Best Vegan Cupcakes: Decadent Recipes You’ll Love

Muffins might do for most occasions, but sometimes an event or your appetite calls for something sweeter, softer, and fluffier. That’s when you need a recipe for the best vegan cupcakes. These are not just ordinary cupcakes. They are decadent vegan cupcakes that are just as buttery and soft as their non-vegan counterparts. Here’s how to make these indulgent treats with silky frosting using only plant-based ingredients.

Vegan Cupcake Recipe

When making the best vegan cupcakes, you need only one recipe – vanilla cupcakes. You can whip up a batch quickly. If you want fun cupcakes, add sprinkles to the batter. Make a vegan buttercream frosting and top with sprinkles, coconut, or fresh fruit (only if you plan to keep them in the fridge). Serve immediately or enjoy them later. They will keep for up to four days if appropriately covered.

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes With Frosting

Here’s a recipe that yields 12 vegan vanilla cupcakes.

Ingredients for the batter

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 t. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup oil (avocado or another neutral oil)
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (prefer unbleached)
  • 1 ½ baking powder
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • ¼ t. salt
  • Optional for batter: 1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

Ingredients for frosting

    • ½.
    • Line a standard muffin holder for 12 muffins with paper cupcake holder liners.
    • Put the non-dairy milk and vinegar into a large mixing bowl and set aside a few minutes to curdle. Then add oil and vanilla and mix well with a whisk or hand mixer. Once combined, add the sugar and continue whisking or mixing until the sugar is combined and dissolved.
    • Sieve the dry ingredients into another bowl and then incorporate them into the wet ingredients, ensuring a well-incorporated and smooth mixture. The mixture is not too thin, but it’s pourable, almost like a pancake batter. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of flour to thicken slightly.
    • If adding sprinkles, fold them in with a spatula and divide the batter evenly in the baking tray. Don’t overfill the cupcake holders. Aim for ¾ full.
    • Bake for 20-24 minutes on the center rack of your oven. When inserted, a toothpick comes out clean when they are ready. The cupcakes cook to a slight golden brown color.
    • Completely cool the cupcakes on a cooling rack before icing.

Instructions for frosting

      1. Add softened butter to a mixing bowl. Beat the butter until light and fluffy.
      2. Add vanilla and mix a bit more.
      3. Add ½ cups of the sifted powdered sugar and continue mixing. Continue adding the powdered sugar, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. You want a thick and creamy frosting that holds its shape, so if the mixture is too thin, add a splash of non-dairy milk or more powdered sugar.
      4. Frost the cupcakes and top with sprinkles, coconut, or fruit (strawberries work well).

Easy Vegan Cupcake Recipe

As the recipe above shows, making the best vegan cupcakes is very easy. You only need two bowls, a whisk or a mixer, and a muffin or cupcake baking tray.

Here’s an easy vegan cupcake recipe from The Vegan 8 that contains no oil, and you won’t even be able to tell it’s oil-free. For these fluffy and moist vegan vanilla cupcakes, you need just eight ingredients and a batch of your favorite frosting. You can use bought frosting or make your own by following the recipes from the links on the blog for the Best Vegan Buttercream Frosting or Funfetti Cake Butter Cream Frosting.

Full-fat coconut milk gives these cupcakes their moist texture, so you cannot substitute it with other non-dairy milk. Don’t expect these cupcakes to be too sweet. The recipe calls for less sugar than most; the vanilla is the star.

Best Vegan Cupcakes

If you are looking for the best vegan cupcakes, you might have irresistible flavors in mind. There’s nothing more decadent than an Oreo, banana, apple cinnamon, blueberry lemon, red velvet, or salted caramel vegan cupcake. Or how about something more suited to adult tastes like mint chocolate, pink champagne, or mojito-flavored vegan cupcakes?

Vegan Food and Living has a delicious selection of some of the most deliciously decadent vegan cupcakes you can come across online. Try them all depending on the occasion, whether you want an intensely flavored chocolate vegan cupcake or one with a fruity center. There are even two recipes for Halloween cupcakes that are horrifyingly mind-blowing – Vegan Brain Cupcakes and Vegan Ghost Cupcakes.

These cupcakes and their fluffy, non-dairy buttercream will satisfy everybody’s sweet tooth without knowing they are completely vegan.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Very few people can resist a moist vegan chocolate cupcake with a silky frosting. Here’s a recipe from The Banana Diaries that yields twelve of the moistest and richest vegan chocolate cupcakes you have ever tried, and they are so easy to make.

The recipe uses Dutch-processed cocoa powder, and the secret is to use hot water to help it release its rich chocolate flavors into the cupcake. You can double the recipe to make two layers for an 8” cake, too, if you want, but the cupcakes are perfect for fuss-free serving.

Some essential tips for making this recipe are not to swap in flaxseed for an egg replacement. Instead, use the unsweetened applesauce or dairy-free yogurt called for by the recipe. All the ingredients are left to reach room temperature before adding to the mixture, except for the chocolate. You can also add some coffee to the chocolate for a richer flavor. Whatever you do, remember never to overmix the batter to avoid the cupcakes getting rubbery and flat.

Additionally, don’t overfill the cake liners with the cupcake mixture. You don’t want your cupcakes to have a muffin top, which will make them look bulky and challenging to frost.

Finally, when removing from the oven, allow the cupcakes 10 minutes to cool in the cupcake tin before removing onto a cooling rack. With this trick, the liner comes off cleanly from the cupcakes.

How to Make Vegan Cupcakes

Vegan cupcakes are very simple to make. However, here are some tips on how to make them, ensuring you get the best vegan cupcake results every time:

Use quality ingredients—Opt for fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor and texture. These include fresh plant-based milk, good-quality flour, and pure extracts.

Find the plant-based ingredients you prefer – Replace dairy milk with the plant-based milk you like. If you don’t like the additional flavor of nut or coconut milk, then use rice or soy milk. Additionally, flavorless oils like avocado, rapeseed, etc., should replace dairy butter instead of margarine because it usually contains added water.

Don’t overmix the batter – Overmixing the batter leads to denser cupcakes. Mix the batter lightly until combined to ensure a light and fluffy texture.

Use a leavening agent – In vegan baking, since you’re not using eggs, you need a leavening agent to help the cupcakes rise. Baking soda combined with an acid like vinegar or lemon juice works well.

Experiment with egg substitutes – You can use various egg substitutes in vegan baking, such as applesauce, mashed banana, flaxseed meal, or commercial egg replacers. Experiment to find which one works best for your recipe and desired texture.

Ensure proper moisture—Vegan cupcakes tend to dry out more quickly than traditional cupcakes. Add ingredients like applesauce, mashed banana, or vegan yogurt to the batter to keep them moist.

Mix dry ingredients first and then add liquid ingredients – Mix all the dry ingredients before adding your liquid ingredients. Since you cannot rely on eggs for leavening, the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda must do the job. Once you add the wet ingredients, get the cupcakes into the oven as quickly as possible so that these two ingredients can do their work.

Adjust sweetness – Since some plant-based milk alternatives and other vegan ingredients may vary, you might need to adjust the amount of sugar in your recipe by tasting it before baking.

No over- or under-filling the cases – Always fill the cases two-thirds up. Any more, and they will rise above the top and look messy; any less, they’ll look too small.

Check for doneness – Follow the recipe’s time guide, but also test with a toothpick for doneness. Insert the toothpick into the center of one cupcake in the batch – if it comes out clean (with no wet batter clinging to it), the cupcakes are ready.

Cool properly – Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack. Then frost and eat or store them. Don’t cool them entirely in the pan; otherwise, the condensation can make them soggy. However, leaving them in the pan for ten minutes before transferring them to the cooling rack allows the linings to come off better.

Choose the right frosting – Many vegan options, such as dairy-free buttercream, coconut whipped cream, or ganache made with dairy-free chocolate, are available. Choose a frosting that complements your cupcakes and fits your dietary preferences.

Get creative—Vegan cupcakes are incredibly versatile, so don’t hesitate to experiment with flavors and toppings. Try different extracts, spices, fruits, or nuts to create unique and delicious cupcakes.

Expert Tips for Perfect Vegan Cupcakes


Ensuring your vegan cupcakes turn out perfectly always involves crucial tips and tricks. Here are expert recommendations to help you master the art of vegan cupcake baking:

  • Quality of Ingredients: Always choose fresh, high-quality ingredients. The quality of the plant-based milk, flour, and extracts you use can significantly impact the flavor and texture of your cupcakes.
  • Choose the Right Plant-Based Milk: Each type of non-dairy milk can affect the flavor and texture of your cupcakes differently. Opt for the one that suits your taste and the recipe requirements. Soy or almond milk are excellent choices for a neutral taste.
  • Avoid Overmixing: To keep your cupcakes light and fluffy, mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing can lead to dense and chewy cupcakes.
  • Correct Use of Leavening Agents: Since you’re not using eggs, leavening agents like baking soda and baking powder are crucial. Ensure they’re fresh and adequately measured.
  • Experiment with Egg Replacements: Different recipes might call for different egg substitutes. Whether it’s applesauce, mashed banana, or flaxseed meal, experiment to see which provides the best results for your desired texture.
  • Maintain Moisture: Vegan cupcakes can dry out faster than traditional ones. Ingredients like vegan yogurt, applesauce, or mashed banana can help add moisture and richness.
  • Balance Dry and Wet Ingredients: Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly before incorporating the wet ones to ensure an even distribution of leavening agents, which is crucial for proper rise.
  • Adjust Sweetness: The sweetness of your ingredients can vary depending on the type and brand. Taste the batter and adjust the sugar according to your preference and the sweetness of your plant-based milk.
  • Fill Cases Properly: Filling the cupcake cases two-thirds full ensures they rise just right without spilling over or appearing too small.
  • Check for Doneness: Use the toothpick test to check if the cupcakes are
    • baked through. A clean toothpick means the cupcakes are ready.
    • Cooling: Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about ten minutes before moving them to a wire rack. This helps the cupcakes firm up and makes it easier to remove them without sticking.
    • Choose Complementary Frostings: Pick a frosting that complements the flavor of your cupcakes. Options include vegan buttercream, coconut whipped cream, and ganache from dairy-free chocolate.
    • Be Creative with Flavors and Toppings: Vegan cupcakes offer a canvas for creativity. Don’t shy away from experimenting with various extracts, spices, and toppings like nuts, fruits, or even edible flowers.

    These tips will help you perfect your vegan cupcake recipes, ensuring delicious results that will impress at any event or satisfy any sweet craving.

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