Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

By Maria Lichty

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It’s that time of year where everyone is overloaded with zucchini. Our friend’s gave us a monstrous zucchini and I was determined to not let it go to waste. I made zucchini brownies, but that only made a small dent in the giant zucchini. I decided to make Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with the rest of the zucchini. You can’t go wrong turning a vegetable into a chocolate dessert:)

If you think adding zucchini to cupcakes sounds weird, gross, or just wrong, think again. These cupcakes are one of the most moist, rich, chocolaty cupcakes I have ever tasted. If you think no one will eat them because there is zucchini involved, just don’t tell them. It will be our little secret. One of the kid’s in our neighborhood stopped by and we gave him a cupcake. He licked his wrapper clean and had chocolate all over his face. I think he liked it:)

If you are wondering what to do with your garden zucchini, try these Zucchini Chocolate Cupcakes. And if you don’t have any zucchini, I am sure a friend or neighbor would be happy to share with you:) I am going to have to hunt down some more zucchini so I can make these cupcakes again. They are a new favorite!

Check out our other favorite zucchini recipes here! You will want to make them all!

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Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

The BEST chocolate cupcakes! You will never know they are made with zucchini!
4 from 1 vote


For the cupcakes:

For the frosting:


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, butter, and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract, buttermilk, zucchini, and chocolate chips.
  • In a separate large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients and mix until well combined. Spoon batter into large muffin pans, filling them about ¾ the way full. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack, while you make the frosting.
  • To make the frosting, melt the butter. Whisk in the cocoa powder, whisking until smooth. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Frost the cupcakes with the chocolate frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store cupcakes at room temperature in an air tight container.


* Note-the frosting makes about 2 cups, you might have a little extra.


Calories: 401kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 254mg, Potassium: 251mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 38g, Vitamin A: 294IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 2mg

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. I love this idea- I always think of making zucchini bread, but not “treats” like cupcakes and brownies!

  2. I have a long standing phobia of zucchini but maybe these cupcakes will help me get over it! They look absolutely delicious.

  3. This is one of those instances where you DON’T want to leave a bit of what’s inside on the side of the plate or on the top of the goodie as garnish in fear that no one will take one. Something about veggies in treats make people pass it up…it’s kind of like labeling something “sugar free” or “vegan”. You just tell the people/person who needs to know and let everyone else figure it out (if they can, which they probably can’t)

  4. Maria these are awesome looking. The neon green sprinkles against that chocolate frosting is just beautiful!

  5. These look delicious Maria! A great way to get the greens in with the little ones too! πŸ™‚

  6. these look so perfect for st. patrick’s day…and i love the combination of zucchini and chocolate!

  7. These sound great! I have so many zucchini, I wish i could donate some to you for your baking πŸ™‚ I also love the zucchini fries- after i made it, my friends and family started making them too for cookouts πŸ™‚

  8. Finally a cake recipe using courgettes that looks appetising! We’ve got a glut of courgettes too, and I tried courgette muffins and not even my husband (hoover) would eat them!
    I will be trying these for certain x

  9. We didn’t plant a garden this year, so I’m not overburdened with zucchini like usual, but this makes me wish that I had lots of it right now!

  10. Oh my goodness….those are darling with the little green sprinkles! πŸ™‚

    {and thanks so much for the shout-out!}

  11. What a great idea. Love the idea of eating veggies too whenever possible. Your picture of these cupcakes is so cute…the green sprinkles are perfect for zucchini.

  12. I must admit my savory ingredients sweet muffins, carrots, zucchini turn out horribly, though I like it whenever everyone else makes them. Maybe the lack of chocolate in mine, explains it!! πŸ™‚

  13. I love zucchini, and zucchini cupcakes, well, that’s a no brainer! Um, I’m sorta loving the cute little green sprinkles too πŸ˜‰ You’re gonna be such a great mom, kids and sprinkles = great combo!

  14. I have zucchini in my refrigerator and I’m not afraid to use it….especially with chocolate. πŸ˜‰ Yum!

  15. Maria, those green sprinkles on top are wonderful! I’ve been thinking about making chocolate cake with our zucchini, but I like your idea of cupcakes better.
    Thanks for the post.

  16. I love sneaking veggies into baked goods…especially when it involves coercing my brother into eating veggies he THINKS he doesn’t like! These look fabulous.

  17. I wish you were my neighbor–I would give you a million zucchinis! And then could I come over every day for a zucchini dessert? πŸ˜‰

  18. I think I must have come from a home that did not care for zucchini, though I really like it very much. I don’t even remember eating zucchini bread or desserts at any of my family’s tables. I guess I need to find some zucchini and try this-so I won’t feel left out! πŸ™‚

  19. I am just in love with the deepness of the chocolate and the green sprinkles on top. Makes me want to eat the whole batch.

  20. What a terrific way to use up all the zucchini that’s overflowing this time of year – would never think to pair chocolate with zucchini in a cupcake, but why not! I love zucchini bread and muffins, so moist.

  21. Love using zucchini in baked goods! Feels good to know there’s *something* healthful in there πŸ™‚

  22. I love chocolate and zucchini together! I think the green sprinkles are an adorable nod to the zucchini!

  23. Our recipe uses ground cloves too — and it’s delicious! I love the buttercream frosting, although I am partial to our whipped cream frosting. I tinted it a light pink color and served our chocolate chip zucchini cake as cupcakes for a little girl baby shower πŸ™‚ No one knew there was a veggie in there!

  24. Love this trick of adding vegetables to sweet treats … and yes, it will be our little secret!!

  25. Ooh, thanks for showing us a pic of the inside! I LOVE that there is no visible evidence of zucchini πŸ™‚ It’s best to keep that a secret…

  26. I just made a chocolate zucchini cake yesterday! It would be fun to make cupcakes sometime. Love the little green sprinkles.

  27. i was just wondering what to do with all that zucchini sitting on my counter…. Great idea! πŸ™‚

    1. I used a cheese grater-it was a “medium” grate. I didn’t bother peeling the zucchini either. I hope this helps!

  28. I never would’ve thought to use zucchini in a chocolate cupcake – I love it, Maria! They must be super moist.

  29. I LOVE zucchini and always have it in my fridge πŸ™‚ These look so moist! A whole lotta sugar though – but how can one resist πŸ™‚

  30. We will be celebrating a 90th bday and this will make an excellent bday cake for the celebration! These are so cute. Thanks for the great recipe!

  31. Love the sprinkles on these, so cute πŸ™‚ Zucchini in baked goods is perfect, you can hardly taste it yet it’s there and making it slightly more acceptable to eat tons of chocolate!

  32. We too have some beasts of zucchini growing in the veggie patch at the momento, but i have never eaten a baked good with them in! crazy i know. This summer this simply must be changed, and as you say you really cant go wrong with a choccy cupcake πŸ™‚ great recipe thanks!

  33. I so cannot believe that this will work, but since I stumbled across your blog lately I have read so many wonderful, mouth-watering recipes that I trust you with those, too!
    Thank God my maternity leave starts in 3 months, there is so much to try out before finalizing the Christmas dinner plans πŸ™‚
    Thanks, Cati

  34. oh yum, these look great! I’m always looking for ways to use up excess zucchini πŸ™‚

  35. I can’t wait to try this out! I have been wanting to try some zucchini dessert recipe for so long! Your cup cakes look so rich and delicious!!

  36. Made these after you posted the recipe and came out great!!! My zucchini didn’t grate the way I wanted it to but it didn’t affect the recipe or taste at all – will link to you guys when I post on my blog – thanks for another great treat!!

  37. Yes indeed, the zucchini are out in full force and these cupcakes sound like a great way to start chipping away at the seemingly never-ending supply.

  38. Beautiful decoration hint at the goodness within! Love it!
    BTW…bought Biscoff spread over the weekend. Half of the jar is gone, I’m blaming it on the baby. πŸ™‚

    Hope your pregnancy is going as well as mine is! Six weeks to go!

  39. These are so cute! I hate a huge zucchini from my garden that I’ve been wondering what to do with…this is a fantastic idea!

  40. you are just amazing! ALL your food and desserts look so so good! I’ll have to add this one to the list as well!

  41. i am not a gardener. i should be with the almost 2 acres of land we have, but cannot get into it.
    but i am a cupcake maker! lol

  42. i love zucchini in deserts and not only and these are looking so sinfully delicious. Love those green sprinkles …

  43. “You can’t go wrong turning a vegetable into a chocolate dessert:)”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!! πŸ™‚

  44. Oh my, I haven’t had the chocolate/zucchini combo in forever β€” these cupcakes must be insanely delicious!!

  45. I’ve always wanted to try this combination. Thanks for the recipe! (I found you through Todays Creative Blog.) Cheers!

  46. Wow! Never thought of adding zucchini to my cupcake recipe! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  47. These are awesome! Very moist and tasty! No one knew they had zucchini in them, I even used the green sprinkles for presentation!

  48. I’ve made chocolate zucchini cake before and we love it. I love how you put the green sprinkles as a touch back to the green zucchini. So adorable.

  49. Fantastic! My veggie hating 5 year old raved about these and bragged about how he made them! This made 30 cupcakes for us so we got to freeze some! thanks for a yummy recipe

  50. I made these cupcakes last night, while my husband was out and my boys were alseep. If they knew there was zucchini in these I think they would run. I was a little freaked out at the whole zucchini chocolate idea when I first read this post, but I love your other recipes and thought I’d give these a try. I’ll sneek veggies in where ever I can to feel less guilty.
    These cupcakes are SO good! They are rich and puffed up beautifully and made me very happy. The cinnamon smell in my house was wonderful. Thank you for this recipe!

  51. These look delicious! What do you recommend though if I don’t want to use eggs? I know there are many possible substitutes, but I’m not sure which is best.

  52. After multiple attempts to GIVE zucchini away I have decided to make desserts with all the zucchini I have. These are the most moist soft cupcakes I’ve tasted; so delicious!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe; definitely making these again this year!….and again next year! πŸ˜€

  53. This might be a silly question, but since I’ve never baked with zucchini before…… When you shred it, do you leave the skin on??

  54. I used this recipe to make cupcakes for my son’s school birthday treat. The only change I made was substitute 2/3’s of the oil with applesauce and I halved the frosting recipe. These were so delicious and I am definitely keeping this recipe in my rotation! Thank you for posting all those years ago!

  55. Have you tried making this recipe into a layered cake? I’m wondering about the baking time for 2 round cakes.

  56. These sound delicious, and I will be making them when zucchini are in season here.
    Just one small piece of feedback – Plurals (friends, kids) don’t need an apostrophe.

  57. I have made these several times. Adults and kids have enjoyed them equally. Thanks for the great recipe. I love new ways to use my zucchini bounty every summer!

  58. Do I really need to use baking soda and cinnamon in this recipe? I think using baking powder would work just as well, if not better.
    I think I will be leaving the cinnamon out.