This creamy and delicious Nutella frosting is a decadent chocolatey treat, perfect for topping your cakes and filling your pastries. With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can create a wonderfully rich and silky chocolate hazelnut frosting that will add a touch of elegance to any dessert.
- 💡 Does Nutella work as frosting?
- 💡 How to make Nutella frosting without powdered sugar?
- 💡 How to make Nutella frosting without heavy cream?
- 💡 How to make Nutella frosting with cocoa powder?
- 🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- 📝 Ingredient notes
- 👩🍳 How to make this recipe
- ✨ How to use Nutella frosting
- 🎓 Expert tips
- ❓ Whipped Nutella Frosting Recipe FAQs
- 🍰 More frosting and filling recipes
- Nutella Frosting (VIDEO)
💡 Does Nutella work as frosting?
Nutella is a delicious chocolate hazelnut spread with a similar thickness to peanut butter. So you might ask yourself, " can I use Nutella as frosting?" Unfortunately, Nutella as icing does not work by itself, its texture is too sticky and not stable to stand on its own.
So how do you thicken Nutella? This Nutella frosting is mixed with additional ingredients to give it the right texture for spreading or piping. My recipe isn't your typical chocolate buttercream frosting. This elevated recipe, known as Nutella mousseline cream (German buttercream), takes some extra effort, but it's well worth it if you love Nutella.
Nutella as a flavor is perfect in cakes like in Nutella cake, and cupcakes like my Nutella cupcake, but can be a delicious addition to your bread as well as my Nutella babka.
💡 How to make Nutella frosting without powdered sugar?
Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners sugar, is the sweetener used in many homemade frosting recipes, including my mascarpone frosting and my cream cheese frosting without butter. Because most frosting recipes are not cooked, powdered sugar is used to maintain a smooth texture.
This Nutella frosting recipe is based on a cooked custard, so there is no need to use powdered sugar in the recipe. Regarding the sweetness, we will mainly rely on the Nutella itself without using tons of extra sugar, giving the frosting just the right amount of sweetness.
💡 How to make Nutella frosting without heavy cream?
This recipe is a light and fluffy frosting, and that fluffy consistency is created from the use of other ingredients. To make a simple Nutella frosting without cream, you will want to use milk. Whole milk is the best option because of its high-fat content and the fluffiness will come from whipping the butter correctly.
💡 How to make Nutella frosting with cocoa powder?
Cocoa powder is an essential part of most chocolate frosting recipes like this Nutella frosting, as the powder itself gives more structure and if it is a good quality dark chocolate powder, it adds also a deep extra chocolate taste.
In addition, in this Nutella icing recipe, chopped dark chocolate also adds to the depth of flavor and helps to balance the unsweetened cocoa powder. There are a lot of chocolatey elements working together in this recipe, and they're all necessary to create the perfect Nutella topping.
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
Other 3 ingredient Nutella frosting recipes will whip together butter, Nutella, and powdered sugar for a simple frosting solution. In my opinion, traditional Nutella buttercream frosting is too sweet and doesn't offer the refined, velvety texture that you want when making elevated dessert recipes.
This is the best Nutella frosting recipe because:
- It's easy - Don't be intimidated by the list of ingredients. This recipe is elegant, but the instructions are very straightforward. Even if you've never made pastry cream before, you should have no problem recreating this easy Nutella frosting.
- The texture is supreme - Again, this is not a traditional chocolate hazelnut buttercream recipe. It's a carefully crafted custard-based recipe that offers the perfect sweetness and a delightfully silky texture. It's the best Nutella frosting for cupcakes and cakes.
- So many uses - You can use this recipe as a Nutella cake filling, a Nutella cupcake frosting, or even for spreading on your chocolate layer cake. You'll never have to worry that this frosting is too thick. It's sturdy but fluffy and can be used with all your favorite baked goods.
📝 Ingredient notes
This is not a traditional Nutella buttercream recipe! This frosting uses no powdered sugar and no heavy cream. There are 9 simple ingredients needed to make the best Nutella frosting for cakes are:
- Whole Milk - The higher the fat content of the milk, the better. Whole milk gives offers a better depth of flavor which translates to a rich tasting frosting.
- Granulated Sugar - This recipe uses granulated white sugar instead of powdered sugar. For more information on the kinds of sugar and when to use them, check out my sugar guide.
- Egg Yolks - The egg yolks add flavor and help thicken the mixture. You can use up the leftover egg whites with my recipe for French macarons.
- Corn Starch - Corn starch is used in tandem with the flour to thicken the pastry cream. Alternatively, check my cornstarch substitute article.
- Flour - Flour helps give this recipe its very stable consistency. You'll want to use all-purpose flour and no the cream won´t taste like flour. Check out my flour guide for more information on the different types of flour used in baking.
- Dark Chocolate - Callebaut 811 is an excellent dark chocolate option for this recipe. Alternatively, you can use any good quality semi-sweet chocolate.
- Nutella- The chocolate hazelnut flavor comes from using Nutella in this recipe. You can buy it or make your own homemade Nutella.
- Unsalted Butter - You should always use unsalted butter in baking. It allows you to control the amount of salt in your recipe so you can fine-tune the flavor.
- Cocoa Powder - Go with dutch-processed, unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
My recipe for Nutella frosting is built from a custard-based cream. The result is a super silky and not too sweet Nutella frosting with deep, complex flavors. Very different from a Nutella buttercream frosting recipe or a Nutella cream cheese frosting. Wondering how to make Nutella icing? Keep on reading!
1. Making the chocolate pastry cream as a base
- In a large bowl, use a hand whisk to mix together the sugar and egg yolk until it becomes slightly fluffy. This should take about 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in the cornstarch and flour until smooth paste forms.
- Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Slowly pour the warm milk over the egg yolk mixture while whisking vigorously.
- Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until it thickens. The mixture might get lumpy at first, but keep whisking it until you achieve a smooth and glossy cream.
- If necessary, strain the pastry cream to remove stubborn lumps.
- Add the chopped dark chocolate in 3 stages, and mix with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated
- Place the cream into a shallow bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to avoid a film forming on top. Allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature.
💡 Top Tip: For precise measurements, consider using a digital scale. Weighing your ingredients makes for a more accurate recipe.
2. Making the Nutella frosting
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before proceeding. Failure to do so may result in a curdled mixture.
- Once the pastry cream is set and at room temperature, proceed with the recipe by whipping the butter in a large mixing bowl for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy. Then, whip in the cocoa powder and Nutella for 1-2 minutes. A stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or an electric mixer, can be helpful with this step.
- While continuing to whip, slowly add in the room temperature chocolate pastry cream while the mixer is on, and whip it until it reaches a stable yet fluffy texture. Do not overwhip the frosting, as it can become runny.
💡 Top Tip: Chill the cream, if needed, for an hour before using your Nutella frosting. With chilling time, the butter will solidify making the frosting more stable
✨ How to use Nutella frosting
This decadent chocolate hazelnut frosting has so many practical uses. It can be used for a Nutella cake, Nutella cupcakes, fill with any other sponges like my chocolate sponge cake. Can be used as a cupcake frosting, for filling tarts, or even choux pastry, like my choux au craquelin.
You can sandwich two brownie cookies together with this frosting, or pipe it on brownies like my mini brownie bites, or perhaps make a simple layered dessert like tiramisu cups with Nutella. The possibilities are endless for this delicious Nutella icing recipe!
🎓 Expert tips
- Use only room temperature ingredients to make sure they incorporate well and don't curdle.
- Make sure the pastry cream is set before whipping it with the cocoa powder and Nutella.
- While whipping, pay very close attention to the consistency and stop whipping immediately after the frosting gets fluffy. Overbeating will break the cream and make it runny.
❓ Whipped Nutella Frosting Recipe FAQs
Making your own Nutella is easier than you might think. All it takes is hazelnuts, chocolate, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla extract. I've detailed the simple process in my homemade Nutella recipe.
Yes, you can, however, Nutella itself is very sweet and has a sticky, unstable consistency compared to Nutella frosting so you might want to complement it with this frosting. I find from texture and taste point of view the best to use a delicious Nutella frosting, like this one, in between cake layers as opposed to Nutella spread alone.
You can use Nutella to fill a cake but to decorate a cake, you will have to turn Nutella into a pipeable, fluffy frosting. However, it is super easy, just look at my Nutella cake. This smooth and creamy frosting can be piped and spread or even used as a Nutella filling for cake.
You can save leftover Nutella cake frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For long-term storage, you can freeze Nutella cake icing in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using it.
🍰 More frosting and filling recipes
Nutella Frosting (VIDEO)
- 750 g (3 cups) Whole milk
- 150 g (¾ cups) Granulated sugar
- 120 g (½ cups) Egg yolk approx. 6 egg yolk
- 37 g (⅓ cups) Corn starch
- 37 g (⅓ cups) Flour
- 75 g (½ cups) Dark Chocolate eg. Callebaut 811, semi-sweet good quality chocolate finely chopped
- 225 g (¾ cups) Nutella
- 225 g (1 cups) Unsalted butter soft, room temperature
- 25 g (⅓ cups) Cocoa powder unsweetened, dutch processed
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Start with chocolate pastry cream for the Nutella frosting
- In a large enough bowl with the help of a Hand whisk, whisk together sugar and egg yolk until slightly fluffy for about 1-2 minutes
- Mix in corn starch and flour until throughly incorporated and have a smooth paste
- Bring milk to simmering in a saucepan on medium heat
- Pour the warm milk over the egg yolk mixture slowly while whisking vigorously with a Hand whisk.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat for a few minutes until it thickens. Concretely it is approximately 1 min after the first boil. It might get lumpy first, don't worry just keep whisking and the cream will get smooth and glossy. If in doubt, strain the pastry cream for a lump free, creamy end result
- Add in chocolate in 3 stages, and mix with a Rubber spatula until completely incorporated. Place the cream into a shallow bowl and cover the entire surface with plastic wrap to avoid skin forming on top. Let it cool to room temperature
Preparing the Nutella frosting
- The Nutella frosting can be made with room temperature chocolate pastry cream, Nutella, cocoa powder, and room temp soft butter. Make sure everything is room temp otherwise the mixture might curdle
- Once the pastry cream is set and at room temp, prepare the frosting by whipping room temp butter first for a few minutes, then whip in the cocoa powder and Nutella for 1-2 minutes
- Start adding in the room temperature pastry cream in 4 stages until the cream reaches a stable yet fluffy texture. Do not over whip the mixture as it can become runny
- Chill the cream if needed for an hour before proceeding with your recipe
- Store refrigerated for 2-3 days
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy
- For the Nutella frosting, it is key to use good quality unsweetened dark cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate so that they don´t overpower the Nutella taste but balances it
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking
- Let the pastry cream be properly set before whipping it up into Nutella frosting
- While whipping, pay very close attention to the consistency and stop whipping immediately after it gets fluffy. Over beating would result in breaking the cream and instead of becoming stiffer, in fact, it will get runnier
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