Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

The BEST vegan chocolate cupcakes. Moist and fluffy vegan chocolate cupcakes made with no butter, no milk and no eggs. No fancy mixers or ingredients needed! Gluten Free and Dairy Free. 

vegan chocolate cupcakes

These easy and simple vegan chocolate cupcakes were adapted from my easiest vegan chocolate cake. They take half the time but have all the flavor and texture we love.

What I LOVE about this recipe is that these vegan cupcakes use basic pantry staple ingredients.

However, they do NOT taste basic.

Fluffy, moist, and with the most delicious chocolate flavor, they have a light exterior- what you NEED in a vegan cupcake recipe. They taste so delicious, you won’t even need frosting for them.

Unlike traditional vegan cupcakes, there is no margarine or oil needed. You can also use white wholewheat flour, so make these healthy chocolate cupcakes! 

How to make vegan cupcakes

The Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour– A simple flour, perfect for simple cupcakes. I opted to use gluten-free flour, to keep it gluten-free, too. 
  • Cocoa powder– Sometimes cocoa powder can have clumps, so sift it thoroughly beforehand. For a richer chocolate flavor, use dark cocoa powder
  • Sugar– These cupcakes are so flexible, so you can use any sugar you like- white, brown, coconut palm sugar. You can even keep them sugar free, by using any sugar free baking blend (like swerve). 
  • Baking soda– Gives the muffins some rise and width. Like the cocoa powder, sift it if it contains clumps. 
  • Salt– Brings out the sweetness of the muffins! 
  • Instant coffee– Optional, but highly recommended! Instant coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor, without tasting any coffee at all. 
  • White vinegar– works with the baking soda to leaven the muffins. You can use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. 
  • Vanilla extract– A MUST for any cupcake or baked good recipe. 
  • Oil– I’ve used both coconut oil and vegetable oil, and couldn’t taste any difference at all. You can use any oil of choice, like sunflower or canola oil, too.
  • Water– To mix it all together! You can use plant-based milk, but it’s not necessary at all! 
  • Chocolate Chips– Optional, but as I didn’t use a frosting, I thought these would be better.

The Instructions

To start, whisk together your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Then, form 3 wells into the dry mixture. Add the vinegar in one, vanilla extract in the other, and finally, the oil in the third. Gently mix it together, until it is just combined. Then, distribute the cupcake batter evenly amongst a 12-count muffin tin. I always place muffin liners in them, ensuring easy removal and even easier cleanup. Bake the cupcakes at 180C/350F for  15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out ‘just’ clean. Finally, allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

If desired you can frost them.

how to make vegan chocolate cupcakes

how to make vegan cupcakes

Can I make vegan cupcakes without oil? 

Yes, for oil free chocolate cupcakes, you can replace the oil with unsweetened applesauce. Although they will not be quite as moist, they still make a delicious dairy free chocolate cupcake! 

Baking Tips

  • Do not overbake the cupcakes, as they continue to cook as they cool down. Cupcakes are done when you lightly press on the tops and they spring back. You can also use the toothpick test! 
  • Use any frosting you like- I opted for a simple chocolate frosting but feel free to do vanilla frosting, strawberry frosting, or leave it without. 
  • For mini cupcakes, use a mini muffin tin. Reduce the cook time to 12-15 minutes. This will make 24 mini cupcakes.

Storing and Freezing Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Storing Cupcakes– Leftover cupcakes can be stored in a sealable container in the refrigerator, for up to 7 days. 
  • To freeze– Place cupcakes in a ziplock bag and keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • To thaw– Microwave for 20-30 seconds, or overnight in the fridge. Vegan cupcakes are best enjoyed at room temperature. 

NOTE: Freezing tips are for unfrosted cupcakes. If you’ve frosted them, I don’t recommend freezing. 

dairy free chocolate cupcakes

More delicious vegan dessert recipes you’ll enjoy

best vegan chocolate cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten-Free)

The BEST and easiest vegan chocolate cupcakes! Moist, fluffy, and with a light exterior, they require no plant milk and no egg substitutes at all. Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free.
5 from 63 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 177kcal
Author: Arman


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour gluten-free, if needed *
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar **
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar ***
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp oil of choice
  • 1 cup water


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a 12-count muffin tray with muffin liners and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt, and mix well.
  • Form 3 wells in the dry mixture. In each well, add the vinegar, vanilla extract and oil. Mix well, until combined. Add the water and mix until combined.
  • Distribute the cupcake batter evenly amongst the muffin tins, approximately 2/3 full. Bake the cupcakes for 15-17 minutes, or until a skewer comes out just clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack until cooled completely.


* All-purpose flour, white whole-wheat flour, and gluten-free flour can be used.
** White sugar, brown sugar, coconut palm sugar, and a sugar free granulated sweetener will work.
*** Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice can replace the white vinegar
  • TO STORE: Leftover cupcakes should be stored in the fridge, in a sealable container or on a plate, covered in plastic wrap. They will keep for at least 5 days. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftover cupcakes in a ziplock bag and keep frozen in the freezer. They will keep well frozen for up to 6 months. 

Key Recipe Equipment and Ingredients


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg | NET CARBS: 28g
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    Desserts Gluten Free Muffins and Cakes recipe Vegan Recipes



    7 thoughts on “Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

    1. Hey Arman! How much instant coffee do you recommend using? Do you have to mix it with water first or just add the instant grounds in with the dry ingredients? Thanks!

    2. 5 stars
      I have already made these five times! My friends and family cannot get enough of them. Seriously the best cupcake recipe I have ever found! Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe with the world. I haven’t found any moist and delicious gf/vegan cupcakes until I found this.

    3. 5 stars
      This recipe turned out wonderful! I’ve never tasted GF cupcakes that were this moist before! I made a batch for a baby shower and friends loved it as well!

      I made a few revisions: a few extra T of water since I was using a GF flour substitution / allulose vs. sugar / ACV vs. white vinegar / cacao vs. cocoa powder. I topped with your keto icing recipe and a raspberry on top. So good!

      Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe! Have you tried baking this recipe as a cake? If so, how many minutes should it bake?

    4. I love these! I’m not vegan or GF but this is still my go to recipe because they’re so good! Thanks so much for the recipe!

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