This basic homemade Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe creates the best rich, moist, tender cupcakes and is easy to make. A classic done right!

Frosted chocolate cupcakes.

Everyone needs a basic chocolate cupcakes recipe in their back pocket and this one is classically simple and delicious.

Baked chocolate cupcakes in pan and on table.

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

This chocolate cupcakes recipe is almost as easy as a store-bought mix. The dry ingredients are sifted together to make the cupcake soft and tender to chew. I recommend these large round sifters that I used in bakeries to make sifting quick and easy.

TIP: Sift ingredients onto a piece of parchment paper. Then bring both ends together to create an easy pour spout to empty the contents.

A fork full of chocolate cupcake.

Then you mix in an egg, oil, vanilla, and milk. Lastly boiling water is added to bloom the cocoa and boost the chocolate flavor. Hot coffee can also be substituted in place of the hot water for added richness.

Baked chocolate cupcakes in pan and on table.

An Important Tip for Cupcakes

This chocolate cupcake batter will be thin, so don’t be alarmed. One of the most important factors in getting nice cupcakes is to not overfill the cupcake liners. It is especially important with a thin batter like this one.

You can see through the liners I used, that I filled mine about 2/3 full, just over halfway full. They had risen to the top of the cup, without spilling over during baking. The best way to do this is by using a #24 scoop.

As much as you want that perfect 12 cupcakes only recipe, it is better to have extra cupcakes, than a huge mess in your oven and cake stuck to your muffin tin. Do not overfill your cupcakes!

Frosted chocolate cupcake with wrapper peeled down from sides.

I used my Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting to top these with and it was a heavenly and decadent combination. If you’re not a fan of cream cheese, you can make my Chocolate Buttercream Frosting instead. A great cupcake for birthdays or any get together.

Be sure to grab my recipe for classic Vanilla Cupcakes as well. Another must-have for every recipe box.

This basic homemade Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe creates the best rich, moist, tender cupcakes and is easy to make. A classic done right!

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 18 cupcakes

This basic homemade Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe creates the best rich, moist, tender cupcakes and is easy to make. A classic done right!


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (stir, spoon, and level when measuring)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not hot chocolate mix)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large/XL egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil (vegetable/canola)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. (About 18.)
  2. Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. (Sifting will create a lighter/softer cupcake. If you don't have a sieve, whisk these ingredients well.)
  3. Add the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir until incorporated. 
  4. Heat 1/2 cup of water in a large glass measuring cup in the microwave until boiling (1-2 minutes). Pour boiling water into batter and mix until fully incorporated. The texture of the batter should be consistent throughout. Batter will be thin, but shouldn't have watery spots.
  5. Use a #24 scoop to fill prepared cupcake liners 2/3 full (just barely over halfway full). Do NOT overfill. Bake for 20-22 minutes. To test doneness -- a toothpick will come clean out of the center or the cake will spring back when touched.
  6. Cool completely and decorate with desired frosting. I used this Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, but this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting would be great too.


*I like to use half regular cocoa and half dark cocoa for a richer and darker looking cupcake.

*HIGH ALTITUDE: Only use 1/2 tsp baking powder (instead of 3/4 tsp) and add 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour. (Other ingredients stay the same.) Bake at 375˚F for 15-18 minutes.

*Recipe altered from Hershey's

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 174mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 2g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix, and is an estimation only.