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If you’ve been looking for the best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe, you’ve landed in the right place! These chocolate cupcakes are soft, moist, and rich – the only chocolate cupcake recipe you need forever.

unwrapped cupcake with chocolate frosting and chocolate sauce drizzled over top.

Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes

Looking for the best chocolate cupcake recipe that will make you swoon? You’ve come to the right place! These ultra-chocolatey, fudgy cupcakes are a chocoholic’s dream come true. They’re easy enough for beginners but have that bakery-level flavor that will wow even the most discerning dessert lovers.

While I love a box cake mix, it never achieves the same level as making the recipe homemade. These cupcakes are made completely from scratch and they are so fluffy, moist, and delicious with the best chocolate flavor.

These a great for birthday parties, not only because they are delicious, but because they are accidentally egg and dairy free! This batch comes out to about 30 cupcakes so you’ll be set for any number of guests at any party. I frosted these cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting, but there are so many other options.

ingredients in chocolate cupcakes laid out on a marble counter.

Ingredients Needed

  • All-Purpose Flour, Granulated Sugar, Salt: Classic dry ingredients in cupcakes.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Make sure to use regular cocoa powder not dutch-process cocoa powder. Since these cupcakes are leavened with Baking Soda, the recipe may have issues with dark cocoa.
  • White Vinegar: This activates the baking soda for a moist and fluffy cupcake. Don’t have it? Use lemon juice instead.
  • Vegetable Oil: I find oil in cupcakes keeps them super moist – canola oil may be substituted.
  • Hot Water: Helps bloom the cocoa powder release all its flavor. You can also add some espresso powder or Instant Coffee Granules to bring out the flavor even more.

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and pinch of salt.
  • In a large mixing cup, combine the hot water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
  • Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture and whisk just until the batter comes together. Don’t over mix it – it’s okay if there are a few lumps. That’s right – you don’t even need a stand mixer or hand mixer for this recipe!
  • Fill cupcake liners in a muffin pan about 2/3 full with batter and bake the cupcakes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool them completely before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting + More Ideas

Frost cupcakes with your favorite frosting!

unwrapped cupcake with chocolate frosting and chocolate sauce drizzled over top.

Expert Tips

  • You don’t need a mixer – if you want to use one, mix at low speed until the dry ingredients are somewhat incorporated, then switch to high speed until the batter comes together. Use a paddle attachment if using a stand mixer. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  • Cupcakes are done when a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean.
  • If you do not have white vinegar, use lemon juice as a replacement. You won’t taste it – the acid is needed to activate the baking soda. You’ll be amazed at the tenderness of these cupcakes.
  • Don’t over mix the batter and don’t over fill the muffin tin – just fill it about 2/3 full for perfectly domed tops that don’t overflow.


How to store this recipe?

Store in an airtight container for 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month. You can freeze frosted or unfrosted cupcakes.

Can you make this into a chocolate cake recipe?

You can make this into a layer cake – you’ll need 3 8-inch or 9-inch rounds. If you’re making a sheet cake, you can use a 9×13-inch pan but only fill it 2/3 full and make some cupcakes on the side.

unwrapped cupcake with chocolate frosting and chocolate sauce drizzled over top.

The Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

4.16 from 77 votes
The richest, most decadent chocolate cupcakes ever! You'll never make another chocolate cupcake again once you've had these.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 30 cupcakes
Serving Size 1 cupcake


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  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with liners (about 30).
  • Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Combine water, oil, vinegar, instant coffee (if using), and vanilla in a large mixing cup.
  • Whisk to combine, then add to the dry ingredients and whisk just until the batter comes together. A few lumps are okay.
  • Fill cupcake liners about ⅔ full and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
  • While the cupcakes are cooling, make desired frosting. Frost as desired.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • The original recipe in this post included this cooked frosting.
  • Store unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days to keep them fresh. Once frosted, store at room temperature loosely covered.
  • You can also freeze unfrosted or frosted cupcakes.
  • The coffee granules are optional but help bring out the chocolate flavor, as does the hot water.
  • Do not use dutch process cocoa in this recipe.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 148mg | Fiber: 23g | Sugar: 2g
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. Hey Dorothy: I made these cupcakes today. They turned beautiful and delicious. I used Ghirardelli cocoa and some expresso powder, weighed the ingredients, and made your icing recipe too. I’ll freeze at least half since it’s only the two of us. Thanks for another terrific recipe! Happy Easter! Kathy