Chocolate Buttercream Recipe

Try my chocolate buttercream recipe that is perfect for coating, smoothing, and piping!

My personal favorite.

This recipe is so simple and it builds off of my vanilla buttercream recipe. While I understand classic vanilla buttercream is a fan favorite, I am team chocolate all the way.

Since we are building on my vanilla buttercream recipe, let’s recap the essentials before we hit the recipe:

1. Start with room temperature ingredients

The best way to ensure a smooth buttercream is to start with room temperature butter and cream. I like to leave my butter on the counter the night before I know I’ll be making frosting to ensure it’s nice and soft.

However, it doesn’t really take that long for butter to come to room temp. You can toss your butter on the counter about one hour before-hand and that should be plenty of time to warm up!

Also, go ahead and measure out your heavy cream and place it in a bowl or tupperware on the counter about 1 hour before making your frosting.

This will ensure the cold cream has plenty of time to come to room temperature so it won’t shock the rest of the ingredients and cause clumping or curdling. Everything will stay nice and smooth!

2. Take your time

Don’t rush when you’re creaming together the butter and shortening. You don’t want to just throw the mixer on high for a few seconds and move on, or else you may end up with chunks of butter and shortening in your frosting!

I find that creaming the butter and shortening together on medium to medium-high for about 5 minutes, pausing to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mixing for another 5 minutes creates a perfectly smooth frosting base.

Don’t worry about whipping too many air bubbles into the frosting at this point, we’ll take care of those in the next tip!

3. Pop the bubbles

While air bubbles whipped into the frosting make the buttercream fluffy, but too many bubbles are problematic.

Maybe you’ve tried your hand at frosting a cake before, but couldn’t quite get those flawlessly smooth sides because of all the tiny air pockets!

To mitigate this issue, we’re going to stir the frosting while pressing and swiping it firmly against the sides of the bowl. It may take several minutes of stirring (and a few tired arms!) but it really does make all of the difference!

Eliminating the air pockets by stirring and pressing the frosting against the side of the bowl is the key to a smooth finish!

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Chocolate Buttercream Recipe

  • Author: Sydney Wilson
  • Total Time: 20 Min
  • Yield: 3 1/2 Cups 1x


Fluffy, creamy, and perfectly smooth. This chocolatey buttercream is perfect for stacking, filling, coating, and piping! This recipe yields a little more than 3 cups of frosting, which is enough to decorate a mini cake, 12 cupcakes, or a small layer cake. Multiply the recipe as needed. 



1/2 C. Unsalted butter

1/2 C. All-vegetable shortening

5 Tbsp Heavy whipping cream

3 3/4 C. (1 lb) Powdered sugar

1/3 C. Unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt


1. Sift together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

2. Cream together the butter and shortening on medium to medium-high for 5 minutes.

3. Pause mixing to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then resume mixing for another 5 minutes.

4. Add heavy cream, vanilla, and pinch of salt and mix on low for 1 minute, then increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for 3 more minutes until completely smooth.

5. Shift the mixing speed to the lowest setting, and very slowly add the powdered sugar. 

6. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, mix on low or “stir” setting for several minutes until smooth or stir by hand by pressing the the frosting against the side of the bowl using a spatula to eliminate air bubbles. 


  1. Depending on how you are using the frosting, you may need it more firm or more soft. If you need it more firm, add 2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar at a time until you’ve reached the desired consistency. If you need it softer, add 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream in the same way.
  2. Have some vanilla buttercream you need to make into chocolate? No problem! Put the vanilla buttercream in the mixer, sift in the cocoa powder and mix on low for several minutes until combined!
  3. Take your time with creaming the ingredients together and adding the sugar. Adding the sugar slowly helps to avoid clumps and ensure a smooth finish!
  4. This recipe yields a little more than 3 cups of frosting, which is enough to decorate a mini cake, 12 cupcakes, or a small layer cake. Multiply the recipe as needed. 
  5. I double this recipe to stack, fill, crumb coat, and final coat a 4 layer 6″ cake. I triple the recipe if I plan on adding piping decorations to the cake.  
  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Category: Frosting

Keywords: Frosting, buttercream, chocolate buttercream, cake frosting, cake, chocolate frosting

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