Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

With a name like Grandbaby Cakes, you know I’m giving you the best chocolate cupcake recipe out there. These ain’t no dry, sad cupcakes. These chocolate cupcakes have intense chocolate flavor, and they practically melt in your mouth with each rich and tender bite. These babies are indulgent, moist and beyond easy to whip up (one bowl, my boos!). Seriously, this chocolate cupcake recipe is the one you’ve been scrolling for- trust. Don’t sleep on it. Just get to baking!

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Homemade chocolate cupcakes on a white plate with american frosting in a white background
Five star review

“This is my go-to for chocolate cupcakes…SO easy to make, moist & delicious every single time. Thanks, Jocelyn!!”

—linda E.

I’ve been making this chocolate cupcake recipe for over 10 years. I developed it and kept tinkering with it until it was absolutely perfect. I not only wanted these to taste phenom but I wanted them to be insanely easy to make. That way, you wouldn’t have any excuses for not making these when the craving struck. And truth be told, I beyond succeeded. These are truly the best chocolate cupcakes out there.

The Lowdown of This

Closeup of Jocelyn in pink dress smiling

Cuisine Inspiration: American

Primary Cooking Method: Baking

Dietary Info: Vegetarian, can be made Gluten-Free with an adjustment

Key Flavor: Rich Moist Chocolate

Skill Level: Easy (No sweat, fam!)

Ain’t nobody got time to do a ton of dishes.

Because we use oil as our major fat component, these cupcakes stay incredibly moist even days after baking.

Perfect for baking beginners and seasoned pros alike.

This chocolate cupcake recipe will take you from mixing bowl to devouring in less than an hour, and that includes cooling time boos.

Ingredients Needed to Make Chocolate Cupcakes from Scratch

dry ingredients, buttermilk, egg and vanilla in white bowls on a white background to make a chocolate cupcake recipe
  • Egg: This is our binder holding the entire mixture together
  • Buttermilk and Oil: This duo creates the most moist cupcakes and that buttermilk adds a bit of tangy flavor.
  • Flour: This is our base that grounds the batter.
  • Sugar: I use a mixture of granulated and brown sugar to add some bomb depth and sweetness.
  • Cocoa Powder: This provides our chocolate intensity and flavor base.
  • Baking Powder: The powder gives our chocolate cupcake recipe a nice lift.
  • Salt: You should never make a dessert without a little salt to balance the sweetness.
  • Hot Water: This enhances the cocoa powder and brings out a super deep, intense chocolate flavor. This is the trick that makes chocolate cupcakes from scratch different from the box mix.

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Step 1: Prep and Line

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grab your cupcake or muffin pan and dress it up with some stylish cupcake liners.

Step 2: Whisk Together the Wet and Dry Ingredients

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add together the egg, buttermilk, oil, and a dash of vanilla. Give these a good whisk then set them aside.
  2. Move over to a larger bowl, and toss in the flour, both sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Whisk them until the mix looks even.
a collage of wet ingredients being whisked in a clear bowl and dry ingredients being whisked together on a white background

Step 3: Mix It All Together

  1. Introduce the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches, whisking them together until the batter is smooth.
  2. Pour in the hot water, and keep whisking until your batter is combined. It will be thinner but this is just fine.
a collage of dry ingredients being added to wet ingredients and finished batter after whisking

Step 4: Bake it Up!

  • Scoop the batter into your cupcake liners, but only fill them halfway to give them room to rise and shine.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs clinging on.
  • Once completely cool, add frosting if you want and serve them up!
a collage of chocolate cupcake batter in a muffin pan before and after baking

How to Serve this Easy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

An overhead of easy chocolate cupcakes on a white plate with white frosting and a piping bag filled with frosting nearby

Recipe Substitutions

  • Buttermilk: You can make your own by adding a 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it curdles then throw into the wet ingredients.
  • Oil: Make sure you use any neutral oil like a vegetable or canola oil.
  • Vanilla Extract: If you don’t have vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste is incredible. Also almond extract is great.
  • Sugar: This recipe uses both granulated and brown sugars but you can substitute with just one.

Recipe Variations and Additions

  • Gluten-Free: Replace the flour with 1:1 ratio baking flour. It might change the texture a bit but it will still be delish.
  • Mocha: Replace the hot water with coffee or espresso to really intensify the chocolate and give some subtle mocha vibes.
  • Peanut Butter: A swirl of some peanut butter into the batter before baking will give such an unexpected nutty surprise.
  • Mint Chocolate: Add a little peppermint extract to the batter for a fun holiday twist.
  • Mexican chocolate: Just sprinkling a hint of cinnamon and cayenne in the batter can give those vibes here.
  • S’mores: Add some graham cracker to the bottom of each cupcake liner then pour your batter and bake. Top with marshmallows and toast them before serving.
A chocolate cupcake recipe with one having the wrapper down and several in the white background

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Intensify: For even more chocolate flavor in these, replace the hot water with coffee!  It gives a much deeper chocolate flavor and almost a mocha essence.
  • Room Temp: Make sure that egg and buttermilk are room temperature so you have a smoother better textured batter in the end.
  • Go High-Quality: When it comes to ingredients like cocoa powder and vanilla extract, opting for high-quality options can amp that flavor up when making chocolate cupcakes from scratch. Look for a good dutch-process cocoa powder for a more robust chocolate flavor.
  • Perfect Your Technique: When mixing your batter, be sure to take it easy. Overmixing can lead to dense cupcakes, and that ain’t it boos. Just mix until your dry ingredients are incorporated.
  • Bake Just Right: Try the toothpick trick to make sure your cupcakes are baked perfectly. You should have a few moist crumbs on the toothpick.
  • Don’t Overfill: The batter will rise as it bakes so make sure you fill your liners no more than 2/3s of the way up or they could overflow.
  • Chill Out: Before you start frosting those cupcakes, let them cool completely so that frosting won’t melt and run right off.

How to Store Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Room Temperature: Keep them in an airtight container. If you’re planning to devour them within a day or two, a cool countertop will work just fine.
  • Fridge: Keep them in the fridge, and they’ll stay delish for up to a week. When you want to serve, make sure you bring them back to room temp so they are soft and tender.
  • Freezer: You can freeze them individually with plastic wrap then put them in a ziptop bag with the air removed. They should last up to 3 months. Just thaw at room temperature before you serve again.
The best chocolate cupcake with a large bite removed and cupcakes in the white background

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to use hot water in this chocolate cupcake recipe?

The hot water helps activate the cocoa powder which gives a much deeper and rich chocolate flavor. Don’t skip this part boos.

Do I need a mixer to make these homemade chocolate cupcakes?

Nope boos. Y’all can mix this recipe with just a whisk which is why I love this recipe so so much.

Help! Why did my chocolate cupcakes sink in the middle?

This could be for two reasons. You may have overmixed your batter which added too much air to the batter. Or you may not have baked the cupcakes long enough so the structure wasn’t set.

More Chocolate Recipes

*Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating and leave comments below!*
A chocolate cupcake recipe with one having the wrapper down and several in the white background

Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Moist, decadent, delicious and rich, this is the best chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever taste!
4.59 from 29 votes
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 16 cupcakes


  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar packed
  • cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup hot water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, add flour, both sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.
  • In batches, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  • Lastly, mix in hot water and whisk until combined and perfectly smooth. The batter should be somewhat thin.
  • Add batter to cupcake liners filling only halfway and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool to room temperature before adding buttercream.



For even more chocolate flavor, replace the hot water for coffee!  It gives a much deeper chocolate flavor and almost a mocha essence.
To ensure your chocolate cupcakes stay as fresh as possible, give them some space in an airtight container; this will be their new cozy home. If you’re planning to devour them within a day or two, a cool countertop will do just fine as their resting spot. However, for a more extended vacation, tuck them into the fridge, and they’ll stay scrumptious for up to a week; just remember, room temperature is their happy place before serving.


Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 59mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @GrandbabyCakes or tag #grandbabycakes!
Filed Under:  Cupcakes, Dessert and Baking, Oven


    1. I haven’t made this as a cake but I do have a wonderful chocolate cake recipe that I know you would also love.

  1. These are soooo good! This will be my go to chocolate cupcake recipe. I did add espresso powder to the hot water. Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  2. This is my go-to for chocolate cupcakes…SO easy to make, moist & delicious every single time. Thanks, Jocelyn!!

  3. I just made these cupcakes. They are so moist and delicious. I definitely will be making them several times over. Thank you. 🙂

    1. I have made these chocolate cupcakes several times and they are a winner!! They are very moist and flavorful. I put a teaspoon of expresso powder in the hot water and the flavor is very pleasing. Thank you for sharing your recipes, I am always pleased with the outcome!

  4. Wow! Amazing cupcake recipe! They turned out to be perfect! So much flavour and super moist! I’ve already shared the recipe with my friends!! Thanks so much this super easy and delicious recipe!

    1. I haven’t tested making that many cupcakes with this recipe so I would just try maybe multiplying by 2 first and seeing if that works since the ratios can sometimes change when going up on recipes. For instance, you would need to change leavening ratios.

  5. Omg Jocelyn I just tried these and they were absolutely scrumptious!!!! Probably the beat cupcakes I’ve made so far. Just one question: how do I make them more chocolatey? Should I just increase the cocoa powder?

4.59 from 29 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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