Easy Chocolate Cupcakes (dairy-free and eggless)


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Rich, moist, easy chocolate cupcakes come together fast with ingredients you likely already have on-hand. And because the cupcakes and the frosting are naturally eggless and dairy-free these cupcakes are perfect for serving anyone with food sensitivities.

cupcakes in a muffin tin

These chocolate cupcakes are as easy as it gets. I’ve been asked for years if my naturally dairy-free easy chocolate cake can be made into cupcakes, so I took the recipe into the kitchen to find out! The answer is yes, but they needed a few small tweaks to create light, fluffy, cupcakes in the recipe below.

As promised, these require no eggs, no dairy, no apple cider vinegar, and no almond milk or soy milk. All you need are a few simple pantry ingredients, and one bowl to make a batch of these gorgeous cupcakes that are guaranteed to be the star of your next party. 

a side view of a frosted cupcake cut in half

What are vegan cupcakes?

Vegan cupcakes are cupcakes made without any animal products. This means that no eggs or dairy are used to make these tasty little cakes. Even if you don’t strictly follow a vegan diet, vegan cupcakes are a great choice for those who are lactose sensitive, or have an egg allergy.

How to make the easiest chocolate cupcakes

  1. Prep the muffin tin. Place cupcake liners in tin and spray with nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the wet ingredients. To the bowl of dry ingredients, add oil, water, and vanilla extract, and stir. 
  4. Bake. Pour the batter into the muffin tin and bake in a preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes. 
  5. Make the frosting. Cream the vegan butter until smooth, then add the maple syrup, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and water. Mix until combined. 
  6. Frost the cupcakes. Allow the cupcakes to completely cool before frosting. 
cupcakes in a muffin tin


  • All-Purpose Flour – Good old fashioned all-purpose flour gives the cupcakes their structure.
  • Sugar – Unsweetened cocoa powder lacks the distinct chocolate bar sweetness, so sugar is needed to sweeten things up.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, rather than Dutch-processed cocoa. Unsweetened natural cocoa produces a deep, rich, chocolate flavor in the cupcakes. 
  • Baking Soda – The leavening agent that works with the cocoa to produce full, fluffy cupcakes. 
  • Kosher Salt – To enhance the delicious fudginess.
  • Cooking Oil – Use a neutral oil like avocado for the best results. 
  • Water – For just the right batter consistency.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – Chocolate and vanilla go hand-in-hand.
chocolate cupcake on a grey countertop

Make ahead

Chocolate cupcakes can be made 1 day in advance. A good rule of thumb is to frost the cupcakes when you’re ready to serve them, unless you have a cupcake container that will prevent the frosting from being squashed by the lid.

How to store cupcakes

Store the cupcakes unfrosted in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days, or in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. You can also freeze the cupcakes for up to 3 months. When you are ready to serve, thaw at room temperature for about 12 hours. Add frosting just before serving.

piping frosting on a chocolate cupcake


  • Don’t rush frosting the cupcakes. If the cupcakes aren’t totally, 100% cool, all of the delicious chocolate frosting will melt.
  • Fill the cupcake liners ¾ of the way full, to prevent the batter from overflowing.


adding sprinkles to the top of a cupcake


Why is chocolate considered vegan?

The chocolate component in this recipe for vegan chocolate cupcakes is unsweetened cocoa powder, which is made with only crushed cocoa beans, so it’s completely vegan. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, contains milk solids, which disqualifies that ingredient from being vegan.

Where is the egg replacer in this recipe?

One of the best things about this vegan chocolate cupcake recipe is that it doesn’t require the help of an egg substitute. The combination of cooking oil, flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder bind, lift, and produce a beautifully moist cupcake.

Unsweetened cocoa powder vs Dutch-processed cocoa

While these two chocolate ingredients may sound similar, there is one key difference between the two. Unsweetened cocoa powder is produced by turning unprocessed cocoa beans into a fine powder. Dutch-processed cocoa takes the same cocoa beans and treats them with an alkalizing agent to reduce the cocoa’s acidity.

You will usually find unsweetened cocoa powder in recipes that also use baking soda, because the two work together to help your baked goods rise.

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cupcakes in a muffin tin
4.12 from 17 votes

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes (dairy-free and eggless)

These chocolate cupcakes are a decadent vegan dessert that is rich, chocolatey, and topped with a thick swirl of fudgy frosting. Serve with your favorite non-dairy ice cream at your next party.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 12


  • Muffin Tin
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Handheld Mixer



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (125 grams)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (150 grams)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (40 grams) (not Dutch-process cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil (use any neutral oil; I typically use avocado oil)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 2 sticks vegan butter (16 Tablespoons; if you don't need these to be vegan / dairy-free, regular butter will work)
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (40 grams) (not Dutch-process cocoa)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water


  • Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.
  • Line a muffin tin with liners and spray them lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add oil, water, and vanilla extract all at once and stir just until everything is combined and no dry spots remain.
  • Divide batter between spaces in the muffin tin.
  • Bake until the cupcakes are just set in the middle, 15 to 17 minutes.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
  • To make the frosting, beat the vegan butter on high until very creamy. Add the maple syrup, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and water and mix on low until all of the dry ingredients are mixed in. Increase the speed and mix on high until the frosting is creamy and smooth.
  • Transfer the frosting to a piping bag and frost the cupcakes as desired. (Note: Be very sure that the cupcakes are completely cool or the frosting will melt as you add it.)


Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 216mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 719IU | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $5.00
Calories: 294
Keyword: baking, easy dessert recipe, kid-friendly recipe, vegan recipe
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. 5 stars
    Thank you, I have a grandchild that is allergic to dairy and eggs and these are perfect. Fluffy and light and so easy to make.

  2. 4 stars
    I made these this morning. While I’m not vegan, I recently was looking for a recipe that works for when I don’t have certain ingredients on hand. They’re pretty good and are moist. I did not make nor add frosting but most any frosting would work. It’s a quick and easy recipe.