Air Fryer Chocolate Cupcakes

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I have been spending a lot more time inside the house lately, which means I have been making a lot more desserts! These air fryer chocolate cupcakes are super easy to make and they are the perfect serving size for you and your family! The chocolate buttercream on top pairs perfectly with this delicious air fryer chocolate cake. Plus, they are super fast and cleanup is a breeze.

Six chocolate cupcakes in an air fryer basket.

The air fryer is perfect for baking cake!

Check out my tips and tricks guide to using an air fryer.

  • It is fast! Since the air fryer is so much smaller than your oven, you can bake a cake in 80% of the time compared to a conventional oven.
  • Perfect size. Sometimes you just need a small batch of cupcakes to get you through your day!
  • The best cake! It always comes out tender and moist with a nice crumb.
  • Easy cleanup. It doesn’t get much simpler than an air fryer!
A partially eaten chocolate cupcake.

Ingredients to make the best chocolate cupcake

Don’t worry, you won’t need to run to the store. Odds are, you already have all of the ingredients you need in your house to make these air fryer cupcakes.

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Oil
  • Milk
  • Hot water
  • Cocoa
  • Egg
  • Vanilla
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
Ingredients for air fryer chocolate cupcakes.

How to make these cupcakes!

If the goal is a deliciously moist cake, then you should use oil. For a more dense cake, you can use butter, which gives it a bit of a different flavor as well. To replace oil with butter in this recipe just melt the butter before adding it to the batter.

The oil allows the cake to be more airy and light with a larger crumb to it. I prefer a more moist cake, but get creative and try making some substitutions using the table below to see what you like best!

The inspiration for this cake, and the recommendations for ingredient substitutions outlined below, comes from Dahn at Head over to her blog and check out her AMAZING molten chocolate lava cakes, these things are life-changing!

OilMelted Coconut Oil
Melted Butter
Hot WaterHot Coffee
Hot Beer
Hot Soda
MilkGreek Yogurt
Sour Cream
Non-Dairy Milk
Eggs and OilMayonnaise1:1 oil
and no eggs

How to make cupcakes in the air fryer

Step 1

Preheat the air fryer to 310°F. When baking in the air fryer, it is especially important to ensure the air fryer is preheated so that the cake bakes evenly. Spray 12 silicone cupcake holders with non-stick spray.

Step 2

Whisk the cocoa and the hot water together until the cocoa powder is completely dissolved. Add the sugar, oil, milk, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk well until combined. 

Step 3

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over the wet ingredients and stir well. Be sure that there are no dry clumps of dry ingredients in the batter.

Step 4

Divide the batter into the cupcake holders and place them in the air fryer. 

Step 5

Set the timer for 10 to 12 minutes. Using a toothpick, check that the cupcakes are done baking. Let them cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream swirled on top.

What else is cooking?

Sometimes, you need LOTS of dessert! So while you have the air fryer out making chocolate cupcakes, try out this awesome recipe for air fryer banana bundt cake!

Or, let’s stick with the chocolate theme. These air fryer chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are to die for.

This chipotle lime crema is so good you can put it on anything! Except for maybe chocolate cupcakes… But seriously, it is the perfect sauce to put on sandwiches or dip your nachos in or even to dress your salad with.

💬 Tell Me What You Think!

Did you try out this recipe? Please leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it. Also, snap a picture and post it to your favorite social platform. Be sure to tag me at @alicensetogrill and let me know how you liked it!


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Did you make this recipe? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream swirled on top.

Air Fryer Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 to 14 cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

This small-batch recipe makes the perfect amount of chocolate cupcakes for an air fryer. Baking in the air fryer is a little different than the regular oven but these directions will guide you. The chocolate buttercream is the perfect topping for these moist and tender cupcakes.


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons milk or cream


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 310°F.
  2. Spray 12 silicone cupcake holders with non-stick spray. Optionally, you can line the silicone cupcake holders with paper cupcake liners.
  3. Whisk the cocoa and the hot water together until the cocoa powder is completely dissolved. 
  4. Add the sugar, oil, milk, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk well. 
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over the wet ingredients and stir well. 
  6. Divide the batter into the cupcake holders and place them in the air fryer. 
  7. Set the timer for 10 to 12 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick. The toothpick should be clean after you stick it into the center of the cupcake. 
  8. Remove from air fryer and let cool completely. 

Chocolate buttercream frosting

  1. Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat until combined. 
  2. Add the salt and vanilla extract and beat well. Slowly add the milk or cream until you have the consistency you like. 
  3. Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes. 


  • Different models of air fryers will bake at different rates. Start at the lowest time recommended in the recipe. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • If the cupcakes rise unevenly, lower the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees.
  • Paper cupcake liners will give you a standard size cupcake. Some silicone cupcake holders are slightly smaller than traditional cupcakes. If you use a smaller silicone cupcake holder, you may need to reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 244mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 30gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

About Joshua Boquist

Josh is an outdoor enthusiast and food fanatic. A License To Grill is his passion project where the outdoors intersects food - grilling, smoking, and all things tasty!

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  1. I enjoyed your recipe. I ate the cupcakes without frosting. They were good and not very sweet. The frosting I imagine would have complimented them nicely. I made this with coffee instead of water. Very tasty. Very moist. I increased my temperature and increased the amount of time a bit too. Thanks.

    1. Hi La, I am glad you enjoyed them! Coffee definitely helps to boost the chocolate flavor, great idea!