Learn how to make chocolate cream cheese frosting with this easy tutorial. This frosting is super creamy and pipes perfectly!

A group of chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting sitting on top of an antique round cooling rack.

One of the most popular frosting recipes on my site is this homemade cream cheese frosting. It’s one of my favorite recipes to use because it pairs beautifully with so many different desserts.

So, I decided to create a chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe to share with you! Because the only thing better than regular cream cheese frosting is one with chocolate in it. Right?

This chocolate cream cheese icing is also incredibly smooth, creamy, and super chocolatey. An added bonus? You only need 5 ingredients to make it and it only takes a few minutes to mix together!

Ingredients For This Recipe

This simple recipe calls for just 5 ingredients, most of which I bet you have in your pantry already! 

  • Cream cheese: I suggest using full-fat cream cheese for a creamier, richer frosting, but reduced fat will work too. I don’t suggest using fat-free cream cheese for this recipe though because it doesn’t taste nearly as good. Make sure to stick with brick-style cream cheese and avoid using cream cheese spread in a tub. 
  • Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter since the amount of salt in salted butters can vary between different brands.
  • Powdered sugar: Also known as icing sugar or confectioners sugar, this help to sweeten and thicken the frosting. 
  • Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. 
  • Cocoa powder: I use unsweetened natural cocoa powder. 

A clear glass mixing bowl holding butter and cream cheese combined together with a red and white napkin in the background.

How to Make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

To make this frosting, you’ll start out by beating together one stick of unsalted butter and one 8-ounce package of cream cheese. When it comes to the butter and cream cheese, make sure to set them out ahead of time so they can come to room temperature. This will ensure a much smoother and creamier frosting.

Then, you’ll beat in some pure vanilla extract and powdered sugar. You can feel free to sift the powdered sugar first, but I don’t really find it necessary for this step so I skip it.

A clear glass mixing bowl holding cream cheese frosting ingredients with a white and red napkin in the background.

At this point, I suggest stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as you’re mixing in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. This will ensure that everything is well combined before you mix in the cocoa powder.

Then, sift the unsweetened cocoa powder. I know, I told you it’s okay to skip sifting the powdered sugar, but it is necessary for the cocoa powder. By sifting the cocoa powder, you can remove any large lumps that could end up in your frosting. Trust me when I say that there’s nothing more unpleasant than biting into a chunk of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Once the cocoa powder is incorporated, you can either refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it or go ahead and frost your cupcakes or cake.

A clear glass mixing bowl filled with chocolate cream cheese frosting and a rubber spatula.

FAQ’s

Does It Need to Be Refrigerated? 

Since this recipe uses cream cheese, it does need to be refrigerated. The frosting will be fine for an hour or two at room temperature, but I do suggest refrigerating it for any period of time longer than that.

How Long Does It Last? 

Frosting may be covered tightly or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow the frosting to come to room temperature and mix well before using it to frost cakes or cupcakes.

Can You Freeze It? 

Chocolate cream cheese frosting will freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature and mix well before using it.

What Are Some Ways to Use This Frosting? 

I really love using this frosting on top of my homemade chocolate cupcakes, but you could also use it on top of my chocolate layer cake, white cakevanilla cupcakes, or these homemade brownies

How Much Frosting Does This Recipe Make? 

This recipe will make 3 cups of frosting, which is enough to generously frost 14 to 16 cupcakes. This is also enough frosting to frost a 9×13-inch cake or to lightly frost a two-layer cake. If you prefer more frosting on a two-layer cake or need some to decorate with, I suggest multiplying this recipe by one and a half.

 

A close up picture of chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting sitting on top of an antique round cooling rack.

Baking Tips

  • Make sure to set your cream cheese and butter out ahead of time to come to room temperature. This will ensure a much smoother frosting.
  • I suggest using full-fat cream cheese for a richer, creamier frosting.
  • If you prefer to use less sugar, you may reduce the powdered sugar in this recipe from 3 cups (360 grams) down to 2 and 1/2 cups (300 grams). 
  • Be sure to sift your cocoa powder to remove any large lumps before mixing it into the frosting.
  • For the cupcakes in this post, I used the Wilton 1M piping tip!

More Homemade Frosting Recipes to Try! 

A close up picture of a chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting on an antique wire rack.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 2 ratings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Learn how to make chocolate cream cheese frosting with this easy tutorial. This frosting is super creamy and pipes perfectly.

Ingredients

Servings: 3 cups
  • 1 (8-ounce) package brick-style cream cheese , softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder , sifted

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together for 1-2 minutes or until well combined.
  • Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Then, mix in the sifted cocoa powder and mix until fully combined. Use the frosting to frost your favorite cake or cupcakes and enjoy!

Notes

Frosting may be covered tightly or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow the frosting to come to room temperature and mix well before using to frost cakes or cupcakes.
Freezing instructions: Frosting will freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature and mix well before using it.
This recipe will make 3 cups of frosting, which is enough to generously frost 14-16 cupcakes. This is also enough frosting to frost a 9x13 cake or lightly frost a two-layer cake. If you prefer more frosting on a two-layer cake or need some to decorate with, I suggest multiplying this recipe by one and a half.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle
Did you make this recipe?Mention @livewellbakeoften on Instagram or tag #livewellbakeoften.