This chocolate buttercream is silky smooth and tastes great on just about everything. Make this recipe in minutes with only six ingredients!
This recipe makes enough to spread over cupcakes or a sheet cake. For a layer cake or piping, make a double batch.
How To Make Chocolate Buttercream
It couldn’t be more simple! You’re only minutes away from delicious, fluffy buttercream frosting.
- Whip the butter, sugar, and extract until light and airy.
- Mix in the cocoa powder and salt.
- Add milk (1 tablespoon at a time) until you get the desired consistency.
Getting The Right Consistency
Opt for a lighter texture if you’ll be spreading this over the tops of brownies or cookies.
If you will be piping your chocolate buttercream onto cupcakes, however, it will need to be a bit stiffer to hold its shape.
A good test to use is by standing a spatula in the center of the bowl. For piping, it should be able to stand on its own but easily tip over when tapped.
If you have to push it through the frosting, then it is too thick and will clog your frosting tips.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
- Soften butter quickly. Stand the sticks on their ends on the counter. Fill a tall glass with boiling water, then dump out the water and place it upside down over the stick of butter. Let sit for a few minutes until the butter is ready to use.
- Don’t forget the salt! Although the amount is small, it makes a huge difference in flavor. Not only will it enhance the taste of the chocolate, but it mellows out the sweetness of the sugar.
- Create a smooth texture. While not required, sifting the powdered sugar with a fine-mesh sieve first will break up any clumps. You can also run a wire whisk through the powder to accomplish the same thing.
- Does the frosting look grainy or separated? Keep mixing! You may also need to add a little more powdered sugar to absorb extra oil. Eventually, it will come back together the longer it is whipped.
- Give it some shine. Replace the first tablespoon of milk with light corn syrup instead. Not only will it look like it came straight from a bakery, but it will counteract any bitterness from the cocoa powder.
FAQ – Common Recipe Questions
What is the best cocoa powder for chocolate buttercream?
It really comes down to flavor preference, but any natural unsweetened cocoa powder should do the trick. This variety creates that classic fudgy flavor without being overly sweet or cloying.
Can I make this buttercream frosting recipe dairy free?
Absolutely! Simply replace the butter with a plant-based alternative, like Country Crock or Earth Balance baking sticks.
Dairy-free milk made from soy, oats, or almonds tends to work the best, or you can substitute water instead.
With love from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Fluffy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, or vanilla
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons milk
- In a large bowl cream together butter, powdered sugar, and almond extract. You can do this with a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Do this for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Once it is creamed together add in your cocoa powder and salt. Then adding one tablespoon at a time add in your milk. Mix after each tablespoon until you get a light and fluffy buttercream. You can add more than is recommended if you prefer.
- Serve the buttercream on cupcakes, cake, brownies, and more!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published April 2021
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