Best gluten free chocolate cupcakes! Super moist and flavorful with easy ingredients. Perfect for birthdays, holidays, & special occasions. Dairy free option.
This is my go-to recipe for gluten free chocolate cupcakes! It is a great recipe that is soft, super moist, and super easy to mix up. Plus, it is full of chocolate! Top these cupcakes off with a double chocolate buttercream or a delicious vegan vanilla frosting and you have one super dessert.
Free from: wheat, gluten, dairy (optional), soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, corn, sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, and more
Why You’ll Love these Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Easy to make. These cupcakes mix up quickly and easily in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Plus, there are only 11 ingredients that you can find at any grocery store.
Simple ingredients that taste amazing. No need to order anything strange to make these cupcakes!
Can make a cake just as easily! Need to make a cake instead of cupcakes? No problem! This recipe will easily double into a crowd feeding 9x13 sheet cake.
You only need 11 ingredients to make these gluten free chocolate cupcakes!
Cocoa Powder - I recommend that you use unprocessed and natural cocoa powder for this recipe. That type of cocoa powder has not had the natural acid from the cocoa removed, which makes it better for baking. The cupcakes will have a higher rise with this type of cocoa powder, as opposed to if you used Dutch processed cocoa powder.
Best Gluten Free Flour - Different gluten free flours have different ingredients so not all will give you the same results. I recommend that you make these cupcakes with King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten free flour for the best results! If you use a different flour than the one recommended, you may need to add an extra tablespoon of liquid to get a good crumb.
Sour Cream - The secret ingredient for gluten free cakes! The sour cream serves the duel purpose of providing extra fat into the recipe, to help keep it moist, as well as helping the cupcakes rise.
You will also need: Butter, eggs, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
For the full list of ingredients, with the measurements, see the recipe box below.
If you are avoiding dairy, replace the dairy butter with your favorite dairy-free stick butter substitute. I personally love “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” sticks but have also had good results with Country Crock plant-butter. Don’t use butter from a tub as the fat:water ratios are different from stick plant-based butters.
If you are avoiding corn, make sure that your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain corn. Also check your baking powder and powdered sugar as they are hidden sources for corn allergies.
I don’t recommend this recipe if you need a gluten free and egg free cake. However, I do have a Gluten Free + Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe here!
If you have a stand mixer, I suggest that you use that. This recipe calls for mixing the butter with eggs and sugar to make a super fluffy base for these cupcakes. Mixing by hand won’t really work. Not to mention, making the frosting is way easier with a mixer!
But if you only have a hand mixer, no worries! Hand mixers work just as well to make these cupcakes.
Making these gluten free chocolate cupcakes is so easy!
For the full instructions complete with recipe measurements, please see the recipe card below.
Line your cupcake tray with cupcake liner, or, spray your trays with a neutral flavored vegetable oil. Set them aside.
In a small heat proof bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and boiling water until no lumps of cocoa powder remain. This is called blooming the chocolate. This helps to draw out the full flavors of chocolate in the recipe and really makes a difference. Don’t skip this!
Set the bloomed cocoa powder aside to cool while you mix up the rest of the ingredients.
In a medium bowl, sift together the gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside.
Tip! Use the spoon and fill method when measuring your gluten free flour! Use a spoon to fill each measuring cup and overfill them. Then, with the back of a knife, level off each measuring cup. This will give you a more accurate measurement than if you just scooped gluten free flour right out of the bag into the cup.
Now, in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with your hand mixer and a large bowl, cream together the butter, sour cream, white sugar, and brown sugar. Let this get really light and fluffy on a medium-high speed for a good 5 minutes.
After the butter is fluffy, add the vanilla extract and eggs. Add each egg one at a time, making sure to mix at a slow speed. This is blending the fats and sugars together so don’t rush this step!
Now, add half of the sifted flour mixture to the bowl. Give this a quick mix while you add half of the bloomed cocoa. When things look incorporated, add the remaining half of flour and cocoa mixture.
Mix this until it is just combined. Scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
Carefully transfer the cupcake batter to your lined cupcake tray and fill each about ⅔ of the way full. You shouldn’t have any batter remaining after filling each.
Bake the cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Let them cool in the hot cupcake tray for about 5 minutes and then carefully remove them to finish cooling on a wire cooling rack. This will help; them to keep their shape.
Finally, make sure they are totally cool before frosting with chocolate buttercream!
Mocha - In place of boiling water, bloom the cocoa powder with hot coffee!
Double Chocolate - Add 1 cup of mini chocolate chips and top with chocolate frosting. Yum!
How to store
Unfrosted - Keep them wrapped in an airtight container on the countertop for 3 days. You can also store them in the fridge for 3 days before frosting. However, as they are gluten free after 3 days they really start to ry out. Store them wrapped in the freezer for up to 2 months. Allow them to come to room temperature before frosting and serving after freezing.
Frosted - Store these cupcakes on the countertop for only a few hours if frosted. The butter in the frosting needs to be kept in the fridge for safety. Store these in a container with a lid to keep them the most fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days. After 3 days, they begin to dry out. These can be frozen after frosting if kept in a freezer safe container for up to 1 month.
Recipe tips & tricks
Make sure all ingredients are room temperature. The butter, sour cream, and eggs all need to be at room temperature before making for the best results. This helps the fats and sugars to more easily emulsify together. That makes the final result lighter, fluffier, and more moist!
Don’t open the oven door! It can be so hard to keep from peaking in on the cupcakes, but it is so important that you don’t open the oven door for the first 20 minutes of baking. You will let all the hot air and moisture out. That makes the cupcakes dry and flat.
Other Gluten Free Desserts to Love
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- hand mixer or stand mixer
- mixing bowls
- mixing spoons
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Cupcake trays
- cupcake liners
- Piping bag and tips (optional)
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder natural unsweetened
- ½ cup water boiling
- ½ cup butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sour cream room temperature
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¾ cup gluten free flour see notes
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12 count cupcake tray with liners, or, spray with a neutral flavored oil. Set aside.
- In a small heat proof bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and boiling water. Mix until no lumps of cocoa remain. Set this aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
- In a medium size bowl, sift together the gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter, sour cream, white sugar, and brown sugar. Mix on medium-high speed for 5 minutes until the butter is light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing on slow speed until they are fully incorporated before adding the next one. Repeat until all eggs are mixed in the batter.
- Slowly add half the flour mixture and half of the bloomed cocoa. Mix on slow speed until they are incorporated. Add the remaining flour mix and coco mix. Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated. Mix until just combined.
- Transfer the batter to the lined cupcake trays, filling each ⅔ of the way full.
- Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake pulls out clean.
- Let them cool in the hot cupcake trays for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on a cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting. Enjoy!