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This is the best Mocha Frosting you’ll ever try! Smooth, creamy, and with the perfect kick of coffee, you’ll flip for this chocolate coffee buttercream. A rich chocolate coffee frosting that is perfect on cupcakes, cake, or brownies.

three chocolate cupcakes with espresso buttercream frosting
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Mocha frosting! Chocolate frosting WITH COFFEE. This is happening.

Could you convince yourself that waking up to this frosting is the same as having your morning cup of coffee? Try really hard to make that happen. I think we’d all be a little bit happier starting our day with coffee frosting.

If breakfast frosting is not your jam, how about slathering some espresso buttercream on top of these Fudgy Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies? 

What Ingredients Are in Mocha Buttercream?

How Long Does Coffee Buttercream Last?

This frosting will keep for a week in the fridge. Technically, people say you can store buttercream at room temperature for a few days, but if you’re using real milk that just um, grosses me out.

What is the Best Mixer For Making Homemade Frosting?

The easiest method is to use a stand mixer. This is the one I have had for 15 years and it’s a workhorse. For frosting, I always use the paddle attachment.

No stand mixer? Use a hand mixer, a really deep bowl, and a lot of patience.

7 photos showing the process of making coffee frosting

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • Your butter must be at room temperature to get a smooth, lump-free frosting. If your butter is cold, cut it into tablespoons and microwave it for 5 seconds at a time. You want it to be soft but not melty.
  • Sift the cocoa powder and powdered sugar prior to adding to the mixer to remove any lumps.
  • Serving to kiddos or people sensitive to caffeine? Feel free to use decaf coffee! 
  • If you need to use non-dairy milk, Nut Pods, coconut, cashew, or pea milk produce the creamiest results.
a chocolate cupcake on a grey plate with milk
5 from 4 ratings

Mocha Frosting

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
three chocolate cupcakes with espresso buttercream frosting
This rich chocolate coffee buttercream is perfect on anything.



  • If you are using instant coffee, combine 2 tsp with 2 1/2 tsp of really hot water and whisk to combine. Allow to cool a bit before starting your frosting.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high until it is soft and smooth. 
    1/2 cup butter
  • Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar 1/3 cup at a time. Allow the powdered sugar to incorporate before adding the next 1/3 cup. When you've added all the powdered sugar, beat on medium for a minute.
    2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Reduce the speed to low and repeat with the cocoa powder 1/4 cup at a time using the same method you used with the powdered sugar.
    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • If you're using espresso powder, you can mix it with the vanilla extract and add it now. Or add the dissolved and cooled instant coffee. 
    2 tsp espresso powder, 1 tsp vanilla
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add the milk until the frosting starts to smooth out. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the mixture until it is buttery smooth.
    1/4 cup milk


Recipe will make enough buttercream for 12 cupcakes. You can adjust the number of servings in the interactive recipe card above.
In step 3, the mixture is going to be really crumbly. Don’t worry, stay with me. It’s going to be amazing really soon.
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.


Serving: 3tbspCalories: 172kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 1gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 71mgPotassium: 95mgFiber: 2gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 245IUCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. As made, this was a little thick (I used almond milk). I should have added more milk, but I’m a novice baker. I had leftover frosting and added a little Baileys’ Irish Cream. Wow! Not only did it make the frosting a better consistency, the flavor was enhanced as well.5 stars

  2. This is exactly what I need! Am I missing the button to change the recipe to metric measurements?  I always weigh my dry ingredients and your metric conversion gave weights instead of cup measurements.  

    1. Melissa, those measurements are auto-generated by the recipe program that I use. Think like auto-correct for measurements.

      I honestly don’t think they’re on half of our recipes anymore because the developer found they’re not always accurate.

  3. I have a question, my daughter is lactose intolerant, we have Lactaid milk or almond milk, can I use either of these or is it best to use the milks you listed? Thank you for your input!

    1. It should be fine Barb! My oldest kiddo is also lactose intolerant, and I only use lactose-free whole milk for cooking and baking. 🙂

  4. He he.. you said pea milk…

    But really, this looks amazing! I’ve seen a few recipes that call for espresso powered or instant coffee. I really need to keep some on hand for such occasions where I see these delicious recipes! (Not a coffee drinker)