Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Every baker needs a go-to classic chocolate frosting recipe! One that is buttery, smooth, pipes well and of course has delicious chocolate flavor, and this recipe is it! 

I mean there is nothing better than a delicious chocolate frosting! It is the perfect topping to so many desserts. I love chocolate frosting on yellow cakes/cupcakes, classic chocolate cake, or you know, just by the spoonful! 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe being piped

Who Doesn’t Love Homemade Chocolate Frosting?

When someone tells me they don’t like chocolate, my first reaction is always shocked! Probably because I LOVE chocolate! I love chocolate candy, ice cream, sauce and of course, frosting=.

This frosting is delicious, not icky sweet, but just perfectly semi-sweet. It has a buttery flavor and is smooth and has a perfect consistency. It also spreads nicely and pipes well for any cake, cupcake or cookie decorating.

If you’re looking for a go-to chocolate frosting, we hope you love this one. It’s become a favorite over the years and it’s the one we use for most chocolate baked goods.

Softened butter for buttercream frosting

Choosing the Frosting Base

There are 6 basic types of frostings:

  • buttercream frosting
  • cooked frosting
  • whipped cream frosting
  • royal icing
  • ganaches
  • and glazes.

Under each of those main categories are more sub-categories. Who knew there were so many different types of frosting?! 

Today’s frosting is a traditional buttercream frosting so we will begin with the basic butter and powdered sugar as our base. The powdered sugar dissolves nicely into the butter, giving you a smooth and not grainy frosting. By the end, our frosting should be fairly thick, rich and creamy. 

Cocoa powder for chocolate frosting

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

First, off you want to begin with room temperature butter, so set your butter on the counter and gather all your ingredients. You will need vanilla, salt, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and heavy cream.

*Pro-tip: Quality cocoa powder will yield quality results. I prefer using Guittard, King Arthur Flour, Ghirardelli, or Scharffen Berger. I would avoid using Hershey’s.

  • Once butter is softened, mix in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. 
  • Then add the vanilla and salt and mix on low until combined
  • Keep mixing on low while adding in the cocoa powder and then the powdered sugar
  • Once it’s all combined, add the heavy cream and beat on medium-high until the frosting is light and fluffy. If you need to, add more cream until you have achieved your desired consistency.

The Frosting will spread nicely and pipes easily. To pipe the frosting, use your frosting bag and piping tip or you can also use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off! 

Chocolate buttercream frosting on spatula

Chocolate Frosting Variations + Storing

And even though we love our classic chocolate frosting, it doesn’t mean we can’t jazz it up every once in a while! We love adding peanut butter or changing out our cocoa powder for white chocolate chips for a white chocolate buttercream frosting! 

And if you are paleo/vegan, you can still have delicious chocolate frosting too! Made with no sugar or butter, but with avocados and maple syrup!  It is definitely worth a try! Here is a great recipe resource!

Frosting can be made 48 hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge and let it come to room temperature before using.

To freeze the frosting, place the frosting in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then bring the frosting to room temperature and mix before using it! 

Chocolate buttercream frosting recipe

I hope you love this classic chocolate frosting as much as we do! 

For more chocolate desserts:

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

5 from 7 votes
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Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 12
Author: Natalie
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Ingredients

  • 1 c. (2 sticks), unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder*, sifted
  • 4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream - more if needed

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter. Using the paddle or beater attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute.
  • Add the vanilla and salt, mix on low to combine.
  • With mixing speed on low, gradually mix in the cocoa powder, then the powdered sugar. Once combined, add the heavy cream, then beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add more cream if necessary to reach desired consistency. Beat until combined.

Notes

*Quality cocoa powder will yield quality results. I prefer using Guittard, King Arthur Flour, Ghirardelli, or Scharffen Berger. I would avoid using Hershey's.
-Frosting can be made 48 hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge and let it come to room temperature before using.