These Sourdough Chocolate Muffins are decadent, with a light and delicate texture. Sourdough discard and sour cream keep these muffins tender with a delicious tang that complements their rich chocolate flavor. These are perfect for an indulgent breakfast or a rich dessert.
Why you'll love this recipe
I’m all about simple recipes with a large payoff and this recipe ticks all the boxes.
- Rich chocolate flavor with a soft, fluffy texture
- Sourdough discard keeps the muffins moist and taste fresh for days longer
- Comes together in less than 1 hour
- Uses one bowl and pantry staples
Baking with sourdough discard
Sourdough discard adds a delicious tangy flavor to balance the rich flavor of these chocolate muffins. Since you’re not using it as a leavener, you can use your discard straight from the refrigerator. There’s no need to feed it or activate it before mixing it into your batter. Older discard will have a tangier, more acidic flavor than a freshly-fed sourdough starter. Both will work for this recipe, you’ll just get a slightly different flavor profile but your bake will still be delicious!
How to get tall bakery-style muffin tops
Make sure your leaveners are fresh - Most bakers don’t know that baking soda and baking powder have a shelf life and eventually lose their leavening powers. If yours have been in your pantry for a while, test them by combining a little bit with a drop of vinegar. If the mixture bubbles, then it will work, otherwise it may not be able to make your muffins rise.
Start hot and turn down the temperature of your oven - Preheat your oven to 450 F and then turn down the temperature to 375 F as soon as you put your muffin tin in the oven. The initial high heat will encourage your muffins to rise high, while baking at a lower temperature will gently bake your batter without drying out or burning your muffins.
No peeking! - Do not under any circumstances open the oven door. Heat escapes rapidly each time you open the oven door. If your muffins are not completely baked in the middle, this will cause your muffins to sink and become dense and gummy. The moment they sink, you’ll lose the airy, tender interior of your muffins and unfortunately, they will never recover.
What you need
These muffins are all about the chocolate flavor! Make sure you use high-quality cocoa powder and chocolate chips for the best results.
Vegetable oil: Keeps these muffins light and delicate, substitute any neutral-flavored oil to let the flavor of chocolate shine
Sour cream: Works with baking soda helps these muffins rise and keeps them moist, substitute yogurt or crème fraîche
Egg: Adds richness and helps bind the ingredients, I used a large egg to develop this recipe (about 50 grams)
Brown sugar: Adds moisture and a rich molasses flavor to these muffins, substitute white sugar if you don’t have any on hand
Sourdough discard - you can use your discard straight from the refrigerator for this recipe
All-purpose flour: Imparts tenderness and structure to these muffins, don’t substitute another type of flour for this recipe
Baking soda: Helps these muffins rise, do not substitute another leavener for this recipe
Salt: I developed this recipe using Morton’s Kosher Salt, use twice the amount in volume if you’re using Diamond Crystal Salt (gram measures should be the same)
Cocoa powder: This recipe was created using Dutch-processed cocoa powder, since it’s alkalized, you shouldn’t substitute natural cocoa powder which is acidic and will react with the ingredients in this recipe
Espresso shot: If you can’t pull an espresso shot, use strong brewed coffee and if you don’t drink coffee, Earl Grey tea, black tea or water are great substitutes
Hot milk: Make sure your milk is hot when you add it with the rest of your ingredients, this creates a smoother batter that bakes into light, spongy muffins
Chocolate chips: My favorite type of chocolate chips are Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, because I love their size and creamy texture, feel free to use your favorite brand of semisweet or even milk chocolate chips, dark chocolate will make your muffins too bitter
1. Whisk together the vegetable oil, sour cream, egg, sourdough discard and brown sugar
2. Sift the all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder into the wet ingredients
3. Pour the hot milk and espresso into the batter, this will thin out the batter
4. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter
6. Divide the batter evenly into a muffin tin with paper liners
5. Preheat oven to 450 F, turn oven down to 375 and bake for 20 to 25 minutes
Absolutely! Simply use the same proportion of freshly fed sourdough starter in the recipe. Your starter won’t add a strong tangy flavor to your muffins, but it will still work.
If you don’t have a starter, but still want to try out this recipe, simply add 56 grams of all-purpose flour and 56 grams of water to your batter.
There are a few reasons your muffins could have turned out flat:
1. Your baking soda and baking powder may be past their prime and not able to leaven your muffins
2. You may have opened the oven door before the center of your muffins are fully baked, unfortunately, this would cause them to sink and the center to be dense and gummy
3. You may have mismeasured your ingredients, weigh your ingredients to make sure your proportions are correct
4. Your oven temperature may have been too low, high temperatures encourage the muffins to rise during the first few minutes of baking
You may have developed too much gluten in your batter. It helps to fold your flour into the batter ⅓ at a time to ensure it is incorporated without over mixing.
Opening the oven door before your muffins are fully baked could also cause them to be too gummy. In this case, your muffins will sink and the interior will be gummy.
More sourdough chocolate recipes
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Sourdough Chocolate Muffins Recipe
- 113 grams vegetable oil or any neutral-flavored oil
- 113 grams sour cream
- 150 grams sourdough discard
- 200 grams brown sugar
- 1 egg large
- 180 grams all-purpose flour
- 7 grams baking soda
- 4 grams salt Morton's Kosher Salt
- 60 grams cocoa powder Dutch-processed
- 35 grams espresso
- 170 grams milk hot
- 200 grams chocolate chips
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 F with the rack in the middle. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray the tin with nonstick baking spray to prevent the tall muffin tops from getting stuck.
- Make the batter: Whisk together the vegetable oil, sour cream, sourdough discard, brown sugar and egg, until no traces of discard or egg remain. Sift in all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder, this gets rid of any lumps in the flour and cocoa powder. Gently fold the ingredients together until no traces of flour remain. Pour the milk and espresso into the batter, hot liquids will blend into your batter much easier. The batter will be quite thin at this point, this is totally normal.
- Add the chocolate chips: Fold the chocolate chips into the batter, and set aside a little bit to top your muffins.
- Portion out the batter: Using a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoons), divide the batter into 12 portions, each cavity should be filled all the way to the top.
- Bake: Place the muffin tin on the middle rack of the oven, close the door gently and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 F. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not open the door too soon or your muffins will sink! Let the muffins cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning them out on to a wire rack.
- Enjoy and store: Serve the muffins fresh from the oven and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Hot milk and espresso blend into a smoother batter and bake into muffins with a spongy, light, and airy texture.
Don’t overbake your muffins or they may taste chalky and lose their rich chocolate flavor
Be very careful when turning out your muffins; these are fluffy and delicate, so it’s easy to decapitate their muffin tops.