This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

Learn how to make mocha frosting for cupcakes, cakes, and brownies! This is the BEST mocha icing that’s rich and chocolatey with a hint of coffee flavor. It’s also an easy frosting recipe with the best creamy texture.

Pin it now to save for later

Pin Recipe
Overhead shot of mocha frosting in a ramekin surrounded by chocolate cupcakes

I love chocolate frosting, but there is something about mocha frosting that really grabs my heart! I love cupcakes with mocha frosting – it’s chocolatey (love!), but it’s the hint of coffee in the mix that just takes it to a new level.

If you’ve ever had a mocha coffee drink, you know what I mean – chocolate and coffee really are a great match.

BEST Mocha Frosting Recipe

So, if you want to give your cupcakes, cakes, and brownies a step up in the frosting department, might I suggest this mocha frosting recipe?

  • It’s a mocha buttercream, so you know it has a great buttery and creamy texture.
  • It’s the perfect consistency for piping.
  • It’s easy to make – you don’t need to melt chocolate. Instead, we’re using cocoa powder, and it works great.
  • It pairs perfectly with anything chocolate, but it’s excellent with other cake flavors, too! This recipe makes enough for one 9” cake or 24 cupcakes.
  • You can also make it ahead and keep it in the refrigerator or store it in the freezer for later.

What is mocha frosting made of?

I’ve already spilled the beans on the cocoa powder part – specifically, Dutch process cocoa powder. It’s easier to deal with (no melting chocolate!), and it gives the frosting a rich chocolate flavor.

Combine it with instant espresso or instant coffee, and you get that fantastic coffee flavor. It not only adds coffee flavor but also enhances the chocolate flavor. In other words, this mocha icing will be a winner with chocolate fans.

And let’s not forget the butter. Combine it with the chocolate and coffee, and you get the richest, creamiest, incredible mocha buttercream frosting. I love a chocolate cake with mocha frosting – it’s seriously the best!

Three chocolate cupcakes topped with mocha frosting and a chocolate covered coffee bean

Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to make it!

Instant coffee or instant espresso: This gives it the mocha flavor.

Hot water: To make the coffee/espresso

Dutch Process Cocoa Powder: You can use regular unsweetened but dutch process gives so much flavor!

Powdered Sugar: Typical for frosting recipes.

Softened unsalted butter: Softened butter makes it much easier to incorporate with the cream cheese.

Vanilla and Salt: For flavor

Milk or heavy whipping cream as needed for desired consistency

How to Make Mocha Buttercream Frosting

  1. Combine the instant coffee or espresso with the hot water in a small bowl. Stir, and then let the mixture cool completely.
  2. Whisk the cocoa powder and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl.
  3. Cream the butter until smooth in a separate bowl with a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer). Slowly add the cocoa powder mixture. Add the vanilla and salt and mix to combine. At this point, the mixture will be crumbly.
  4. Add the cooled coffee mixture and mix until smooth. If needed, add a little milk or cream to thin the frosting for piping, if needed.

Expert Tips

  • You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted butter. Just omit the added salt in the recipe.
  • Be sure to use softened butter, so it’s easy to cream. Leave it out at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes before, so it’s softened by the time you’re ready to make the frosting.
  • If your cocoa powder or powdered sugar have lumps, sift them first.
Mocha frosting in a bowl with chocolate cupcakes around it


Can you freeze mocha icing?

Yep, it freezes great! Store it in a freezer bag or container, and it will keep well up to three months. When you’re ready to use it, let it thaw at room temperature.

How do you store frosting?

You can keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Or freeze it for up to three months.

Is mocha frosting made out of coffee?

Mocha frosting is flavored with coffee – usually, instant espresso or instant coffee.

Can I substitute for Dutch process cocoa?

I like to use Dutch process cocoa powder for this frosting because it has a smoother flavor and is less acidic. That said, you can use the same amount of unsweetened cocoa powder, but it will have a slightly different taste.

What do I use if I can’t find instant espresso?

You can use the same amount of instant coffee granules.

Can you use decaf coffee?

Yes, decaf coffee will work fine.

My frosting is too sweet!

If your mocha frosting is too sweet, you can ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt to balance the sweetness. Start with less, give it a taste, and add more if needed.

Is this frosting pipeable?

Yes, it’s great for piping onto cakes, cupcakes, or brownies!

Ways to use Mocha Frosting

Now that you have the most fantastic mocha frosting recipe, you need some treats to pair it with. Here are a few you might like to try with it:

With this mocha icing recipe, you can get your coffee, chocolate, and cake cravings all satisfied in one delicious dessert! Give it a try soon – I know you’re going to love it!

Have you made this recipe?

Tag @crazyforcrust on Instagram or hashtag it #crazyforcrust

Mocha frosting in a bowl with chocolate cupcakes around it

Mocha Frosting Recipe

4.95 from 51 votes
Mocha Frosting is an easy frosting recipe! Make Mocha Buttercream Frosting with cocoa and coffee to frost chocolate cake or chocolate cupcakes or brownies – this recipe is so good.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 24 cupcakes
Serving Size 1 cupcake


  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee or instant espresso
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tablespoons (10 g) Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 6 cups (678g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Milk or heavy whipping cream as needed for desired consistency (1-3 tablespoons, approximately)
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!


  • Add the instant coffee or espresso to the hot water. Stir and let cool completely.
  • Whisk together cocoa and powdered sugar.
  • Cream butter in a very large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer until smooth, then slowly add sugar mixture. Add vanilla and salt. Mixture will be crumbly.
  • Add coffee mixture and mix until smooth, adding milk or cream as needed for desired consistency for piping or frosting.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to a month.

Recipe Notes

  • If your cocoa is lumpy, sift it with the powdered sugar.
  • You can substitute regular cocoa for the dutch process.
  • Instant espresso is best but use instant coffee if you can’t find it.
  • If using salted butter omit salt in recipe.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Overhead shot of mocha frosting in a ramekin surrounded by chocolate cupcakes with recipe title on top of photo

Mocha Frosting is an easy frosting recipe! Make Mocha Buttercream Frosting with cocoa and coffee to frost chocolate cake or chocolate cupcakes or brownies – this recipe is so good.

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

Learn to Bake in 4 Days!
Get my tips, tricks and recipes to take your baking to the next level for FREE!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. My family LOVED this recipe! I was so nervous cause I decided to try something new at the last minute but I’m so happy I did!!! This is definitely gonna become a go-to recipe for me! Easy and delicious!

  2. FABULOUS! I have made this several times now and it is our new favorite icing!! Today I’m making a dark chocolate cake for my husband’s birthday. I’m using this recipe for the icing and then decorating the cake.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  3. I followed the instructions and made sure I added enough milk to make it fluffier and easier to spread. It was for a special occasion for my wife. She said it was the best mocha frosting she ever had. If I had one complaint, it’s I had way to much left over after frosting a 9” layer cake.

  4. This frosting was So Delicious! To the person who said it wasn’t fluffy… (Laura Phillips) it may have been that you didn’t whip your butter until it was creamy in the beginning. Because everything stems from this being done correctly. It’s ok, you may be good at other things! My whole family said this was their favorite Mocha frosting on my double fudge cake! Yummo!!

  5. This frosting is not the light and fluffy kind you find on a good bakery bought cake. It is EXTREMELY sweet and dense. The added salt is not enough to cut the sweetness. No one I served this cake to finished the frosting.

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t like it. I find it fluffy – but it’s personal preference. You can also reduce the sugar or add a bit more salt if needed.

  6. Many years ago, my favorite aunt made a wonderful spice cake with a mocha frosting and I am about to embark on a quest to make both using your recipes.
    Wish me luck.

  7. This frosting was SO delicious! It paired perfectly with my gf chocolate cake with a boston cream filling😍 Thank You!!