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brown butter chocolate buttercream

Brown Butter Chocolate Buttercream

A smooth buttercream made with browned butter and melted milk chocolate. This chocolate buttercream recipe is unique because you can really taste the brown butter.


  • ¾ cups unsalted butter to be browned (6 oz)
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chopped finely
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened (4 oz)
  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar sifted (3.5 oz)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk if needed* (see above, Milk Chocolate Matters)


  • Do ahead: In a small skillet, add the butter and turn the heat to medium. Once the butter has melted, turn the heat to medium high. It will spit and sputter as the milk solids brown. Have a heatproof bowl ready and keep watch, once it goes silent pour the butter into the bowl and make sure to scrape off the brown bits with a spatula to get them into the bowl. Set in the fridge to cool for a few hours or in the freezer if you are in a rush. We want the butter to be quite solid.
  • Melt the chocolate: either over a double boiler or in the microwave. The chocolate should be removed from the heat when it’s mostly but not fully melted. Stirring will help it melt completely. Set aside to cool. It should be completely cool when it’s time to add it to the buttercream base, dip your finger in it to check the temperature.
  • Make the buttercream base: beat together the cooled brown butter, the softened butter, the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla for at least 5 minutes until you have a smooth consistency. Pour in the melted chocolate slowly, with the mixer on low. Beat until it’s fully incorporated. If it’s stiff, add some milk to thin it out. If it’s melty, add some natural cocoa or powdered sugar.
  • For more detailed troubleshooting consistency, see ‘milk chocolate matters’.
  • This buttercream cannot be made ahead of time and should be used immediately to frost a cake as it will harden as it sets.