream frosting recipe comes together in minutes and tastes amazing! The secret is in the cocoa powder! This chocolate frosting isn't too sweet and tastes like chocolate ice cream! Soooo good!
5 from 5 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Serves: 6 cups
Calories: 874kcal


  • 6 ounces (170 g) pasteurized egg whites
  • 24 ounces (680 g) powdered sugar
  • 3 ounces (85. g) cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon (1 Tbsp ) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (1 tsp) salt
  • 24 ounces (680 g) unsalted butter Room Temperature


  • Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder to remove any clumps.
  • Place egg whites, powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a stand mixer bowl.
  • Attach the whisk and combine ingredients on low and then whip on high for 5 minutes.
  • Add in your room temperature butter in chunks. Whisk on high for 8-10 minutes until light and fluffy. Don't be afraid to let it whip, when it's done it will no longer taste like butter.
  • Optional: If your buttercream looks curdled, remove one cup of the buttercream and melt it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until its JUST barely melted. Add the melted buttercream back into the whipping buttercream and it will make it all come together.
  • Add in your salt and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
  • Optional: Remove the whisk and place the paddle attachment onto the mixer. Let your buttercream mix on low until the mixture is smooth and creamy and there are no bubbles left. This can take 15-20 minutes and works best with a double batch of buttercream and the entire paddle is covered.


This buttercream can be left at room temperature for 24 hours, refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen up to 6 months. 
After refrigerating or freezing, always re-whip your buttercream before use. I melt one cup of the buttercream and mix it back in while whipping on high to make it creamy again. 
You MUST use pasteurized egg whites for this recipe, if you don't have pasteurized egg whites then you can use my chocolate Swiss-meringue recipe instead. Pasteurized egg whites are heat-treated (like milk) so they are safe to eat, raw egg whites are not. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 874kcal (44%) | Carbohydrates: 82g (27%) | Protein: 5g (10%) | Fat: 63g (97%) | Saturated Fat: 40g (200%) | Cholesterol: 163mg (54%) | Sodium: 437mg (18%) | Potassium: 162mg (5%) | Fiber: 3g (12%) | Sugar: 74g (82%) | Vitamin A: 2054IU (41%) | Calcium: 30mg (3%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)