Chocolate Muffins (Best Moist Scratch Recipe) - Fifteen Spatulas (2024)

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!

Chocolate Muffins (Best Moist Scratch Recipe) - Fifteen Spatulas (1)

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.
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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 theseChocolate 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.

Chocolate Muffins (Best Moist Scratch Recipe) - Fifteen Spatulas (3)

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:

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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:

Chocolate Muffins (Best Moist Scratch Recipe) - Fifteen Spatulas (5)

Please use true buttermilk here, and not milk mixed with vinegar. The real stuff is better.

Buttermilk tends to come in a quart size container, which is more than you need for this recipe, but it’s a good excuse to also try these wonderful Blueberry Muffins orLemon Buttermilk Pie.

Stir well to combine, then pour this into the dry ingredients bowl:

Chocolate Muffins (Best Moist Scratch Recipe) - Fifteen Spatulas (6)

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:

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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:

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Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, at which point the tops will be slightly cracked and puffed:

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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.

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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.

Next try these Zucchini Muffins, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, Pumpkin Muffins, or Oat Muffins with Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble. Happy baking!

FAQ and Tips:

How do you freeze chocolate muffins?

Let them cool completely, then freeze in an airtight container for up to two months.

How do you thaw chocolate muffins?

Simply let them sit at room temperature for about an hour, until they are no longer frozen.

How do you store chocolate muffins?

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.

What type of cocoa powder should you use for chocolate muffins?

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.

Are these muffins sweet?

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.

Can you make mini muffins with this recipe?

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.

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Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Chocolate Muffins (Best Moist Scratch Recipe) - Fifteen Spatulas (12)

Chocolate Muffins

Servings: 12

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 20 minutes mins

Total Time: 30 minutes mins

These Chocolate Muffins have intense chocolate flavor, with cocoa in the batter and chocolate chips folded in. They're a delicious breakfast treat!

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  • 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!


*Use regular/natural cocoa powder, not Dutch-process.

Be careful not to overstir the mixture, it should be lumpy. I recommend not using an electric mixer, and instead stirring by hand in a bowl.

Storage: Let cool completely, then store at room temperature for two days in an airtight container. Or, you can freeze for up to 2 months.

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown’s Chocolate Muffins #7 from his cookbook I’m Just Here for More Food(affiliate).


Calories: 155kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 104mg, Potassium: 159mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 174IU, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch

Cuisine: American

Author: Fifteen Spatulas

Post updated with new photos, copy, and recipe.Originally publishedMarch 2011.

Chocolate Muffins (Best Moist Scratch Recipe) - Fifteen Spatulas (2024)


What is the secret to moist muffins? ›

How to Make Homemade Muffins Moist: Our Top Tips
  1. Tips to Make Homemade Muffins Moist.
  2. Keep Wet and Dry Ingredients Separately.
  3. Add All Flavorings Last.
  4. Consider Paper Liners.
  5. Don't Overfill the Muffin Cups.
  6. Check the Temperature of Your Oven.
  7. Test if Muffins Are Fully Cooked.
  8. Top Your Muffins with Flavor.
Aug 9, 2021

Why are my muffins not moist? ›

Overbaking or underbaking the muffins.

Bake them a few minutes too long, and those once-moist and fluffy muffins run the risk of turning dry.

How to make moist muffins from a box? ›

Applesauce is a wonderful way to add moisture to your muffins. You can use it in place of the oil your muffin mix calls for. You'll want to measure carefully and replace the oil with half as much applesauce. For instance, if your mix calls for one cup of oil use one-half cup of applesauce.

Why are my muffins not fluffy? ›

Too much leavening – If there is too much baking soda or powder in the batter, muffins will rise temporarily, then collapse. This causes them to become dense. For every cup of flour, you only need 1 teaspoon of baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.

What not to do when making muffins? ›

Common Muffin Making Mistakes To Avoid
  1. Over mixing the batter.
  2. Overfilling the muffin tray.
  3. Leaving the muffins in the pan after they have baked.
  4. Berries, nuts, and chocolate chips sink to the bottom.
Mar 12, 2019

How do you keep homemade muffins moist? ›

The Best Way to Store Muffins
  1. STEP ONE: Let the muffins cool completely on a wire rack.
  2. STEP TWO: Line an airtight storage container with paper towels.
  3. STEP THREE: Place muffins in the container, on top of the paper towels.
  4. STEP FOUR: Place an additional paper towel layer on top of the muffins.

Why are Bakery muffins so much better? ›

The best bakery-style crumb muffins start with cake flour

Cake flour is more finely ground and has less protein, which leaves the muffins with a fine, light crumb and soft texture. Using cake flour is an easy way to avoid heavy, dense muffins even if you end up stirring just a bit too much.

What can I add to muffin mix to make it better? ›

Makers love to use these 5 ways to experiment with muffin mixes to make something extra special.
  1. Add Fresh or Frozen Fruit to the Batter. ...
  2. Add a Cream Cheese Filling. ...
  3. Add Nuts to the Batter. ...
  4. Add a Sweet Topping. ...
  5. Make Something Completely Different.

What is the secret to high muffins? ›

Chilling your muffin batter overnight in the fridge is the BEST thing you can do for amazing muffins. It makes them more moist, tender, and TALLER! It's very similar to chilling cookie dough, which if you know me you know I'm obsessed with chilling cookie dough.

Should you let muffin batter rest? ›

Rest the Muffin Batter

The first, most hands-off way to make your muffins pop (literally) is to let the batter rest. Make the batter, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the batter rest at room temperature for about 1 hour. If you're short on time, just 30 minutes can make a difference.

Why put water in the oven when baking muffins? ›

The steam creates gases (water vapor) within the dough to expand granules. Bread tends to bake quickly in the first few minutes of baking and the water aids in slowing down the process just enough. Steam also helps with making a crispy crust.

How do you get moisture back in muffins? ›

One of the easiest ways to revive stale muffins is to warm them in a hot oven. First, spray them with water or pat them with a damp paper towel. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap each muffin in aluminum foil and reheat the whole batch for up to 10 minutes.

How to get domed muffins? ›

I suggest baking your muffins at 400 F. I know most muffin recipes (including the ones I have used previously) all tell us to preheat our ovens to between 325-375 F. That heat range is just not enough. While it will surely cook your muffins, it will not give you the full rise that you want.


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