Easy Chocolate Frosting Recipe

4.84 from 151 votes

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

 This easy Chocolate Frosting recipe is the BEST frosting for any kind of cake but especially birthday cakes!! It’s simple to whip up, buttery, sweet and so creamy! 

My children have inherited my husband’s love of chocolate and continue to request chocolate cake with this particular chocolate frosting recipe for every birthday. I prefer vanilla over chocolate but I will say as a bit of a stickler and purist, this chocolate on chocolate situation is a good one. I make (and eat) chocolate cake with chocolate frosting at least five times a year (four kids, one husband) and to be honest, I’m not mad about it because I forget how gosh darn delicious this frosting is. So so good and tastes so much better than store bought. And for all you vanilla lovers, be sure to check out my vanilla cake with buttercream. That combo is also to die for!

Easy Chocolate Frosting is the BEST frosting for cakes, especially birthday cupcakes!! It's simple to whip up and so creamy!

Chocolate Frosting Basics

This Chocolate Frosting recipe is essentially a chocolate buttercream because it’s made with lots of softened butter that is whipped together with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and milk.

Before you get started, make sure you are using very soft butter, sifted powdered sugar, sifted cocoa powder and be prepared to adjust the thickness of the frosting with a little more milk or a little more powdered sugar. If you’re going to pipe this recipe, you’ll want it more stiff so it holds its shape, if you’re wanting to frost a cake, you’ll want it slightly thinner and more easily spreadable.

How to Make Frosting

I assure you this is one of the easiest recipes in the entire world you can make. I promise you can do it! Just get the right ingredients and you’re golden.

  1. Whip butter and cocoa together until smooth in large bowl.
  2. Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar.
  3. Slowly stream in milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.
  4. Scrape sides and whip again until light, fluffy and smooth, 1-2 minutes. 

Need more chocolate in your life? Try these tasty treats: Actually Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Cake Extreme, Chocolate Cobbler, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

Chocolate Frosting

You are the master of your frosting domain

Time and time again, I get comments on this recipe saying it was either way too thick or way too thin to use. Here’s the secret though: not everyone measures cocoa powder or powdered sugar exactly the same. So all the frostings you make using the exact same recipe will vary and you will have to make minor adjustments.

  • If your frosting is too thick, slowly add in milk little by little to get the consistency you want.
  • If your frosting is too thin, add a little extra powdered sugar little by little to get the consistency you want.
  • If you want to use this frosting to cover a whole cake, run a butter knife through the finished frosting. If it holds its shape but is still really easy to spread, its perfect. I’d highly recommend using an offset spatula for frosting a cake.
  • For pipeable frosting that holds its shape, you want to make sure the frosting will hold its shape and not fall, so slightly stiffer than for frosting a whole cake. These disposable piping bags are great! Also, this 1M Wilton frosting tip is the one everyone uses to get those gorgeous mountains of frosting on top of cupcakes.

Do I really have to sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder?

No, not at all. Cocoa powder is notoriously lumpy and it definitely helps to sift, but not totally necessary. Most of you making this recipe aren’t professionals and might not even have a sifter available to you, which is fine! Also, powdered sugar has cornstarch mixed into it to help prevent lumping. As you whip the ingredients for the frosting together, most of the lumps should come out. *Should* come out. They might not, which is all the more reason to sift. But again, don’t lose sleep over this if you can’t sift.

Easy Chocolate Frosting Homemade

This Frosting is too sweet!

Friends, frosting is supposed to be sweet! I know when you see 5 cups of powdered sugar, your eyeballs jump out of their sockets a little bit, but trust me, it will be just fine. Especially since this chocolate frosting recipe makes a ton: enough to frost an entire 9-inch cake with leftovers or 24 cupcakes.

If you find that the frosting is too sweet, try to sprinkle in a little salt or use salted butter. If you want to reduce the powdered sugar by 1-2 cups, you are welcome to do so, but know you will have to reduce the milk as well.

Can I use Salted Butter?

Yes! I actually prefer using salted butter for all my desserts and baked goods. I know, I know, sacrelig! Either unsalted or salted butter is absolutely fine to use interchangeably in this recipe.

Can I make this ahead?

Absolutely! This chocolate frosting will last for one week in the fridge as long as its in an airtight container. If you plan on using it to frost a cake, you’ll want to bring it to room temperature for 3-4 hours first and then whip it for a quick 20 seconds to get it light and fluffy again before using.

Chocolate Frosting Easy Simple

Love Cake Decorating? Try these other frosting recipes:

So, there you have the easiest, tastiest chocolate frosting recipe! Hope you absolutely love it! Be sure to pin, save, bookmark and share this recipe because its a good one! Have a great day, friends!

4.84 from 151 votes

Easy Chocolate Frosting

Easy Chocolate Frosting is the BEST frosting for cakes, especially birthday cupcakes!! It's simple to whip up and so creamy!
servings 12
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder sifted
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • Whip butter and cocoa together until smooth in large bowl. Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar. Slowly stream in milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Scrape sides and whip again until light, fluffy and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Frosts 1-9 or 8 inch round layered cake or 24 cupcakes.

Notes

  • If your frosting is too thick, slowly add in milk little by little to get the consistency you want.
  • If your frosting is too thin, add a little extra powdered sugar little by little to get the consistency you want.Β 

Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 138mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chocolate Frosting, easy
Polaroid photo of granola bars

Never Miss a Recipe!

Join thousands of readers & get easy recipes via email for FREE!

Share a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




503 Responses
  1. Kathryn

    I told my boyfriend the other day that he didn’t know what it was like to be happy until he met me. I think we have similar attitudes towards our significant others πŸ˜‰

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it’s always good to have a perfect chocolate cake in the bag and this really does look perfect.

      1. Jesseca M Suede

        5 stars
        I was looking for a recipe to make for my husband since he loves Vanilla cake. I think this is a super easy and delicious cake. Thank you for sharing.

      1. Heather

        I refrigerated it after we iced the caked just so it would stay cool and it worked just fine! But I had to smoothie it out before hand

    1. Billy in Blair, OK

      5 stars
      Second time I have used this recipe, and both times have produced a lovely and chocolate deliciousness that my dad and non rave about! My dad’s favorite is chocolate cake and chocolate frosting. We have a winner! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Jenny @ BAKE

    haha! I keep trying to tell my other half that I’m the best thing that happened to him – he just laughs! The consistency of this icing looks perfect, soft and fluffy but strong enough to hold shape.

  3. Tina {My Life as a Mrs}

    this looks FUH-REAKING amazing! I’m the chocoholic in our house so this has my name all over it! PS- You guys a freaking adorable… like make me sick adorable! πŸ˜‰ PPS- You. Me. October. SOOO EXCITED.

  4. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Gotta love chocolate buttercream! People who say they don’t really like frosting all that much – I do not understand them!

    1. Jen Checki

      There are people who don’t like frosting? They are sick. Perhaps we should start a fund to get them the help the so desperately need?

  5. Anna @ hiddenponies

    Your husband is a lucky man, I’m glad you remind him πŸ™‚ This looks like my kind of birthday cake…chocolate on chocolate with sprinkles?? Yessss please!

  6. Desiree McCarthy

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I needed a chocolate icing recipe for a chocolate cake I’m making tonight and was thinking “Hmmm, I wonder if Lauren has anything I can use…” and low and behold a post! Right front and center! Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ Your the best!

      1. Carolyn

        Sherri- In a Better Homes and Gardens article, I read that you can add 1/4 tsp salt for each stick of butter used. For one cup of butter, add 1/2 tsp.

        1. Teri

          I’m on a low sodium diet so I can’t use salted butter.
          I see the nutritional facts say 138mg of sodium per serving. How much is considered one serving? 1 tbsp, 3/4 tbsp?

      2. Haley

        My icing turned out like crap and so did the cake! I followed the directions everything the same and the cake is so dense and the icing is runny not firm enough for anything!

        1. Lauren

          In the directions it says to drizzle the milk in until it reaches the desired consistency. Sounds like there was a little too much milk. If it ended up too runny, you should have added in more powdered sugar!

  7. Megan

    When people tell me they don’t like frosting, I never trust a word that comes out of their mouths for the rest of their lives. And I try to avoid them. hahaha I’ve saved your recipe to my dessert folder. Thanks for posting! One drawback of being known as the baker – nobody ever makes me a cake! Does anyone else find that to be the case? Oh well:)

    1. Dee

      I know what you mean! I’m known to many as the “cupcake queen” but when it comes to my birthday I get a store bought cake from the grocery store! I’d be happy with a simple home made cake.

  8. Vera Zecevic

    Hello Lauren, beautiful recipe as always! I showcased some birthday cupcakes on my blog , it’s to pity i didn’t find your recipe earlier! Regards

    1. Jason

      Yes it is! When I was a teen I’d always ask lemon cake with chocolate frosting. I’ve since upgraded to brownies topped with lemon squares.

  9. Donna

    You write the best and funniest blog posts ever! I love this recipe and want to go make and eat some right now. Every time I pin your recipes to my pinterest page, they get repinned really quickly! Thanks for creating and sharing so many yummy recipes.

    1. Alicia Morris

      Does the icing not have a gritty sugary taste since you are not beating the sugar as much? Please, I need to know today so I can use it for a meeting tomorrow.
      Thanks!

      1. Lauren

        If you are using powdered (icing) sugar, there should be no gritty taste. The only reason it would be gritty is if you used granulated sugar.

  10. Martyna @ Wholesome Cook

    Ha! Just spotted this and thought I’d check against a quick throw together icing I made this morning for the little girl and her friend as they made banana cupcakes last night. I used the same ingredients, but only added 1/2 cup powdered sugar to 3/4 cup butter – we are used to eating little sugar. It was yum!

  11. Jessie

    Always great to have an awesome chocolate cake recipe. And that frosting looks amazing, I do want to lick the screen! I think I’m going to ….. Thank you for posting!

  12. Lauren @ Part Time House Wife

    Such an easy recipe for awesome frosting!!! Totally remembering this for my next chocolate frosting craving πŸ˜‰

  13. Amy J.

    That sounds like great frosting! Instead of the milk, you could also try an equal amount of Godiva white chocolate liqueur. SO GOOD.

        1. Sandy

          I just made it and it’s absolutely delicious! PSA, on the thick icing (I’m from the south), let the cake cool to room temperature and then it will glide on easily. Also, instead of expensive liqueur, just use left over coffee, in place of the milk. Thank you for sharing, I Pinned it. 😊

      1. Joanne Colt

        Hi Lauren,
        When you say “whip” is that by hand or a mixer? Going to try it today for my Daughter’s 50th Birthday!
        Very cute statement…you made a batch ate it..then made another batch…sounds like my kind of chocolate lover. !!

  14. Meg

    Lauren,
    I love to cook, but am not much of a baker. Not awful, just not great. I took Rhee’s chocolate cake recipe and your frosting recipe and made it into a 9×13″ cake. It was so seriously good! I made it for my mom’s 76th birthday and it was gobbled up in minutes. So, I guess I can now say that I am a baker!

    Many, many thanks for the recipe and laughs! πŸ™‚

  15. Frozen Blueberry Lemonade / Creamy Chocolate Frosting / Broken Glass Jello «

    […] And now let’s talk frosting. What I was going for with this particular match was the colour combo. I love that little flash of blue shirt collar peeking out from beneath the sweater. I don’t know about you, but I take cupcake decorating seriously, probably too seriously. I like to buy 100s and 1000s that have been separated by colour – this way you can create your own colour combinations that match your frosting. In this case, who would’ve thought light blue, dark blue and green would look so special with brown? I also chose this food match because I thought the half-moon detail on the sweater was reminiscent of the perfectly coiled buttercream swirls. Get this recipe! […]

  16. Gourmet Sartorialist

    Hi! Lovely post!

    In fact, this inspired me to do a blog post of my own featuring this dish that I have matched with an outfit! I’ve just started my food/fashion blog called Gourmet Sartorialist and It’s a pretty random concept, but i’d love for you to have a look! πŸ™‚

    www.netcommads.wordpress.com

    Anyway, keep up the great work! I’ll be watching.

    1. Lauren

      Powdered sugar is just from the grocery store in the baking aisle. I use the kind with a blue label….don’t remember what the brand is. Any brand is fine though!

  17. Sherah

    I love the recipe!! I had some rasberries, and put them in a few at a time instead of milk and it also turned out amazing! And I put just mushed up rasberries in the middle instead of frosting! Thank you for posting this recipe!

  18. Ani

    This is the second time this week I make this frosting for my cakes.
    It is absolutely delicious! The kids love it and its soooo easy to make.
    Thank you!!

  19. Tamara

    Thanks for this great receipe. I used the frosting on top of my Orange Velvet Cake for Thanksgiving and boy, did my family devour the cake.

    Tamara

  20. Lauren's Latest » Spaghetti Stuffed Garlic Bread

    […] happening in the Middle East? I’m not quite sure, but speaking of Iran, check out these cupcakes! […]

  21. Nita

    I plan on making a three layer cake; should i double all the ingredients? Any help you can give will be appreciated.. Thanking you in advance… Nita

  22. May

    Sorry, but I’m from Brazil and I’m having some trouble understanding the recipe. :/ Should I use a mixer to whip the frosting? Or should I do it with a spoon?
    Thanks. ;D

  23. Jacki

    5 stars
    DELICIOUS!! Thank you Lauren! I googled “chocolate frosting” the other night as I wanted something new and different. (Did you know you’re the third option that pops up?!)

    I read many of the reviews and most of them were about looking forward to trying it – so I wanted to come back and say that I tried it and YES it is AWESOME! Quick, easy and yummy. It was perfect for the treats made in a mini cupcake maker that my daughter got for Christmas!

Archives