Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 15 min.


about 8 cups

Updated: Oct. 21, 2023
My husband, Doug, loved his groom's cake that was topped with this smooth, rich chocolate buttercream frosting and accented with chocolate-covered strawberries. —Amy Via, North Richland, Texas


  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups baking cocoa, sifted
  • 9 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups whole milk


  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and extract until creamy. Gradually beat in cocoa until smooth. Beat in confectioners’ sugar alternately with enough milk to reach spreading consistency, beating until light and fluffy.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Tips

What kind of baking cocoa should you use to make chocolate buttercream frosting?

Use your favorite cocoa powder! Dutch-process cocoa is milder and dissolves more easily for a smoother, creamier result. Natural cocoa powder has a stronger, more concentrated chocolate flavor. You can also melt solid chocolate bars or chips—just let them cool before mixing in so as not to melt the butter. If you use semisweet or bittersweet chips, you may want to reduce the sugar added to your frosting.

How can you adjust the thickness of chocolate buttercream frosting?

It’s easy to adjust the consistency of your homemade frosting. If it's too stiff, just add more milk. If it's too wet, you can simply add more dry ingredients—or put the frosting in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and then beat it again.

What other flavors can you add to chocolate buttercream frosting?

Coffee can make the flavor in your chocolate buttercream frosting really pop. Lots of other flavors go well with chocolate—think peppermint, hazelnut, orange, almond or coconut. You can use a liquid extract, oil, liqueur or syrup, mixing it in at the stage you’d add the vanilla. If you’re adding an oil, use it sparingly (just 2-3 drops) because the flavor is intense!

How should you store chocolate buttercream frosting?

Not sure what to do with leftover frosting? Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. To use, thaw it in the fridge overnight (if frozen) and bring it to room temperature. You may need to stir well to make it spreadable again. Store frosted cakes in an airtight cake keeper for up to 4 days; they don't need to be refrigerated! The same goes for cupcakes, unless you’re not serving them all at once. In that case, it’s best to store the frosting and the cupcakes separately and frost them as you’re ready to serve.

Hazel Wheaton, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

1/4 cup: 257 calories, 12g fat (7g saturated fat), 31mg cholesterol, 95mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (33g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.