This easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe is made with 5 simple ingredients, perfect for creating beautiful cake layers, toppings, and fillings with a delicious, thick, and fluffy frosting!
This buttercream recipe is so simple and kid-friendly (even if they are just around to lick the bowl). Whenever I make this chocolate frosting recipe my family usually knows my famous chocolate fudge cake is about to follow!
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The Best Kind of Chocolate Frosting
Fluffy buttercream frosting is an easy way to enhance desserts with a rich, creamy, frosting that takes it from flat to fabulous in minutes. Something this easy has no business making such a statement, but it does! Made with just 5 ingredients, it’s one of my favorite ways to get that extra bit of chocolate onto birthday cakes, cookies, cake pops, brownies, and chocolate cupcakes!
There’s nothing like the satisfaction of knowing how to make your own icing from scratch. Being able to whip it up on a whim and never needing to run to the store comes in very handy. There is also a major difference in quality and taste that just doesn’t come out of a jar.
For the best results, I make mine without cocoa powder, but instead with melted chocolate using chocolate bars which melts easily in the microwave. It is a simple way to add a fancy frosting that produces the perfect fluffy, buttery, and chocolatey smooth finish.
Why this recipe works
- Taste is second to none in this homemade frosting recipe. So much creamy chocolate!
- A smooth, velvety consistency adds a luscious finish to a variety of textures.
- Quick and easy and comes together in minutes.
- Chocolate makes everything better.
- Made with 5 simple ingredients so you know exactly what is going in it. There are no hidden ingredients.
- It’s Fridge and freezer-friendly which means you can make a lot to keep for later.
- Use this versatile recipe for different flavored buttercreams.
- Unsweetened chocolate – You’ll need about 4 squares of baking chocolate. Make sure to use unsweetened because you’ll get enough sweet from the powdered sugar.
- Unsalted butter – Will be melted along with the chocolate to create a smooth mixture.
- Powdered sugar – Confectioners sugar is needed to thicken up and sweeten the frosting.
- Whole milk – A thick liquid added to sugar and vanilla to create an icing sugar mix that will be combined with the chocolate and butter.
- Vanilla – A warm flavor that helps make everything come together.
How to Make Chocolate Buttercream with Melted Chocolate
This recipe makes enough to frost two 8 or 9” round layer cakes, one 9×13 sheet cake, or 12-15 cupcakes.
Step 1: Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave for 20-30 second intervals until there are only a few lumps left.
Step 2: Stir to melt everything completely then set aside the chocolate mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
Step 3: In a separate large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Stir together.
Step 4: Gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture to the powdered sugar mixture, beating between each added amount. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until frosting is nice and fluffy.
Chocolate Buttercream with Cocoa Powder
Although the melted unsweetened chocolate bars are best, you can substitute ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-process).
- Use room temperature butter instead of melted.
- Beat the butter until fluffy.
- Beat in the cocoa powder until combined.
- Then add the remaining ingredients.
- Add ½ teaspoon of espresso powder to your frosting for a delicious mocha chocolate flavor. A little goes a long way for that slight change in the flavor profile.
- Follow this recipe using white chocolate chips instead for a white chocolate buttercream frosting.
Tips for the Perfect Buttercream Frosting
- Use heavy cream or evaporated milk in place of whole milk if desired.
- If frosting appears too thin, add a tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until it reaches a thicker consistency.
- Microwaving the chocolate at intervals is important as to not burn the chocolate.
This frosting is ready to use immediately but whatever doesn’t get used can be kept covered in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
It does need to be refrigerated when not in use. It will just need to come to room temperature again just before you’re ready to use it.
For optimal freshness, it’s recommended to use it right away, but because buttercream lasts in the fridge for up to 1 week, and 3 months in the freezer, you can actually make it that far in advance. When you’re ready to use it, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Give it a good whip and possibly add a splash of cream or milk to get it back to its original consistency.
Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 4 squares squares of unsweetened chocolate
- ½ cup butter unsalted (1 stick)
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Place the chocolate bar pieces and the butter in the microwave safe covered bowl. microwave at 20-30 second intervals, stirring after each interval. Stop heating when there are just a few lumps left in the mixture then stir to completely melt.
- Cool chocolate mixture for 10 minutes.
- Mix the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract together in a mixing bowl.
- Gradually add the cooled chocolate and butter (beating between adding each amount) then beat until frosting is fluffy (approx. 3-4 minutes)