The Easy Chocolate Frosting Recipe You Need to Know

Updated: Mar. 12, 2024

What could be better than a freshly baked cake topped with rich, creamy frosting? This easy chocolate frosting recipe works well with any homemade cake.

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If you’re taking the time to make your favorite chocolate cake, then you’ll want to make a rich, delicious frosting to go along with it. My mouth is watering just thinking about a cake topped off with this easy chocolate frosting recipe. The best part is that there are only five ingredients and it comes together in less than ten minutes!

Easy Chocolate Frosting Recipe


  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 9 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2-1/2 cups baking cocoa, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups whole milk

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Tools You’ll Need

  • The soft start feature on this KitchenAid hand mixer will help you gradually beat the butter and sugar together so you don’t end up with ingredients flying across your kitchen!
  • This Williams Sonoma sifter is a must-have for every baker. It will ensure that your dry goods are properly sifted and free of any chunks.
  • This Wilton icing spatula set has the best tools to help you spread the frosting smoothly on your cake and keep you from getting frosting on your fingers.


Step 1: Beat butter until creamy

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and vanilla until smooth, about three minutes. You’ll want to keep the mixer speed low to start so you don’t get sugar and cocoa everywhere.

Step 2: Add milk

Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Beat until light and fluffy, about five minutes. And that’s it!

Storage Tips

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How to Store Chocolate Frosting

If you’re not quite ready to use the frosting on your cake or cupcakes, you can easily store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. To help your frosting last as long as possible, make sure to use a container that is airtight. When you store it, make sure that you keep it away from fragrant foods such as fish or garlic. This will cause the scent of the frosting to change to something other than frosting!

How Long Does Chocolate Frosting Last in the Fridge?

If stored properly, your chocolate frosting will last for up to two weeks but it is best to use it within the first week. When you’re ready to use your frosting, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature so that you can decorate your cake. Giving the frosting a stir during this time will help it come back to its creamy consistency.

Common Frosting Questions

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Can I use salted butter for chocolate frosting?

Technically, yes. However, this recipe does not call for salt and will alter the flavor slightly. There’s no real way to determine exactly how much salt is in the butter, so you may end up with a frosting that is slightly saltier than you would prefer. To make the best, easy chocolate frosting you’ll want to use unsalted butter.

How do I make a smooth chocolate frosting?

To make sure that your frosting ends up smooth and creamy, be sure to always use room temperature butter. You’ll be able to whip the frosting easier to create a light and fluffy texture. You’ll also want to sift your confectioners’ sugar and baking cocoa to make sure there are no hard chunks in these ingredients. A creamy frosting makes it easy to spread on your yummy chocolate cake.

What kind of cocoa powder should I use?

Whenever you bake you’ll want to use the highest quality of ingredients to yield the best results. Any unsweetened cocoa powder will work well. Interchanging Dutch-process and natural cocoa powder does not make a difference in frosting, but if you prefer a richer flavor then go with the Dutch-process.

What can I use instead of milk for frosting?

If you don’t have any milk on hand, don’t fret! If you have heavy cream or half-and-half on hand you can use either of those ingredients. You can also try sour cream or plain yogurt but it might result in a tangier flavor. In that case, you can add additional vanilla to the frosting to level out the flavor. If you happen to have any nut milk (almond, cashew) or soy milk on hand you can use those as well. Be cautious if your milks are sweetened because you’ll end up with a sweeter than desired frosting.

Can I make frosting without powdered sugar?

Powdered sugar is the best option for frosting because it melts easily with the wet ingredients to form a creamy texture. If your pantry is out of powdered sugar you can use regular sugar, but you’ll want to pulse it in the food processor first to create a finer texture. You can also create something similar to powdered sugar by combining a tablespoon of cornstarch along with a cup of sugar in the blender and pulsing until you have a fine powder.

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