Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

4.99 from 80 votes
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This truly is the best chocolate buttercream frosting recipe ever. You’ll have to read on to see my secrets! I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to come up with a chocolate buttercream icing that I liked. I have to be honest and admit that I only have tried on a couple of occasions to whip one up, but they never seemed to compare to my regular Best Buttercream Icing recipe.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting on top of chocolate muffin
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Of course, this chocolate buttercream frosting because I put everything I could think of in it. Cocoa? Check. Melted chocolate? Check. Instant coffee? Checkity check check. And that’s how my recipes come about.If at first you don’t succeed, throw everything into the mixer and pray! Words to live by my friends, words to live by. Really though, I took everything I could think of from all the recipes I have ever come across in my baking years and just put the best of it all together.You need more than just cocoa,  but the dry bitterness really is a must. Do I even need to explain melted chocolate and salted butter together? No. I do not. Because I am sure as you are reading this your heart just skipped a beat with chocolate lust seeing those words together.

Melted chocolate. Salted butter. Amen.


  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 ounce one squares of melted then cooled semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1-2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 3 1/4 – 3 3/4 cups icing sugar


  1.  Melt your three chocolate squares in the microwave, slowly and carefully until they
    are liquidy smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whip the butter in your mixer using the paddle attachment until it’s light and fluffy.
  3.  Add in the cocoa, beating until combined.When the chocolate is cool, add it to the
    butter. Make sure it’s cooled!! Beat until it’s mixed through completely.
  4. Dissolve the instant coffee into the one tablespoon of cream, then add to the butter mixture
  5. Now you can put in the icing sugar one cup at a time, beating until combined.
  6. Adjust the thickness/texture by using another tablespoon of cream, adding it
    slowly until the texture you want is achieved.
chocolate muffin topped with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

So without further ado, the best recipe for Chocolate Buttercream Frosting/Icing! So creamy. So dreamy. So super chocolate bliss. Best chocolate buttercream icing ever!!! Feel free to play around with the amounts of everything listed and create the balance that is right for your taste buds. I just know that you most certainly need more than just cocoa, you need melted chocolate and a dash of coffee taste to make this amazing!

Happy Baking everyone!


The Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Rocks My Nest Magpie

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This truly is the best chocolate buttercream frosting recipe ever. You'll have to read on to see my secrets! #frosting #icing #chocolate #buttercream

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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

How to make the best chocolate buttercream frosting! This is one of the best chocolate frostings that you can make.
4.99 from 80 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Total Time
10 minutes
15 cupcakes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 ounces one squares of melted then cooled semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 1/4 - 3 3/4 cups icing sugar


  • Melt your three chocolate squares in the microwave, slowly and carefully until they are liquidy smooth. Set aside to cool.
  • Whip the butter in your mixer until it's light and fluffy.
  • Add in the cocoa, beating until combined.When the chocolate is cool, add it to the butter. Make sure it's cooled!!
  • Add the instant coffee to one tablespoon of cream, then add to the butter mixture
  • .Now you can put in the icing sugar one cup at a time, beating until combined.
  • Adjust the thickness/texture by using another tablespoon of cream, adding it slowly until the texture you want is achieved.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 151kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 109mg, Potassium: 79mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 395IU, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 0.8mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Rose says

    This recipe looks wonderful, with the added cocoa and instant coffee. Is this recipe firm enough to use under fondant?

  2. Carla Sitko says

    Hello! What brand of chocolate did you use for the 3oz of semi sweet? Thanks!!

  3. Antoinette says

    Hi… I was wondering if hot chocolate drink powder and milk chocolate could be used to replace the powder and semi sweet chocolate? I absolutely hate the taste of bitter chocolate even when its sweetened. Milk chocolate frosting is so much more palatable.

    • Sarah says

      All chocolate products start off as unsweetened coca powder. The chocolate drink mix and any other chocolate product you can think of is ingredient 1 sugar (boat loads) ingredient 2 coca… then the other chemicals and stabilizers. If you have an aversion to using unsweetened coca there are semi sweet versions with pre added sugar or just go to the higher end of the confectioners sugar measurements. You may just naturally prefer heavier sweetness in your chocolate as it is very bitter naturally. As an example I have a feeling you donto like dark chocolate and find it extremely bitter. Dark chocolate has less coca butter and sugar but the same base as milk chocolate. Good luck Antoinette.
      Personally I found this to be an amazing recipe! I love all chocolate so the bitter for me was not an issue. I was worried about the coffee flavor coming through but it didn’t at all. My wife is particular about icing and she loved the original buttercream recipe so I had to try the chocolate. It is easy to put together and tastes amazing!5 stars

  4. ShannanRioux says

    Do I have to use the instant coffee? Is there something I can substitute instead, or just leave it out entirely?

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      ShannanRioux You can leave it out, but it adds a nice bitterness to the icing.

      5 stars

  5. Gabriela Isabel Mejia says

    Just finished making it for the first time & loved it!!!! Thanks for the great recipe.

    5 stars

  6. kitcha says

    I tried this recipe and it is fabulous! Put some leftover icing in a container and the chocolate did not break. I used the double boiler method and I think it made the difference. Thank you for this not too sweet icing recipe.

    5 stars

  7. AnneGavel says

    Hi Karlyn,

    I just tried this recipe and it is super easy and delicious! Great creamy texture and I used espresso powder and love it! Thank you. I love your blog!

    5 stars

  8. MK says

    Hi! This recipe looks greatt and I can’t wait to try it. But do you by any chance have conversions of the ingredients in grams/millilitres (UK) Thank you!  

    5 stars

  9. Priyanjali A says

    Hi Karlynn

    Thanks for the recipe. I will try it definitely – can we use hersheys choclate syrup instead of melted choclate? 

    5 stars

  10. danielle says

    Replacing coffee with cayenne and a hint of powdered clove give a punch to your great recipe. 

    And yes, it does need a lot a beating, but just don’t let your stand mixer run and hope for it to be wise enough to stop just at the right moment.

    5 stars

  11. RoLoo8 says

    What brand butter did you use or recommend? I find that with baking, brands make a huge difference.

    5 stars

  12. Yogesh says

    Hii ,can ou pleas tell me what shall be the effect if i replace the butter with margarine or a 50:50 mix..

    Thank you

  13. Adlina says

    Hi i made this chocolate Icing Recipe Bt It tuned up to be very bitter, Why is IT?

    • Frazzled Baker says

      Adlina It’s hard to tell, it may be due to the chocolate you used. Was it fresh, stale (old) which chocolate did you use?

      5 stars

  14. Jess says

    Just finished making this frosting and WOW….sooooooo good. I currently have the cake in the fridge for a crumb coat to set, and I’m seriously resisting eating the whole bowl! I had no issues with it being grainy. I melted the chocolate the old fashioned way until it was just melted and then ensured it was room temp before continuing. I also made sure my cream was at room temperature as cold would definitely cause the chocolate to seize up and get grainy. I will be making this again for sure!

    5 stars

  15. debbie says

    Mine also seized up and became grainy after adding the powdered sugar. I followed the directions exactly and used a thoroughly cooled quality chocolate. I decided to try adding 1/2 stick more softened butter, and like magic it was transformed back into a creamy smooth frosting. 

    5 stars

  16. Lyness says

    I plan on making a birthday cake the day before my sons first birthday party. Would you suggest making the icing and piping it on the day before or on the day?

    5 stars

  17. JenniferPrint says

    This is, hands down, the best and yummiest icing EVER. (Tied with the original butter cream icing of course… Which is simoly fantastic!!!).  Not to mention they are both EASY! I don’t microwave the chocolate.. I do it the old way with a bowl on pot with an inch of boiling water.. I have ruined my kids for store bought stuff now lol.  

    5 stars

  18. ShanenSteppenwolf says

    what kind of instant coffee do you use for this and what kind of heavy cream do you use?

    • Frazzled Baker says

      ShanenSteppenwolf Hey there, for recipes which call for instant coffee, I buy Nescafe Clasico Dark Roast

      4 stars

  19. Don K says

    The coffee is a great addition, it give it a depth of flavor that is missing in other buttercream frostings. I added more whipped cream to make it super fluffy and worked like a charm. I was told it was the best cupcakes ever!5 stars

    • Sarah says

      @Donna it probably had something to do with the type of cocoa you used. unsweetened natural  cocoa powder tend to have a bitter taste as against the dutch processed kind. 

      5 stars

  20. pgraham says

    This is the third time I’ve made this icing (AND your classic buttercream) in literally the three weeks since I found the recipes!  TRULY divine.  My Dad actually said my cupcakes with both kinds of icing tasted better than one of our TOP notch, HIGH priced bakeries in town!  How about that?  QUICK question for anyone who wants to weigh in….

    I have a batch already made, and after I was done, I remembered that my son and his friends (9 yrs old) kind of thought it was a bit too bitter (HUH!?  What do they know?)…anyway, the batch I just made is for his b-day cake for his party on Saturday.

    ANY ideas on how to perhaps add something, or do something to the finished product AS IS to make it a little less bitter?  Vanilla?  More cream?  In hindsight, I probably should have made it with milk chocolate (any input, has anyone tried that?)…but I already have a double batch made.  Any ideas would be super.

    If I cannot change it, I’ll just have to keep this double batch ALL for myself!!!  (Darn it anyway!)

    Thanks a million for sharing your recipes!!!!  Truly awesome! 

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      pgraham Add some more icing sugar to it, it won’t change the consistency that much but if it does add more cream ! Glad you love the icings!! 

      5 stars

  21. Lassie says

    Hi, how much of this frosting do I need to sandwich two 8 inch cakes and cover them with buttercream also? Thanks.

    5 stars

  22. breeha111 says

    I don’t bother leaving comments but I am for this one – this is THE BEST CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING recipe that I have tried yet. It frosted two 8 inch cakes with plenty to spare and I had guests raving and wanting the recipe. I sent them your way Magpie!5 stars

  23. Kansasmom says

    Is icing sugar the same as powdered sugar?  Also, what type of cocoa and chocolate do you use? My mother in law loves, loves, loves chocolate cake and I want to make it absolutely, positively perfect:-).  Thanks so much for sharing!

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Kansasmom You bet! Powdered sugar and icing sugar are the same! I used Hershey’s or even No Name cocoa and baking chocolate!

  24. Komatost says

    The first time I made this buttercream, I used regular cocoa powder and Hershey’s semi chocolate chips. It was to die for. The second time, I used ruby red high quality cocoa powder from Bulk Barn, and Callebout Milk & Dark chocolate. I truly think I have died and gone to heaven. Thank you for this incredible recipe.

    Note: if you are having issues with your chocolate becoming grainy, avoid that ever happening and DON’T microwave it! Bring a sauce pan with an inch of water to a summer, put a steel bowl over top and melt chocolate in steel bowl. Stir constantly. Exceptionally smooth chocolate that cools quickly everytime!

    5 stars

    • Mery042309 says

      Komatost Hi, how much did you use when you used hersheys semi sweet chocoate chips, as in cups or ounces?

      • Komatost says

        Probably about 1/2 to 3/4 cup but I think I doubled the recipe. It was a couple years ago now so I can’t quite remember. Sorry I can’t offer more info. Good luck! This is still my go to recipe.

        5 stars

  25. Kermie4 says

    This recipe is really awesome!:)  Thanks!  Everyone loved it!:)  It wasn’t grainy at all…very silky smooth. 

    5 stars

  26. Rainbow says

    As a gay man who bakes a lot (yes, I know, I’m very stereotypical sometimes), I’ve been told many times that my baking is the best. I just tried making this recipe and it turned out great. Thank you thank you thank you!

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      RainbowBaker  The grainy would be the chocolate, for sure, either it wasn’t cooled enough (most likely) or it was a cheap chocolate. It should never have made it grainy. The bitterness? With so much sugar, there should be NO bitterness, however, any bitterness is from the cocoa. It’s all about the ingredient quality you choose to use.

      5 stars

      • Donna says

        This was the best chocolate frosting I have made yet. The key is your BUTTER everyone. Taste it and see if it’s a good quality. Also, butter has a lot fo water when it’s a cheap one! Do not cheap out.5 stars

        • LeahThereseWilliams says

          @Donna Stop being so rude, pull the stick out of your ass and try again. We all fail sometimes, but this is not the fault of the kitchen magpie- I have made this recipe ten times at least and I sell cakes with rave reviews. 

          5 stars

  27. anitaT says

    i’ve made the buttercream using butter and salt and it worked out great, we don’t have salted butter her in the tropics as easily as you do in North America.

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      anitamaxb It might be too hot there, because this should work like a charm!

  28. anitamaxb says

    Hi, me again. 🙂  Can I use MILK instead heavy cream? Because the heavy cream here is valid for 3 days and little use in the recipe, so I wanted to use milk.

    5 stars

    • Saleema Noormohammed says

      I was thinking cream cheese for heavy cream🤔

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