Mint chocolate chip ice cream… but make it frosting. And instead of a cone, let’s put a very sizable scoop on top of a perfectly moist chocolate cupcake. These chocolate cupcakes with mint chip frosting are always a massive crowd pleaser, and you might regret not making a double batch!
Inspired by one of my favorite summertime treats, this recipe gives “cake and ice cream” a whole new meaning.
Tell Me About These Chocolate Cupcakes With Mint Chip Frosting
- Taste: There’s just something so refreshing and decadent about the marriage of mint and chocolate. The deep chocolate cupcakes balance out a perfectly sweet and minty (but not overpowering) frosting on top. If you’ve tried this mint chocolate cake or these mint chocolate chip cheesecake brownies before, you’ll adore today’s cupcakes.
- Texture: The cupcakes themselves are soft and moist, and the frosting is ultra-creamy with a little crunch from the mini chocolate chips. Talk about a perfect bite!
- Ease: While there are a few steps required to make the different elements of this recipe, it’s rather straightforward. Since the frosting is so thick, just pile it right on top—no fancy piping tips needed. Decorating beginners, this recipe is for you!
3 Options for Chocolate Cupcakes
I have a few chocolate cupcake recipes on my website, and you can use any of them as the base. Let me walk you through some of the differences, so you can find the best cupcake for you.
- When I first published this recipe in 2013, I turned to the chocolate cupcake recipe from my beloved Joy of Cooking cookbook. It’s a fantastic choice, and the recipe I wrote out below and photographed. The resulting cupcakes are buttery, moist, and light, without being too spongey. (The next 2 choices are more spongey.) For deep chocolate flavor, you’ll make a special chocolate “sauce” by mixing unsweetened cocoa powder and boiling water. It’s very easy.
- Alternatively, you can use my go-to recipe for super moist chocolate cupcakes. I include the words “super moist” in the title for a reason! Use oil and buttermilk for the best texture and flavor. They’re spongey and light, and have great chocolate flavor.
- Cream-filled chocolate cupcakes would also serve as a wonderful base for your mountain of mint chip frosting! A newer recipe that I published in 2022, these cupcakes *may* just be my favorite of all 3. You’ll enjoy an intense chocolate flavor, and the texture is slightly sturdier than choice #2 above. Of course, you can skip the filling and ganache portions of the original recipe and simply scoop the mint frosting on top. Or try filling the cupcake with a bit of mint chip frosting and drizzling chocolate ganache on top of the cupcakes and frosting… how fun (and TASTY) would that be?!
You can’t go wrong with any of these cupcake options. When it comes to cupcakes, it’s always nice to have choices, isn’t it?
Ingredients for Mint Chip Frosting
When testing this frosting, I started with my trusty vanilla buttercream. But I knew I wanted the consistency to be a bit thicker, almost like this cookie dough frosting recipe. After some testing (and lots of tasting—perks of the job), I landed on a careful combination of the following ingredients:
- Butter: Room-temperature butter is the base of the frosting, and supplies the structure and creamy consistency.
- Confectioners’ Sugar: To thicken and sweeten the frosting.
- Salt: A pinch (to taste) of salt helps cut the sweetness.
- Heavy Cream: For the creamiest, dreamiest frosting around. Use a little less cream than you would when making vanilla buttercream, so the frosting stays thick. Half-and-half or milk (dairy or nondairy) will work in a pinch, but the frosting won’t be quite as creamy.
- Peppermint Extract: You may be thinking… just a 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract? Yes. A little bit goes a long way here. I recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon, tasting, then adding more if you wish. You can’t undo mint flavor, but you can always increase it. As with most of my mint recipes, I prefer using peppermint extract over mint extract. To me, mint extract can taste like toothpaste—but feel free to use mint extract if you prefer. (And don’t worry about putting the rest of the bottle use. You can use it for peppermint bark cookies and chocolate peppermint thumbprints for your holiday baking!)
- Green Food Coloring: For that classic mint green shade you see in these photos, I use 2 small drops of green gel food coloring. Feel free to add more (or less) as you see fit. You can, of course, skip the food coloring if desired. (I don’t use any when making mint chocolate cake.)
- Mini Chocolate Chips: The indisputable necessity for any mint chocolate ice cream-inspired treat! Like with cookie ice cream sandwiches, using mini chocolate chips guarantees more morsels in each bite. Of course you can use regular chocolate chips if needed, but you’re better off grabbing a bag of minis and saving the big ones for your chocolate chip cookies.
Remember, this frosting recipe is pretty forgiving. Too thick? Add an extra splash of heavy cream. Too thin? Add another Tablespoon or two of confectioners’ sugar. Not minty enough? Feel free to increase the extract.
To decorate, simply spread the frosting onto the cupcakes with a knife or small icing spatula. If desired, you could pipe with a large round piping tip like I do with my cookie dough frosting (I use an Ateco 808 in those photos). The mini chocolate chips will get stuck in a smaller tip.
Other ways to enjoy this mint chip frosting:
- On top of this small chocolate cake
- Between the layers of chocolate cake
- Dolloped on flourless chocolate cake
- Sandwiched between two double chocolate chip cookies (like chocolate chip cookie dough sandwiches)
- Paired with the cupcakes from my white chocolate peppermint cupcakes recipe (for the most intense peppermint lovers only!)
- With a spoon. LOL.
A Few Tips for These Chocolate Cupcakes With Mint Chip Frosting
Before I leave you to the recipe, here are a few tips to guarantee the best batch of cupcakes:
- Don’t over-bake. Since chocolate cupcakes are naturally dark, it can be hard to tell when they’re done just by looks alone. Use a toothpick to test for doneness; when you have a few moist (not wet) crumbs, they’re done.
- Don’t over-mix. Mix your ingredients until just combined. Over-mixing can result in squat, dense cupcakes.
- Use room-temperature ingredients. And this goes for all recipes… if the ingredients are specified at room temperature, take the extra step and set your ingredients out ahead of time. Room-temperature ingredients can really make a difference in the final outcome of your cupcakes.
Review my 10 best cupcake baking tips before beginning!
Enjoy rich chocolate cupcakes with ultra-creamy and thick mint chocolate chip buttercream on top. No piping tips required; instead, generously swipe the frosting on top with a knife or icing spatula. You can use unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder in the cupcakes.
- 1 cup (240ml) water
- 1/2 cup (41g) unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 and 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3–4 cups (360–480g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream, at room temperature*
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (or more; see recipe instructions)
- 2 drops green gel food coloring (optional)
- salt, to taste
- 2/3 cup (120g) mini chocolate chips
- Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. This recipe makes about 14 cupcakes, so line another pan with 2 muffin liners. (Or wait to do so until the first pan of cupcakes has finished baking and cooling.)
- Boil the water in a small saucepan. Place the cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl, and pour the boiling water on top. Whisk until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature by placing in the refrigerator as you prepare the other ingredients.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until *just* combined. In a steady stream with the mixer running on low speed, add the cooled cocoa mixture and then beat until smooth. Avoid over-mixing.
- Divide cupcake batter between muffin liners, filling each about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 16–19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with no wet crumbs. (A few moist crumbs are OK.) Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, peppermint extract, and food coloring (if using). Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin (up to 4 cups) or more cream if mixture is too thick. Taste, and add salt if it’s too sweet. I usually add a pinch. You can also add more food coloring if desired, or more peppermint extract if you want a stronger mint flavor. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips by hand.
- Frost cooled cupcakes. I usually pile the frosting on generously using an icing spatula. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake.
- Serve immediately or store covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before serving. Cover and store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I recommend a cupcake carrier for storing and transporting decorated cupcakes.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Bake the cupcakes 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and fill/frost the day of serving. Frosting can be prepared the day before too. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The frosting will be thick after refrigerating overnight, so bring to room temperature and beat in a splash of cream to help thin out before using. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 12-Count Muffin Pan | Cupcake Liners | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand Mixer) | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Icing Spatula | Cupcake Carrier
- Heavy Cream: I love using heavy cream in the frosting for the creamiest consistency. You can use half-and-half or whole milk instead if needed. The lower the fat, the less creamy your buttercream will be. Whichever you use, make sure it’s at room temperature. Otherwise your frosting could separate or appear grainy.
- Cake: You can make these cupcakes into a cake using a 9-inch springform pan. Fill the pan halfway full, and then use any extra batter for cupcakes. I am unsure of the exact bake time for this cake—it will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Or follow the instructions here for using this batter to make a 3-layer 6-inch cake. You could also try this mint chocolate cake.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!
Keywords: mint chocolate cupcakes