Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes


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Paleo chocolate cupcakes are extremely moist, decadent and rich, with a perfectly fluffy texture. You’ll never know they’re gluten-free and dairy-free! Top them off with a swirl of my vegan chocolate buttercream frosting for one irresistible treat.

Paleo chocolate cupcakes on a table.

Let me start off by introducing my most loved paleo chocolate cake recipe. If you’ve made the cake before, you know what I’m talking about. It has all the delicious textures and flavors of a real chocolate cake, while being gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo. It’s a reader favorite with over 1000 comments.

And many of you have asked if that cake can be turned into cupcakes. The answer? Oh yes, it sure can.

These cupcakes are simply half of that cake recipe. But for those who don’t want to do the math on the ingredients, no worries, I’ve done it for you. These cupcakes are just as light, fluffy, and perfectly moist as the original cake…in smaller cupcake form. Let’s dive in.

Ingredients for making paleo chocolate cupcakes.

Paleo Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients

I go into detail on why each of these ingredients is critical to the success of this recipe on the original cake post. So if you’d like more information check that out. But here’s what you’ll need for the cupcakes:

Dry ingredients

  • Almond Flour – 1 1/2 cups
  • Tapioca Flour – 1/2 cup
  • Coconut Flour – 2 tablespoons
  • Coconut Sugar – 1 cup
  • Raw Cacao Powder – 3/4 cup
  • Baking Soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Espresso Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

Wet Ingredients

  • Eggs – 2 large eggs
  • Full-Fat Coconut Milk – 3/4 cup
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • Coconut Oil – 1/4 cup
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients

  • Powdered Sugar – 4 cups (or powdered coconut sugar for added richness)
  • Cacao Powder – 1/2 cup
  • Organic Palm Shortening – 1/2 cup (or vegan butter)
  • Dairy-Free Milk – 1/3-2/3 cup
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon

Filling the cupcake pan with chocolate batter.

How To Make Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes

To get started, you’ll need to create the cupcake batter. Watch the video on my cake recipe to see how I do it, or follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. Add everything into a large mixing bowl and give it a good whisk.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Then pour the wet mixture into the dry and whisk together for 1-2 minutes to create the batter.
  4. Prepare the cupcakes. Line a muffin tin with muffin cups and evenly divide the batter between 14 muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 25-28 minutes. Test to see if the cupcake is done using the toothpick test.
  6. Let the cupcakes cool. This is key if you’re layering frosting on top. If not, you can also eat them as little chocolate muffins!

Piping the chocolate buttercream frosting on the cupcakes.

How To Make Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

As your cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream frosting. Then you can get to the piping fun!

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a mixer. Add the ingredients to a stand mixer and blend on low for 30 seconds. Then slowly increase the speed to high and blend for one minute.
  2. Test the frosting consistency. If your frosting is too thick, add more milk. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  3. Pipe the cupcakes. Place the frosting into a piping bag and pipe swirls on top of each cupcake.

Paleo chocolate cupcakes on a table.

Unwrapping a paleo chocolate cupcake.

Can You Make the Cupcakes Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! You can make the cupcakes up to two days before a party or event. Let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature on your counter.

You can also make the frosting ahead of time and store in a separate container in the fridge. Just re-whip the frosting before placing in a piping bag. I prefer to store the cupcakes unfrosted and frost right before serving for the most fresh texture. But you could store them frosted as well.

Can you freeze cupcakes? You sure can. If you plan to eat them within a couple of weeks, I just frost and store in an airtight glass storage container. If you plan to store them longer (up to 2 months), you can prevent freezer burn by wrapping the unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap before storing in an airtight glass container. And let me tell you, defrosting chocolate cupcakes is mighty tasty meal prep!

Biting into a paleo chocolate cupcake.

More Decadent Chocolate Recipes

If you’ve got some cacao powder leftover, here’s a few of my favorite chocolate recipes to whip up!

Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes (gluten-free, dairy-free)

5 from 33 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 14 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Paleo chocolate cupcakes are extremely moist, decadent and rich, with a perfectly fluffy texture. They're gluten-free and dairy-free!


Cake Dry Ingredients

Cake Wet Ingredients

Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Add all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • Add all the wet ingredients to another bowl and stir together. Then pour the wet mixture into the dry and whisk together for one minute to create the batter.
  • Line muffin tins with muffin cups and evenly divide the batter between 14 muffin cups.
  • Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely before piping the frosting on top.

Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Add all the ingredients to a stand mixer and blend on low for 30 seconds. Then slowly increase the speed to high and blend for one minute.
  • If you're mixture needs to be thinned out, add more milk. If you need to thicken, add more powdered sugar.
  • Once the cupcakes are completely cool, place the frosting into a piping bag and pipe swirls onto each cupcake.

Lisa's Tips

  • This recipe creates 14 full cupcakes (I fill each cupcake about 80% of the way full with batter). But you can create 15 slightly smaller cupcakes as well.
  • My baking time of 25-28 minutes is based on a standard oven. I'd recommend checking the cupcakes earlier, at 20 minutes if your oven tends to cook fast or if you're using a convection oven.
  • Remember to make sure your cupcake is 100% cool before frosting. Otherwise the heat from the cupcake will melt your frosting.
  • This is the brand of espresso powder that I use.


Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 202mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 56IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free chocolate cupcakes, Paleo chocolate cupcakes
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Made these for my son’s 5th birthday (along with the chocolate cake). We brought them to the park with some friends and there wasn’t a bite left. I highly recommend this one!5 stars

  2. I would like to echo requests for measurements in grams. It should really be standard for baking recipes. Because I weigh my ingredients the batter was very stiff, more like brownies.

    1. You can use butter in place of the shortening. But don’t use a liquid oil as that won’t work.

  3. I made these for a test for my mother’s 90th birthday, as I live in Australia, I converted the measurements to grams, although they taste ok I’m wondering what I did wrong as they turned out a little fudgy. Any ideas what might have gone wrong?

  4. Wondering if I could use almond milk instead of the coconut milk? My family doesn’t like even a hint of coconut flavor….

    1. I am badly allergic to coconut and I have made this recipe with almond milk and also with soy milk. Both turned out fabulous. I’m sure the coconut makes it richer as it’s thicker. But I’ve enjoyed them without.

  5. Yum yum yum! Made these with stevia/erythritol and worked out perfectly! So delicious, the whole family loved them5 stars

  6. Love this recipe! I’ve made it several times and it is excellent :) However, is there anyway you please list the weights of the dry ingredients? My batter was pretty thick and I would love to know if I’m using the right amounts (since the amount can vary depending on how you fill the measuring cup).5 stars

  7. Lisa, every Monday my 4 yr old granddgtr stays for the day and she requested making cupcakes. We made these and OMG they are so decadently chocolately! Of course Emily wanted to add chocolate chips to some. They were a huge hit and I definitely will make these again. Frosting was also delicous but excessive as I threw out about 1 1/2 c. One healthy treat…yuummm5 stars

  8. Hi Lisa! I plan to make these for my daughters birthday and wanted to ask if we can omit the cocoa powder from the frosting and to color them pink. She wants mini mouse cupcakes. Thank you! ❤️