Chocolate Russian Buttercream

5 from 1 vote

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This chocolate Russian buttercream recipe is rich in flavor without being overly sweet. It’s light and creamy, making it perfect for frosting all your favorite dessert recipes!

Why you’ll love this buttercream recipe:

I’m a huge fan of buttercream frosting like my French buttercream and American buttercream for topping all my favorite treats.

However, chocolate Russian buttercream might be my favorite variation yet.  Made with just four ingredients, it’s subtly sweet and thinner than American varieties yet every bit as decadent and delicious. 

  • Easy – Four simple ingredients and a few minutes are all you need. 
  • Flavorful – The cocoa powder adds a bold, slightly bitter flavor that’s perfectly balanced with sweet, creamy condensed milk and rich butter. 
  • Consistency – Sturdy enough to pipe.  

This recipe is a dream for macarons, cupcakes, or even layer cakes.

Piped chocolate Russian buttercream.

Key Ingredient Notes:

Before you begin, let the butter sit out and come to room temperature. This is key to creating a light frosting! 

  • Unsalted butter – This creates a melt-in-your-mouth texture and helps provide structure to the frosting so that it’s stable enough to work with and pipe. 
  • Sweetened condensed milk – Don’t confuse condensed milk with evaporated milk!  Condensed milk contains sugar, while evaporated milk is unsweetened. 
  • Cocoa powder – You can use either unsweetened Dutch-processed or natural cocoa powder. Dutch-processed cocoa powder will produce richer and darker-colored frosting.
  • Coarse kosher salt – Don’t skip this! A little bit of salt helps enhance the flavor of the rest of the ingredients. 
Salt, cocoa powder, butter, and sweetened condensed milk.

How to make chocolate Russian buttercream:

About 5 minutes is all you need when you follow the simple steps in this recipe!

  • Beat the butter in a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until it’s light and fluffy. 
  • Reduce the speed to low, and slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk. 
Two images showing the process of whipping butter and adding sweetened condensed milk.
  • Increase the speed to medium-high, and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. 
  • Add the cocoa powder and salt, and whip again just until the ingredients are incorporated. 
Cocoa powder being blended into a mixture of whipped butter and condensed milk.

Avoid a mess

It’s best to use a large bowl with high sides, so the mixture doesn’t spray everywhere!

Tips for Success:

  • Butter temperature is important! Cold butter will leave small butter lumps, and melted butter will turn into soup! Ideally, the butter should be soft and leave an easy dent when pressed.
  • Pour the sweetened condensed milk into the butter mixture slowly. Working too fast will cause the frosting to break and curdle. 
  • If the chocolate Russian buttercream is too loose to pipe, pop it into the fridge for 10-20 minutes to firm up. Don’t refrigerate it too long, or it will be too firm to spread.
  • If you prefer a sweeter frosting, feel free to add more condensed milk. Start with an extra tablespoon, and adjust as needed. Just note that the more condensed milk you add, the softer and less stable your frosting will be.  
Piped chocolate Russian buttercream.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • This chocolate Russian buttercream recipe can be made in advance and frozen for up to 3 months or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
  • Thaw the frozen buttercream on the counter overnight. Then, whip it until it’s smooth and creamy.

Storing Tips:

  • Store the chocolate Russian buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Let the frosting come to room temperature, and whip until it’s smooth before using. 

Buttercream FAQs: 

Does Russian buttercream hold its shape? 

Yes, I’ve never had any issues with this chocolate Russian buttercream recipe holding its shape. It works well for pipping simple patterns and intricate designs! 

What do I do if my Russian buttercream is too runny? 

If your frosting is too runny, put it in the fridge for up to 20 minutes to help it firm back up. Re-whip as needed if the ingredients start to separate. 

What is the difference between American buttercream and Russian buttercream? 

American buttercream is the most popular variety and is made by combining icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) with butter, milk, and vanilla extract.
Russian buttercream is made with whipped butter and sweetened condensed milk. As a result, it’s creamier with a stronger milk flavor than other buttercream recipes. 

Chocolate Russian buttercream.
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Russian Buttercream

Make this easy chocolate Russian buttercream with 4 ingredients and 5 minutes for a rich frosting that’s subtly sweet and perfectly creamy!
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Yields: 1 cup / 230g


  • 1 stick (113 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (113 g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder Note 1
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt


  • 1 stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment


  • In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    1 stick unsalted butter
  • Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk. Then increase the speed to medium high and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • Add cocoa powder and salt. Whip again until incorporated, 30 seconds.
    1 tablespoon cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Tips & Notes

Note 1: You can use either unsweetened Dutch-processed or natural cocoa powder. Dutch-processed cocoa powder will produce richer and darker-colored frosting.
Storing Tips: 
– Store the chocolate Russian buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
– Let the frosting come to room temperature. Then, whip until smooth before using. 


Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 95kcal
Carbohydrates: 19g
Protein: 2g
Fat: 1g
Sugar: 7g
Sodium: 90mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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