Chocolate Buttercream Frosting makes any cake become the ultimate indulgence. The flavor is rich, it’s creamy-dreamy-delicious and oh so chocolatey!

We can’t resist using it on a rich chocolate cake or a yummy coconut cupcake (Or um, a spoon. Don’t judge.)! 

Chocolate cake with frosting in a baking pan

Whether you are topping cupcakes or filling chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, this smoothly blended combination of butter, powdered sugar and cocoa powder makes for a simply divine chocolate buttercream and is delicious on so many different baked goods!

What is Buttercream?

There are actually 4 different versions of a Buttercream Frosting! It’s basically a mixture of fat (butter) and sugar (white or powdered) and is used as a filling, frosting or icing.

  • The American version is softened butter, powdered sugar, and a splash of vanilla.
  • The Swiss version is whipped egg whites, light corn syrup, white finely granulated sugar and softened butter.
  • The French version is whipped egg yolks, simple sugar syrup and softened butter.
  • The Italian version is simple sugar syrup, whipped egg whites, white finely granulated sugar and softened butter.

While each of these is unique, they all make a simply delicious buttercream frosting (and this recipe uses the American version). You won’t be disappointed!

Mixing Chocolate Buttercream Frosting in a glass bowl

How To Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

A good chocolate buttercream frosting recipe starts with good quality ingredients. Be sure to soften the butter, shortening, and have the milk at room temperature before starting. While I don’t use shortening all that often, it really makes for a great flavor and texture in this recipe and I’d highly recommend trying it just as written!

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients (cocoa powder and powdered sugar) and set aside.
  2. Combine butter and shortening until nice and fluffy.
  3. Slowly alternate adding cocoa and milk until fully incorporated. Continue to beat about 3 minutes until it’s light and fluffy!

We recommend licking the beaters at this point…or performing quality control as some may say!

Clear glass bowl of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream Darker

This chocolate buttercream icing recipe can be made into a light chocolate flavor or deepened into a rich chocolate flavor, you decide!

You can make your chocolate buttercream icing more chocolate-y by adding a little more cocoa to the mixture. You can even add a drop or two of black food coloring to darken the buttercream frosting just a tiny bit.

Spreading chocolate frosting over a chocolate cake

Does Buttercream Frosting Need to be Refrigerated?

Since the best chocolate buttercream frosting is made with butter and milk, it can last in the refrigerator up to 5 to 7 days and can be frozen about 3 months. It may have to be refreshed somewhat using a whisk and adding a bit more cocoa powder, but it will still look and taste great on your pastries!

We pull it out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before serving to allow it to soften.

More Delicious Ways to Use This Frosting…

Clear glass bowl of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
4.87 from 36 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Rich chocolate buttercream is easy to make and perfect on cupcakes or cakes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings
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  • 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 2 ⅔ cups powdered sugar
  • cup cocoa powder
  • cup milk (room temp)
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla


  • Mix together icing sugar and cocoa. Set aside.
  • Combine shortening and butter in a bowl.
  • Combine milk and vanilla.
  • Beat shortening and butter until creamed.
  • Slowly alternate adding cocoa mixture and milk mixture
  • Beat until combined and fluffy (approx 3 minutes).


If you prefer a lighter chocolate flavor, decrease cocoa powder to ½ cup.
4.87 from 36 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 177 | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Spreading chocolate buttercream frosting over a chocolate cake with writing
A bowl of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting ready to frost a cake with a title
A bowl of chocolate buttercream mixed and ready to frost a cake with writing
A bowl of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting mixed and ready to frost a cake under the title.



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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


    1. I have only tried the recipe as written Grace, but it should be just fine. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  1. How many cupcakes will your chocolate
    Frosting recipe cover?
    And to frost a 8 inch double layer cake
    Should the recipe be doubled?

    1. This makes approximately 3 cups of frosting which should be enough to do a double layer cake or for 18 cupcakes.

  2. Hi! Do you use salted butter or unsalted? I use a vanilla recipe with shortening only, but I add a little salt. So it makes sense to use salted butter to compliment the sweetness, but I don’t want to ruin my batch!

    1. I always use salted butter (unless the recipe specifies otherwise). Enjoy Molly!

  3. And an Amazing Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe it is! I needed a little boost so I added a few teaspoons of instant coffee, and it boldly intensified what already is a great recipe. It was just what I needed. It sent the flavor through the roof with this small adjustment. 5 stars and 5 yummies! Thank you, and God bless you and your loved ones.❤️5 stars


  5. I used this for the chocolate cake. Would I be required to put the cake in the fridge the day of eating or can it sit out? Thanks!5 stars

  6. Hi!!! :) I made this cake today and it turned out awesome! It was just right, not too sweet, not too bland. I also made your chocolate frosting, which turned out just as great! Now I’m sitting on my couch having eaten round about 11 slices of cake and feeling very happy :D Thanks a lot for this recipe…It made my day :)5 stars

    1. Hi Shaakirah, shortening is a fat that is often used in baking. In a pinch, you could replace it with an additional tablespoon of butter.

    1. Hi Amy, I don’t think the frosting would have the same texture and hold is you used vegetable oil instead of shortening. You could try replacing the shortening with margarine though. I think you would have better results with that.

    1. Oh no, I am sorry to hear that Bella! Did you slowly alternate adding cocoa mixture and milk mixture? Also, was your milk at room temperature before adding to the frosting?