These Chocolate Muffins have intense chocolate flavor, with a light and moist crumb. They have double chocolate, with cocoa in the batter and chocolate pieces folded in. Make them from start to finish in 30 minutes!
It took many rounds of testing and revisions to get to this final chocolate muffin recipe, but here we are. This, to me, is a perfect chocolate muffin.
There’s quite a range of baked goods that all fall under the label of “muffin,” so I realize this is partially personal preference.
On the far end of the spectrum are the “muffins” sold in coffee shops and grocery stores, which I find are really more like chocolate cupcakes without the frosting. Too sweet, and a bit too rich.
On the other end, sometimes muffins can get a little too “healthy” and become quite dense and dry. And dry muffins are the worst!
This recipe makes for the best chocolate muffins, and lands somewhere in the middle of all these scenarios, balancing out all my favorite elements.
Why These Are My Favorite:
- Not overly sweet.
- Light, moist crumb.
- No stand mixer needed, no hand mixer needed. Just a whisk and bowls.
- Robust, dark, and rich chocolate flavor.
- Gooey bits of melted chocolate throughout.
I originally shared the first version of this recipe in 2011, which was adapted from Alton Brown’s Chocolate Muffins #7 from his cookbook I’m Just Here for More Food (affiliate).
As I’ve been going through the archives of this blog, I recently re-made them and found them to be too dry and heavy. I think Alton is great, and maybe the muffins are just how he likes it, but I found quite a few reviews also saying his version is too dry.
So I recently did several rounds of revisions and recipe testing, most importantly to change the texture to something much lighter. These ended up with a similar light and bouncy texture closer to these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes, but not quite as sweet.
One of the secrets to these moist muffins is using buttermilk. I found this to yield the best flavor and texture, over other choices like sour cream, greek yogurt, and plain yogurt.
We also use real butter for superior flavor, over other flavorless options like vegetable oil or canola oil, or less suitable choices like olive oil or coconut oil. Their flavors clash considerably compared to butter.
Tips for Best Results
Use quality cocoa – Quality TOTALLY matters for this recipe. I recommend higher end brands like Guittard, Callebaut, Vahlrona, and Scharrfen Berger, though Ghirardelli is a decent option as well.
Don’t use an electric mixer, and leave it lumpy – Resist the urge to stir out every single lump in the batter. Because stirring develops gluten, you’ll want to stir as little as possible, so the chocolate muffins turn out tender and not tough. This means it’s best to stir by hand, and not use an electric mixer.
Use muffin liners – Line the muffin tin with paper liners so you don’t have to worry about sticking.
Watch like a hawk at the end of baking – I recommend turning the oven light on toward the end of bake time and watching for doneness, but do not open the door too early or the muffins may deflate. You should be able to see when the tops are no longer shiny and raw-looking.
How to Make It Step by Step:
Start by sifting together the dry ingredients into a large bowl, which include cocoa powder, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
I just use a fine mesh strainer and shake it into the mixing bowl.
Do You Really Need to Sift?
Yes. I know it’s slightly more work, but I tested this without the sifting step, and the muffins were not as light and also drier, probably because extra stirring was required to break up the cocoa lumps.
Sifting breaks up all the cocoa powder lumps, and also incorporates air into the dry ingredients.
Now add chocolate chunks or chocolate chips to the dry ingredients:
I’ve tried both chips and chunks, and really it’s just whatever you prefer. The chunks are slightly more gooey, with bigger pools of melted chocolate, which I enjoy slightly more.
It’s also up to you to decide what kind of chocolate chips you use. I consider milk chocolate chips and dark chocolate to be the best options, though there’s nothing stopping you from adding white or ruby chocolate chips. You could also use mini chocolate chips.
For the wet ingredients, combine buttermilk with granulated sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and melted butter in a separate medium bowl or large measuring cup:
Please use true buttermilk here, and not milk mixed with vinegar. The real stuff is better.
Stir well to combine, then pour this into the dry ingredients bowl:
Whisk and stir together to combine. I usually start with the whisk, then switch to a spatula when the batter gets thicker and almost all of the flour pockets have disappeared.
Do Not Overstir
Make sure to leave the batter nice and lumpy. If you stir it until it’s totally smooth and consistent, you have stirred too much.
You can see below that the flour pockets have nearly *just* disappeared, with two small specks of cocoa flour in the center here:
Use a large cookie scoop or ice cream scoop (affiliate) to portion the batter into paper liners. Then, I like to add a few more chocolate chunks or extra chocolate chips on top:
Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, at which point the tops will be slightly cracked and puffed:
Be So Careful To Not Overbake These
Like most baked goods, it’s really important that these are not overbaked.
You can check with a thermometer for doneness (they should be 195F), or, I like to touch the top with my fingertip, and if it springs back to the touch (rather than sinking in and staying sunk in), it’s done.
Remove the muffins from the pan, setting them on a wire rack to cool.
I only let them cool for about 5 minutes, at which point the chocolate will still be gooey but won’t burn your mouth.
How to Store Them
First let your homemade muffins cool to room temperature before storing, then you may either store them at room temperature or in the freezer. At room temperature they will keep well for 2 days (no preservatives, so they don’t keep long), but in the freezer they can be kept for 2 months.
If the muffins seem dry after a couple days, try microwaving for 10 seconds to make the chocolate gooey and soften the crumb. Eat promptly.
FAQ and Tips:
Let them cool completely, then freeze in an airtight container for up to two months.
Simply let them sit at room temperature for about an hour, until they are no longer frozen.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or they will dry out. These keep well for about two days at room temperature before losing too much flavor and freshness. Technically they will keep longer than this, but the flavor goes downhill, so I’d recommend considering freezing them.
This recipe was tested using a regular or natural cocoa powder here, as opposed to Dutch process cocoa. Most cocoa powders you see at the store, such as Hershey’s, are natural.
Preferences on sweetness are so personal and depend on your palate, but I think these are on the less sweet side. The cocoa is quite bitter and I find that the amount of sugar here is balanced to be slightly sweet against the cocoa.
Yes, but if you use a mini muffin pan the baking time will be significantly less. Check for doneness starting at 8 minutes, and watch like a hawk so they don’t dry out.
- 5 oz all-purpose flour, by weight (1 cup, measured)
- 1.75 oz cocoa powder, by weight* (6 tbsp, measured)
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (plus extra for the top, if desired)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with paper cups.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Toss the chocolate chunks into the dry ingredients.
- Whisk together the sugar, butter, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla until well blended and consistent.
- Stir the wet mixture into the dry and stop stirring when the flour has *just* disappeared, but there are still lumps. Do not overmix.
- Use a large cookie scoop to drop scoops of batter into the muffin tins. Dividing the batter evenly should fill the cups up nearly all the way.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the interior of the muffin is 195F. You can also touch the top center of the muffin with your fingertip, and you'll know it's done if the muffin springs back.
- Remove the muffins from the pan, setting them on a wire rack to cool. I let them cool for about 5 minutes, at which point the chocolate will still be gooey but won't burn your mouth. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated with new photos, copy, and recipe. Originally published March 2011.