Simple Chocolate Nutella Frosting

A vanilla cupcake frosted with swirled Nutella frosting.

This Nutella Frosting recipe will soon become your favorite frosting for layer cakes and cupcakes. It’s rich, creamy, and made with THE delicious hazelnut chocolate spread. No butter, cocoa powder, or confectioners sugar required!

Chocoholics unite! You’ll find MANY great chocolate flavoured recipes here on the blog including this unbelievable Chocolate Avocado Mousse and these super fun Cookies and Cream Hot Chocolate Bombs.

A vanilla cupcake frosted with swirled Nutella frosting.

Chocolate Nutella Frosting

Holy heck! This dreamy and rich chocolate Nutella frosting is so good, you’ll be eating it right off the spoon! Seriously though, this recipe couldn’t be simpler. Only three ingredients and a few basic techniques and you can pipe away to your heart’s content.

This decadent Nutella frosting has even MORE chocolate flavour accented by the familiar hazelnut flavor from the chocolate spread. Instead of butter and powdered sugar, this frosting gets its richness and stability from Nutella, dark chocolate, and whipping cream. It’s not too overly sweet and it’s oh, so chocolatey!

Dress up those chocolate cupcakes, cakes (for a layer cake make a double batch), and sweet little baked donuts with this fudgy delight.

A vanilla cupcake frosted with swirled Nutella frosting.

Recipe Ingredients

It’s difficult to believe that this super easy frosting consists of only three ingredients. However, in this recipe it’s the quality, not the quantity of the ingredients that matters.

There is no need to use brand name chocolate spread as long as the chosen spread has the exact same consistency of Nutella. This is important for the final texture of the frosting. For optimal results, use a freshly opened jar as a previously opened jar may have become clumpy and thick.

Be sure to use a high quality dark chocolate with at least 52% cacao mass. A lower quality chocolate will cause the refrigerated mixture to harden. In turn, this will also make it difficult to whip air into the mixture.

Three ingredients for Nutella frosting.

While there is no butter in this recipe, a high fat content heavy whipping cream (at least 36%) is essential to the final structure of the frosting. Lower fat creams such as half and half or coffee cream will not have enough fat content to whip.

Optional additions include extracts of any flavour that goes well with chocolate. These include mint, coffee, vanilla, coconut, cherry, or even MORE hazelnut.

The recommended ingredients combined with the outlined technique will result in a creamy frosting that is great for piping onto baked goods.

Chocolate frosting on the whisk of a stand mixer.

How to Make Nutella Frosting

There are three main steps to achieving a perfectly light and fluffy frosting texture. The ingredients are first melted together, then cooled. Finally, during the whipping stage, air is incorporated into the mixture.

Melting

The easiest method to melt chocolate is to microwave it. However, it is also very easy to overheat chocolate using this method. Place the chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in between each. Once the chocolate is 80% melted, continue stirring until you have a consistent texture with no lumps.

Add in the Nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread, and stir it in to melt it slightly. You may have to give it one more round in the microwave.

Alternatively, add the chopped chocolate and Nutella to the bowl of a double boiler. Add water to the bottom pan (careful not to add too much as to touch the bottom of the bowl) and heat it on medium heat. Stir the mixture together as it melts. Remove from heat when only a few lumps remain and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth.

Close up of brown nutella frosting.

While the chocolate is melting, place half of the heavy cream in a small saucepan and heat it over medium low heat. It does not need to be hot, it only needs to be warmer than the melted chocolate/Nutella mixture. Do not boil the cream or it will not whip properly.

Using a spatula or mixer paddle attachment, mix the melted chocolate/Nutella mixture with the hot cream until it is smooth and silky. Add extract (if using) and stir in the remaining cold cream.

Cooling

Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if needed the next day. The cooling is necessary as the mixture will not whip properly if it is still warm. The colder it is, the easier it is to incorporate air into the mixture.

At this point the mixture should still be soft and creamy, not hard, thick, or set. If you feel like it has set too much try adding a splash of heavy cream before whipping the mixture.

Chocolate nutella frosting in a piping bag.

Whipping

Cream can be used in it’s liquid form in many applications but give it a little elbow grease and watch it transform. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the mixture until you see a slight increase in volume and stiff peaks form (around 6-8 minutes).

Be very careful not to over whip the mixture. If you have ever over whipped cream, you will know that an overwhipped mixture becomes lumpy and greasy. Whipped Cream is a foam; a suspension of gas bubbles attached to (and surrounded by) destabilized fat globules.

Once too much air gets knocked out, the fat globules are free to attach to each other again…leading to granular frosting.

A vanilla cupcake frosted with swirled Nutella frosting.

How to Use Chocolate Nutella Frosting

On the off chance that you haven’t licked the bowl clean, there are many fun and creative ways to use this frosting. You can use it any way you would use regular Nutella or in any application that would call for Nutella buttercream frosting.

  • Chocolate Fairy Bread – Spread on bread and add colourful sprinkles.
  • Frosting cupcakes or cookies.
  • On top of Layer or Slab Cakes (Vanilla or Chocolate Cake)
  • In Babka or Sweet Rolls as a filling.
  • In Cream Horns or Cannoli
  • On Baked Chocolate Donuts
Close up swirls of chocolate Nutella frosting.

Helpful Tips for this Recipe

  • Use high quality dark chocolate with at least 52 % cacao mass.
  • Use heavy cream with 36% milk fat content.
  • Do not overheat chocolate while melting.
  • Do not boil the cream.
  • Use a rubber spatula to stir the melted chocolate, Nutella, and cream together (not a whisk)
  • Completely chill the mixture before whipping.
  • Place stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for 15 minutes before whipping.
  • Beat only until stiff peaks form. Do not overwhip.

Fill a piping bag and use immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to a week. This frosting freezes well and will last for up to three months when stored properly.

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Pinterest image of a Nutella frosted cupcake and close up of chocolate frosting.
Yield: 2 cups *enough for 6 cupcakes

Simple Chocolate Nutella Frosting

Close up of brown nutella frosting.

This Nutella Frosting recipe will soon become your favourite frosting for layer cakes and cupcakes. It's rich, creamy, and made with THE delicious hazelnut chocolate spread.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz (100g) dark chocolate (52% cacao mass); chopped
  • 1/2 cup (150g) Nutella (or chocolate spread)
  • 1 cup (250g) cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp extract of your choosing (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl and heat in 15 second increments until it is half melted. Add the Nutella and microwave for another 10-15 seconds. Stir together until no lumps remain (add one more microwave session if needed). Alternatively use a double boiler to melt the chocolate as outlined in the post above.
  2. Warm half of the cream in a small saucepan over low medium heat until it is slightly hotter than the melted chocolate. Do not allow to boil.
  3. Pour the warmed cream into the chocolate mixture, stirring continuously until it becomes a smooth, silky mixture.
  4. Stir in the remaining cold heavy cream and extract (if using).
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  6. Fit a whisk attachment onto a stand mixture and transfer the frosting to the mixer bowl.
  7. Beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form (around 6-8 minutes). Watch the mixture closely so as not to over whip it.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 39Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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20 comments

  1. Gloria

    I just made some Nutella frosting last weekend. The perfect cupcake topping. As long as people stay away and don’t eat this off the spoon before I am done decorating.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Hahaha, the struggle is real!

      Reply

  2. Veronika Sykorova

    The frosting was so decadent and I love the addition of dark chocolate. These cupcakes were so good they disappeared immediately!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Great to hear. I love adding the extra chocolate too.

      Reply

  3. Chef Dennis

    This Chocolate Nutella Frosting may be simple but it looks absolutely mouthwatering! It will be perfect for our cupcakes.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I hope so! Thanks for stopping by Dennis.

      Reply

  4. Tracy

    This frosting is amazing!! I mean what’s not to love about Nutella in frosting form? Great recipe.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh yeah…it’s a good one!

      Reply

  5. Beth

    The ingredients for this decadent frosting are simple, but the processes of combining them take some focus. I so appreciate the detail and careful explanations.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I try to imagine explaining the process to my husband (who doesn’t cook) Sometimes I even get him to read it over or make it to see if he can follow along.

      Reply

  6. Shelley

    Oh, Bernice – YUM! I have a secret little love affair with Nutella (I mean, who doesn’t???), and now I’m needing it on all my cakes and cupcakes forever more LOL! Luckily, it really is so easy to make! Chocolate lovers unite, for sue!! 😉

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s a good one! Glad to hear you love Nutella as much as I do.

      Reply

  7. Elaine

    The texture of this frosting is absolutely amazing! Just the way I aim for mine to be. And I love Nutella, so it is a win-win situation for me 🙂

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Same! We do love our Nutella.

      Reply

  8. Chandice Probst

    Yuuuuum! My boy and I love this recipe! So perfect for cakes, cupcakes or even dipping fruit into!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      ohhhhh I never thought of it as a fruit dip but heck yah!

      Reply

  9. Tristin @ Home Cooked Harvest

    Tried out this Nutella frosting today on some vanilla cupcakes. The frosting came out silky smooth. The cupcakes were a huge hit and everyone loved them!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So great to hear Tristin. It is a very nice texture!

      Reply

  10. Moop Brown

    I’m a big Nutella fan and love the way you used it here to for this frosting recipe. Definitely want to try!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Moop, I hope you love it.

      Reply

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