This homemade chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is very creamy, light, and super easy to make. A good quality cocoa powder, pasteurized egg whites, powdered sugar, and butter create a fluffy buttercream that pairs well with chocolate cupcakes, vanilla cake, or classic yellow cake. If you’ve never made an egg-based frosting before, your life is about to change for the better.
This frosting is like a mock-Swiss meringue buttercream. Instead of cooking egg whites and granulated sugar, we’re skipping that step and using powdered sugar and pasteurized egg whites. It’s super creamy and fluffy, is perfect for frosting cakes and cupcakes, and can be left at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
Table of contents
Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients
This delicious frosting comes together with just 6 simple ingredients. No surprise here, there is a lot of butter in this “butter” cream recipe, so it’s best to use high-quality butter. Unsalted butter is best for baking so that you can control the amount of salt in the recipe. Just a pinch of salt will go a long way.
Many meringue-based frostings use eggs as a key ingredient. Pasteurized egg whites are heat treated and are safe to eat without cooking and normally come in a carton. If you only have fresh eggs, I suggest making my chocolate Swiss meringue recipe.
Making Chocolate Buttercream
- Place the pasteurized egg whites, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder into the bowl of your stand mixer. You MUST use pasteurized egg whites for this recipe, not raw. Pasteurized egg whites are heat-treated (like milk) so they are safe to eat.
- Attach the whisk attachment and mix on high for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the vanilla, salt, and softened butter in small chunks. Whip on high until light and fluffy, about 8-10 minutes. Once it tastes like ice cream and not butter, it’s done. You can also use a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer by hand, just mix for longer to get the right consistency.
- To avoid curdled and separated buttercream, remove about 1 cup of buttercream and melt it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Pour it back into the whipping buttercream to bring it all together and make extra creamy frosting.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for about 10 minutes to remove the air bubbles and create very smooth buttercream. This is optional but will make it extra creamy. This buttercream is stable at room temperature for 24 hours, will last refrigerated for up to two weeks, or frozen for up to 6 months.
Using Chocolate Buttercream
- This recipe is great for frosting cupcakes. 2F and 1M piping tips are my favorite.
- This makes about 6 cups of frosting and is enough frosting to frost and fill two 8″ x 2″ cakes or three 6″ x 2″ cakes.
- This chocolate buttercream isn’t very stable in high temperatures. I like to replace some of the butter with shortening to make it more stable, or use this recipe as a filling for my cakes, and frost the outside with chocolate ganache.
Tips For Success
- Is this your first time decorating a cake? Watch my free video tutorial on how to decorate a cake for the first time.
- Use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients for the best results. Baking is a science!
- A stand mixer works best, but you can also use a hand-held electric mixer. If you use a hand-mixer then you may need to mix for longer to achieve the same consistency.
- Room temperature ingredients are important so that your ingredients mix together properly.
With any homemade frosting, it’s important to have all of your ingredients at room temperature or a little warm to create an emulsion. When some of the ingredients are cold, your ingredients won’t emulsify together and will cause your buttercream to break. Fix this by melting about 1 cup in the microwave until it’s barely melted and pouring it back into your whipping buttercream. This will heat up the rest of the ingredients enough to bring them all together to make the buttercream smooth and glossy.
Yes, instead of using cocoa powder, you can melt down about 4 ounces of chocolate, cool it to about 80°F, and add it to your finished buttercream. Be careful to not add your chocolate when it’s too hot or it’ll melt the butter in the frosting. The better the chocolate the better tasting the buttercream will be. I personally love Valhrona or Cacao Barry chocolate.
Oxidation causes chocolate buttercream to sometimes get darker overnight. If you want your buttercream to be even darker, combine your cocoa powder with a little of your butter and melt it in the microwave. Let it cool to 80°F and add it to your buttercream. This will make your buttercream much darker. You can also up the amount of cocoa powder in your buttercream and use a special dark or dutched cocoa powder.
This frosting is not a crusting buttercream, but it will get pretty hard in the fridge when the butter sets up. If you want a crusting buttercream, American buttercream with melted chocolate or cocoa powder will be your best bet. The heavy cream and lots of butter will lead to crusting and create a sweeter buttercream that is great in hot or humid areas.
Yes, this chocolate buttercream is great under fondant as long as you chill your cakes. It will go on super smooth on your cake and is delicious paired with my homemade marshmallow fondant recipe (LMF).
This buttercream will last in an airtight container frozen for up to 6 months or refrigerated for 2 weeks. When you’re ready to use it, mix it on medium speed with the paddle attachment, microwave about 1 cup until it’s just barely melted, and pour it back into the buttercream to make it smooth.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 6 ounces (170 g) pasteurized egg whites (3/4 cup)
- 24 ounces (680 g) powdered sugar (2 1/2 cups)
- 3 ounces (85 g) cocoa powder (1/3 cup)
- 24 ounces (680 g) unsalted butter (2 1/2 cups) softened
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stand mixer with the whisk and paddle attachments
- Place the pasteurized egg whites, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder into the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on high for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the vanilla, salt, and softened butter in small chunks and whip on high until light and fluffy, about 8-10 minutes. Once it no longer tastes like butter, it’s done.
- If your buttercream looks curdled, remove about 1 cup of buttercream and melt it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until it is barely melted. Pour it back into the whipping buttercream to bring it all together and make extra creamy frosting.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for about 10 minutes to remove the air bubbles and create very smooth buttercream. This is optional but will make it extra creamy. This buttercream can be left at room temperature for 24 hours, refrigerated for up to two weeks, or frozen up to 6 months.
- 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. You can also pasteurize your own egg whites.
- You can also use a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer by hand, just mix for longer to get the right consistency.
- 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.
- Instead of using cocoa powder, you can melt down about 4 ounces of real chocolate, cool it to about 80°F, and add it to your finished buttercream.
- If you want a more rich chocolate flavor, you can add more cocoa powder! You can also increase the powdered sugar for a sweeter frosting, but I wouldn’t recommend adding less sugar.
55 comments on “The BEST Chocolate Buttercream Frosting”
This was one of the best frostings I’ve ever had, super easy to make and tons of flavor.
Hi I am Nigerian and you can’t get pasteurized egg whites here, what would I do to make sure the egg is safe to eat? I know making swiss meringue buttercream you kinda heat up your egg whites and sugar thanks
I would use the Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe instead 🙂
HI! I can’t wait to try this. Can you please tell me what brand of chocolate powder you use? Which brands are considered good quality? Thank you 🙂
I love cocao barry extra brute. I get it on amazon
Can this frosting sit out over night after it has been covered in fondant?
Yes it can be
Your Easy Buttercream Frosting (on this site) says that it can be made into a chocolate buttercream by just adding 1/4 cup of cocoa. However, that recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of vanilla, while this recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of vanilla. What amount of vanilla should I use if I’m making chocolate buttercream?
It’s up to you how much vanilla you want to add 🙂
Hi! Is this frosting really sweet? Because I don’t like really sweet frosting. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!?
No, this is not really sweet frosting.
I love your easy SMB icing and that is my go-to Now I can’t wait to try this! Thank you. (And I grew up on ice cream rectangles! 🙂
This tastes amazing! My question is can you freeze leftover buttercream and how long can it stay in freezer?
Yes you can, up to 6 months. I freeze mine in a ziplock bag for easy storage and defrosting.
How long can it be stored in the fridge? If i plan to use in 2 weeks should i freeze it instead?
I would freeze but it should be fine in the fridge for two weeks.
Would nutella work in this too?
That would be very tasty!
Absolutely worth every minute at the mixer! This is amazing. Melt in your mouth amazing frosting. I can’t get enough!
Hi! I am so glad I found this recipe! You have checked all the boxes! I was hoping for something a bit less labor intensive than SMBC. I needed chocolate! AND, on top of everything else, you gave instructions on how to make it a darker, richer color!!! I am a baking novice… But I have heard that using weight is better than using volume in baking. What do the measurements mean? The eggs can either be grams or ounces (is that a Pyrex liquid measuring cup for the ounces or a scale?)… Same with the dry ingredients… What tools should I be using to get these measurements?
All of the measurements are by weight, even the liquids. I use a simple kitchen scale you can get at any grocery store or amazon. Here is my blog post on using a scale. https://sugargeekshow.com/news/digital-kitchen-scale/
What would be a good substitute for the Cocoa Barry Extra Brute that you can get at Walmart or Hyvee? And as always, thank you for all the time you take presenting your recipes, you truly are a talented lady.
You can get Hershey’s dark cocoa powder at most grocery stores or any cocoa powder that you like will be ok to use!
Hi liz ! This is an awesome recipe and tastes delicious. Im so glad i found this!! I just want to know if i wish to add nutella when should that be?
Also will adding nutella help me get dark colours like black or maroon ??
Yes you can add nutella after the buttercream is fully whipped. Just add it in. It will likely not change the color mutch. You would have to add in food coloring.
Hello, if I cut this recipe in half to make a half batch will it still turn out and taste correct
Yes you can
My chocolate buttercream won’t siffen up! What can I do? What are the reasons for this? I followed your instruction to the tee! Thank
This is not a stiff buttercream, it’s firm enough to pipe but is not like an american style buttercream. You can try placing the buttercream in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm it up a bit.
Hi there. Came across this easy chocolate buttercream recipe and the regular vanilla one on your site. You list 24 oz of butter, but both your videos you use only 16 oz. Just wanted to verify the ratios. Thanks.
I have increased the amount of buttercream it makes so that it covers and 8″ round cake
Exceptional! Does the finish cake need to be stored in refrigerator after cutting?
No you do not need to refrigerate it
Could I make a white chocolate version of this? If so, how much melted white chocolate do you suggest I add?
Check out my white chocolate buttercream recipe: https://sugargeekshow.com/recipe/white-chocolate-buttercream-recipe/
Is this okay to put under fondant?
Yes it works great under fondant!
Hi Liz, I’m so glad I found you! I’m beginning in baking and decorations. I am leaving in Boise, Idaho. We are State neighbors:). So far the recipes looks easy and easy to found the ingredients. Thanks so much!
Hi Liz. I am loving this chocolate easy buttercream frosting. It is light and tastes delicious. I do have a question, how long after frosting a cake with it, would you leave it in the fridge before covering the cake with fondant? Putting it in the freezer is not an option as my freezer is too small 🙁
Until the buttercream feels firm to the touch
Liz! This is absolutely incredible. I’ve always been intimidated to make chocolate frosting and this was quite effortless. Your vanilla cake paired with this is quite show stopping. Thank you thank you thank you!
Will Dutch processed cocoa powder work in this?
Yes, thats what I use
Excellent recipe! This buttercream is very smooth and workable and tastes great. Best of all, the recipe makes plenty, and was easily able to fill and cover two three-tier, six inch cakes.