Sometimes there’s just nothing better than homemade chocolate buttercream! Like our traditional Best Homemade Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, this light and fluffy chocolate buttercream frosting can be easily adapted for decorating or spreading. Perfect for birthday cakes, layer cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other treats, this homemade chocolate frosting offers a sweet and delicious finish.

Add more cocoa for a richer chocolate flavor or use cold brewed coffee instead of milk for an amazing mocha frosting. This easy chocolate frosting recipe can be prepared to a stiff, medium or thin consistency for all your decorating needs. Take a look below for more hints and tips about how to make chocolate buttercream frosting using our favorite recipe and then start frosting some tasty treats ASAP!

Chocolate Buttercream Troubleshooting

How much frosting does this recipe make?

This recipe makes 3 cups of frosting and is enough to frost 24 cupcakes.

Finding the right consistency

For thin consistency, add 3-4 tablespoons of light corn syrup, water, or milk. Read our buttercream frosting consistency guide for more.

Can this recipe be modified?

Yes! Our classic chocolate buttercream recipe can be adjusted to create other delicious chocolatey buttercreams like: 

  • Chocolate Mocha Frosting: Substitute cold brewed strong coffee for milk in the chocolate buttercream recipe.
  • Dark Chocolate Frosting: Add an additional 1/4 cup of cocoa powder (or one additional 1 oz. square unsweetened melted baking chocolate ) and 1 additional tablespoon of milk to the chocolate buttercream frosting recipe.

How should this recipe be stored?

For best results, keep the frosting bowl in the refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this frosting can be stored for up to 2 weeks. Bring the frosting back to room temperature and re-whip the buttercream using a mixer before using. Check out our post on how to store buttercream frosting for more info.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Our Classic Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Sometimes there's just nothing better than homemade chocolate buttercream! This light and fluffy chocolate buttercream frosting can be easily adapted for decorating or spreading. Perfect for yellow cakes, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cake and so much more, this homemade chocolate frosting offers a sweet and delicious finish.
4.38 from 85 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 3 Cups


  • Large Bowl
  • Electric Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
  • Spatula


  • ½ Cup Solid Vegetable Shortening
  • ½ Cup Butter or Margarine (1 Stick, Softened)
  • ¾ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 4 Cups Sifted Powdered Sugar Confectioners' Sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (Pure or Imitation)


  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter with an electric mixer.
  • Add cocoa and vanilla. Make sure to mix the cocoa in well to remove any lumps. Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl often.
  • When all sugar has been mixed in, the frosting will appear dry. Add milk and beat the frosting at medium speed until light and fluffy.



Use softened butter: It’s important to use softened butter before mixing for the fluffiest results. Soften butter using a microwave in 2 to 5 second increments on the lowest power. Learn how to soften butter here.
Cover bowl with a damp cloth. Keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. This will keep the frosting from drying out.
Frosting is too dry: Add one tablespoon of milk at a time until reaching a smooth and creamy consistency.
Frosting is too wet: Add one tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until reaching desired consistency.
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