I’m pleased to introduce you to the most decadent muffin recipe of your life! These chocolate cheesecake muffins are made with a rich chocolate batter, filled with a luscious cheesecake filling, and punctuated with plenty of chocolate chips! Includes a how-to video!
The Most Decadent Muffin
Today’s chocolate cheesecake muffin recipe is not for the faint of heart. Anyone who sees the above picture (or reads the title) and feels the urge to comment “too much sugar” or has a history of leaving scathing review regarding unhealthy breakfast habits… I think they’re going to want to sit this one out.
On a level, I get it. This isn’t an everyday breakfast and we honestly usually save muffins for snacks here, this being perhaps the most indulgent of all. After all, it’s essentially a frosting-less chocolate cupcake stuffed with cheesecake! It’s similar to my black bottom cupcakes, only, even richer.
For those of you who are here for the chocolate, the cheesecake, and the sugar, this one’s for you. Let’s get to it!
What You Need to Make Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
Lots of ingredients you’re probably already familiar with, but let’s go over a few of the key players and why they’re so important to this recipe (and a few substitution notes).
- Oil. Vegetable oil or canola oil will work. I have not tested this recipe with any other oil, but any neutral cooking oil should be fine. In many of my muffin recipes, I like to use a blend of butter and oil, but was very intentional about not doing that with this recipe. Because these muffins necessitate refrigeration (there is cheesecake in the center, after all!), I opted against butter. While butter adds a lovely flavor, you won’t notice it’s missing thanks to the rich chocolate and cheesecake flavors. Butter also has a tendency to dry out the crumb of cakes/cupcakes/muffins as it re-solidifies at cold temperatures (in the fridge) while oil does not, so by sticking with oil we ensure the crumb stays as tender and soft as is possible, even with refrigeration!
- Buttermilk. Real buttermilk is best for fullest flavor and the best texture, but in a pinch you can use my easy buttermilk substitute instead!
- Sour cream. This adds moisture to the muffins and gives them a tender, fluffy crumb. You’ll also need it in the cheesecake filling, where it adds flavor and keeps the cheesecake from being too sweet (otherwise it might taste like you were eating cream cheese frosting instead of cheesecake!).
- Baking soda. Unlike many of my recipes, this one is leavened with baking soda and no baking powder is needed. The baking soda reacts with the acidity of the buttermilk, sour cream and natural cocoa powder to give the muffins a lighter crumb. For this reason, I do not recommend substituting Dutch process cocoa powder (which is not acidic) for the natural cocoa powder that is called for.
- Instant coffee. This is optional, but I love using a pinch of instant coffee granules in my chocolate baked goods (in fact, it’s one of the secret ingredients that makes my chocolate cake so incredible!). It won’t make the muffins taste like coffee but it will intensify the rich chocolate flavor.
This is just an overview of some of the ingredients that I use and why I use them. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
- Prepare your chocolate batter by first whisking together your liquid ingredients in a large bowl.
- Separately, whisk together your dry ingredients and then add them to the liquid ingredients.
- Use a spatula to gently stir together the wet and dry ingredients. Once they’re mostly (but not completely) combined, add the chocolate chips. I like to add them at this point rather than waiting until the batter is completely combined because it minimizes the risk of us over-mixing (which will cause dense, dry muffins).
- Let the cupcake batter sit while you prepare your cheesecake filling by beating together cheesecake ingredients in a separate bowl.
Assembling Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
- Fill your muffin liners halfway full with chocolate batter. Use a spoon to make a crater in the center of the muffins for your cheesecake filling, pushing chocolate batter slightly up the sides of the liners as needed. Note that you won’t use all of your chocolate batter, you need the leftover for adding to the top of the muffins!
- Evenly distribute your cheesecake filling into the muffin tins. It won’t all fit in the crater you created, this is OK!
- Top cheesecake with remaining chocolate batter.
- Use a spoon to swirl the chocolate batter and cheesecake together so you have pretty, swirled, chocolate cheesecake muffin tops.
The muffins will need to bake for about 22 minutes. Immediately after baking they may appear puffed and rounded, but as they cool they will deflate and sink in on themselves a bit due to the heavy cheesecake filling. This might not look as pretty as rounded muffins, but it’s totally normal and we’re putting taste over beauty here (you won’t regret it when you bite in!).
SAM’S TIP: I recommend using muffin liners rather than baking directly in the pan simply because this makes for easier cleanup, easier handling of the chocolate cheesecake muffins, and it helps hold everything in place better. If you don’t have liners, see my tutorial to make your own muffin liners with parchment paper.
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Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook!
Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- ⅔ cup (135 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup (75 g) sour cream
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (25 g) natural cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon instant coffee optional, this intensifies the chocolate flavor
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (170 g) semisweet chocolate chips plus additional for topping, if desired
- 8 oz (226 g) cream cheese softened (I recommend brick-style full-fat cream cheese only, sometimes referred to as “Philadelphia” in countries outside the US).
- 5 Tablespoons (63 g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract, and sour cream until well-combined.⅓ cup (80 ml) canola or vegetable oil, ⅔ cup (135 g) granulated sugar, ¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ⅓ cup (75 g) sour cream
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, instant coffee (if using), and salt.1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour, ¼ cup (25 g) natural cocoa powder, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon instant coffee, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and use a spoon or spatula to fold together until just barely combined.
- Add chocolate chips and gently stir until they are incorporated into the batter and batter is combined, but do not over-mix (which can make the muffins dense and dry).1 cup (170 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- Set batter aside and prepare cheesecake filling.
- In a large, clean bowl, stir together cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy (an electric mixer makes easy work of this and makes it easier to ensure your cream cheese is smooth and lump-free, but if the cream cheese is soft enough this can be done by hand).8 oz (226 g) cream cheese, 5 Tablespoons (63 g) granulated sugar
- Add sour cream and vanilla extract and stir until well-combined, then finally stir in the egg until incorporated. The batter should be smooth.2 Tablespoons sour cream, 1 large egg, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Scoop chocolate batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each paper liners halfway full. You will have some batter left, reserve this to use after you’ve added the cheesecake layer.
- For a rich, thick pocket of cheesecake filling, take a spoon and use it to make a crater/divot in the center of each muffin.
- Scoop a heaping tablespoon of cheesecake filling into the center of each muffin in the crater you just created (it won’t all fit, some will sit on top of the chocolate batter and this is fine).
- Portion a small amount of remaining chocolate batter over the top of the cheesecake layer and use a toothpick to swirl the batters together. If desired, sprinkle tops with additional chocolate chips.
- Transfer to 350F (175C) oven ad bake for 22-25 minutes or until muffins are baked through. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean or with a few wet crumbs, but not wet batter (if the toothpick is very chocolatey, test again, you may have hit a melted chocolate chip!).
- Allow muffins to cool in tin for 10-15 minutes before removing. While they may be puffed and rounded immediately after coming out of the oven, they'll sink in on themselves as they cool, this is normal and just due to the heavy cheesecake filling. Taste over beauty! These muffins may be enjoyed still warm or they may be allowed to cool completely and be refrigerated before enjoying!
StoringStore in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Because of the cheesecake filling, these muffins are delicious served cold!
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
This recipe was originally published in August of 2016. I’ve since updated the photos, recipe (just slightly), and text and added a how-to video!
Delicious muffins! I also found your recipe because I missed the Starbucks chocolate cheesecake muffins so much, and dreamed of recreating them, and I have to say that these might taste even better! This is the best muffin recipe I’ve ever made, the texture of the muffin is perfectly moist and tender, and goes perfectly with the cheesecake, I am delighted!
I just have one comment: I think there’s a mistake in the conversion of buttermilk from cup to ml: 1/4 cup would make around 60ml, not 120. Luckily I had a measuring bowl that indicates both units, and I was able to catch myself before pouring double the amount into my batter! After noticing that I also noted that 2/3 cups sugar should be converted to 158ml, not 135ml. Hope you can change that for future ml users!
Anyway, thank you for your recipe, and for making my chocolate-cheesecake muffin dreams come true!
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Chloe! I’m so sorry for the confusion! I will have to go make those corrections. The buttermilk should be the 60ml as you stated, but the sugar should be done in grams, which would be 135. Thank you for catching that. 🙂
Can you use something other than buttermilk? Would 2% be ok?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Lisa! Plain milk won’t work by itself, but you can use it to make our easy buttermilk substitute. Hope that helps 😊
Hi. This is the third time making these! This evening I’m making them for Christmas at my parents tomorrow. My brother and mother are sweets fanatics so I know they’ll be a hit. Delicious!! Oh and I love that you break down and explain different reactions between things and why they are used. I like to learn as I cook/bake and I’m a laboratory scientist lol. Happens Holidays!
I’m so happy everyone has enjoyed this recipe so much, Lindsay! Thank you for trying my recipes, and I’m glad you have been enjoying the posts so much, too! 🙂
Starbucks used to have a chocolate muffin with a cream cheese center that we liked a lot. But, they dropped it, so I had to make some myself. I did a web search and your recipe came up near the top. So, I tried it out today. The results were wonderful, so this recipe goes into my bake-again list. I’ll try more of your recipes, such as bread, pizza dough and blue berry cheesecake muffins real soon.
The first time I make a recipe, I usually find something I can do better the next time. In this case, I put too much of the chocolate mix into the liners and didn’t have enough left to properly cover the cheesecake center. But, that didn’t affect the texture or taste, so it was more an aesthetic thing.
I baked it using convection baking. I just find I get more even results that way. When I tested it after 25 minutes, I found the toothpick came out sticky. Another 5 minutes and it was perfect. I find my new range seems to require more cooking time than my old range so that wasn’t a surprise.
Thanks for such a fabulous and decadent recipe.
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Pat! I hope you love everything else you try as well. 🙂
Made these for my husband’s birthday – it was my first time trying this recipe and I was so nervous they weren’t going to turn out. Thankfully they turned out better than I expected and are so delicious! Will definitely be making these again in the near future
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy they turned out so well for you, Janae! Thanks for giving our recipe a try 🥰
Is it possible toake this with out using sour cream or is there something else I could use in lieu of sour cream
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Nina! You could use full fat plain Greek yogurt instead 😊
I’ve made other versions of this recipe and found the cupcake portion to be crumbly and too light. This recipe has a denser, very moist cake portion that perfectly pairs with the cheesecake. My family loved these and they were gone with a few hours. Highly recommend!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy our recipe was a winner for you, Amy! Thanks so much for coming back to leave a review 🙂
These were fantastic! I made them as mini muffins and took them to my Sunday School class Chrisrmas breakfast, every one loved them. My platter went home empty! Thank you for a great recipe.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy to hear this, Pam! Thanks so much for using our recipe and letting us know how it went for you 😊
Hi Pam, I know it has been a while since you made these muffins, but I am curious how long you cooked the mini muffins. These sound wonderful, but I think a mini size is perfect. Thanks, Susan
My new favorite food of all time!!! Love this recipe and thanks so much.❤
Cupcake mama sia
These are incredible!
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed, thank you so much for trying my recipe! 🙂
These are too good to be true!
Absolutely the best flavor and texture! I’ve made them half a dozen times and they are a hit each time!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We are so happy you love them so much, Erin!! Happy baking! ❤️
HI Sam, I have made so many of your recipes and never take the time to comment. Your recipes have always come out just as good as they sound. I am so happy to have found your site. Thank you for sharing.
I’m so glad you have enjoyed everything so much, Nancy! I really appreciate your comment. It made my day. Thank you! 🙂