These cocoa muffins are only slightly sweet and have an adult-pleasing cocoa flavor rather than an overtly fudgy chocolate smack. Between their restrained chocolatiness and the fact that we call them muffins rather than cupcakes, it’s really quite easy to convince yourself they’re healthy.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

The testers were delighted that these chocolate muffins were so simple to make that even the kids could help and appreciated that they froze well. Joan O. described them as “moist, chocolatey, delicious, and not overly sweet.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for chocolate muffins--cocoa, chocolate, eggs, oil, baking powder, sugar, flour, vanilla, salt, and milk.
  • Dutch process cocoa–This gives your muffins that deep chocolate flavor. Don’t attempt to substitute natural cocoa powder.
  • Semisweet chocolate–This is optional. (Yeah, right!) It balances the dark richness of the cocoa with little bursts of sweetness.
  • Eggs–For the best results, use room-temperature eggs. This will give your muffins a softer, airy texture.
  • Oil—Any neutral-flavored vegetable-based oil, such as sunflower, canola, or vegetable oil, will work here. Don’t use strong-flavored oil, though, as it will alter the flavor of the muffins.
  • Vanilla extract–Only the real stuff, please!

How to Make Chocolate Muffins

Twelve muffin cups lined with white paper liners; a person whisking dry ingredients in a glass bowl.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a muffin tin with liners.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
Eggs being whisked in a glass bowl; milk being whisked into the egg mixture.
  1. Beat the eggs in a large bowl with a whisk.
  2. Whisk in the milk, oil, and vanilla.
A person mixing muffin batter in a glass bowl; chocolate pieces being folded into the muffin batter.
  1. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined.
  2. Fold in the chopped chocolate.
Twelve muffin cup liners filled with muffin batter; twelve chocolate muffins cooling on a wire rack.
  1. Divide the muffin batter among the wells, filling each one 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  2. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove them from the muffin tin and let them cool completely on the wire rack.

Common Questions

What’s the difference between muffins and cupcakes?

Great question. Muffins and cupcakes may look alike, but, m’dear, looks do deceive. Muffins are cupcakes’ scruffy, blue-collar cousins, often studded with nuts, fruits, or veggies and often topped with a sprinkle of sugar or mounds of streusel. They’re usually mixed quickly by hand to avoid overbeating and a tough texture. Cupcakes are sweeter and more tender. Think elegant mini cakes. They boast a light, airy texture and wigs of generous swoops of frosting.

What is Dutch-process cocoa?

Dutch-process cocoa undergoes a different process than your plain ole powdered cocoa. The result is a less acidic, smoother, darker, and more mellow cocoa that’s 100% worth the swap. Read more on the differences between natural and Dutch-process cocoa. The most widely available Dutch-processed cocoa is Hersey’s Special Dark.

Can this recipe be made dairy-free?

Absolutely. Simply add your favorite plant-based milk in place of the dairy.

Can I freeze cocoa muffins?

You can. Just cool them completely, secure them in an air-tight ziptop bag, and freeze them for up to two months.

Storage Instructions

Once the muffins have cooled completely, store them in a resealable bag or airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. For longer storage, stash them in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw them on the counter at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Helpful Tips

  • For best results, always weigh your ingredients.
  • Don’t fill your muffin wells more than 3/4 full, or they may overflow during baking.
Five chocolate muffins in an antique muffin tin.

More Superb Muffin Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Amazing recipe! I’m a baking novice and wanted to try out a muffin recipe. These cocoa muffins were easy to make, came out super moist and chocolate-y! I will definitely be making them again, maybe adding chocolate chips next time!

Chocolate muffins cooling on a wire rack.

Chocolate Muffins

4.79 / 100 votes
These easy chocolate muffins, made with flour, sugar, cocoa, eggs, oil, and vanilla, have a not-too-sweet but intense cocoa flavor. For those of us with more adult chocolate cravings.
David Leite
Servings12 muffins
Calories211 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • Paper muffin cups
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, (whole or low-fat but not nonfat)
  • 1/3 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups.
    Twelve muffin wells with white paper liners.
  • Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
    A person whisking flour, cocoa, and sugar together in a bowl.
  • Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until lightly beaten.
    A person whisking eggs in a glass bowl.
  • Whisk in the milk, oil, and vanilla until smooth.
    A person whisking eggs and milk together in a glass bowl.
  • Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until moistened.
    A person mixing muffin batter in a glass bowl.
  • Fold in the chocolate chunks.
    Chocolate pieces being stirred into muffin batter.
  • Fill the prepared tins about 3/4 full. Reserve any leftover batter for a second batch. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until the muffins have firm, rounded tops, and a toothpick inserted into the center of one muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
    Twelve muffin cups filled with muffin batter.
  • Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the muffins from the pan and let them cool on the rack for 5 minutes.
    Twelve chocolate muffins cooling on a wire rack.
  • Make them disappear. You can keep them in an airtight container or in resealable plastic bags for up to 24 hours at room temperature or stash them in the freezer for up to 2 months.


  1. Weigh your ingredients–For best results, always weigh your ingredients.
  2. Don’t overfill–Don’t fill your muffin wells more than 3/4 full, or they may overflow during baking.
The Ultimate Muffin Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.

Adapted From

The Ultimate Muffin Book

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 muffinCalories: 211 kcalCarbohydrates: 32 gProtein: 5 gFat: 8 gSaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 32 mgSodium: 122 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 14 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2004 Bruce Weinstein | Mark Scarbrough. Photos © 2024 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I had a chocolate craving and found this easy chocolate muffin recipe. I will definitely be making them again. They’re moist, chocolatey, delicious, and not overly sweet.

I also like that these freeze well. Freezing them is great for portion control, especially since my hubby and son aren’t big chocolate eaters, and I don’t feel I have to eat up a whole bunch before they go bad. I can eat one, save one for the next day, and freeze the rest for later.

This simple chocolate muffin recipe is great for little ones to help make because the muffins mix together quickly. I like them because they’re not very sweet.

I also think these would be good as mini muffins by reducing the baking time to about 10 minutes.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Wonder if this recipe would work in a 9×5 loaf pan without compromise? My family loves grabbing slabs of loaf cake from the freezer and the ingredients and reviews here are calling us! Thank you.

    1. Den, we haven’t tried baking this in a loaf pan, but muffin recipes generally translate pretty well to sweet loaf recipes. I’d recommend reducing the oven temperature to 375°F. The baking time will be longer, probably somewhere between 35 and 45 minutes.

  2. 5 stars
    I tried these and they turned out amazing! I didn’t have cocoa powder but I had paleo biscotti from a brand called The greater goods snacking Co that I bought. I just powered it and it turned out amazing.
    Thanks chef.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious chocolate muffins! Easy to make and gone as fast as lightning!
    Another great recipe, David! Thank you!