Best Chocolate Muffins

I’ve been searching for the perfect chocolate muffin recipe for a while. Every recipe I’ve tried has been disappointing. Chocolate flavor too mild, texture too spongy, batter too dry, etc. I was looking for a chocolate muffin that had a deep chocolate flavor, was sweeter than what would be considered a healthy breakfast, but not as sweet as a cake, with a texture that is that of a muffin rather than a cupcake.

My search is finally over. During my last attempt at a chocolate muffin recipe, a reader, Meryl, left me a message. She suggested a chocolate muffin recipe by King Arthur’s Flour. As soon as she made the suggestion I got excited. I had a feeling I had found “the recipe.” You see Meryl is the same person who introduced me to the my favorite chocolate cake recipe when I was on my search for the best chocolate cake. I stopped my search after I tried the Cook’s Illustrated Chocolate Cake she suggested to me.

Meryl was generous enough to provide me with the recipe with her notes. I wanted to make the recipe for a while, but I was always missing an ingredient. Finally I got around to it this weekend. The recipe was so easy to whip together. Could the best chocolate muffin recipe really be this simple?

After I let the muffins cool, I took one bite, and I knew my search was over. These were exactly what I was looking for in a chocolate muffin. I only wish that the I hadn’t used oversized muffin cups because I ended up slightly overbaking my first batch. I realize taste is very subjective and so this might not be the “best” recipe for you, but it the perfect recipe for me. Thank you Meryl!

Best Chocolate Muffins (from King Arthur’s Flour)

Yields: 12 muffins


2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
coarse pearl sugar, for topping (optional) (I omitted this)


Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line a standard muffin pan with paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, salt, and chocolate chips. (I put the chocolate chips in last after the rest of the batter was finished). Set aside.

In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar. Add the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend; there’s no need to beat these muffins, just make sure everything is well-combined. (I still had some little bumps in mine. I then stirred in the chocolate chips).

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin; the cups will be heaped with batter, and the muffin will bake into a “mushroom” shape. Sprinkle with pearl sugar, if desired. (I left out the pearl sugar)

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan, allowing them to cool for about 15 minutes on a rack before peeling off the muffin papers or silicone cups.

70 comments on “Best Chocolate Muffins”

  1. Hi Kirbie,

    You’re very welcome! I’m so glad you liked the muffins – they look so nice and plump!

    All the best,


  2. Oh my gosh! These look amazing, I can see why the search is over!

  3. Oh my…Oh my….Oh my…..Oh my Buddha…… chocolate muffins…
    yours looks so pro-, it’s like the batch sold in BreadStory!

    • Thanks! I think it is because of the muffin molds I used. They were kind of expensive though, so I don’t think I’ll be using them again unless I’m baking for a special occasion.

  4. Those look so delicious and soft! Definitely will try out, these sound amazing!

  5. that’s so interesting that there is vinegar in the recipe!!

  6. Ohh my wooorrdd <3 I'm eating one right now!!! They're everything you said they were ^_^ They turned out perfect, and look so pretty! I had to immediately put some in the freezer so I don't eat them all 🙂 thanks for posting this recipe

  7. upto where did you fill-up the paper cups with batter? i’m planning to use cupcake cups and pan instead.
    do i have to grease the outside of the oustide of the pan so that when the muffin rise it will not stick to the pan?

    • I do about 2/3 full because they do rise a lot. if you are using a non stick pan you might want to add some grease to the outside rim to prevent sticking.

  8. Hi! Which brand of cocoa did you use? Was it dutch processed as the recipe specifies? I used a raw cocoa powder and can only guess it is not dutch-processed. My muffins turned out a bit dry. I really loved the flavor and lack of cloying sweetness though and so would like to “fix” this recipe to work for me. Thanks!

  9. YES! Chocolate for breakfast?! Count me in!!!!

  10. I just made these. Chocolate muffins were sounding delicious. They’re a little dry and not sweet enough for my taste. But your pictures are gorgeous!

    • Aww, I’m sorry you dont love this recipe. For dryness, perhaps take them out of the oven a few minutes sooner, or add a little sour cream to the batter.

  11. Hi! do u think I can sub the milk with butter milk?

  12. Just as you guys were settling down for the night over there, the sun rising here down under inspired me to bake these for breakfast. OH MY GOODNESS! They are unreal! Followed the recipe to the letter (with the exception of adding in an extra 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips).
    They are soooo good. My search for the perfect muffin recipe is finally over too. Cheers Kirbie!

  13. I just made these today! They’re FANTASTIC! I used soy milk and cake flour instead but they still came out great!

  14. Yummmmmmm! Heaven

  15. Fabulous recipe! I have made them twice with my kids so far…and have become the world’s most popular mum as a result. Don’t know what Dutch processed means, but I used cocoa I bought in Amsterdam airport duty free…and it worked wonderfully. Thank you for sharing this.

    • I’m so glad to hear it. Dutch processed refers to a specific process for extracting the cocoa. It will usually say it has been dutch processed on the label. It usually is also darker than regular cocoa and the acidity balance is different than regular cocoa. Most recipes I’ve tried you can use either one but there are some where trying to substitute can lead to not so good results.

  16. hello! im also looking for a perfect chocolate muffin for my boys and i want to try this. what vinegar did you use? thanks

  17. These are some gorgeous looking muffins! Can’t wait to try them…thinking of subbing the milk for buttermilk; on a buttermilk kick lately!

    Thanks for sharing!

  18. The first review I ever wanted to write – best chocolate muffins ever and that’s all I have to say. I made them late last evening. Husband had 3 …at midnight. All he could say was “these are the best muffins you ever made”. Seriously. they will become a cult recipe in my house.

  19. This is exactly the recipe I have been looking for, thanks! I am grateful I dont need to try to bake all those not so good ones 🙂 (Well I did try one but it was just too weak in chocolate taste and way too dry.) This one is just perfect! I exchanged regular milk for oat milk (due to lactose intolerance) but it worked just fine.

  20. I made them and substituted grated chocolate for the cocoa but also added 1/4 c cocoa for color. I used 1/2 milk and 1/2 half and half instead of the whole liquid being milk. I left off the chocolate chips because I don’t like hard pieces in muffins. It turned out very tasty but still slightly dry. I still need to tweak a bit and will post future iterations. I recommend lining muffin mini-loaf pans with parchment paper on the bottom if you are not using muffin paper liners. Also grease the non-stick pan as the muffins will otherwise stick to pan and you’ll have a hard time getting them out. Do not over- bake as they will get drier if you do. For me, 20 minutes was sufficient for the muffin mini-loaves. This recipe is a keeper but would be better once it is tweaked to be more moist.

  21. Made them this morning and…they were delish. Just a couple of tweaks – added 1 more tsp of vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar), 1/4 less brown sugar (cos I love my sweets not too sweet, used canola oil instead of butter and only baked for 16mins.
    Result was light, fluffy and MOIST! Love it!

    Also to the people using the buttermilk in place of milk – milk + 3tsp = buttermilk substitute, so if you use buttermilk don’t add the vinegar. 😉

  22. Absolutely delighted with this recipe so easy and keeps really well! Thank you for sharing

  23. OH my! That makes me drool.=D

  24. Hi, do you whisk the egg until pale or just slightly whisk it? So far im looking for the best muffin, looking forward to ur answer. Thank you so much! 🙂

  25. This was strange. They came out dry and not enough of a chocolatey flavour. I wonder what went wrong?

    • I’m not sure. It sounds like something is missing or wasn’t measured right. You added everything? And you used dutch processed cocoa as opposed to regular cocoa?

  26. Hi Kirby,

    I am writing from Kenya. I got hold of this recipe on Sunday and have made it today with my kids help. The muffins are amazing. Thanks to you and Meryl. I am sticking to this!

  27. You did it! I, too, have been on a quest to find the perfect chocolate muffin. My son only liked a certain muffin mix and I am trying to decrease as many processed food as possible. I just found your site and THERE WAS THIS RECIPE! I made them last night without a single change and my son said,”These are the best-keep this recipe1″ Thanks, Martha

  28. I really enjoyed these muffins. The tops turned out a little scorched, but because they were chocolate, they didn’t look it. I think the temperature might be too high? I might try it at 350ºF instead? What do you think that would do? Nevertheless, they were everything you said they would be. I tried Nigella’s recipe a few years ago, and it was so pale and un-chocolate-y. This recipe’s a keeper! I’ve already shared it with all my friends on Facebook! 😉

    • Hmm, muffins usually need the higher baking temp. I’d suggest taking them out a little earlier or maybe moving your oven rack lower. You can try reducing oven temp slightly, but I think 350 will be too low

  29. wow, best muffins ever, the recipe is spectacular, sooo delicious, I use regular HEB cocoa and the flavor is excellent, my kids are loving me, thanks for the recipe, cheers from Mexico.

  30. Hey Kirbie 🙂

    First of all I want to tell you that these muffins looks absolutely brilliant! Exactly what I was looking for! But I wonder about 2 things:
    -can you use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder? I’ve only got Nesquik at home.. :/
    -and I’m confused about the vinegar.. does it give the muffin a special flavour? I’ve never heard of vinegar in muffins 😀

    I hope you can answer me really quickly but if not it’s no problem.. it might help the others ^_^


    • Hi Melly. I’ve nevr tried it with melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder, but I imagine it wouldn’t be exactly the same since melted chocolate has more liquidness to it. I don’t quite know what the vinegar does as I am no expert at baking. I imagine it has some sort of chemical reaction that is why these muffins taste the way they do.

  31. Melly, the vinegar reacts with the baking soda to make the muffins rise.

  32. DOUBLE thumbs up for this sinful muffin ! I am an avid baker and was looking for something extra awesome in the muffin department for a homemade drop off gift to a friend who has experienced a loss. I have a second batch on the go as i write this. SIMPLE AND SCRUMPTIOUS.I am certain this will be a requested recipe to share , thanks for your share !

  33. hi,dont have dutch processed cocoa….live in austria…what can i use instead?

  34. Hi
    I’m so excited to try this recipe. For the espresso powder is that an instant espresso powder?

  35. years of searching for a nice chocolate muffins recipe is finally over today!!! thank you sooo much for posting it,I have just finished baking and the results are scrumptious!!! I just added some vanilla essence instead of coffee delish!!! rose

  36. sorry if my question sounds stupid but:
    = is it the milk liquid one or by milk this means yoghurt?

    thank you! = )

  37. Can’t wait to try these! Have you heard of anyone trying without the chocolate chips? Or did they melt pretty well into the muffin?

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