Easy Chocolate Frosting Recipe

4.83 from 172 votes

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 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!

4.83 from 172 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


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


  • 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.


  • 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. 


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

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Recipe Rating

542 Responses
  1. Gracie Freeman

    5 stars
    hi im gracie im 11 and i am makeing cupcakes and i let my german shepards in and they ate my frosting but i made moreand im going to give my teachers some cupcakes .stay safe

  2. chloe

    This is the worst chocolate frosting recipe I have ever tried. Hardly tastes like chocolate at all. What a waste of ingredients and time.

  3. angie

    I think you need to check the FIVE cups of powdered sugar. Not only did my frosting not look anywhere as dark as your picture – you couldn’t taste much chocolate. It tasted like gobs of sugar – which it was. I’ve since checked other sites recipes and they suggest anywhere from 2.5 to 3 cups of powdered sugar at the most.

  4. Belinda Fretwell

    5 stars
    I made this for my family and it was fantastic, i cooked it in a convection oven and it turned out great, i put double whipped cream and cherries, and flaked some chocolate for the top more like a black forest gateaux , i will never need another chocolate cake recipe again , this will be my go to everytime

  5. Lauren Kelliher

    5 stars
    I dropped a pan of cupcakes while I swapped them on the shelves, so I had lots of this frosting leftover. It’s literally in a container in my fridge, and I eat it with a spoon. It’s that good.

  6. PT

    5 stars
    Wow! This was yummy! Not too sweet! Everybody loved it and I will make it again! My first try at homemade icing. Do have question. Have leftover icing. Can I freeze it?

  7. Claire the baker

    I hope this recipe works because I’m making it with a choc cake for my friend’s birthday on friday

    -Claire the 11-year-old cook/baker

  8. Suzan

    5 stars
    This is my first time ever making frosting and I picked this frosting to do first it came out so good so delicious Very easy and very Creamy thank you so very much

  9. Nikita Beresford

    5 stars
    The cake came out amazing! I made the frosting but can I put in the fridge if it’s for tomorrow? The cake with the frosting I mean!?


    5 stars
    I made this for my 3rd oldest grandsons 12th birthday. I made a yellow cake from scratch and homemade frosting. Haven’t frosted yet cake is cooling but the frosting is awesome. Can I do this in a food processor?

  11. Coler Teresa

    5 stars
    I tried this frosting recipe IT’S AMAZING and I Love it !! My husband loves it too. So I have a question, can there a way to add a different flavor? Thanks again for sharing your recipe

  12. Sharon Firester

    5 stars
    I tried a few different frosting recipes so similar to yours, but wasn’t crazy about the taste! I love love love this frosting recipe! I tried using Hershey’s cocoa powder because I found the Ghiridelli to be too strong. I also made sure I used a good quality fresh vanilla extract (it definitely makes a difference), I sifted the sugar and powder as you suggested, and bam, perfect most delicious icing! Thank you Lauren for sharing!!

  13. Thera Green

    5 stars
    I was looking for a quick chocolate icing recipe and came across this one. It was my first time making frosting and after trying this I will never go back to store bought! I didnt sift cocoa or sugar and it came out perfect! And wayyyy better than store bought.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  14. Ame

    5 stars
    This frosting is wonderful! The recipe is simple to follow and it turned out great. I’m not a big baker, so if I can get good results, I’m sure everyone else can!

  15. Rena Hinson

    5 stars
    I give this recipe 5 stars. I had always used store bought but, needed some when I baked brownies. The recipe was very easy and turned out Amazing. Thank you

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