Stir together a super creamy, super delish Chocolate Frosting with cocoa powder—and without butter—in minutes. (And with less sugar too!)
Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder
I love eating baked goods but honestly, I kind of hate how many things I have to pull out and wash when making them at home. To help, enter this super simple, one-bowl, no-electric-appliances-needed chocolate frosting!
All you need to make this is a bowl and a spoon and it’s a perfect recipe to cook with the kids too because they can make the whole thing…it’s that easy!
Can you really make chocolate frosting without butter?
Oh my, yes you can! Honestly, I discovered this by mistake. I wanted to make frosting for a cake and was out of my usual cream cheese and butter. But I did have Greek yogurt so I figured it was better than nothing.
And I was SO pleasantly surprised by how good it was that it’s now become my go-to chocolate frosting!
Ingredients You Need
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
- Plain Greek yogurt: I prefer whole milk so it’s as creamy and thick as possible.
- Confectioner’s sugar: This is also known as powdered sugar. It helps the frosting thicken nicely.
- Cocoa powder: Look for an unsweetened variety.
TIP: There’s not a lot of confectioner’s sugar in this recipe, but the amount that’s there helps thicken the frosting and provide just enough sweetness.
Here’s a look at the general process for making this easy frosting for cakes or cupcakes. Scroll down to the bottom of the recipe for the full information.
- Add the ingredients to a medium bowl.
- Stir together with a spoon or spatula.
- Use on a cake or cupcakes!
TIP: If your yogurt has any liquid on top, drain it off before you measure out the yogurt.
How to Store
You can make this up to 3 days ahead. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Drain off any liquid, stir together, and add to your cake or cupcakes.
Best Tips for Success
- Dairy-free: Use a dairy-free Greek style yogurt if needed.
- You can try making this with 2-4 tablespoons honey instead of confectioner’s sugar if desired. (I prefer confectioner’s sugar as it makes it more of a traditional frosting consistency. Honey will make a slightly softer frosting.)
- I usually make this with Cabot brand whole milk plain Greek yogurt and it’s delicious.
- I like using SACO brand cocoa powder or Hershey’s special dark.
- This makes enough for my Healthy Chocolate Cake or 10-12 cupcakes. (If you like a lot of frosting on your cupcakes, you may want to do 1.5 times the recipe!)
- Spread onto Healthy Chocolate Cake or Football Cake.
- Or spoon into a zip top storage bag, seal, and trim off one corner. Pipe onto Vanilla Cupcakes, Chocolate Cupcakes, or Banana Cupcakes.
If you try this recipe, please comment and rate the recipe below—I love to hear from you all!
Quick Chocolate Frosting with Cocoa Powder
- 1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4-1/3 cup confectioners sugar
- Add the ingredients to a medium bowl.
- Stir together with a spatula until uniformly mixed (and a uniform color).
- Spread onto cake. Or spoon into a zip top storage bag, seal, and trim off one corner. Pipe onto cupcakes..
This is a great recipe. I microwaved about 1 oz of semi sweet chocolate into it. Thanks for sharing.
Does the cake have to be refrigerated since you are using yogurt for the frosting?
That is best, or you can make them both ahead and refrigerate the frosting and frost right before serving.
Yummy and so quick and easy
Couldn’t get this to thicken up – I use swerve confectioners sugar – zero calorie. It’s more like a pudding consistency than icing. The bitterness of the Greek yogurt still comes through and even added a little vanilla paste. Super bummed. My cupcakes are dressed and in the fridge I hope this doesn’t make them soggy.
I’m sorry to hear that. Does that type of sugar typically work the same in frostings? Powdered sugar helps thicken this up as I’ve made it.
Last year I used nonfat Greek yogurt because that is what I had and we liked it. This year I bought the whole milk Greek yogurt and it was fantastic! Thanks for such a yummy and quick frosting that I my 4 year old actually likes
Can I use tapioca sugar?
I haven’t tried it that way so I can’t say for sure.
This is not frosting! It is sweetened yogurt that tastes and acts like yogurt. It cannot stand up to shape or piping. The cake recipe is pretty good, but this is nothing close to a frosting. I wasted a ton of time trying to stabilize and make this hold up for a decorated cake, but ended up having to start over. Those who tasted the recipe were glad that it didn’t work because the taste was off putting. Go for a buttercream or cream cheese recipe and reduce the sugar for a much better result!
I just used half a stick of butter and it is delicious! If you don’t want to go the more healthy route and cut certain corners and need a cake that’s more visually pleasing than you should do that! I appreciate using all the same measurements and healthy possibilities but sometimes that’s not what you want and that’s okay.
Does it make a huge difference if I use whole milk plain yogurt vs. Greek yogurt?
If you use regular yogurt, it will be far less thick and more like chocolate yogurt. If you have time to strain the regular yogurt to get some of the water out, line a fine mesh sieve or colander with a paper towel, place the yogurt on top, and place over a bigger bowl. Let drain for at least an hour.
I’m counting my calories and wanted to make a low calorie tasty chocolate frosting. I just made this recipe and it’s damn good!! It does not taste low calorie (meaning we are highly likely to make it again and again), mixes well by hand, looks like the fancy gourmet frosting, and comes together in seconds! Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!! Thank you so much for posting this recipe, it’s going in the recipe file today!!!
Can I use vanilla flavored Greek yogurt or is plain best?
You could use vanilla but I would probably start with a smaller amount of powdered sugar and taste it as you go since the vanilla will be sweeter to start with.
I think this will become our go to chocolate frosting for our family from now on. So easy and tasty to make. Thanks!
Awesome, I’m so glad!
Does this frosting go hard/form a crust when refrigerated?
No, not in my experience if it’s covered.
Will this icing keep its form at room temperature, like buttercream? Thanks for all your hard work!
Yes it does, though I wouldn’t keep it out for hours since it does have dairy in it.
Can I use this for the healthy chocolate cake recipe while using a 9 inch cake pan?Would it make enough?
Yes, it’s a nice amount for that recipe!
Thanks for the tip.
How much tablespoons of honey should I use?
Probably 2-3. Start with 2 and taste it and add more as you like.
Thank you it was a success!