Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder and Powdered Sugar

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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

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.

 chocolate Frosting

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*The calorie count is for the whole recipe.

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Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder and Powdered Sugar is smooth, creamy, and rich.
Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder and Powdered Sugar is smooth, creamy, and rich.

Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder and Powdered Sugar

Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder and Powdered Sugar is a must-have recipe. It’s creamy, smooth, and rich. This icing can be made stove-top or in the microwave and just takes minutes to stir together. It goes well on cakes and cupcakes.
Author: Paula
4.91 from 74 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
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  • 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.


Calories: 1084kcal | Carbohydrates: 220g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 272mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 208g | Vitamin A: 775IU | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 2mg
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  1. Absolutely delicious used for it for first time tonight so glad I found it. It is perfect for 9/13 pan will double on layer cake I would not change anything perfect

  2. Hi Paula, In #7 of the frosting directions, how do I know if it’s too thin if I pour it straight from the stove over the cake? What consistency should I compare it to before I start adding more powdered sugar?

    1. It needs to be thicker than heavy cream but not as thick as sour cream when it’s hot. It will thicken as it cools and harden pretty fast.
      You can test it by dipping out a spoonful onto a glass that’s turned upside-down. If it runs off too quick and before it hardens add just a little more powdered sugar and test again.

  3. Hi Paula, I have a dumb question, how could I half this? I’m struggling with the 1/3 measurements. I just need enough for a small cake

    1. I have to think of it like this 1/3 cup equals 5 and 1/3 tablespoons so I’d use just 2 tablespoons and just shy of another tablespoons for the cocoa.

      And for the milk, add that last tablespoon a little at a time until it’s the thickness you need.

      I hope this helps. Happy New Year!

  4. This is also good using almond extract in place of vanilla. It kind of reminds me of the taste of chocolate covered cherries.

  5. 5 stars
    Fantastic! This will be my go to frosting. Perfect flavor and consistency. Thank you!

  6. Hello Paula,
    Oh my goodness! This is so Totally Good! I used some of my leftover Folgers from morning coffee in place of the milk like someone mentioned and did the touch of salt. With or without those changes this is Heavenly Chocolate Icing with the fudgy flavor. It went on a 9×13 cake. Yummy! I followed the hints and recipe just as you said. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  7. 5 stars
    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.

    1. Yay!!! So happy it saved the cookies. 🥳 Desserts are my love language so I completely understand. Hope your holiday was awesome.

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 5 stars
    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

  11. 5 stars
    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. 👍💕

    1. 5 stars
      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!!

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