paleo chocolate frosting

Paleo Chocolate Frosting

This Paleo Chocolate Frosting is super easy to make. It’s so rich and delicious that you might find yourself eating it by the spoonful! Made with just 3 ingredients –dark chocolate, coconut oil, and vanilla, it is a rich and creamy topping that will take your paleo desserts to the next level!

I designed this chocolate frosting recipe 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, paleo desserts, and then ask for more. These healthy paleo cupcakes smothered in Paleo Chocolate Frosting didn’t last long at all!

Print Recipe
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
  6. Serve

I began creating this dairy-free frosting recipe a few weeks ago. While I was in the middle of working on it, I received a comment from a reader named Reggie, that contained a similar recipe to mine. At that point, I knew my recipe was going in the right direction.

If you’re allergic to coconut, try my Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe, made with real butter, it’s incredible! If you have a birthday coming up, make sure to use either of my incredible chocolate frosting recipes to top my Paleo Birthday Cake recipe!

Here are some of my fantastic paleo cupcake recipes that you can top with paleo chocolate frosting!


  1. Gemma says

    How is this recipe dairy and sugar free if it uses chocolate chips? Keen to find a recipe for my son’s first birthday cake :-) Thanks in advance for any advice.

    • Elana says

      Gemma, thanks for your comment! You are correct, this is not a sugar-free recipe. It is totally dairy-free though :-)

  2. Ruth says

    Carob Powder Substitution:
    (Yes, carob is a bean, which is a legume and not allowed on AIP or Paleo. However, carob powder only uses the POD of the carob bean. Carob has zero caffeine and includes other important micronutrients.)

    I used the proportions from the wonderful allergy books of Nicolette M. Dumke.
    For a “batch” of carob chips, which is 2 cups, I use 144 grams of carob powder (I use Raw Food World’s Carob Powder) plus 3.5 ounces by weight of palm oil (I use Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening) as as substitute for TWO cups of chocolate chips. The advantage is that I didn’t have to make the chips, then melt them, since we were melting everything together anyway.

    So, double the recipe above, except substitute 144 g of (Raw Food World) carob powder and 3.5 ounces by weight of (Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening) Palm Oil.

    I had to refrigerate for 1 hour 20 minutes before it was set enough to use the hand mixer.

    Cannot guarantee other brands for amounts etc.

    This way the icing was caffeine free. (Might try carob powder for the cake as well, next time.)

  3. Julie Rocheleau says

    Can I use cacao butter instead of chocolate chunks? I don’t use sweeteners and it’s hard to find chocolate chunks without them or other additives…

  4. Lily says

    Hi Elena,

    I am in the UK but managed to source a company that stocks the Fechlin chocolate chunks. However, when I looked at the ingredients it states this in the ingredients. Costa Rica Cocoa Kernels, Cane Sugar from South America, Cocoa Butter. Cocoa Solids Min 70% May also contain traces of milk, almonds & hazelnuts.

    I noted the traces of milk, almonds and hazelnuts – which means this would not be suitable for dairy free diets or nut free presumably?

    • Elana says

      Lily, sometimes this disclaimer can indicate that there is real contamination and sometimes it is there for legal purposes. In these types of cases it may be best to speak directly with the manufacturer to figure out if you are comfortable with their product.

  5. Irene says

    Hi, mine came out delicious, although it didn’t come out thick or fluffy at all. I used 85% dark chocolate – is there something I’m missing?? Thanks!

    • Elana says

      Hi Irene, it could be one of two issues. Either you need to warm the frosting and re-whip it, or, the recipe may not work with any chocolate this is not around 70-75%, which is what I use in the recipe. To see all of the exact ingredients that I use, click the green text in the ingredients portion of the recipe. Please let us know how it goes if you make it again :-)

  6. Mel says

    Nice delicious rich chocolate frosting yum!

    I had to leave mine in the fridge for a hour to harden, then it fluffed up instantly with an electric beater! Thanks for a wonderful recipe to add to my cakes :)

  7. Donna says

    An excellent chocolate frosting that is so easy to make. It tastes decadent and pairs perfectly with the vanilla cupcakes.

  8. Diane Eblin says

    You’re still my favorite recipe developer and cookbook author! Next week is my birthday and I want to make the birthday cake with this icing. Really need to keep sugar to just about 0. I can’t find any info on the Chocosphere on how many grams of sugar is in there. Does it have sugar and if so do you have a good no sugar alternative? Thank you Elana!

    • Elana says

      Hi Diane! Happy birthday! You may want to experiment with creating a sugar-free recipe as the chocolate in this one is only 66% cacao and does contain a significant amount of sugar for those on a sugar-free diet. If you come up with a sugar-free frosting I hope you’ll stop back by and share it with us! xoxox

      • Mira says

        Or you could use sugar free chocolate. They sell them at Whole foods. One brand name is Lily’s, they use stevia for sweetener…

  9. Anna S. says

    It took almost an hour for my chocolate/coconut oil mixture to thicken up enough, but then it blended really well! I iced a few cupcakes and ran out the door to a party, covering the leftover icing in cling film. When I returned, it was far too cold to spread. I put it in the microwave (I know, microwaves are bad) for 20 seconds and then used the hand mixer again and it made the most beautiful icing – far better consistency than the first time around. I used it on your paleo chocolate cupcakes and they were a HUGE hit! After they were all gone, I told people they were paleo and they didn’t believe me until I showed them the recipe. WELL DONE!

  10. Tina says

    I just did 1.5 times the recipe for my 2- 8 inch pans and baked them for 32 minutes. Both look beautiful and the toothpick came out clean :) Can’t wait to frost and eat tomorrow!!! Thanks so much, Elana, for your AMAZING recipes!! My husband and I LOVE them!!

    • Olivia Nilsson says

      This just happened to me too – I think it was because i OVER-beat it. I let it warm up a bit again, then managed to spread it (over a chocolate cake). Tastes delicious!

  11. Heidi says

    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 says

      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.

  12. Valerie says

    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!

  13. Jennifer says

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

  14. Brooke says

    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.

  15. says

    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..

  16. jill says

    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 says

      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.

  17. Julie says

    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.

  18. Helen Meinzinger says

    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

  19. says

    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! :)

  20. Yasmin says

    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.

  21. Wanda says

    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.

  22. sasha aguire says

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


  23. says

    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.

  24. AG says

    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!

  25. becky says

    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?

  26. Nancy says

    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!

  27. Marsha says

    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!

  28. Hayley says

    I used this chocolate frosting to top the gluten free dairy free carrot cake cupcakes I made, and they were absolutely fabulous! This chocolate frosting is amazing and can be used for so many things. Thanks Elana!

  29. Corrine says

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

  30. Mary Kay says

    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??

  31. says

    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

    • Kate says

      Lots of commercial dark chocolate bars and chips are totally dairy free, at least here in Canada. For example, Lindt 70% and PC Decadent chips.

  32. KShamel says

    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!

    • Marsha says

      When I just left it in the fridge 15 minutes, it didn’t get thick. I put it in the freezer for 15 minutes and it was perfect for whipping when I took it out.

  33. christina says

    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?

  34. Heather says

    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!

  35. Csillampeto says

    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. angela says

    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

  37. Annie says

    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!

  38. Noel says

    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.

  39. says

    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!

  40. Caroline says

    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.

    • Ada Rousso says

      I just tried the frosting and it never became fluffy — and I used a hand mixer for almost 20 minutes. What did you use? I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips and spectrum coconut oil and organic vanilla. I’d love to know what you did to make yours look like the photo!!1

      • Nancy Reinhiller says

        Mine came out thin, too. I think I’ll go back to Elana’s first try using only 1/4 cup of Coconut oil next time. It still tasted great and I ended up dipping the cupcakes in the glaze. Yummy!

  41. Nannette says

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

  42. Rebecca says

    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!

  43. Kristy stiefel says

    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 solid that I couldn’t mix it. Does anybody know what I did wrong? HELP!!

    • Rebecca says

      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?

      • Kristy stiefel says

        I used carob chips. And I left in the refridge for a half hour maybe…do you think it was the type of chips?

        • Rebecca says

          Hmm… interesting – well depending on the brand, they may have another oil present, like palm oil, and this could be why – let us know what you ended up doing and if they turned out!

    • Marge says

      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?

  44. Cindy says

    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!!!

  45. Amy says

    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!!

  46. Regina Rega says

    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!).

  47. Cindy says

    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 says

      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?

      • Diane says

        I made mine dairy free and sugar free using Lilley’s chocolate chips…sweetened with stevia! They are wonderful!

  48. Allison says

    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.

  49. Denise Silvius says

    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!

  50. says

    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!!!!

  51. Lynnette Foster-Horwith says

    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!

    • Marge says

      There is now cream cheese make from coconut oil – sold at Publix. Sorry, I don’t know the name of it but research it and I’m sure you will find it.

  52. Jami says

    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!

  53. says

    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

  54. Alicia says

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

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