Easy Fudge Buttercream Frosting
Easy fudge buttercream frosting is rich, creamy and intensely chocolaty, and it couldn’t be easier to make! Plus, it’s the perfect topping for cakes, cupcakes and more.
Baking and assembling a cake is hard enough without adding a complicated frosting to the mix. Everyone needs a few easy frosting recipes up their sleeve, and this easy fudge buttercream is one of my favorites! If I need a chocolate frosting, this is always the recipe I reach for.
What’s special about this recipe (besides how great it tastes) is that it’s made in a food processor, and comes together in about 10 seconds flat. This method keeps the frosting dense and fudgy, but still creamy and perfect for topping and decorating your favorite cakes, cupcakes, sugar cookies and more.
Ingredients you’ll need
Here’s what you’ll need to gather to make this fudge buttercream frosting (full recipe below):
- Unsweetened chocolate
- Powdered sugar
- Whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream
- Vanilla extract
How to make easy fudge buttercream frosting
- Melt chocolate. Melt unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler over lightly simmering water. Stir frequently and remove from heat just as the last few lumps of chocolate are melting. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Add all ingredients to food processor. Add powdered sugar, cubed room temperature butter, melted chocolate, milk (or half and half, cream) and vanilla extract to the bowl of a food processor.
- Process till smooth. Turn on food processor and run for several seconds until frosting is smooth and uniform. If needed, scrape down the bowl to get any unmixed bits from the sides and process again for a few more seconds.
- Use immediately or store for later. Use this frosting any way you want, or store it in the fridge for a week or more, or in the freezer for a month or more.
Is a food processor necessary for this recipe?
The short answer is no. You can make this frosting with a stand mixer or handheld mixer if that’s all you have.
But you should use a food processor if you can. It keeps the frosting dense and fudgy, while using something like a stand mixer will incorporate air into the frosting while you beat it, creating a more light (in color and texture) and airy product. It’s still delicious, but not the same and not like what you see in these photos.
How to use this fudge buttercream
As I’ve mentioned, you can use this frosting however you like! But here are a few recipes that I love to pair with this chocolate frosting:
- Chocolate Sour Cream Cake (pictured in this post)
- Vanilla Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting
- Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake
- Chocolate Sugar Cookies
More tips for this recipe
- I have made this recipe with sweetened chocolate (Sometimes you forget to get unsweetened chocolate, I get it!). It is sweeter, but honestly not extremely noticeable. If you don’t have unsweetened chocolate, use the darkest chocolate you have.
- The quality of chocolate you use will affect the overall quality of the frosting. If possible, use the highest quality chocolate you can, but know that any chocolate will produce delicious results.
- To create a double boiler, put a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. You can also buy a double boiler online.
- Do not overheat chocolate or it will seize, thicken and be unusable. Pull chocolate from the heat just as the last lumps of chocolate are melting.
- You can use whole milk, half and half or heavy cream in this frosting (whatever is in the fridge!). I do not recommend skim, 1% or 2% milk, and I have not tested it with any dairy alternatives.
- This frosting can be used the same as any other buttercream frosting— as a topping or filling for cakes, cupcakes or cookies, and for piping decorations.
- If storing frosting for use later, I’ll keep it in an airtight container in the fridge or double bagged in the freezer. Let it thaw and come to room temperature, then give it another quick whir in the food process to get it creamy again.
Shop tools for this recipe
This recipe was originally published June 2015.
Easy Fudge Buttercream Frosting
- 6 oz unsweetened chocolate , melted and cooled (180 grams)
- 4 ½ cups powdered sugar (563 grams)
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter , at room temperature (3 sticks, 340 grams)
- 6 tablespoons whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream (90 ml)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Process for a few seconds until smooth. If needed, scrape down any stray bits from the side of the bowl and pulse again for a few seconds.
28 Comments on “Easy Fudge Buttercream Frosting”
Please pass me a spoon, that buttercream is gorgeous!
This is picture perfect in every way! I want to down that ish with a spoon!! Beautiful.
OMG. This is awesome!
I’m bookmarking this because Asher is apparently determined to bake every day!
Smart boy! 😉
I just made this frosting – its sooooooo good. However, all I had was semi sweet chocolate. Def need the unsweetened but it was still delicious. I was experimenting as I’m going to be baking a birthday cake for someone in a few days. Just need to know if this cake is ok to leave at room temp. Just don’t want the frosting to start to slide off the cake because the base is butter instead of shortening. Also, is it a frosting that can be smoothed to give it that fondant look (will this frosting crust?) in order to decorate it? Great recipe – I could just eat a bowl of it by itself.
Yes, this cake will be fine at room temperature. I usually like to chill my cake after frosting to make it more sturdy, then let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving. But that’s not necessary. Left uncovered it should form a crust, though I’ve never tried to give my cakes a “fondant look”. Hope this helps!
I will never make another chocolate frosting. Thank you forever!
Do I have to use a food processor or would it turn out okay if I use a standard kitchenaid mixer??? Thanks!
I made cupcakes and topped them with this buttercream icing of yours. It looked so good!! and tasted equally good too. It’s amazing how this simple recipe can be used in so many simple desserts to give them a gourmet twist! My next plan is to make cake with the same icing.
Yes!! So happy you found and loved this recipe. It would be awesome with a cake! 🙂
I make this frosting all the time. It is consistently wonderful! Can you tell me if the icing can be made a day ahead then frosted the next day? I like to chill/freeze my cake layers before I frost them. It makes them so much easier when the cake layers are cold/frozen.
Again, wonderful recipe!
Yes, this frosting can be made up to several days in advance. Store it in the fridge but let it come completely to room temperature before frosting your cake so it’s at a good spreadable consistency.
Hi. Will this be enough to fill and cover a 3 layer cake, need to fill 2 layers? Thinking of mixing in a little Tia Maria for a Mocha taste.
Hi Delia! The frosting won’t be thick, but it should be able to fill and frost a 3 layered cake. If you want a more generous frosting to cake ration, consider multiplying it by 1 and a 1/2. Love the idea of a mocha fudge frosting too!
I live in Pakistan where the weather is usually very hot in Summers and for a few months humid as well , will this work with out shortening and secondly can I freeze it and then use it later ?
This frosting does freeze very well! Let it thaw and then beat with an electric mixer to fluff it up again. This recipe does require butter, if you want a recipe without butter I recommend searching for a “chocolate ganache”.
Will this work for Tunnel of Fudge cake by just adding it in with the cake mix?
No idea, never tried it!
Been looking for a fudge buttercream frosting that is super easy and with just the right sweetness. So glad to have found this! Now I am using this to pair with my moist chocolate cake and I get nothing but rave reviews!thanks a lot ❤❤❤
Lol this recipe made me realize I must have a *tiny* food processor.
Can we use a mixer and get the same result? Thanks!
You can use a mixer, but it won’t quite have the same result and the mixer will incorporate more air into the frosting. The frosting will likely be lighter in color and texture, but definitely still delicious!
Oh my gracious! The best fudge icing ever and so very simple!
The absolute best chocolate icing I’ve ever made!
I was sceptical about making buttercream in a food processor as I’ve always used a mixer before, but this was amazing!! So chocolatey, smooth, rich and tasty!
I made it for Highland cow cupcakes and the consistency was fantastic for them – check out my instagram @drjenbakes to see them.
Great recipe! I try it today and was so tasty! Yammy
Delicious! Perfect for chocolate cupcakes.
This is, without a doubt, the easiest and tastiest way to make chocolate frosting!! I used it on a regular chocolate cake and when I needed it for a Devilsfood chocolate cake I just added 2 more ounces of the melted chocolate. It made a deeper more bittersweet frosting. Thanks!