This homemade, one-bowl, easy chocolate cupcake recipe is so much better than a mix. It makes the best moist, rich cupcakes in no time!
These cupcakes are the best moist chocolate cupcakes. These homemade cupcakes are made from scratch in just one bowl.
Not only are the cupcakes easy to make, but they’re also rich and delicious. They don’t take much more effort than a box mix, but the flavor is SO much better!
This easy chocolate cupcake recipe is the type of basic recipe that you’ll want to have on-hand whenever you need to whip up a batch of cupcakes.
These cupcakes are so good and so easy, you may never want to make cupcakes form a mix again! And if you’re looking for more homemade cake recipes, check out my homemade yellow cake, marble cake, German chocolate cake, and angel food cake recipes.
Ingredient and substitutions
Butter: I use salted butter in this recipe. If you would prefer to use unsalted butter, increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.
Brown sugar: Light or dark brown sugar will work equally well.
Vanilla extract: The vanilla helps to enhance the chocolate flavor. You can decrease the amount of vanilla to 1 teaspoon if you prefer.
Buttermilk: I recommend using full-fat, but low-fat will work if that’s what you have. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute with this buttermilk substitute recipe.
Sour cream: I recommend using full-fat sour cream in this recipe.
Flour: Be sure to properly measure the flour to avoid dense or dry cupcakes. Either weigh or sift the flour, lightly spoon into the measuring cup, and then level.
Cocoa powder: You’ll need regular, not Dutch-processed, cocoa powder for this recipe.
Frosting: Looking for frosting to go with these cupcakes? Get links to my fave recipes just above the recipe.
How to make chocolate cupcakes from scratch
All of the refrigerated ingredients should be at room temperature before beginning. Check out more tips about this below!
Begin by beating the butter and sugars together until well-combined. This should take about 3-4 minutes on medium speed.
I recommend scraping the sides down between each step. Mix in the eggs one at a time, and then mix in the vanilla extract.
Next, beat in the buttermilk, sour cream, and warm water. The water should be warm (not quite bath water temp), not hot.
Then, stir in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
Divide the batter between the prepared baking cups.
I like to use cupcake liners with this recipe. My favorite cupcake liners are parchment with a nonstick finish.
If you want to grease the cups instead, use either grease and flour or a baking spray with flour in it.
Bake the cupcakes until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
What makes cupcakes moist?
To get moist baked goods, you need the right ratio of liquid to dry ingredients, and fat also helps to add moisture to baked goods.
In this recipe, the combination of sour cream, buttermilk, and water help to make these cupcakes moist and tasty. That’s why I suggest using full-fat versions when possible.
Top tips for perfect homemade cupcakes
>> Temperature matters! For this recipe, the refrigerated ingredients should be at room temp. This means about 70 F.
However, you don’t want the butter to be warm. When the butter is smooshy and almost melting, it’s too warm.
>> Stir by hand! I recommend mixing the dry ingredients in by hand to avoid overmixing. Overmixing can cause dense, chewy cupcakes.
>> Measurements matter! Be sure to properly measure the flour. I recommend weighing the ingredients for the most accurate results. If measuring by volume, sift the flour, lightly spoon into a measuring cup (avoid packing it in), and then level it off. Too much flour will give you a dense, dry cupcake.
Why do the ingredients need to be at room temperature?
First, let’s quickly talk about what “room temperature” means. Room temperature means that the ingredients are about 68-70F in temperature.
Room temperature ingredients will mix together better than cold ingredients. The butter shouldn’t be warm and melty, but it should be at room temperature to allow the butter and sugars to properly incorporate.
Also, mixing room temperature butter with cold ingredients will cause the butter to form little chunks throughout the batter, rather than incorporating into the batter.
Frostings that pair well with chocolate cupcakes!
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Whipped Buttercream Frosting
- Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
If you’ve tried this easy chocolate cupcake recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!
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Easy Chocolate Cupcakes
- Muffin tin
- 3/4 cup butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
- 1/4 cup warm water about 85 F
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 20 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until well-combined, about 3-4 minutes on medium.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time until well-incorporated.
- Mix in the vanilla.
- Add the buttermilk, sour cream, and warm water. Mix in until well-combined.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in just until combined. Do not overmix.
- Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.
- Bake about 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
- Remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Butter: I use salted butter in this recipe. If you would prefer to use unsalted butter, increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.
- Brown sugar: Light or dark brown sugar will work equally well.
- Vanilla extract: The vanilla helps to enhance the chocolate flavor. You can decrease the amount of vanilla to 1 teaspoon if you prefer.
- Buttermilk: I recommend using full-fat, but low-fat will work if that’s what you have. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute with this recipe.
- Sour cream: I recommend using full-fat sour cream in this recipe.
- Flour: Be sure to properly measure the flour to avoid dense or dry cupcakes. Either weigh or sift the flour, lightly spoon into the measuring cup, and then level.
- Cocoa powder: You’ll need regular, not Dutch-processed, cocoa powder for this recipe.
- Frosting: Looking for frosting to go with these cupcakes? Get links to my fave recipes just above the recipe.
- Nutrition values are estimates.
Did You Make This Recipe?
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Originally published 12/15/16. Updated with additional photos and tips 5/8/21.
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Comments & Reviews
I’m in heaven! These chocolate cupcakes are the best.
Thank you! I’m so glad that you liked them!
Avari Harrison says
I make this cupcake recipe all the time and love it!
Would it work the same if I made into a cake?
I haven’t tried making the recipe as a cake, but I would guess that it would work.
Derek Davidson says
This was my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, it turned out great!
Thank you so much!
Adding the buttermilk, sour cream and water turned into a lumpy batter that I could not beat smooth. What did I do wrong?
Were the buttermilk and sour cream at room temperature, and was the water warm? Using cold ingredients could cause the butter to solidify and would create lumps in the batter.
Rose Mary George says
This looks delicious! Love it!
Thank you so much!
EDVALDO BARROSO COSTA says
The recipe was very easy to do, as the name says. I liked it a lot.
Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the cupcakes! =) Thank you for commenting!