How to Make the Best Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Satisfy your sweet tooth with decadent vegan chocolate cupcakes.

Whether you follow a vegan diet or need to bring a plant-based dessert to a potluck, these vegan chocolate cupcakes will help you reimagine your favorite treat. They don’t contain butter, eggs or dairy milk, but you’d never guess it! Featuring a few easy swaps, this may be the best vegan chocolate cupcake recipe—and a great addition to our roundup of vegan-friendly desserts.

How Do You Make Chocolate Cupcakes Without Dairy?

Chocolate cupcakes typically have butter, eggs and buttermilk, so we’ve swapped them out to make this recipe vegan-friendly. The vinegar in our recipe not only reacts to the coconut milk to create a non-dairy “buttermilk”, but it will also combine with the baking soda to help the cupcakes rise.

Find more cupcake tips and tricks in our ultimate cupcake baking guide.

How to Make Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes:

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes:

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups refrigerated unsweetened coconut milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

1 cup dairy-free margarine, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Step 1: Mix the Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk, sugar, oil, vinegar and vanilla.

Editor tip: Let the small bowl sit a few minutes so that the milk starts to curdle. This produces our non-dairy “buttermilk,” which helps keep the cupcakes moist.

Step 2: Combine the Batter

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just moistened. It’s fine if there are some small lumps in the batter.

Step 3: Fill and Bake

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake the cupcakes about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Step 4: Frost the Cupcakes

To make the frosting, beat the margarine in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa to remove any lumps. Beat sugar mixture, milk and vanilla into the margarine. Frost cupcakes once they’re cool.

Vegan Cupcakes FAQ

Can you freeze vegan cupcakes?

Yes! Vegan cupcakes can be frozen for up to six months. Before freezing, individually wrap the cupcakes and put them in an airtight container. Don’t freeze frosted cupcakes.

How do you thaw them?

We recommended thawing them on a cooling rack to ensure they thaw evenly. It could take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours.

How long do vegan cupcakes last?

Vegan cupcakes can last up to two days on the counter, seven days in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer. Be sure to keep them in an airtight container!

Are chocolate vegan cupcakes healthy?

While a vegan cupcake may contain fewer saturated fats than a traditional cupcake, it is still a dessert with high-calorie ingredients, including sugar and coconut milk. Getting too many calories from a vegan cupcake can still contribute to weight gain and heart disease.

Keep the vegan chocolate desserts coming with our favorite vegan chocolate chip cookies and vegan chocolate cake!

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Alexa Hackfort
Alexa is a writer who believes there’s always room for ice cream. Based in Milwaukee, she enjoys exploring the city, tackling new recipes and planning her next trip.