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Paleo Chocolate Frosting

paleo chocolate frosting recipe

Paleo Chocolate Frosting made with just three ingredients to top off your healthy celebrations.

This dairy free chocolate frosting is super easy to make and so delicious you will need to prevent yourself from eating it by the spoonful. Made with dark chocolate and coconut oil, it is a rich and creamy topping that can work on a variety of desserts.

I designed this chocolate frosting for my Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes, which my children (and their friends) have been gobbling up. I know I’ve got a good dessert on my hands when my children’s gluten eating pals scarf down my gluten free, grain free treats without pause, and then ask for more. These cupcakes didn’t last long around here.

Paleo Chocolate Frosting


  1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and coconut oil
  2. Stir in vanilla extract
  3. Place frosting in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to thicken
  4. Remove from refrigerator and whip frosting with a hand blender until thick and fluffy
  5. Frost over Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes

I began working on this dairy free frosting recipe a few weeks ago when I made my Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes. At that point the recipe was very similar to the one above, however, I was using 1/4 cup of coconut oil rather than 1/3 cup.

When I posted the cupcakes I received several comments regarding the frosting recipe. One, from a reader named Reggie contained almost the exact recipe above, except hers called for a 1/2 cup of coconut oil, a dash of salt and much less vanilla. Seeing Reggie’s recipe helped me in that I learned from it that I probably needed to increase the amount of coconut oil in mine. Thanks Reggie, you saved me several hours of testing with your comment.

Here are some other grain free cupcake recipes that you can top off with this chocolate frosting:

posted on August 28, 2012, 102 comments

  1. Hurray! My son’s birthday is coming up and now I know what cupcakes I’m making! He’s going to love them.

  2. Alicia

    Forget the cupcakes, frosting is always the best part anyways. I think I could eat this all by itself! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. This brilliant! Will try it soon

  4. Olivia@ OmNom Love @ omnomlove.blogspot.com

    Delish! The frosting looks so rich and creamy. I have all those ingredients on hand too! Amazing! The cupcakes look awesome too

  5. I love this recipe and I will try it next time we want a cupcake.

    This recipe is similar to some chocolate coconut cups I make.
    After reading Dr. Fife’s book “Stop Alzheimer’s now”, I decided that my husband and myself could use some prevention and some special care of our brains based on family traits.
    In that book it is recomended that those who do not have a mental disorder diagnosis already but they see that it’s been in the family such things as dementia.. etc. that they consume 3 TBSP of coconut oil/day.
    I already was cooking with coconut oil but I wanted to be sure that we got our recomended dosage . So I created the recipe for coconut cups.
    I make them in muffin mold.
    To make 12:
    18oz of coconut oil (36 Tbsp)
    1 bar of 85% Green and Black chocolate + 1 bar 90% Lindt
    I distribute them in the 12 cups, add a bit of almonds or 1 frozen strawberry, sometimes raspberries.
    Put in fridge.
    They are like delicious truffles that we both look forward to having.

    Our minds are already sharper.
    Funny how I never thought about whipping it before is solid.
    Thanks Elana

  6. Jami

    You are my hero, Elana! I am so excited to make this! My 13 year old daughter has never had refined sugar and we’ve been Paleo for nearly a year! I can finally make her some cup cakes with frosting! THANK YOU!

  7. Lynnette Foster-Horwith

    While waiting for your recipe Elana I had some dairy free soy based cream cheese to which I added agave and cocoa. I cant do chocolate with any regular sugar in it. But my cupcakes disappeared while traveling to the Santa Fe Opera :-) I’d much prefer to be taking in lots of coconut oil though so will try your version my way. Wish me luck!

  8. Karen @ brooksadv.com

    Oh wow, I couldn’t wait. I just had to make this immediately….so perfect!! I made the flourless chocolate cupcakes (from your cupcake cookbook…with cocnut flour) and wanted to tell anyone who’s watching calories or counting calories that this is the perfect treat! Only 123 calories each cupcake, including 1TBL of frosting! My cupcake batch made 10 cupcakes.
    Thank you Elana!!!!

  9. Denise Silvius

    I just wanted to tell you I tried the chocolate cupcakes and they are wonderful. I will try the frosting when I make another batch tomorrow since it was late when I found this. Thanks Elena!

  10. Pink Peppercorn and Paprika @ pinkpeppercornandpaprika.blogspot.com

    LOVE this recipe. so simple, so delicious. and perfectly not too sweet.

  11. That looks good! Need to get some more coconut oil!

  12. Allison

    I am always looking for more ways to use my coconut oil. I can’t think of a better way than this delicious looking frosting. Thanks Elana for another great solution to dairy free.

  13. Cindy

    I make a chocolate frosting with coconut oil in the solid form adding cocoa or carob powder as if it were icing sugar. Then I add liquid vanilla and liquid stevia to thin it out a bit. Yum!

    • Denielle

      I am looking for a recipe for chocolate frosting that doesn’t require chocolate chunks so it can be dairy free and sugar free (using stevia instead). I was wondering if you could send me yours as it sounds like what you described?

  14. Regina Rega

    Chocolate frosting for one, please? I made a version of this recipe tonight and it wasfabulous! My adjustment – just enough for one person – and no sugar.

    1) I melted one Baker’s Unsweetened chocolate square for 2 min on power 2 in the microwave.
    2) Using the chocolate/coconut oil ratio above, I added coconut oil to the melted unsweetened chocolate (roughly 3 tsp chocolate liquid to 1 tsp liquid coconut oil).
    3) Added 4 shakes Trader Joe’s powdered stevia and 1.5 tsp vanilla.
    4) Refrigerated 30 minutes, then fluffed with a fork.

    [Next time this might taste even better with the spices from Elana’s -Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream- bueno!]

    I’m eating it without the spice on a plain rice cake right now. Very good.

    Texture is glossy and dark, just like I remember that supermarket tub-o-frosting Mom used for my b-day cakes 30 years ago. Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane, Elana! I have your -Orange Cake- fresh out of the oven. Will add some frosting to my piece tomorrow (for breakfast, no doubt!).

  15. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy @ glutenfreehappytummy.com

    oh. my. gosh. WOW! looks absolutely amazing!

  16. Minnie(@thelady8home) @ thelady8home.com

    Wow this looks absolutely wonderful!

  17. Amy

    I am so grateful for this website, your books, and ideas. This recipe looks absolutely scrumptious and I’m psyched it has coconut oil. Can’t wait to try it on your paleo chocolate cupcakes. Awesome!!

  18. Cindy

    Finally, a recipe that I can use to frost a cake for my daughter who can’t eat sugar! thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  19. Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes @ Naturallysweetrecipes.blogspot.com

    Oh my, this looks amazing! Love this recipe!

  20. Kristy stiefel

    I thought I followed the recipe exactly the way it said. But, when I took the mixture out of the refridge the chocolate and oil separated and the chocolate became shared that I couldn’t mix it. Does anybody know what I did wrong? HELP!!

    • Rebecca

      My first thought (without knowing exactly what you did) would be that the chocolate you used had some additional ingredients that didn’t want to blend with the coconut oil? What are the ingredients listed on the package? Also, how long did you refrigerate?

      p.s. darn those iPad spelling errors :)

    • Marge

      I’ve noticed when I add alcohol(extract) to chocolate it freezes up. Perhaps it has to be warm before adding. Or maybe you could add the extract to the coconut oil first?

  21. Kristy stiefel

    I ment the chocolate became solid!! My I pads spell was wrong. :)

  22. Rebecca

    My frosting came out pretty thin, probably because I eyeball things and added too much chocolate. Never fear, I whipped up some almond butter in my VitaMix, but before I let it get too creamy (soupy) I stopped blending and blended 5-6 heaping tablespoons into my soupy frosting (using an electric handheld blender).

    If you’re a fan of “peanut butter chocolate” and don’t need things too sweet, give it a try, SO GOOD!

  23. Nannette

    Added 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract to the icing. So good! My gluten-eating extended family members were VERY impressed.

  24. Trish

    I’m not sure why this is called Paleo. Even dark chocolate chips have sugar and sugar is NOT paelo.

  25. Kythka

    Made this today and everyone likes it. I found the frosting firmed up nicer if the bowl was very cold while mixing.

  26. Caroline

    I just made your Paleo cupcakes complete with frosting for dessert tonight. They turned out so nice and moist and delicious! The frosting was crazy good.

  27. Dear Elana,
    I really love your blog that last months,since I’ve discovered that my little boy has celiac disease,has been my bible!
    I live in Italy and some ingredients on your receipes are hard to find here.
    I’m still looking for a good almond flour..
    thank you for sharig!

  28. Noel

    Yum!!! The cupcake part was super easy and delicious!!! I loved the taste and texture all by itself.
    I struggled with the frosting. Used Dagoba chocolate bar chopped up rather than chips — same quantity and % cocao. The fridge did not firm it up enough, so I put it in the freezer — left it in too long, so it was too hard. Room temp did not soften it, so I reheated, tried the freezer again, and it worked. Though when I refrigerated the frosted cupcakes the frosting was hard like a chocolate bar — tasty but hard. Fabulous at room temp. I just need to work out how long to leave it in the freezer I think — and set a timer.
    Wish the frosting were foolproof, but I’ll work it out. LOVE the ingredients and the outcome when I give it proper attention.

  29. Primal Smoke @ theprimalsmoke.com

    Does it have to be put on a cupcake? I think I will just eat it with a spoon :)

  30. I like chocolate. Sounds Delicious and simply! Thanks for sharing.

  31. Tabassum

    I made this frosting for my stepson’s b-day. He’s autistic on a gluten+ casein free diet, so The coconut oil in this recipe is great for him. However, mine didn’t look like yours at all. Maybe I left it too long in the fridge? I had to shave it out of the cup and make the cupcakes look like they had shaved “chocolate” ( really carob) on them. Then later that night the frosying completely melted. They looked ugly but they were gone in like 5 mins and my stepson licked the frosting off of most of them! Where did I go wrobg w/the recipe?

  32. Annie

    To the above reader
    You did nothing wrong, it’s just the makeup of coconut oil. It’s always best to store in fridge until they’ll be eaten within the hour or so, that way if your room is to warm you won’t have them liquefy.. When you took the frosting out of the fridge it had just set up to long. Next time check it along the way, like 15 mins then 20, then 25 until it is thick but not hard or solid. the time will vary… Try it again….you’ll love it!

  33. Tabassum

    to Annie- Thanks so much for your advice! I’ll give it a shot next time ?

  34. angela

    hi I made the frosting and it was initially great & soft but then hardened back to chocolate. Do you need to eat it straight away? Can I do anything to prevent it hardening? thanks

  35. Csillampeto

    I made it the other day, but I didn’t make any cake or muffins. I dipped strawberries and banana in to it, it was yummy! The only thing I think was difficult was the temperature for it to be spreadable. Room temperature, around 20+ degrees Celsius, was good for me.

  36. Heather

    I’ve made these 4 times already since you put the recipe out – I’m seriously obsessed with baking the cupcakes & frosting! Yesterday I decided to make the frosting with coconut cream vs coconut oil and it turned out just as yummy!

  37. Carol

    I made a version of the vanilla cupcakes and the chocolate cupcakes tonight–didn’t have enough eggs for one but didn’t have a couple of the other ingredients for the other. They are still cooling but look really good.

    I have tried making the frosting but it’s too liquid. I did the chocolate chips, the coconut oil and vanilla and let it sit in the refrigerator. I took it out to beat and it’s just liquid. It definitely won’t frost the cupcakes. But it tastes great!

  38. Saundra

    Made this last night with the chocolate cupcakes. The frosting is spectacular. Followed your instructions completely. The cupcakes turned out a little bit dry. Not sure why so I’ll have to work around that a lite bit next time.

  39. Mayanne

    Dear Elena,
    Your site is really cool! Thank you for your great creativity and talent !
    I am writing from France ! I admit it’s pretty hard sometimes to convert cups in grams… Especially here with the chocolate chips !!
    So do you have a page where you indicated for each ingredient what is a cup in grams (and so we can calculate proportions and save time adapting the recipes)… Just a proposition !
    Kind regards

  40. christina

    why the hand blender? my hand blender is a little older and generates too much heat and it just melts the coconut oil. i’m going to try a stand mixer, but before i waste the time and ingredients, has anyone tried it?

  41. Ellexis Howe-Hayes

    I found that my frosting didn’t really get thick at all? Did anyone else have this problem?

  42. KShamel

    So I made this tonight for the paleo choco cupcakes and I forgot about the frosting in the fridge. Now it’s too solid to whip. Any ideas? Can I let it get warm and then whip it and put on the cupcakes? Any one else had this problem? Thanks!

  43. I love your recipes. Chocolate Chips and Bars have milk in them unless specified. Dairy free chips are hard to find for PALEO recipes. I use ENJOY brand. What brand do you use? The recipes do not say “dairy Free” chocolate chips. Thank you

  44. Mary Kay

    Can this work with any other kind of oil? We have coconut allergies and palm allergies as well as dairy/egg/nut/soy. Can sunflower oil work??

  45. Peggy

    Will the coconut oil melt at warmer room temperatures or in the summer? It sounds yummy!

  46. DrD

    How can this be a Paleo frosting when it has chocolate chips ?(sugar) Are there any chocolate chips out there that do not have sugar? Thanks for any help.

  47. Corrine

    I just made the frosting with no added sugar dairy free milk chocolate instead and it taste SOOOOOO GOOD! thanks so much

  48. Hayley

    I used this chocolate frosting to top the gluten free dairy free carrot cake cupcakes (http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/glutenfreecakerecipes/r/glutenfreecarrotcake.htm) I made, and they were absolutely fabulous! This chocolate frosting is amazing and can be used for so many things. Thanks Elana!

  49. Marsha

    I tried this over spring break along with the paleo chocolate cupcakes, and they were excellent. So good, in fact, that my 7 year old requested them for his birthday party. Any suggestions for adding almond butter to the frosting? I’d like to try that, too. Thanks for all the great work you do!

  50. beccabaconlover

    Made this but used bacon grease because I don’t mess around.

  51. Nancy

    I have used this recipe before on cupcakes and loved it. Today I made a princess/Barbie cake and used this recipe with white chocolate chips and a bit of pink food coloring. It was just as wonderful as with dark chocolate. Thank you!

  52. Kristin

    Does anyone know if this frosting can be used for cake decorating?


  53. becky

    I know you might not be able to answer my question, but maybe someone else can. Don’t dark chocolate chips still have ‘modified milk ingredients’ in them? Is there a way this recipe could be completely dairy-free?

  54. Emily

    Can you pls advise how many grams the cup of chocolate is? Thanks

  55. brenda nance

    i cant have coconut can you subst . with butter and would you add they same amount?? thanks brenda

  56. Valeria @ FoodMe

    I just tried making it and it’s GREAT!
    Thanks for sharing all your great recipes!

  57. Hi Elana, I took some ideas from your recipe and came up with my own version (after a few failed attempts). I was also minimizing sugar.

    My version is at http://tasteobsession.com/830/chocolate-ganache-recipe/

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  58. AG

    I am writing this in response to those of you who ran into trouble with the frosting. I had my frosting sit in the fridge for 30 min. and it was still liquidy, but I tried to whip it up nonetheless, and it did not work. I had whipped it for 5 min. Discouraged, I put the frosting back in the fridge for approx. 10 more minutes, and when I removed it, it had hardened, but was easily punctured through with a fork (ie. it was still soft enough to mix, but not at all liquidy). This is the critical consistency you need the frosting to be at in order to then whip it up or fluff it up with a fork. This part took me 5 seconds. The frosting was super tasty and spread perfectly. My suggestion is to monitor the frosting every 5 min. after 15min. and check to make sure your frosting has completely solidified, before attempting to whip it. Hope this helps!

    • Pam Michael

      I too had difficulty finding the right solidness to whip but finally got it. it then whipped up nicely but When I tried to spread it on the cake, some of it turned to liquid again. Any suggestions?

  59. I’ve tried so many frosting recipes, including recipes I’ve attempted to develop in my own test kitchen, and I’ve never been really happy with any of them. This was SO much better than I imagined it could be from only 3 ingredients! Not too sweet, perfect consistency, and so easy to make. I put it on cupcakes made from my favorite paleo chocolate cake recipe, and the non-paleo folks I shared them with devoured them without asking any questions, and happily accepted the leftovers :) It’s going to become my go-to frosting.

  60. sasha aguire

    Hello, can I substitute the coconout oil for canola oil? It´s really hard to find coconut oil where I live.


  61. Dawn Greer

    This made great frosting for paleo chocolate cake. Thank you so much for sharing!

  62. Wanda

    OMG. So… I made these for my youngest son, (I have 2) because he is a year old today. We were going to have the cupcakes tonight, but life happens and I decided to freeze them for the weekend. Except one… Cause baby isn’t a baby anymore, I’ve had a rough day and mama needed chocolate! Well, I’ve had baked goods made with coconut flour before and found them very heavy, more puck-like-than-cake-like. So I also expected that with these… And have never been happier to have been proven wrong. Cake texture, amazing richness without being heavy… Just pure cupcake glory. Gonna have to make WAY more of these!!! As a side note, I did use maple syrup instead of honey, used room temp eggs, and melted the oil too.

  63. Yasmin

    I made these today and they were so delicious and satisfying. My two year old helped me make them and then she devoured one like a wild animal (she loves chocolate). The paleo chocolate frosting was super rich and just the thing for a chocolate craving. Thank you Elana for teaching me how to cook and bake since my celiac diagnosis. I love this website.

  64. Not sure what I did wrong, but I followed the frosting recipe to the T and used it on your Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes, but it never set up totally solid like yours did in the pic. It was solid enough to ice the cupcakes, but more like slightly solidified melted chocolate and not frosting. I even made it again and decreased the oil to 1/4 cup and still got the same results. Tasted great, though! :)

  65. Helen Meinzinger

    I made these today and they are awesome but I couldn’t get the frosting to thicken. Not sure what I did wrong, maybe didn’t beat long enough… was I supposed to let the vanilla and chocolate thicken first before refrigerating??? HELP

  66. klove

    Elana, did you use dark chocolate chips that had sugar or not? I loved the paleo vanilla cupcakes and so did my very picky husband so thank you! I try to do and 80/20 paleo lifestyle for myself and love the recipes you have shared! I don’t really mind a little sugar here and there but just am not clear on exactly what you used for your chips. Thank you!

  67. Julie

    Last night was our first attempt at making home made icing and we used this recipe. It is amazing!! Better than store bought, imho. Suggestion-double the recipe for enough for 2 8 inch rounds to make a cake. Triple if you like a lot of icing, but it’s so good, you won’t need a lot.

  68. jill

    anyone know if these cupcakes and frosting will hold up overnight? I have to bring in a treat for my son’s birthday on friday to school….can I make these thursday and will they still be good by friday?

    • Olivia Nilsson

      I would say they will certainly hold overnight. I would not hesitate to serve them a day or two later – just don’t let them warm up too much before serving, or the frosting might soften too much and dribble down.

  69. my husband’s birthday is coming and it will be best treat for him. He loves chocolate frosting and way you do that I must say it’s to tasty..

  70. Brooke

    I made this with your paleo chocolate cupcakes for my som’s first birthday. They were a HUGE hit! The frosting tastes just like chocolate buttercream and it even piped well! Most of my friends are not gluten free or paleo and they absolutely loved them. The cupcakes came out a tad dry, but I think I just cooked them a bit too long.

  71. Jennifer

    Ok just made the frosting…. so yummy! Definitely put it in the freezer for 10 -15min. Came out pretty fluffy ;) nom nom nom!

  72. Valerie

    I had made this frosting a couple of days ago for cupcakes and had some left over. I decided to mix it with a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter. SO DELICIOUS!! Like crazy good. It tastes like a melted Reese’s peanut butter cup. I think I have a new addiction!

  73. Heidi

    I just attempted to make this and it did not turn out at all. I was mixing and mixing forever and it just never fluffed up! The consistemcy is exactly the same as when I put it in the fridge to cool and thicken. What did I do wrong? I put it back in the fridge now to see if maybe I didn’t do that long enough. Any suggestions?

    • Olivia Nilsson

      I found mine did not fluff up much, but it spread well once I got the consistency right (at first I over-beat it so it went a bit grainy, but it softened again so I could spread it.

  74. JoAnn Cappello Herrera @ https://www.facebook.com/1SparkleShine

    I just made your Paleo chocolate frosting. I didn’t have a hand blender but used a hand mixer on high speed instead. It did not fluff like your did. ANy suggestions what I can do? I do not have a hand mixer.

  75. Jo

    Hi, I’m new here and from the UK – are cacao discs the same as chocolate chips or are they different? I’m loving these recipes and can’t wait to try some of them – thank you!

  76. Ruth

    I made these last night and it was such a hit. Thank you for this great recipe!!

  77. Rebecca

    So I think I did a huge fail, my mix went grainy? Would there be a reason why?

  78. Nicole

    Like other reviewers, mine got grainy/super stiff when I first tried to beat it with a hand mixer. I think I left it in the freezer a bit to long. I set it back on a warm burner for less than a minute and then whipped it again. The texture was great! Super silky, just thick enough, not melty. Luscious! I put it on the cake and cupcakes (in a warm kitchen) and left it until I needed it (about an hour later). The frosting hardened in that time and was more like a thick chocolate coating that you would get your ice cream dipped in. Super disappointing!! So, my advice would be to make the frosting just before you’re going to serve it. The texture will be the best. Our frosting tasted good but the kids weren’t really into the texture – it was like a softened, but not melted, candy bar on top of the cupcake. Bummer.

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