Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

It is so easy to pick up a tub of chocolate frosting at the store, but is it really the best? I know it isn’t and you know it isn’t, but this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe IS!

angled shot of glass jar of easy chocolate frosting


Every home baker, or even cook, should have a vanilla buttercream and Chocolate Icing recipe in their repertoire. From there, the additions of flavors are endless.

What is Buttercream Frosting?

This recipe for chocolate buttercream is what is considered an American Buttercream. American buttercreams are a base of either all butter or butter and vegetable shortening. Our version is similar to many grocery store bakeries in that it uses equal parts butter and shortening. American buttercreams also use powdered sugar, also known as confectioners sugar.

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Here are a few reasons why we think this is the best chocolate frosting recipe you’ll ever try.

  • Only 6 ingredients – Almost as easy as buying a tub at the store, you only need 6 simple ingredients. I will say that with recipes so simple, make sure to use high quality ingredients for best results. No subpar butter or store brand chocolate. Get the good stuff!
  • Customizable – You can do anything you want to make this your signature frosting from changing up the salt content to adding in other ingredients like fresh fruits, candy, sprinkles and more.
  • Real Chocolate – This recipe for homemade fluffy frosting uses real chocolate, not cocoa powder. While cocoa is great in so many recipes, I do prefer the richness of melted chocolate for buttercream.
close up overhead shot of chocolate buttercream frosting recipe spread onto cake

Ingredients for Chocolate Buttercream

This ingredient list is quite short and simple. All easily found at your local grocery store if you don’t already have them on hand.

  • Unsalted butter – Allow the butter to come to room temperature or microwave it at intervals to soften it. Avoid using melted butter — the frosting will not reach the right consistency. You can also use salted butter in a pinch.
  • Shortening – Why use both butter and shortening? Shortening has a higher melting point, so your buttercream won’t melt as quickly on the cake or in your frosting bag.
  • Vanilla extract – But wait, it’s a chocolate frosting. Vanilla helps to balance, and bring out, all of the flavors.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate – To melt the chocolate, you can microwave at intervals, stirring in between each until the chocolate is smooth. If you prefer using the stovetop, you can use a double boiler method. I do suggest a higher quality chocolate since this flavor will be so prominent. Semi sweet ensures it won’t be too sweet.
  • Powdered sugar – Also known as confectioners’ sugar, this ingredient is responsible for giving the frosting its silky smooth texture. Sifting the powdered sugar helps to prevent lumps.
  • Milk – You can also use cream or water. This just helps to get the frosting to the right spreadable consistency.
light and fluffy chocolate frosting in a small glass jar

How to Make Chocolate Frosting

Making homemade chocolate frosting recipes really couldn’t be easier.

  1. Beat butter and shortening. Place butter and shortening into a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Whip until blending thoroughly.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Add vanilla, melted semi-sweet chocolate and powdered sugar, mix. If needed, slowly add additional heavy cream, milk or water until the frosting is a spreadable or pipe-able consistency.
overhead shot of bowl of chocolate frosting recipe

Variations on Light and Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

There are plenty of ways you can make this homemade chocolate frosting recipe your own.

  • Extracts – Choose almond for nuttiness, coffee for a bold flavor, or something like peppermint for a seasonal addition during the holidays.
  • Mini chocolate chips – Gently stir in some miniature chocolate chips for added chocolate flavor and texture.
  • Other chips – Try folding in peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips for another fun flavor.
  • Coffee – Mix a bit of instant coffee powder with hot water and add it to the frosting as a secret ingredient that makes a richer flavor.
  • Marshmallow fluff – Add a bit of this ingredient to get an even more fluffy chocolate frosting.
overhead shot of slice of chocolate mayonnaise cake on cooling rack with chocolate butter frosting

Ways to Use Chocolate Frosting

You can put this frosting on just about any sweet treat that you’d like to. Add this frosting to chocolate cakes (like my chocolate mayonnaise cake), on top of chocolate cupcakes, or even in between layers on a layer cake.

You don’t have to stick with cakes though. You can frost cookies or, my personal favorite, eat it with a spoon! No such thing as too much frosting!

overhead shot of easy chocolate frosting spread onto cake

Storage and Freezing

How to Store Chocolate Frosting

Store frosting in an airtight container or ziploc bag for up to five days. Storing it in a plastic bag is particularly helpful if you want to pipe it onto baked goods — just snip the tip off the corner of the bag and pipe straight from it instead of transferring it to a pastry bag.

Can I Freeze Chocolate Frosting?

Higher fat frostings freeze well thanks to their fat content. If you wind up with too much frosting, freeze it in a freezer-safe container or bag for the next time you need it. Thaw it in the refrigerator.

overhead shot of sliced frosted chocolate mayonnaise cake on cooling rack

More Homemade Desserts

There’s nothing I love more than a homemade dessert. Here are a few of our favorites that we know you’ll love too.

overhead og fruit pizza

EASY Fruit Pizza

4.88 from 8 votes
This Dessert Pizza with fresh fruit, cream cheese frosting and a crispy cookie base is a fun and tasty treat the whole family will go crazy for!
See The Recipe!
spoon in bowl of sugar cookie dough

Single Serve Sugar Cookie Dough

4.08 from 76 votes
Desserts for one don’t get easier than this edible sugar cookie dough.  With only a few ingredients, it’s an easy dessert when you need a little pick me up!
See The Recipe!
overhead of upside down pineapple cake at an angle with one slice cut out

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

5 from 5 votes
With tons of cherries and pineapple flavor, this EASY classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe is sure to be a winner for any event!
See The Recipe!
straight on shot of jar of chocolate buttercream frosting with text overlay
angled shot of jar of chocolate frosting

Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4.85 from 19 votes
This Easy Chocolate Frosting recipe is perfection! It is light and fluffy and has the perfect chocolate touch! I use it on anything that calls for frosting.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups




  • Place butter and shortening into a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Whip until blending thoroughly.
  • Add vanilla, melted semi-sweet chocolate and powdered sugar, mix. If needed, slowly add additional heavy cream, milk or water until the frosting is a spreadable or pipe-able consistency.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was! 


Calories: 2693 kcal, Carbohydrates: 359 g, Protein: 7 g, Fat: 140 g, Saturated Fat: 67 g, Cholesterol: 129 mg, Sodium: 427 mg, Potassium: 642 mg, Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 335 g, Vitamin A: 1475 IU, Calcium: 92 mg, Iron: 7.3 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 2693
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: chocolate buttercream frosting, chocolate frosting, chocolate icing, easy chocolate frosting recipe
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
collage of chocolate frosting
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Hi…I did try this many times and happy to say it has not failed.. This is my favorite chocolate recipe…I’m now trying the the frosting… I hope I get the same result….Thanks for sharing…..Charmaine Emmanuel

  2. 5 stars
    This is so good! I love the real semi-sweet chocolate! I’ve always made my chocolate frosting with cocoa, but this is better!