This is a simple chocolate frosting recipe that you’ll use over and over again. Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder and Powdered Sugar is ready in minutes with ingredients your more than likely have on hand.
This is not a mind-blowing original recipe. I’ve been making it for years and years. It is a basic Chocolate Frosting recipe that you need to have in your arsenal. Plus, it’s my favorite. If I could, I would eat spoonful after spoonful of it straight from the pan….oh, wait, I did do that!
Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder and Powdered Sugar
Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder and Powdered Sugar is my go-to basic chocolate frosting recipe. I use it for my Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake and on my Famous Rocky Road Brownies. This frosting is great on donuts, over ice cream, and on a classic white cake.
This recipe is also easily adaptable. If you have a large sheet pan of brownies, you may want to double the recipe. For just a few cookies, you may want to half the recipe.
It really is a delectable 5-minute frosting that goes great on cakes and cupcakes. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of milk to make it into an easy pouring sauce for ice cream and bread pudding.
Chocolate Frosting tips
One tip you must remember when making this icing recipe is to sift your sugar. Otherwise, you’ll have lumps and will have to stir A LOT, to get them out. I find that lumps are near impossible to get out once the sugar is stirred into the mixture.
Another tip, ok, I know this is two, is to use real butter. Margarine really doesn’t work well because it’s mostly oil. Use real butter at room temperature.
More recipes you’ll enjoy
If you’re new to my site, some of my most popular recipes are my pound cakes. Actually, I have over 60 pound cake recipes that I have tested, developed, and reviewed for you. I have highlighted some below (click on the photo) or you can get them all here: Pound Cakes Reviewed.
I include specific products that I use because I’ve had success in that particular recipe with that particular product. Many readers ask me specifically what brands/products I use. I had a reader fuss at me because I recommended products that may not be available to everyone. I’m a real person behind your screen. I’m doing the very best I can to give you tested recipes that you can make successfully and one way to help you, in my opinion, is to tell you exactly what I use. Thank you for reading for visiting Call Me PMc. I sincerely hope you found recipes you like and will come back time after time.
*The calorie count is for the whole recipe.
Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder and Powdered Sugar
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- ¼ cup butter salted or unsalted, I use this
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder I prefer this brand
- ⅓ cup milk whole or 2%
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract preferred brand
- 3 and ½ cup confectioners sugar sifted
- Sift sugar.
- Heat butter in a small pan on medium heat, do not let butter get brown.
- When butter is melted, whisk in cocoa, milk, and vanilla. Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, whisking after each addition.
- Remove from heat, after all the sugar has been added.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Immediately pour over cake.
- If icing is too thin, add additional sifted sugar 1/4 cup at a time until desired thickness or sit it in the refrigerator a few minutes. Take it out and whisk it until creamy again.
- Frosting will thicken as it cools, but it'll be harder to spread.
You can also find great recipes at my recipe index
Lauren W. says
This recipe saved the day! I made some eggless peanut butter cookies for my husband and they were blah! So, I dipped one end of each cookie in this frosting and kicked them up a couple of notches! They’re about to be added to our annual cookie list! Thanks for saving Christmas for my hubs. Food is his love language.
Yay!!! So happy it saved the cookies. 🥳 Desserts are my love language so I completely understand. Hope your holiday was awesome.
Sue Baumgard says
Can this recipe be frozen. I want to use it to top Hot Chocolate cookies and freeze them until I’m ready to use them.
I froze a cake with this icing and it developed white-ish circles/dots on the top when I took it out. It was fine to eat but wasn’t as pretty.
Best recipe ever!
Oh my goodness. This chocolate frosting is completely PERFECT. So so good, and very easy. This will be my go-to. Thanks for sharing it, Paula!
Luann Heshion says
My Grandmother always said to add an 1/8 teas salt to any powedered sugar recipe and it will cut down on the starkness of the sweetness of the sugar. It is really more delicious
I’ve started doing this when I remember. I think it does make a difference. Thanks for commenting!
This is the best cocoa icing recipe and easiest!
I put it in the on freshly baked brownies and it tastes like chocolate fudge. Thank you for the tip to sift the sugar. 👍💕
Linda Sue Johansson says
I’ve been making this recipe since about 1970, but we’ve always used it for the icing on our chocolate sheath cake. Everyone in the south swears by this recipe so you know it has to be wonderful!!
Deb M says
I made this for my bundt cake and it turned out wonderful, everyone loved it. I had to be quick but I put roasted pecan pieces on top before frosting hardened. I definitely will be using this recipe again.Thank you for posting it. 🙂
So happy you liked it!
Betty J Tijerina says
Is the nutritional info for 1 serving per person or the whole 2 cups of icing?
For this particular recipe, it’s for the whole 2 cups.
I do that because about 90% of my readers ask for specifically what I used so instead of having to reply separately to 100s of comments between all my social channels and blog I make it easy for readers to get the information.
This recipe has been my family’s go-to for generations, except we substitute coffee for the milk. It gives it a little extra something special without tasting like coffee.
Oooo, coffee sounds good! I’ll try that!
C. Lewis says
I added salt and a little coffee and it went from a 7 to an immediate 10. I will definately make this frosting again.
Jayson V salvo says
Good day maam how can i make chocolate icing for frosting through scratch?? I have already here but the problem is the chocolate icing is very runny ang i cant even plain it ..this is my agony right now i hope you can help me with this…..
Not sure what happened if you used the measurements listed but you can add more powdered sugar to make it thicker.
I have used this for grooms cakes and just cakes for years. I just use softened butter room temp or Crisco. It’s the best. Probably made thousands of lbs of it. It is thick ready to spread and stand in peaks.
Awesome recipes but I forget to place the plate on the salt while preparing cooker cakes n all cakes are pathetic. But today I’ll do exactly as you’ve shown n post a pic.❤️
Paul Reed says
My mother made this frosting back in the early 50’s and all the time I was growing up. But instead of whole milk she used Carnation Evaporated Milk one can I believe. I don’t know if her amounts were the same. I have her recipe somewhere if I can find it.
Angie Ragan says
Very Easy & Delish 😊 reminds me of my grandmother’s that she used to pour over butter cake. Be prepared to work fast as it hardens rather quickly. More of a thick glaze that holds onto the cake than a whippet frosting. Great Recipe
Can we pour this on a cake with buttercream frosting? Will not melt down the frosting? Please advice.
Don’t pour it on while still warm, it’ll melt the buttercream.
If I wanted it to be hard when it set, how would I do that?
Ivy Leaf says
This frosting does harden when it cools. I bulked up this recipe with a cup extra powdered sugar and a little extra butter. I know with baking one should measure exactly, but I tend to fudge my recipes. (pun intended!). I also used orange extract instead of the vanilla and used some clementine zest to add a subtle flavor to my frosting. I kept it on the warm burner (heat off) until I was ready to frost the cake. This kept it in a liquid state. Once the cake was cool, I drizzled the frosting so that it poured over the edges a bit. The frosting hardens and really keeps it’s shape. Much like a glaze over a pound cake. Ort does not soak in, it’s hard enough to stay right on the surface. The result was wonderful! I’ll be making this again.
Gloria Rowland says
Love for chocolate can never end for me. So, yes, this recipe is for me. I bake cakes a lot, and I made this chocolate frosting for the very first time. Eventually, I put it on the top of the cake as well as I ate the leftover frosting, which made me say “wow.” Thanks!
This recipe is really nice. the taste is heavenly
Bola Badmus says
This is the best chocolate frosting I have ever tasted.
Can I melt the butter in the microwave & make the icing in a bowl instead of in a pot on the stove?
Yes, you can.
Easy and fast and great tasting. My go to recipe for chocolate cake icing and I have used a lot of different recipes.
Is it really THAT good? Cause I’m using this for business Wednesday let’s see how my costumers like it!
My mother made this, she’d make 2batches at one time. One for her and one for the cake! So happy to see the recipe hasn’t been list
Melissa Schaub says
Is the butter in your recipes salted butter or unsalted butter? Thanks!
I use salted, professional bakers recommend using unsalted. It reacts the same in the cake so it basically comes down to which you like the taste of better. Using unsalted just tastes bland to me.
I have always had difficulty making icing for my cakes. Spreading it was always done badly. This recipe was easy to make, easy to pour over the cake, looked decorative and tasted great! I had planned to scrape out the pan later, but someone beat me to it. Next time I am including a spoonful of instant coffee! Thank you!
Gil Ferguson says
OMG…this is the best frosting and so quick and easy…Thank You so much
Cherie Lynn Benoit says
First time for everything.
Great with white cake or brownies
Mine came out hard as it cools. Not good! ((Sigh!) Maybe I shouldnt heat everything from the ingredients next time. Just mix all the ingredients together. Well, maybe!
How come u have to heat it, cant u just melt butter an mix together?
Steve Howland says
Why can’t you just use plain granulated sugar for this ? Does it help in the thickness to use powdered sugar ?
Granulated sugar would be ‘gritty’
Diane Rosen says
This was the easiest frosting to make. I used it to frost a bundt cake. My kids loved it.
Can I coat toffee with this, if so will it harden?
No, you will need melting chocolates for toffee. I like https://amzn.to/2JX8UKf or https://amzn.to/2JSU5YP also info> https://www.callmepmc.com/how-to-melt-chocolate-call-me-pmc/
Mine came out a little harder d not really creamy. Did I overlook?
Looking for coffee cake chocolate frosting. Have you ever tried a bit of coffee in this?
I have not, but it would be delicious. Replace some of the liquid with cold coffee depending on how strong of a coffee flavor you want.
Diane Barker says
This recipe is exactly what I was looking for. My mother used to make this icing with coffee, and I forgot all about it. I made it with 1/2 milk and 1/2 brewed coffee, so it has a faint coffee taste. And yes, it is delicious!
oh gosh! Coffee sounds great!
Kari Taylor says
I’m looking for a chocolate frosting that’s cooked stove top. Pour it over the cake, It cools to a slightly hardened (crack) stage. Old church sister used to make it all the time. That’s all I remember of it. I regret I never got the recipe from her.
Kari Taylor says
From the looks of the picture, I think I found it in your post for “Chocolate Coca-Cola cake” or “Diet Dr Pepper® Texas Sheet Cake”. I’ll try both!😊
I make this kind of frosting. Pour over and it hardens as it cools.
My grandmother used to make that kind of frosting. I have been looking for it for years. I remember cocoa, Crisco, Milk and sugar…. But I remember her putting it on the cake really quick because it would get hard, like a fudge stage hard..OMGoodness. On yellow cake was the best. I hope this is it 🙂
My mother made the same kind. Regretfully, i didnt get her recipe before she passed away. I’ll try this one.
Isn’t that the same as gnache?
Not the same. Ganache is made with heavy cream just to boiling stage then poured over chocolate chips.
hannah grayboff says
How long will this frosting last in the fridge? It’s delicious, just made it. First time ever making frosting. I hope the cake turns out well
4 or 5 days
Thanks for the recipe. My grandma (who died at age 103 in 2010) used to make the best little chocolate cake with a frosting like this. I’m looking online for comparable recipes because although my cousin and our grandma wrote these recipes down, they aren’t necessarily accurate – she grew up on a farm in North Dakota where everything was done literally by hand and by feel – from the pie crust dough to the oven temp. My mom and i attempted this cake and frosting 15 years ago… it’s time for me to try again!
I understand!! My Granny was the same way. She made a dessert she called a Peach Roll that was absolutely amazing and I can’t get it right for the life of me.
Polly Fullrt says
Can I use a hand mixer instead of a whisk ?
Yes you can
Linda, We made this when I was a child. Mother always called it 3,6,9 icing. It is great stuff especially if you are lucky enuf to get to lick the pan clean. Thanks for putting it online….fond memories (this is great on Mayonnaise Cake)
Valerie Mcabee says
I don’t have any milk but I have sweetened condensed milk. Can I use it in place of regular milk?
Yes, you can
Hi. Ive would love to try your frosting recipe but im wondering, if i dont have butter or dairy product. Is there anything else i can substitute with?
you can sub sweetened condensed milk, 1%, 2%, almond milk, coconut milk for the milk.
You can use margarine or butter
Can I save cocoa, confectioner’s sugar water and vanilla frosting in the refrigerator?
GWENDOLYN B WILLIAMS says
I have a recipe for a made from scratch yellow cake with a “hard” fudge like icing. If you would like it please e-mail me. IT IS KILLER!! I begged a neighbor for the recipe for 2 years before she finally gave it to me.
Yes, please, I would like it.
Is it possible to still get a copy of the yellow cake with hard chocolate fudge icing? Been looking for one for a long time. Thank you so much!
Looks amazingly easy and practical. If I make it ahead of time, can I reheat gradually and use on cake when ready to use?
Yes, you may need to add a little more liquid
Helen Johnson says
I’m excited to use this recipe this Saturday, Oct 21st for my husband’s bday cake… Mississippi mud! I will let you know how it goes. He is very picky about the frosting. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Jill Bieghler says
I don’t have anything to sift the sugar…is it necessary?
It helps, but you can stir it really good with a whisk to remove any lumps.
Made this today after searching for a recipe that was easy & that I had all the ingredients for..and it is amazing. I just poured it over a sheet cake and the family gobbled it up in celebration to my son’s 15th birthday!!! Thank you for sharing.
Going to try this today for a father’s day cake! Do you have a recipe for a chocolate frosting that sets up hard? My mother made some once when i was young and it was delicious! Unfortunately she can’t remember how she did it (i think she may have just messed up). It was a rich dark chocolate and she poured it over cake in a sheet pan. It set up about a 1/4 inch thick. Any ideas would be great!
No this is only one I use. You can make it stiffer by adding more sugar, or glaze consistency by adding less.
Terri Street says
Would this work if I only used half the cocoa that’s called for? My husband wants a chocolate icing that is very, very light in the chocolate flavor, and I have tried many recipes that all are too chocolate-y for him. Will it be too thin if I don’t use all the cocoa, or is the cocoa not a factor in the thickness of the frosting?
I think using less cocoa will make it less chocolatey. It shouldn’t affect the thickness of it, but you may want to hold off on adding all the liquid. It’s easier to add it later.
I just tried making your recipe for frosting and spreed it on my homemade cake. I must say I absolutely love it!! Very easy to make and taste soooo delicious. This was my first time making homemade frosting and I will never buy store bought again. My family and I thank you.
Thank you. This is my favorite frosting as well. It’s so versatile too.
Marvalee Singleton says
What if i only have regular sugar?
You need to cook it long enough for the granulated sugar to melt. I recommend waiting until you can get powdered sugar.
Karron Troil says
Is this a hard frosting when cooled? I’ve been looking for a hard frosting recipe.
It sets up and isn’t runny, but I wouldn’t say it’s ‘hard’. It is more like a birthday cake frosting.
Kari Taylor says
I also asked the same thing. From looking at the pictures, I think I may have found it in her post for “Chocolate Coca-Cola cake” or “Diet Dr Pepper® Texas Sheet Cake”.
This is the basic chocolate icing I always use. You can put nuts into on or top if you want too.
Lorie Ann says
Wow this recipe is the absolute best it turned out perfect I couldn’t have made a better frosting thanks for the great recipe!
I love making homemade frosting. The kids love using homemade frosting on graham crackers. Well, I do too!
The recipe is nice I love to try it today
Paula, this reminds me of chocolate frosting we made at home. Nothing fancy – but oh so chocolaty! Thanks for the reminder. New and improved isn’t always better. 🙂
Wishes for tasty dishes, Linda
Thanks, Linda! This is the first frosting I ever made and I’ve used it for (ahem) a lot of years now 🙂
Patricia Mastro says
Paula, do you ever make a boiled chocolate frosting with ‘granulated’ sugar! My Mother did and it was wonderful! I haven’t made it for a while so I can’t give a guarantee until I have made it and can comment on the results. Curious what you have to say!
I have not, this one is so simple it’s my go to
Is this a thick spreadable frosting or more like a thin icing ? I would love to try it today on some goodies I’m making.
I use it as both. As the recipe is written, it’s thick and can be used on a layer cake. When I want to ice sugar cookies, I add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to the above recipe and it’s thinner.