These Coconut Flour Cupcakes are light & fluffy, and my kids have declared them to be one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. They are perfect for those who need a gluten-free or Paleo cupcake recipe!
My Secret Ingredient
What makes these cupcakes extra special is that they have a sneaky healthy ingredient inside— zucchini! I’ve been adding zucchini to this recipe for years, because it replaces the oil without affecting the sweet vanilla flavor. You truly can’t taste it!
I’ve tried making this recipe with applesauce and banana instead of zucchini, and both options work, but they don’t fool my kids. The applesauce flavor is especially noticeable, so if you want a truly vanilla-flavored cupcake, stick with the zucchini.
The Best Way to Sweeten Coconut Flour Baked Goods
I originally posted this recipe in 2013, but recently decided to test it again to see if I could make the cupcakes even more fool-proof. I tested them with coconut oil, instead of using zucchini, and guess what? The zucchini version is WAY better! Coconut oil can make coconut flour baked goods become greasy fast.
I also tested this recipe with both maple syrup and coconut sugar. I’ve noticed that maple syrup tends to sink to the bottom of coconut flour baked goods, and it’s not too noticeable in recipes like my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, but I definitely notice it in these subtle vanilla cupcakes.
That’s why I now recommend making these coconut flour cupcakes with coconut sugar, instead. The coconut sugar makes the cupcakes turn out a little more tan in color, but the sweetness is much more evenly distributed. And the cupcakes turn out perfectly fluffy, without being too moist!
How to Work with Coconut Flour
If you’ve never worked with coconut flour before, there’s a couple things you should know before you get started.
- Always measure correctly. I like to scoop my measuring cup into the bag of coconut flour, getting a heaping cup, and then I use the back of a knife to level it off into a flat measurement. I’ve also included the weight of the measurements I use, in case you prefer to use a kitchen scale.
- Don’t make substitutions. Coconut flour isn’t as forgiving as other flours in baking, so making a small modification could drastically affect the final outcome. Experiment at your own risk. In my experience, egg substitutes don’t work very well with coconut flour baked goods, so if you need to be egg-free, try one of my vegan muffin recipes instead.
What I love about working with coconut flour is that it’s naturally gluten-free, and it requires quite a few eggs, so the resulting baked goods are higher in protein. There is definitely a hint of coconut flavor, too, but it’s not overwhelming in this recipe since it doesn’t call for coconut oil, too.
How to Make Them
For best results, I recommend making these cupcakes in a blender. That way you can pulverize the zucchini, and get a super-smooth batter.
If your blender isn’t high-powered, blend together the zucchini and eggs first, until the zucchini is totally pureed, then add in the rest of the ingredients and blend again.
Pour the batter into 10 cupcake liners, then bake! Coconut flour tends to stick to pans quite a bit, so I definitely recommend using a liner, so you can guarantee that they will release from the pan later.
Cool completely, then top them with your favorite frosting.
I have several healthy frosting recipes available, but my favorites are my Vegan Ganache (pictured here) and my Chocolate Vegan Frosting, which is fruit-sweetened.
For a non-chocolate frosting, try my Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting or my Purple Sweet Potato Frosting.
Coconut Flour Cupcakes (only 7 ingredients!)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour (58 grams)
- 1 cup zucchini , peeled and finely chopped (134 grams)
- 4 large eggs (206 grams)
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar (100 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (9 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (2 grams)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (12 grams)
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a standard muffin tin with 10 cupcake liners.
- In a blender, combine the coconut flour, zucchini, eggs, coconut sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Blend until very smooth. (If you don't have a powerful blender, blend together the zucchini and eggs first, until smooth. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and blend again.)
- Pour the batter into the 10 cupcake liners. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes, or until the center of the cupcakes feels firm to a light touch.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting and serving. If making them in advance, store these cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Nutrition information is for 1 of 10 cupcakes. This is automatically calculated, so it’s just an estimate and not a guarantee.
Original Recipe (posted June 2013)
If you are in love with my original recipe, you can find the measurements for that below.
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup zucchini
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4 eggs
Just like the directions above, you’ll blend this together and bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes. If you’ve tried both versions, let me know which one you prefer!
Please leave a comment below if you try the recipe. I’d love to hear what you think! And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear how that goes, too. We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite flavor of cake or cupcake? Mine is carrot cake, so that’s next on my list!
Questions and Reviews
These look absolutely wonderful!
I bet you could totally make these more muffin like – without all the maple syrup. I’m actually not a huge cupcake lover, but I do love muffins.
I think my favorite flavor would have to be banana or blueberry. So good.
These look great!
How would you suggest I reduce the sweetener? Just cut it in half and carry on, or do I need to reduce the dry ingredients accordingly?
Your guess is as good as mine! I always learn by trial & error, so please let us know if you have any success with your experiment!
I am so glad I found you! I love reading your blog. You cook exactly like I do and I never have to change a thing in your recipes!!
How do you even come up with these recipe ideas? To puree zucchini to make a cupcake! This is a must try. Ive made your cheesecake with the zucchini in it. My father comes over often and asks if i have any. So now i need to make the for him whenever he visits 🙂
love your recipes!
I basically just try to put zucchini or another vegetable in anything I make. 😉 Hope your father enjoys this one, too!
Thank you for all your delicious recipes! Your blog is my favorite. For sweetener, I always do a 1:1 conversion from honey or maple syrup to mashed banana. Sometimes I need to add extra dry ingrediants though (in this case, will add more cocounut flour if needed, keep consistency of dough in mind). BTW Meagan- I love the spelling of your name 🙂
These look so good! Can’t wait to try 🙂
Do you know how coconut flour combines? Does it combine as a starch or nuts?
I would consider it to fall into the nut/seed category.
Coconut is not a Nut at all. It’s actually a fruit covered by a seed is a better description: It’s technical name is a “Drupe”
So for someone who has nut allergies Coconut might be a safe fruit to eat because it is not a nut.
Oh I love coconut flour. I’m definitely going to try this recipe! I just have my questions with baking soda. I’ve been told it contains aluminium so usually I use a little bit of powder yeast instead.
You can easily buy “aluminum-free” baking soda, if you prefer!
However, it’s questionable whether or not any baking soda truly contains aluminum– you might find this post interesting: http://www.crunchybetty.com/the-great-baking-soda-anti-hoax
Thank you so much for your answer, I’ll look into it 🙂
I really want to try this recipe! I have a grain sensitivity, and a minor nut allergy, so this is perfect!
Could this be made as a cake instead of cupcakes? Looks sooo yummy!
Yes, I think so! I’d double the recipe so you can make two 9-inch cakes, if you want layers. 🙂
yum! can’t wait to try this! was wondering if Agave nectar would be a suitable substitute for the maple syrup? I just happen to have some in my cabinet so I dont have to go out and buy the maple syrup…
Yes, I’d just use slightly less agave since it’s sweeter than maple syrup.
These look great! Do you think I could substitute the maple syrup for pureed dates? If so, do you think it would be ok to decrease to 1/4c and not change the flour amount?
I have no idea, since I haven’t tried it myself. Please let us know how it turns out for you!
I have an allergy to coconuts. I have successfully substituted 2 cups of gluten free oat flour for 1/2 cup coconut flour in other cupcake recipies. The end result is a bit denser than normal, but still very tasty. You do need to let the batter rest to make sure it won’t become too dry due to the oats. Looking forward to trying it with these cupcakes as well.
I don’t have any coconut flour on hand right now… 🙁
Would any other kind of flour work? (nut flours preferably? I don’t like using normal all-purpose kinds of flours…)
Thanks! Looks amazing!
As I noted above in the Substitution Notes, there is NO substitute for coconut flour. Nut flours will definitely NOT work, without making significant changes to the recipe. I’d recommend starting off with one of my almond flour based recipes, instead, if you wish to make modifications.
Oh okay I see. Do you have any recommendations for recipes? Cake type ones?! 🙂
Because I can’t choose.. they all look amazing!
These are my favorite: https://detoxinista.com/2012/06/raspberry-chocolate-chip-muffins-grain-free/ You can change or omit the add-ins to suit your tastes!
Do you think I could use almond flour for these? Can’t wait to try!
No, please see the substitution notes above. I’d recommend starting with one of my almond flour recipes if you want to make modifications.
What ingredients to use for coconut frosting ? Thanks
You can click on the link above to be taken to the recipe for the coconut whipped cream.
They look lovely! I love the addition of zucchini and no one will know!And coconut cream is my favorite!
Do you think 1/2 cup applesauce could be subbed for the zucchini?
It’s worth a shot! You might want to reduce the sweetener in that case.
These are gorgeous!! I love using coconut flour for everything!! I’m making these today!:) Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂 I love your blog and always enjoy your posts:)
I make grain-free cupcakes with my five year old daughter about once a week and she loves them! But I have never tried your awesome idea of adding zucchini to the ingredients. I’m looking forward to making your recipe this weekend!
Sad to say… I just made this and they didn’t turn out for me. Followed the recipe exactly… 🙁 I had to bake for another 5 minutes since 20 didn’t seem to be enough, and even then they came out super dense. They tasted ok, but I think they would have been a lot better if they came out fluffier like yours seemed to have. Maybe next time!
I had the same issue. I only cooked for 20 but they don’t look the same as the picture. I have a high powered blender but it didn’t seem to make the same looking puree. So it tastes a little grainy and a little more dense than it looks in the picture. Next time, I will try in my food processor instead.
What brand of coconut flour did you use? I wonder if that makes a difference… And are you using large eggs? Smaller eggs might account for a lack of moisture and fluffiness.
I’m not sure of the brand since I bought it in bulk from Sprouts. I did use large eggs, also mixed everything with my blendtec. Perhaps I’ll try using another egg or egg white to see if that helps?
Yes, I think another egg could help. Also, make sure when measure the coconut flour that you use the “scoop and swipe” method, where you scoop the measuring cup into the flour bag, then swipe the top clean with a knife. Even an extra teaspoon of coconut flour can make a big difference in a recipe, since it’s so absorbent!
Hmm…wish I would have read farther down in the comments before putting mine in the oven. I thought the batter looked a little thick compared to the pictures up here. But, I see how this is most likely my error. I think I added a bit too much coconut flour. Next time I will be more careful! Still excited to eat them though!
I also had the same issue and ended up adding some water to the batter because it was too thick. They tasted good but grainy as Favi mentioned. I also used my blender. I put the eggs in last and wonder if that made a difference in the way the batter whipped up? The eggs may also have been a little on the small side. I used Bob’s Red Mill flour and was thinking next time I should sift it first.
I also lost my mojo where the frosting was concerned but think I know the issue – I had the can upside down in the fridge so it didn’t separate (at least that’s what I think the issue was…) So it was not a thick, frosting consistency. I poured it over a warm muffin anyway and it was very tasty nonetheless.
Will try them again next weekend.
I made these yesterday and they turned out well for me. I used a blender and needed to scrape the sides a few times to make sure it was mixed well. I baked them for 20 minutes in a mini-muffin pan. Also used Bob’s Red Mill brand. Only thing I’d change is I would grease the pan with coconut oil next time which I didn’t do. I thought there’d be enough fat to skip it, but you really need liners or greasing.
I liked them very much and may try adding banana next time.
Do you think yellow summer squash could be substituted in for the zucchini in this recipe?
Yes, I don’t see why not!
Did you try the yellow squash? I received some in my produce delivery and I am not a fan, so would love to find a delicious way to use it up.
YAY!!! You rock my world. I can’t wait to try these and I LOVE that you sneak some extra veggies into delicious tasting desserts. Favorite flavor usually-chocolate 🙂
I love the addition of the zucchini! Great way to get veggies and eat something sweet at the same time. I’ll definitely be trying these!
Hi, just made them! I had all the ingredients on hand so I was very excited to give them a try. I like to use rice malt syrup as I don’t eat sugar. I doubled the recipe but was short on syrup so I used 1/2 cup and 1/4cup stevia. I did not get the same purée as you as my mixture seemed a lot fluffier, maybe due to different brand of coconut flour. I added a little coconut milk as my mixture was dryer also, maybe from the stevia powder. Although mine came out more like a muffin than a cup cake, they were still delicious.
I made these tonight along with a chocolate avocado frosting and they are AMAZING. I can’t believe how good they are, self-control will be tough here! Thanks for such a great recipe!
OMG! These look and sound so good! I seriously cannot wait to try them, and I even have a bag of coconut flour in the pantry waiting to be used.
Yummy, I have these in the oven right now and the batter is super yummy! I doubled the recipe (I have 3 kids) and used half maple syrup and quarter honey. Nice and sweet! Also made coconut whipped cream frosting and strawberries for the top! Thanks so much for you recipes- So many are now are “regulars”!
Thank you for all your recipes!!! I made your sweet treats once a week. Is so delicious and its more healthy then what we find at the grocery store! :)Thanks again!
Mine didn’t puff up either -maybe baking powder would work better than baking soda in this recipe. However they taste wonderful and make a delicious base for strawberry shortcake. Simply split the cupcake in half, top with sliced fruit and a dollop of cashew cream.
I love your blog and make many of your recipes on a regular basis. These turned out too “eggy” though, IMO. I haven’t noticed this in your other grain-free recipes, though.
I baked these this morning. I have fresh strawberries cut up with a little bit of sugar. This will be my strawberry shortcake desert for tonight.
Just made these yesterday. They are fantastic! Can you recommend the best way to store them? Fridge or counter? Thanks so much for your delicious recipes! You make grain free living so much more enjoyable!
These look great! Too funny I use zucchini to replace sugar bulk in recipes I make with stevia! Even I thought I was crazy but it works so well! I can’t wait to make these I have some coconut flour burning a hole in my cupboard!
Thank you for this recipe. My daughter has very limited diet options, with this recipe she was able to have a cupcake at her birthday party.
hello Megan I tried these cupcakes and they looked and smelled so good in the oven but they became deflated as soon as I pulled them out of the oven.
Any idea why?
they were also totally empty inside. 🙁
I would love to try this.. I never used coconut flour before, which brand is best and where can I purchased it? Storing? which is better frig or counter in a sealed container? Thank You
I go to sprouts and by their brand. 16oz will run you about $3.85-$4. The best price I’ve seen and the flour is great! Have made a ton of Meagan’s recipes!
Thank you for this recipe! A friend shared it with me and I will forever be grateful! Amazing, moist cake and I topped it with your peanut butter fudge frosting. This is my new late night indulgence!
Love your site! <3
Could I use store bought shredded coconut instead of the coconut flour?
have you ever tried this recipe for a full-sized cake?
do you think it would hold up?
Thanks for the recipe these came out delicious, i topped half with some chocolate cashew icing and the rest with lemon curd . i was a bit worried when i blended all the ingredients as it looked a bit dry(my measurements might have been a bit off), so i added a little bit of almond milk and they came out perfect. Thanks
Just made these and they turned out perfect!!! Moist and cakey! I doubles the recipe and used 1/2 cup raw honey and 1/4 cup brown sugar becuz that’s all I had. I also added about 1/2 cup almon milk becuz the batter was too thick and filled the muffin tins 3/4 the way. Fantastic! After frosting them I put slices strawbery hearts for Vday, thanks so much for the incredible recipe!!! Also you cannot taste zucchini AT ALL!
Loved these! Such a great vanilla taste and I don’t feel guilty eating one…..ok, more than one
Do you have any suggestions on a good flavor to substitute the vanilla extract for? I am unfortunately, allergic to vanilla. I will usually just leave it out, but I would love to hear any flavor ideas!
My other favorite flavoring is almond extract, so I’d try that!
Hello! I love all your recipes, I am very nervous about using coconut flour so I thought I’d ask for your advice!
I am going back and forth from this recipe, and your glazed chocolate donut recipe. I want to make chocolate cupcakes for my birthday tomorrow, but I do not have zucchini on hand to add to the batter (nor a good blender!)
So my question, if I want to make 1 dozen chocolate cupcakes, should I follow the donut recipe and double it, and then bake them for 20 minutes?
Thank you so much!!
I haven’t tried the donuts as cupcakes, so I can’t say for sure that they will work perfectly, but it’s worth a shot! Hope you have a happy birthday! 🙂
Has anyone added cocoa powder and made chocolate zucchini cupcakes?
Hi Megan! Thanks for the great recipe. I adapted it and made it to celebrate my one year mark on youtube 🙂 Delicious 🙂
First of all: congratulations for another great recipe. I have a questions about the substitution with sweeteners to make the recipe sugar free. See, I read that coconut flour needs extra moisture, and I guess that is why your recipes usually have the same amount (or similar, but high anyway) of syrup of honey. Am I correct? So the question is, if we want to make the muffins sugar free with Stevia or xylitol or something like that (not liquid), should we also add some water or milk or something? Wouldn’t they get too dry otherwise? I have already tried your paleo pumpkin muffins (amazing!). I made them twice, using chicory syrup, which is sugar free and low GI and it worked great the first time (the same amount as maple syrup). I was afraid though, it was putting too much (indications in the bottle said no more than 5% of the total dough weight), so the second time I reduced the dose to almost half, and although the taste was still great, the muffins were much more thicker, too much, not so spongy and light anymore. Hard to swallow. So I am afraid if I add Stevia or xylitol in powder, and nothing else, it will be even worse. What do you think? Thank you in advance and keep making so many wonderful and healthy recipes! 🙂
Okay, I’m a little late to the party, but I just made these tonight and they are SO GREAT!!!!! I doubled the recipe, and added 1/4 tsp of almond extract as well, and WOW. What a GREAT coconut flour recipe! I’ve been experimenting with this particular flour lately, and this is my fave recipe so far!! (And trust me, I’ve made some duds!)