Espresso Chocolate Muffins Recipe

Muffins are one of the best options for make-ahead breakfasts, and the only thing better than a big blueberry or banana bread muffin first thing in the morning? Quite arguably, these espresso chocolate muffins. They deliver on all levels, from the sweet, rich, chocolatey flavor, to the quick hit of espresso to get your day going, and even a crispy crumble topping with extra chocolate and nuts. Truly, you won't want to stop at just a single muffin — you'll be grabbing one for your mid-afternoon pick-me-up, too. 

As recipe developer Jessica Case of Case Bakehouse quips, "These muffins will get your butt out of bed!" She goes on to describe them as "Moist, flavorful, very chocolaty with a super crunchy top — a great treat to start the day. They're the kind of muffins you hope to find at your local bakery." And while this recipe uses both espresso powder and brewed coffee, the coffee flavor isn't overpowering. "This recipe provides a very subtle hint of coffee. If you would like a stronger coffee flavor, use a double-shot [of] espresso," Case suggests. Or, better yet, you could pair one of these muffins with a double-shot to kick-start your day.

Gather the ingredients for espresso chocolate muffins

Many of the ingredients you'll need for this muffin recipe are fairly standard, and you likely have a lot of them in your kitchen already. Just double-check the list and gather what you need before you get started. Also note that some of the ingredients should be melted, brewed, or brought to room temperature before being used, so be aware you may need to do a little prep work first. 

You'll be using all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, unsalted butter (melt it ahead of time), eggs at room temperature, fresh-brewed espresso or coffee, vanilla extract, ground espresso, buttermilk (at room temperature), dark chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans.

As far as a special ingredient? Case says you shouldn't pass up on the espresso powder for that kick of caffeine. And again, you can always add more to amp up the flavor.

Do your prep work and mix the dry ingredients

With all your ingredients set out and prepped, preheat your oven to 375 F and grease or line a muffin pan with paper liners. Grab a bowl and sift in the flour and cocoa powder — sifting these ingredients helps break up any clumps to make for easier mixing. Then add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown and granulated sugars, stirring well to combine. 

Case mentions there's another way you can amplify the coffee flavor in this step — by toning down the cocoa flavor. If you only use ¼ cup of the cocoa powder, instead of the full ½ cup, the coffee flavor will be able to shine through a little more. 

Beat together the wet ingredients

Set the dry ingredients aside and pull out your electric mixer to beat the wet ingredients together. Add the egg, buttermilk, coffee, melted butter, espresso powder, and vanilla extract to a bowl and beat them on a low setting until they're well combined. 

And here's one more way to increase the coffee flavor in this step: Case says you can dissolve 1-2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules in the milk or hot coffee before mixing everything together. 

If you're wondering why there are so many different options for adding coffee to the recipe — brewed coffee, espresso powder, and instant coffee — Case says it's to give you options. "It helps to have other options [depending on] what the baker has at home, and they all work great with this recipe," she says. 

Combine the wet and dry ingredients to make the batter

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold everything together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. You want the ingredients to be well combined, but not overmixed. Too much stirring can lead to an unpleasantly chewy muffin. And if your batter seems thick and lumpy? You're on the right track — it's supposed to look that way. Finally, add the dark chocolate chips to the batter and gently fold them in. 

Make the sweet, crunchy topping

Once baked, the topping provides that perfect, sweet crunch to balance the flavor and texture of the muffins. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, chopped pecans, and mini chocolate chips. And again, if you really want to add more coffee flavor, there's an opportunity to do that here, too. "[You] can definitely add espresso powder for the topping. I would make sure it's mixed well with the sugar and chopped pecans, that way it has a sweet taste. I would add about ½-1 teaspoon of powder," Case says. 

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin

With the batter and topping ready to go, it's just a matter of spooning the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Try to add an even amount to each muffin well, filling them to about ⅔ or ¾ full. 

Sprinkle on the brown sugar topping and bake the muffins

Sprinkle some of the topping mix on top of each unbaked muffin, doing your best to make sure it's evenly dispersed. Finally, pop your pan in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. You'll know they're done when you can insert a toothpick into the center of each muffin and it comes out clean. 

Cool then serve the muffins

When the muffins are baked, place the pan on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Case says the muffins keep well for 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature, but if you want them to last longer, you can freeze them for up to 2 months. "To thaw, leave them on the counter, still covered, or overnight in the fridge," Case says. And of course, she says these coffee-forward treats also go great with a coffee, latte, or espresso. 

Espresso Chocolate Muffins Recipe
5 from 58 ratings
These espresso chocolate muffins are the perfect pairing alongside your morning cup of coffee.
Prep Time
Cook Time
espresso chocolate muffins on plate
Total time: 40 minutes
  • For the muffins
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • ¼ cup fresh-brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • For the topping
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter 12 muffin cups or line them with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugars and mix to combine.
  3. Beat together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, melted butter, espresso powder, and vanilla extract using a mixer on low speed.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture then fold with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until well combined. Don't overmix. The batter should be thick and lumpy.
  5. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, chopped pecans, and mini chocolate chips to make the topping.
  7. Divide the muffin batter evenly between the muffin cups, then sprinkle the topping evenly on top of the batter with a spoon.
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
  9. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Calories per Serving 328
Total Fat 17.7 g
Saturated Fat 9.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 52.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 39.0 g
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g
Total Sugars 21.0 g
Sodium 218.5 mg
Protein 5.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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