Homemade Chocolate Frosting

Only the best homemade chocolate frosting! Spread on cake, brownies or cookies! So good and definitely chocolaty!

Have you ever tried unsweetened cocoa on its own? It’s nasty stuff! One day my girls wanted to try it because it looks and smells really good {I don’t blame them!} curious minds want to know right? I told them that it’s missing sugar so it will taste awful… they didn’t believe me… so I let them try a little… and they quickly spit it out into the sink… Maybe now they’ll listen to me! HA! Fat chance!

Making your own frosting is pretty simple… and doesn’t take long at all! All you need is a few ingredients and presto… homemade chocolate frosting. This frosting recipe is great because you can change it up by using different extracts such as; mint, almond or coconut. I have made coconut before and the almond reminds m of my mom’s frosting when I was a kid! Vanilla is more universally liked and I use the vanilla recipe especially for homemade brownies {recipe to follow}.

The ingredients for this simply homemade frosting are; Unsweetened Cocoa, Powdered  {confectioners} Sugar, Whole Milk, Unsalted Butter {at room temp] and Pure Vanilla Extract.

Place the powdered sugar in a mesh strainer or sifter and add the cocoa.

Sift together over a large bowl and set aside.

In another large bowl, cream together the butter and vanilla.

Then add one cup of the sifted cocoa/sugar to the butter/vanilla mixture.

Then add a tablespoon of the whole milk and mix with an electric mixer. Repeat until you have used up all of the cocoa/sugar mixture, adding a tablespoon of milk after each addition!

Mix the ingredients well after each addition, scraping down the sides inbetween until it resembles frosting!

Throw some on the  brownies {or cake} and spread evenly!

This is my favorite frosting for brownies!!

The kids hang around like vultures waiting for the beaters. I always give in. 😉

Enjoy! And if you give this recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!

[this post contains affiliate links.]

Yield: about 2 cups

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

Whether it's brownies, cookies, cake or a spoon, this frosting is my go-to recipe for allthethings!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of whole milk (more or less depending on how thin or thick you like it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Sift together the sugar and cocoa, set aside.

Cream butter and vanilla, then add 1 cup of the cocoa/sugar mixture and then add a tablespoon of milk, mix then repeat until all of the cocoa and sugar mixture is combined {adding a tablespoon of milk after every cup of the mixture}.

* If frosting is too thick, thin it out with extra milk.

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37 Responses to “Homemade Chocolate Frosting”

  1. #
    nichole — July 6, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Yummy, I had 3 brownies yesterday with this frosting.

  2. #
    Sandra — July 6, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I just found your site while looking for a recipe. I'm glad I found you. I too love to cook and I too have been on a mission to make as much from scratch as possible. I do make my own pasta. I used a manual pasta maker for a year and this past Christmas I got an electric pasta maker that I just LOVE! I get excited when I find something that taste good and is homemade.

  3. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — July 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Sandra~ I would love to know whta pasta maker you have… would you mind sending me a link? Thanks!!

  4. #
    Evan B — September 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    That's my favorite chocolate recipe as well! I actually melt the butter though and it still turs out fabulous every time!!

  5. #
    wendyweekendgourmet — September 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I could dive head-first into a vat of this frosting, I do believe!

  6. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — September 11, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Amen Wendy!

  7. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — September 11, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Evan ~ never thought to use melted butter… hmmm I should try that!! 🙂

  8. #
    Jmartinez — January 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Just tried this recipe and it’s too bitter for me :/ but I’m going to try adding more powdered sugar because I really want this to work for my cupcakes

  9. #
    Melanie — April 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    A flippin’ AMAZING! This is delish and my very, VERY picky eaters (husband included) LOVED this. Thank you!!!!!!!

  10. #
    David Lee — April 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    my wife try’d this frosting for a homade cake this evening and must have done something wrong because it had the texture of wet sand but…. and i must say it was awsome she really tried and i love her for it!!!! KUDOS for trying

    • Marissa replied: — January 1st, 2016 @ 8:32 pm

      This is a bit too late but it may help others…
      You need to use room temperature butter. It has to be somewhat soft, because if you just toss in a stick of butter from the refrigerator and it was not given enough time to sit out and reach room temperature, the icing will come out chunky because the butter is hard. But if the butter is soft, it comes out perfect and creamy.

  11. #
    Katie McMinds — September 18, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    thanks so much for sharing! I just whipped this up. It was a lifesaver for a recipe disaster! Ended up with peanut butter cookie pie with this chocolate icing…yuuummm!

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 19th, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad Katie! That sounds DELICIOUS!

  12. #
    SoEveryDay — September 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm


    I have long searched for a basic delicious chocolate frosting recipe.

    I like ganache and I have a great cooked/cracked fudge like frosting recipe, but sometimes a from scratch birthday cake calls for a better-than-the-can simple recipe.

    This is it!

    My six kiddos are giant fans already after licking the beaters.

    And – uh – there was a perfect amount leftover that I stashed in the fridge and have been sneaking spoonfuls of – incredible!


  13. #
    Marlena — October 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    This is my first time making scratch frosting and it came out AWESOME, the ingredients and directions are easy to follow and it taste great per my family!!!! Thanks for making my homemade frosting a success.

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 13th, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

      I’m so glad Marlena! You are SO welcome 🙂

  14. #
    Hillary — January 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Can you use fat free milk? Only because I never have whole in the house….

    • simplyscratch replied: — January 30th, 2014 @ 3:55 pm

      Hi Hillary! I don’t see why not, go for it! 🙂

  15. #
    Hillary — January 31, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Fat free worked fabulously! Only had 2 cups powdered sugar so cut everything back and still had enough to frost double layered banana cake. And the best thing of all, the entire thing is 100% organic!! New favorite go-to icing recipe!! Gonna try adding some peanut butter next time for chocolate peanut butter iced chocolate cake.

  16. #
    Amber — April 5, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Do you know about how many cupcakes this recipe will ice? I am planning on baking about 200 and just trying to get an idea. Thanks so much!

  17. #
    CAROL — April 26, 2014 at 11:54 pm


  18. #
    Danielle — July 31, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    While in the middle of making this frosting, it was so thick at first that it broke my mixer so I had to go old fashion hand mixing

  19. #
    ANGELIA BROWN — October 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I make this icing myself and for a different spin for a mocha flavor you can use coffee for the liquid. Or you can use it for half the liquid to taste.

  20. #
    Loni — December 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    This is the best icing recipe ever! Everyone loved it and it was very simple! Thanks for sharing!

  21. #
    Michelle — July 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Oh my goodness….this is one of the best recipes I’ve ever done….I totally flopped on the last fudge icing recipe (the cooked kind). This was so easy and turned out fabulous. I did alter the recipe just a tad…..I started making it and realized I didn’t have any vanilla extract so I substituted almond extract and it worked great…..I did melt the butter as I had seen someone post that you could do that and it did work better for me and my arthritic hands. Thank you thank you thank you…..LOVE this and will be making this regularly…..or as much as I can get away with. 🙂

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — August 17th, 2016 @ 11:18 am

      Yayyyyy! Thanks for coming back and leaving a review Michelle! So glad it worked for you!

  22. #
    Kristi — December 19, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Tastes great, thanks for a superior recipe 😀

  23. #
    Darlene — November 30, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Keeping it over night once cake is frosted do I need to keep in fridge for next day or can I keep cake frosted at room temp.overnight?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — November 30th, 2017 @ 10:44 pm

      Hi Darlene! If it were me, I would leave it out after the one night. But you could do either. 🙂 Enjoy!

  24. #
    Roberta Spratley — June 22, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Making microwave cake needed frosting this recipe is great and easy to do my my grgrands will love it

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 27th, 2018 @ 8:51 am

      That’s great to hear, Roberta! Thanks for taking the time to make the recipe and leave a comment!


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