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Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

flourless chocolate cupcakes gluten-free

Here’s a quick and easy dessert that will wow your guests whether they’re gluten free or “full of gluten”. This Flourless Chocolate Cupcake recipe is dark and rich –my husband absolutely loved it.

He is really benefiting from the Elana’s Pantry month of cupcakes, given that he is my primary taste tester. And thankfully he enjoyed this treat as much as, or even more than, the last (Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes) –though that’s not much of a surprise since he’s quite the chocolate guy.

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes


  1. Place chocolate and almonds in a food processor
  2. Grind until the consistency of coarse sand
  3. Pulse in eggs, grapeseed oil and agave
  4. Then pulse in vanilla and salt
  5. Spoon batter into muffin pan lined with paper lined
  6. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes
  7. Cool and frost with Vegan Chocolate Icing
  8. Serve

Makes 10 cupcakes

I also have a gluten free Chocolate Cupcake recipe using coconut flour.

Sandi Star of Karmic Health has a great resources page for those on a gluten free diet with information on celiac disease, links to websites and more. You might also want to check out her article on agave nectar, since we’ve been having quite the heated discussion over here at Elana’s Pantry.

Lastly, for today’s Friday Freebie, I am giving away a jar of Naturally Nutty Organic Pepita Sun Seed Butter.  To be entered into the giveaway leave a comment on my YouTube channel, and let me know what your favorite video is; you’ll then have the chance to win this yummy, healthy, high protein treat.

posted on May 14, 2010, 53 comments

  1. Vee

    what do you think about using almond butter instead of the raw almonds?

  2. France

    Can you use a Vita Mix instead of the food processor to grind the chocolate and almonds? If so, the regular or dry pitcher? I just got one and am still trying to get the hang of it.

  3. OK, I am giving this cupcake a go, as well! So far I have all the ingredients, but if you keep pumping out these recipes, the ingredients will disappear fast. I LOVE flourless themed recipes, as almost as I do raw ones.

  4. Elana,
    Are your kids sick of cupcakes yet this month? Just kidding. There is no such thing, right…


  5. Wow that sounds amazing! I wonder if you can use any nut for this.

  6. Thanks for sharing Elana! These look divine :)

  7. Againstthegrain

    Of course, it’s “coarse sand”. ;-)

  8. Oh man. I really like this approach. It’s like making your own chocolate almond flour!

  9. Hallie @ Daily Bites @ hallieklecker.com

    I’m loving your cupcake marathon! I haven’t made any of them yet, but will get around to it one of these days. The hard part: what will I make first?? They all look so good. :)

  10. julie machen @ machen.net

    Would any other nut work instead of the almonds. Of course, we’re allergic to those too!


  11. Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) @ meghantelpnerblog.com

    These looks so decadent. After speaking with you, I am kind of inspired to give the grain-free a go for a little while. My boyfriend needs to do it so I think I might join in the fun. Your book is on it’s way to me!

  12. Elana! I’m following your cupcake marathon religiously :) Has anyone experimented yet with replacing your usual 3 eggs in each recipe? If not, I’ll be the one to start – but just thought I’d ask!

    These look INCREDIBLE ps

    • Ali

      If you experiment with leaving out the eggs–all or even one or two–I’d love to know your results. I do have flax meal on hand (never used it before because I’m not sure how) and also some vegan egg substitute. What do you use to replace the egg? Have you ever tried applesauce? I’ve found that eggs have been bothering me lately, which is a problem with my necessary grain-free diet, so I am very interested!!

  13. francisca


    Been stopping by your website every now and then– great and elegant stuff! Would definitely try some some day–when I’m up for baking.

    So, is this grapeseed oil equivalent to olive oil, veggie oil, or even melted butter–at least in baking? Bank is already broken getting all the GF stuff! *sobs*

    Btw, thought you meant “coarse” sand up there (direction #2)?


    • Ali

      Just thought I’d let you know that I often substitute olive oil (the kind specified for baking-doesn’t have the olive taste to it) cup for cup with grapeseed oil. It works out fine and we’ve never had a problem with that substitution!

      We’ve also found that depending on what department we are in at the grocery store the grapeseed oil is not priced the same. We can find it with the oils or in the healthy section and it is cheaper in our healthy section believe it or not!

  14. Anna Whitby

    please explain “1 1/2 cups” dark chocolate 73%. Are we talking about solid ‘bar’ chocolate? What would that be in ounces? Thanks.

  15. Jenna Hoskinson

    I’m wondering if I used already ground almonds what the amount would be?

    • Tai

      I used almond meal (unblanched) that I had in the fridge. I used 1/3 cup. It came out pretty good. But I also subbed the chocolate bar for cocoa powder (also 1/3 c.) (added a little more oil and 10 drops Stevia) since that is what I had in the cupboard. They turned out good in my opinion but more like a chocolate muffin than cupcake. I didn’t frosting them though. Still…I have already had two :) I want to get all the “right” ingredients and try the recipe exactly the way Elana wrote it.

      • JG

        I tried the 1/3 c. cocoa and 1/3 c. almond flour … also 1/4 c. coconut oil, 1/4 c. honey, and 1 packet stevia/erythritol, and added approx 1 tsp. cinnamon (and the 3 eggs, vanilla and pinch of salt). Though also not really cupcake-like (a little more dense, oily and eggy — but in a good way :), they’re rich and delicious! Easily a do-again, product-on-hand tweaking or original.

      • QueenJellyBean

        Thanks for sharing your idea to use unsweetened cocoa powder. It gave me the idea to reduce the sugar by using 1/2 cup nestles morsels and 1 cup unsweetened bakers chocolate bars. It was my intention to sweeten the batter with 1/3 cup agave, or perhaps stevia but OOPS! I forgot to sweeten the batter!! They came out insanely rich, and much the consistency of the fudgy flourless chocolate cake you’d get a in a fine restaurant for dessert. Mine are not sweet enough to serve to others unless I make a sweet frosting. This is a foolproof recipe, thanks Elana! Oh, the other sub I did was 1/2 an apple in the vitamix with the batter to sub for half of the oil. I was thinking I wanted reduce the fat. Ha! I’ll add the 1/4 cup of oil next time. :)

  16. Wow, I’ll have to try this…..will try replacing the eggs with something though. They sound delicious!

  17. Karen@Cook4Seasons @ cook4seasons.com

    You continue to amaze me. I swear almost every recipe is one that I either love or am dying to try…and that’s at least three per week! I’ll be on this soon – after my juice cleanse in 6 days.

  18. Primal Toad @ primaltoad.com

    These look fabulous. You should make a PDF out of all these cupcake recipes!

    I have yet to try one… I have hundreds of recipes are are waiting to be tried – lol. This one looks like my favorite – I will try it with 100% cacao!

  19. Flavia Chavez-Tafur

    Can we replace Agave nectar with fructose, honey, sweetener ?
    I live in Peru, South America and we don’t yet have Agave here.

    Thank you

  20. Jamie

    These are going to be my favorite! I would love see some type of raw cupcake-maybe like a raw cheesecake.

  21. Robin

    I have whole almonds with skin on … is this what I am to use or will the skins make it too grainy?

    I also wondered about the ounce equivalent for the chocolate as asked by someone else.

    But I LOVE chocolate and almonds together and can’t wait to try these!

    Thanks for your great ideas!

  22. Nitya Allan

    Is there a subsitute for agave nectar? I live in New Zealand and it’s not available here… thanks!

  23. Lisa

    I tried to make these tonight. To put it gently, they did not turn out as expected. My food chopper will grind up the almonds but was useless for chopping up the chocolate. I chopped it as finely as I could by hand; I couldn’t achieve coarse sand, it was more like pebbles in mud. I baked them anyway, thinking that they could evolve into flourless chocolate chip cupcakes. Don’t try it. My result was dubbed an Epic Fail by my teenager.

  24. Mia

    Just made these this afternoon. I do not currently have a food processor so I attempted the recipe in my blender…also used regular chocolate chips; a little brown rice syrup, and olive oil for baking. We did not even need frosting, they were sweet and they were almost gooey inside, probably could have used additional bake time with the ingredients I used. Overall, another fantastic recipe!
    Thank you Elana (aka patron saint of cupcakes!)

  25. Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free @ simplysugarandglutenfree.com

    It’s fun to see everyone enjoying your cupcake month. I also like reading about people’s attempts with recipes and their results – baking requires an understanding of the products and methods involved. It’s not always as simple as ‘read and follow the directions.’ It often involved being present to the ingredients at hand, being in tune with your equipment, and thinking as you go through the steps.

    Calling something a failure after one attempt is not always accurate or fair – the failure is more often a method I don’t understand or something I didn’t do as directed than the recipe itself.

  26. Amy

    My fiance and I just made these and they turned out really well. I think they are our favorite so far (we made everything but the banana cream). Food processing took longer than normal with the chocolate, but persistance paid off! Thanks Elana.

  27. Sarah Joplin

    Hi Elana,
    OMG!! OMFG!! I mean not to curse but to praise! This is the first item I have made of yours and it is amazing! I am currently waiting on my order of almond flour from honeyville so when I saw this I ran out and got the items I was missing as I had most of the items.

    This is amazing! What is even more amazing is that I swapped out the agave for a little bit of stevia liquid, and 3 packets of powder stevia…everyone I know keeps saying it is so hard to do this, but I had to try even if it failed..

    I totally scored. Thank you for your adventure because you helped me be brave enough to just start mine today.

    p.s. I have recently discovered I too have a severe issue with gluten. I going to be tested soon, but the past 2 months I have been adhering to a strict diet no processed sugar, oil, or wheat/grains.

    While on this diet I discovered I feel amazing — like OMG people feel like this all the time? Jeez, so happy to be free and no stomache issues. Anywho.. Currently, I am slowly putting things in my diet and today I have reached a whole new nirvana!

    yippee! and many thanks to come. If interested I maybe starting a blog of my own with stevia trials and triumphs.


  28. Thanks much for the recipe! I made it for dinner this evening, adapting it since I didn’t have all the ingredients. I don’t know it’s supposed to taste, but the ones that we ate were mighty delish! This is the first time I used almonds. I am ready to try it again. Maybe next time I’ll have all the ingredients.

  29. Kate

    I was disappointed that this was not a very good cupcake recipe. The balance of flavors and the texture was off. The chocolate was too bitter for the small amount of sweetener, there was no leavening so as it cooled it fell into a very dense, heavy flourless cake with an overpowering and intensely bitter flavor. The texture was closer to that of a stale brownie than a cake. It seems like a good start for ingredients but that it needs some adjustment to become a cake. I wonder if the recipe for chocolate cake made with almond flour in the book is what this recipe has become. I have made some of the other cakes on this site using almonds and/or almond flour and found they have required some tweaking to achieve true cakelike properties because of the absence of grains. This one I should have tweaked as well.

  30. nancy

    I have a diabetes 7-year old son, and baked these for him to eat at classroom b-day parties, instead of the usual Costco cake. I used a bar of Trader Joe’s dark 73% chocolate, and they were DELICIOUSLY moist and tasty.

    Is there any way we could get nutrition counts on these recipes?



  31. Ghita

    Very rich and absolutely delicious!
    I baked this as a cake, in an 8×8 pyrex glass dish, and added about 10 minutes to the baking time. Turned out well and was a huge hit. It is a very dense cake – not light and springy (more liked by the adults than by the kids). I lightly iced it with a dairy-free frosting, make with 2 parts powdered sugar, 1 part palm oil, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
    Yum! I’ll definitely make this again!

  32. SuzisSweetz

    My friend asked me to make her a gluten free cake. Being the baker I am, I gladly accepted the challenge. 2 weeks ago I didnt even know what that ment. Haha.. I did my research and came across your website. I decided to make your flourless cupcakes & Oh my goodness! I have to say those are some of THE BEST cupcakes I have ever had! I just want to thank you for introducing me to the world of gluten free :) I cant wait to make more of your tasty recipes!

  33. Nicole

    I made these for Easter and they were wonderful. Great treat for me and other family members staying away from wheat products. I like them much better anyway! Thank you for the wonderful recipes!!!

  34. andrea

    the chocolate cupcakes (flourless) sound perfect for my daughter who cant have much these days. her bday is this week. are the dark choc. chips sweetened? she isnt supposed to have sugar and she reacts to agave too. i was just curious if you used unsweetened and/if what i can sub for that. thanks for your help. andrea

  35. Laura Renteria

    These cupcakes are absolutely amazing! I used coconut oil instead of the grape seed oil. They were moist, delicious, and so easy to make. My 2 year old son helped me make them, and he loved them! Thank you for the recipe. I bought your “Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook” just recently, and I’m so excited to try more recipes.

  36. Sara

    omg, these were seriously the BEST CUPCAKES EVER. I subbed coconut oil because I had it, and honey because we don’t do agave.

    I made some chocolate ganache with 4.5oz of dark dark chocolate and 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, let it thicken in the fridge and whisked it a little.


    Thank you for this amazing recipe! It might even be our new favorite (maybe even inched out the vegan choc chip cookies here on your site, MAYBE.)

  37. Sherry Lochner

    These were superb!! I made these for our dessert tonight. I subbed maple syrup for agave and melted butter for the oil. They didn’t even need frosting, but I did make some with whipped ganache.

  38. Talia

    Do you think you could use this recipe for a cake instead of cupcakes?

  39. Heather

    Could I use grassfed butter instead of grapeseed oil? Would it react differently? Thanks!

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Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top