Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

These super moist chocolate cupcakes pack TONS of chocolate flavor in each cupcake wrapper! Made from simple everyday ingredients, this easy cupcake recipe will be your new favorite. For best results, use natural cocoa powder and buttermilk. These chocolate cupcakes taste completely over-the-top with chocolate buttercream!

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Homemade, moist, rich, super chocolate flavor, and so easy to make with chocolate buttercream! Recipe on

I apologize if the word “moist” freaks you out. But there’s really no other way to describe a chocolate cupcake like this! Also, who watches How I Met Your Mother?! I feel like that clip is only funny to HIMYM fans. That’s my favorite episode!

So today’s the day we are diving deep into what I like to call a “foundation recipe.” Basic chocolate cupcakes which are, indefinitely, anything but basic. See? ↓

This is a solid base recipe that serves as a jumping off point for many others. Like my basic vanilla cupcakes recipe, these chocolate cupcakes hold a sacred spot in my baking repertoire. There will never be a reason to find a better version– this is THE chocolate cupcake recipe I use time and time again.

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Homemade, moist, rich, super chocolate flavor, and so easy to make with chocolate buttercream! Recipe on

I shared the recipe on my blog 3 years ago, but I want to walk you through the process (1) with step-by-step pictures, (2) with careful explanations, (3) and I want to emphasize one VERY crucial instruction. If you skip this instruction, your entire batch will be ruined. Trust me, the evidence has landed in my trashcan time and time again. It’s not pretty.

Curious about other foundation recipes?

  1. Vanilla cupcakes and vanilla cake
  2. Sugar cookies and chocolate sugar cookies
  3. Oatmeal cookies
  4. Chocolate cake (try this!!)
  5. Brownies

Today’s chocolate cupcakes are for true chocolate fans. I’m talking about those of you who don’t qualify an item as dessert unless there’s chocolate involved. Strawberry shortcake is a dessert impostor and forget about apple pie. That’s some sort of health food, right?

And lucky for you–my chocolate obsessed friends– there’s a double dose of the good stuff today with both a chocolate cupcake base AND a smooth and silky chocolate buttercream. More on that in a sec.

How to make chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream on

How to make chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream on

You need 2 bowls, 1 whisk, and 1 spatula. The base of these chocolate cupcakes– and what is responsible for the super-moist texture is oil. We’re not creaming butter here, so there is no need to break out the mixer. Though you can absolutely use a hand or stand mixer if it’s easier for you! We’re also achieving an incredibly moist texture with buttermilk. Am I broken record here? There’s a reason I always talk about buttermilk in baking recipes: it’s the moist maker! Gives cupcakes, breads, cakes, and the like an unsurpassable moist texture. Nothing compares. I don’t typically have buttermilk in the fridge, so I sour whole milk instead. Check out my recipe notes for how to do that one.

Another tip? Make sure you’re using natural unsweetened cocoa powder, not dutched cocoa. Why? Here’s the difference between dutch-process and natural cocoa powder. And if you really want to learn today, here is why I use both baking soda and baking powder in these chocolate cupcakes.

So there’s 1 bowl for dry ingredients and 1 bowl for wet ingredients. Gently mix the two together. The batter isn’t as thick as you would think. We don’t really want a super thick chocolate batter because that would yield a cupcake similar to brownies. Dense. We don’t want dense! We want spongey, cakey, and rich. So the batter is thin.

How to make chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream on

This Will Make or Break Your Recipe

Fill the cupcake liners only halfway full. Not 2/3, not 3/4, not all the way to the top. Half full. You will question yourself as you pour in the batter. Really? This is ALL that I’m using for each cupcake? The answer is yes, that is all you are using for each cupcake.

  • If you fill the liners too full, the cupcakes will overflow.
  • Too full = crisp mushroom tops
  • Too full = sinking in the center

Got that? Halfway full! Halfway full!

One more time: halfway full. 🙂

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Homemade, moist, rich, super chocolate flavor, and so easy to make with chocolate buttercream! Recipe on

Now that the cupcakes are baked and your self control is fading quickly, it’s time to frost these babes. The frosting flavor is completely up to you. I have a plethora of options from chocolate buttercream and rainbow chip frosting to strawberry frosting, vanilla buttercream, salted caramel frosting, and cream cheese frosting. Keeping things monotone (though highly indulgent) with chocolate buttercream and a friendly dose of chocolate sprinkles.

And layer that buttercream on nice and tall. (used wilton 1M!)

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Homemade, moist, rich, super chocolate flavor, and so easy to make with chocolate buttercream! Recipe on

I don’t normally reach for chocolate desserts if there’s a fruity one on the menu, but I would gladly unwrap one of these over any other choice.

By the way, this recipe transfers beautifully into cake pans to make a 6 inch cake!

Homemade chocolate cupcakes recipe

Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These super moist chocolate cupcakes pack TONS of chocolate flavor in each cupcake wrapper! Made from simple everyday ingredients, this easy cupcake recipe will be your new favorite. For best results, use natural cocoa powder and buttermilk. These chocolate cupcakes taste completely over-the-top with chocolate buttercream!


  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable or canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • frosting: chocolate buttercream or any of these frostings


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners – this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the buttermilk. Gently whisk for a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be thin.
  3. Pour or spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway (this is imperative! only halfway!) to avoid spilling over the sides or sinking. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  4. Frost cooled cupcakes however you’d like. I used Wilton 1M piping tip for these pictured cupcakes. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Prepare cupcakes 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and frost the day of serving. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.
  2. Buttermilk: Buttermilk (an acid) is required for this recipe. If you don’t have any, you can make a DIY sour milk substitute. Measure 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Then add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in your recipe.
  3. Mini Cupcakes: Fill mini liners only halfway and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350°F (177°C). Yields about 3 dozen.
  4. Cake: Here’s a chocolate cake that is just as moist and chocolate-y.
  5. Why Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information. If needed, you can use whole milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice instead of buttermilk. Fill a measuring cup with the lemon juice/vinegar then the rest with whole milk to reach 1/2 cup.

Keywords: cupcakes, chocolate, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate frosting

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Homemade, moist, rich, super chocolate flavor, and so easy to make with chocolate buttercream! Recipe on

More of a vanilla person? Here are my favorite vanilla cupcakes!

Favorite go-to vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream on

Here are the best homemade chocolate cupcakes! Moist, rich, soft, and so easy to make from scratch with chocolate buttercream frosting! Recipe on


  1. I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful website! I have tried many of your recipes so much so that, when I have baking to do or want to try something new, you are my only go to baking expert! I am made your vanilla cake for Easter and now I’m making these chocolate cupcakes for my friends birthday. The batter is scrumptious so I KNOW the cupcakes will be too! Thank you from Ottawa, Canada! Xo

    1. Thank YOU, Nicole for trusting my recipes and for the kind comment! I hope your friend has a great birthday!

  2. how much should we fill Mini cupcakes…halfway? any tips on what scoop to use. These turned out fantastic in my standar cupcakes and now I want to make them into mini cupcakes but they always overflow.

  3. Thanks.
    And do you have any tips on how to avoid the cupacke liner from peeling off from one day to another. It only seems to happen when I put them in an airtight container and I always make sure they have completely cooled.

  4. How many does this make for a normal cupcake tin? Cant wait to try these for mothers day!


  5. Hi Sally, I love your recipes! I was just wondering, how large is a “large egg”? I think my eggs are pretty small, so should I use 3 instead of 2? Do you have some sort of weight for the eggs?

    Thank you!

  6. I just made these cupcakes, and they are FANTASTIC! I did not have buttermilk, so I used plain yogurt instead, and I cut down the sugar just a tiny amount… and they are STILL awesome. <3
    New favorite!

  7. I tried making these and they were so, so good! So moist and yummy.
    Just, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. My cakes and cupcakes never seem to rise like they’re supposed to. Like I did as you specified and only filled that disposables half way…. and well they stayed at almost the same level.
    Also, my buttercream never seems to be fluffy enough. and it always turns out to be too sweet.
    Please help.

    1. The only buttermilk I found at my local supermarket is FatFree, will this effect the texture or taste in anyway?

    2. I’ve not made these yet but I’m at 6500 sf in Colorado and baking is always a challenge for this reason. Try baking at a higher temp with less sugar, more flour and less baking powder or baking soda. That has helped me a bunch.

    1. Hi Maddy, you can try using 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or fresh lemon juice, plus 1/2 cup whole milk. Stir the two together, let it sit for a few minutes, then use in the recipe.

  8. Wow, these are the best chocolate party cakes I have ever eaten, not dry like they normally are. Thank you So Much for this recipe!

  9. Can I double the recipe on this one. I have a party for 30 kiddies and don’t want to have to do everything twice if I can help it. Thanks

    1. You can definitely double the recipe, but for best taste and texture, I recommend making 2 separate batches.

  10. super easy, moist and delicious!! made 70 of this and so quick. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  11. Hi, i am new at baking and still learning alot. I havto bake 70 x chockate cupcakes with caramel frosting or buttercream. I really wanto make a good impression ☺ should i just stick to your recipe and multiply everything x 5 to get about 70 cupcakes out? Ur advise would be much appreciated. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    1. You can try to double this recipe but do not work with more batter than that. Working with too much batter at once leads to over or under-mixing. I suggest just making this recipe multiple times. And try this buttercream:

      1. Thankyou so much i am definitely going to try it this weekend already. I love the salted caramel and will be trying that toothanks for all the tips and great recipes

      2. if you double the recipe can you bake them at the same time? will the temp or time change?

  12. Hi! Natural cocoa powder is really hard (?impossible) to find in the UK. Do you have any ideas how to substitute? Or can it just not be done?

    1. Hi Freya! Will you be using dutch-process cocoa instead? If so, you can try to make a baking powder substitution for the baking soda. Increase the amount as baking powder isn’t quite as strong as baking soda.

  13. Hi ,
    I made these today with my boys and they turned out Fantastic!!
    I added a few drops of Orange essential oil and it was Heaven.
    Thank you for sharing your Recipe!!

  14. I am not a huge fan of chocolate cake but this recipe is amazing! Perfectly moist and incredible chocolate flavor without being too rich. This is definitely a keeper!

  15. Hi
    Are there specific brands that you feel work best or the generic brands are fine?

    1. Hi Brenda! Some of my favorite brands of ingredients used in this recipe are King Arthur Flour, Hershey’s Natural Cocoa Powder, Crisco oil, and Domino sugars. (I’m not working with any of these brands at the moment, just a genuine fan!)

  16. Hi Sally,
    I was wondering why these cupcakes do not have any butter in them.
    Also, could I just make these cupcakes with milk instead of adding white vinegar or fresh lemon juice to it?

    1. Hi Britney! Oil is the fat in this cupcake batter. You can use the DIY buttermilk alternative listed in the recipe notes. Hope you enjoy!

  17. So I just asked you a question on your chocolate cake recipe about making a stout cake, and read your recommendation for 6″ cakes to be made using this recipe instead. I was asked to make a cake in the shape of a beer stein, so I was thinking about using 6″ pans. Do you think I could sub beer for any of the liquid on this recipe? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Becca! Just saw your question over on the cake recipe. For a 6 inch cake variation, use this recipe. Half of the buttermilk could probably be substituted with a stout or guinness.

  18. Sally after baking these cupcakes before frosting can we put them in the refridgerator and the do the frosting later and how long can these be in the refrigerator

  19. So you opened a door in my brain by writing “melted coconut oil”. Can other oils be used too? Specifically wondering about olive oil or avocado oil?

    1. Hi Maureen! Avoid using any strong flavors that wouldn’t pair with chocolate. I recommend sticking with vegetable oil or melted coconut oil.

  20. My family of 5 is vegan so I made these for them as a treat. I used coconut flour, coconut oil, flax eggs, ground up cacao nibs, and homemade soymilk for substitutions. We made a little frosting recipe to go with it that’s just as good as the non-vegan one looks. We used soymilk, cacao nibs ground up, bananas, the slightest touch of coconut oil, and some pure cane sugar. My, it was delicious. My three-year-old, who is a very fussy eater, gobbled down three of these! Sure, most of it is my own recipe, but thank you for the inspiration. If you are ever looking for really good vegan recipes, please reach out to me.

    1. Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Marlene! Thrilled you were able to adapt this recipe for your family 🙂

  21. This recipe sounds great! My son is allergic to eggs and dairy. I usually substitute eggs with corn starch when I bake. Would this be ok with the recipe or do you recommend something else?

    1. Hi Maureen- I don’t have experience with egg-free baking. I do know readers have successfully used flax eggs as egg replacements in many of my recipes. If you try it, let me know how it goes! Happy baking 🙂

    1. Hi Danica. When there’s a drying ingredient involved (cocoa powder), oil is necessary. Also, we don’t really need the flavor of butter in chocolate cupcakes since chocolate will overpower it. I recommend oil for these.

  22. Hi Sally, I’m using convection oven. I usually use 2 muffin tins with separate racks (1 at the bottom & 1 at the middle) to save electricity. switching it half of its baking time still gives them uneven dome and doneness.. could you please advise me on this.. thanks

  23. Hi Sally ….can I reduce the amount of cocoa powder ????I tried the receipe and it turned out to be amazing…jus wanted to know if I can still reduce d cocoa powder by 10gms n replace it wid flour ??n can v store these in d refrigerator???thanks for all d help….ur receipes r the best

    1. Hi Mehak! You can certainly try it, but I’m unsure of the results in terms of flavor and texture. You can store the cupcakes in the refrigerator, yes.

  24. Hi there! I’m new to this site but have been baking for most of my life lol I immediately fell in love with your approach and foresee becoming a regular to your site! I’m always in search for that perfect chocolate cupcake recipe, so I tried this one, and the taste was spot-on, SO delicious, but just about all of my cupcakes caved in a bit and the edges came out a little tiny bit dry – do you suggest any high altitude alterations? I followed your advice to the T but I did use coconut oil, so I’m not sure if that caused the cave-in effect or if I accidentally over-mixed a little…would love your advice!! Thank you!! 🙂

    1. Hi Vanessa! If they’re under-baked or even filled too high, they will cave in the middle. If you’re at high altitude, I have a super helpful chart you can use. I actually don’t have any experience with high altitude baking, but readers have found this VERY helpful:

  25. Hi Sally, I made this for my son’s birthday 2 weeks ago and I had to make more (again). Even my mom liked them even though she isn’t a chocolate lover like my son and I. They were super moist and delicious. Everyone that tried them loved them. Greetings all the way from the Caribbean, from Curacao! I trying your recipe for the brownies next. Thank you. Rachelle

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally