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Chocolate cupcakes with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting lined up.

Easy Chocolate Buttercream

Crafted to perfection by a pastry chef, this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is a chocolate lovers dream. Compared to other American buttercreams, it has more heavy cream, which gives the frosting a much lighter and creamier texture. The melted chocolate also adds a subtle sweetness and decadent chocolate flavor. It’s smooth, silky, and irresistible.

Yield: 4 cups 1x
Prep: 20 minutesTotal: 20 minutes


  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon espresso or instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

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Make It Now:

  1. Melt Chocolate: Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 10-15 second intervals until smooth. Let cool for about 4-5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. If using espresso powder, combine with just enough hot water to dissolve (only a teaspoon or two) and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine: Place softened butter, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mix on medium-low speed with a hand mixer (or stand mixer using a paddle attachment) until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  3. Whip: Add heavy cream, vanilla, and espresso mixture (optional) and beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down as needed.
  4. Add Chocolate: Add cooled chocolate and mix on medium speed until fully combined, about 1-2 minutes. Use at room temperature and store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Freeze for Later: Buttercream can be frozen for up to 3 months. The easiest way to store it is to place the frosting in the middle of a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap it up to form a “pillow.” This method also allows for easy cleanup when it is removed from the freezer.

Prepare from Frozen: Remove from freezer and let buttercream thaw to room temperature. Use a stand or hand mixer and beat until light and fluffy. If the buttercream starts to separate, allow to warm up some more (continue to let sit at room temperature, torch the sides of the bowl (if metal), or heat over a gas stove or double boiler).


  • It is important to let the melted chocolate cool, otherwise it may melt the butter. 
  • Any type of chocolate (milk, dark, white) can be used.
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder can be added to the powdered sugar for additional chocolate flavor if desired. 
  • Add additional powdered sugar (¼ to ¾ cup) if a stiffer frosting is desired.
  • The chocolate is easiest to melt in the microwave – it’s such a small quantity and so a double boiler isn’t entirely necessary. It is important that is is cooled before adding to the frosting so that it doesn’t melt the butter. Additional powdered sugar can be added to create a stiffer frosting.
  • Instant coffee or espresso powder can be added to bring out the richness of the chocolate.
  • This recipe is more than enough frosting for our Yellow Cake Mix recipe. You can also use it to top our Double Chocolate Brownies, if you’re daring.
© Author: Polly Conner
Cuisine: American Method: No Cook