Simple Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting


An easy, beautiful buttercream that you'll make again and again

Because you always have the option to buy frosting in a can, a homemade recipe needs to be something extra special. This easy chocolate buttercream is almost as quick and convenient as tossing a can in your shopping cart, but the final product tastes so much better and is perfect for everything from topping a birthday cake to piping on cupcakes or spreading over sugar cookies.

Total Time: 5 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Yields: 2 1/2 cups (about enough to frost 12 cupcakes or one 8-inch layer cake)


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional, for a more intense chocolate flavor) 


  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until it is light and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Shut off the mixer.
  2. Sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Without turning the mixer on, stir until the frosting begins to absorb the powders. Turn the mixer on low and pour in the milk, salt, vanilla and espresso powder (if using).
  3. Turn the mixer back up to high and beat on high speed for 2 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy.