Easy Chocolate Frosting Recipe (Made with Cocoa Powder)

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

This easy chocolate icing recipe (made with cocoa powder), makes a delicious, milk chocolate flavored frosting.  This my go-to chocolate frosting recipe, because it's so fast and simple to make, and is absolutely delectable.

Kitchenaid mixer beater covered in chocolate buttercream icing, on a white background, with text overlay reading "How to make Easy Chocolate Frosting."

This is an American buttercream recipe--no egg whites and carefully cooked sugar solutions here.  Just an easy recipe for homemade chocolate icing made with simple ingredients from your pantry and fridge.

Swirls of chocolate frosting piped out of piping bag with a star tip, on a white marble surface.

This is a great icing for birthday cakes, cupcakes, sheet cakes, or filling sandwich cookies.  Basically for any kind of tasty treats with icing. I love a good Italian meringue or Swiss meringue buttercream, but for ease and speed, I think this is the best chocolate buttercream frosting.

Ingredients for chocolate icing with cocoa powder measured out in bowls on a white wooden surface.

Easy Homemade Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe:

  •  2 pounds powdered sugar (also called icing sugar, or confectioners' sugar)
  • 2 sticks (that's 1 cup, or 226 grams) of softened butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 a cup cocoa powder, depending on how much chocolate flavor you want (use dutch-process cocoa if you want a darker color)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • milk to thin the frosting to the texture you need

Kitchenaid mixer bowl filled with chocolate American buttercream icing.

How to Make Chocolate American Buttercream Icing

Place the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, softened butter (not melted butter!), and a splash of milk or heavy cream in the bowl of your Kitchenaid mixer.  If you don't have a stand mixer, you can absolutely make this icing with a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer.

Cover the bowl with a shield or with a damp, clean kitchen towel (my favorite method, shown in the video, just like my grandma taught me) and turn the mixer on low speed to start to combine the cocoa mixture.  Add milk or cream, just a little bit at a time, mixing well after each addition, until the icing is the consistency you need.

If you accidentally add a little too much liquid and make the icing too thin, you can add a little more powdered sugar to make a thicker frosting.  

Chocolate explosion cake, decorated with chocolate buttercream frosting, chocolate ganache, chocolate sprinkles, and chocolate candies.

I used this easy chocolate frosting recipe, paired with a ganache drip, to make this chocolate explosion cake for my daughter's friend's birthday.  The only guidance the birthday girl gave me was "chocolate," so she got CHOCOLATE! You can find my amazing chocolate cake recipe here.

This recipe makes enough icing to cover an 8" round 2-layer cake.  The cake pictured above is an 8" round 4 layer cake, so I made two batches of buttercream to fill and frost this cake.

Chocolate explosion cupcake decorated with chocolate icing, ganache, chocolate sprinkles, and small chocolates, surrounded by the chocolates used for decorating the cupcake.

I also baked some chocolate cupcakes and used the leftover frosting to make chocolate explosion cupcakes!  Just put the frosting in a pastry bag with a large star tip, and whirl the icing on the cupcake.

Ruffles of chocolate frosting piped with a star tip on a white marble surface.

I wanted a less intense, creamy chocolate frosting recipe for my chocolate explosion cake and cupcakes.  But if you want an even more bold chocolate flavor, you can easily adapt this recipe.

To Make this Homemade Chocolate Frosting Even MORE Chocolatey:

  • Melt 1/2 a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl
  • Let the melted chocolate cool down to close to room temperature.  You want the chocolate to still be soft and fairly liquid, but not hot, so it won't melt the butter when you add it to your icing ingredients.
  • Follow the recipe as written above, but also add the cooled, melted chocolate to the ingredients.  When you add melted chocolate, you'll find you need to add less milk to get the texture you need than when you use only unsweetened cocoa powder.

Three chocolate cupcakes, two covered with chocolate icing and mini chocolate chips, and one undecorated, with chocolate chips scattered around the cupcakes and a pastry bag full of the chocolate frosting.

Any chocolate lover will appreciate the rich chocolate flavor of this homemade frosting.

Printable Easy Chocolate Icing Recipe

Want a one page, printable version of the best chocolate frosting recipe made with cocoa powder?  Click on the image below to print the recipe or download it directly to your device.

Navigational image leading reader to printable, one page, PDF version of the recipe for chocolate icing made with cocoa powder.

Other Frosting Recipes You Might Like:

Navigational image leading reader to salted caramel American buttercream frosting recipe.

Navigational image leading reader to classic vanilla American buttercream frosting recipe.

Navigational image leading reader to pumpkin pie American buttercream frosting recipe.

Navigational image leading reader to blood orange American buttercream frosting recipe.

Navigational image leading reader to peanut butter frosting recipe.




Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

Links on this page may be affiliate links. We may receive a small commission for something you buy through those links, at no additional cost to you.