Dessert

20 Scrumptious Paleo Cupcakes (Grain-Free & Gluten-Free)

Surely Paleolithic man wasn’t baking cupcakes, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy these Paleo cupcakes and other modern comforts. They’ve managed to cut out all of the bad stuff from them, and replaced it with ingredients that keep you on track, while letting you have a sweet treat. Remember that Paleo is unlike any diet plan you’ve ever seen, and it’s not about depriving yourself of foods you love but learning how to make them in a way that doesn’t muck up your system. Take a cupcake tour through our list and bake up the ones that sound yummiest to you.

I love these cupcake recipes! So many different unique cake & icing flavors.


vanilla cupcakes
Photo: Elana’s Pantry

1. Vanilla Cupcakes
Let’s start off with a basic recipe for vanilla cupcake. These allow you to bake a sort of cupcake foundation, upon which you can add whatever you’d like to it in terms of frosting. Here they’ve gone with chocolate frosting, but you could easily make a frosting out of berries like raspberries or strawberries, or even blueberries. The vanilla base means that many different flavors can work with it. Coconut flour is used which will give them a nice light texture, just like you want from any decent cupcake. You’ll see this used as a popular replacement for the all-purpose flour used in most traditional cupcake recipes.


2. Tuxedo Cupcakes
These cupcakes are dressed to impress, but perhaps the most impressive part about them is that they’re Paleo friendly. That’s right, they only use ingredients that are found on the approved Paleo foods list, so you can be sure they won’t ruin all of your progress so far. What’s great about eating Paleo is you are automatically cutting out grains from your diet, as well as refined sugar. Many Paleo baking recipes are also vegan and gluten-free because they’re using all-natural ingredients from wholesome sources. That means you get to benefit from these healthy diet plans without having to alter your lifestyle too much.

3. Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Maple Vanilla Frosting
Here are some pink cupcakes that will have you wonder when the dieting actually starts. These are perfect for anyone worrying that they won’t be able to do Paleo because they can’t give up the sweets. These will provide the sweet fix needed in times of crisis, and make staying the course that much easier. That’s because they have a generous amount of frosting on the top, so you don’t feel like you’re eating diet food, you just feel like you’re eating a cupcake, and not a “diet cupcake”. Getting fit and healthy for the long-term involves making subtle changes that your brain and body don’t reject. That’s why drastic dietary changes rarely work in the long run.

4. Apple Cardamom Cupcakes
Cardamom is something you usually see in Indian cuisine, but they’ve found a way to work it into a cupcake, and make it taste like it’s supposed to be there. The great thing is that cardamom has a detoxifying effect on the body, so it’s not just there for the flavor it provides, it’s actually helping you be healthier. When you factor in the nutritional value of the apples, the vitamins and fiber it provides, you’re actually benefiting from this cupcakes instead of it being a huge setback. What a great shift from being something that can undo your dieting to something that can bolster it forward.

5. Sticky Date Pudding Cupcakes
These cupcakes not only look super cute, but they’re really tasty too. The bright red raspberry on top adds flavor as well as antioxidants and fiber to the cupcake, which uses coconut flour instead of general purpose flour. General purpose flour is the kind you see sold in big frumpy bags at the store, and is loaded with grains, and therefore not something you can have while on the Paleo plan. The interesting thing is that coconut flour provides nearly all of the texture and taste you need from flour, but is grain free so it is better digested by the body. The sweetness for these comes from honey, a natural source that also has healthy benefits.


cocoa nut paleo cupcakes
Photo: Divine Sustenance

6. Cocoa-nut Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream
Coconut is very versatile, and here they are using it in several different ways to bring you a chocolate cupcake that you won’t soon forget. It is using coconut flour for the flour, and coconut palm sugar for the necessary sweetness. Taking it a step further they’re using coconut milk for the chocolate buttercream, so there isn’t any dairy in this, but you’re getting even more coconut flavor. The end result is a chocolatey coconut treat that will have you starting the countdown until you have them again.


7. Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes
Olive oil is one of the approved oils while on Paleo, so it’s no surprise that this recipe is putting it to good use in cupcake form. Chocolate is another item that people are surprised is Paleo, but you have to be sure to use the right types of chocolate. The two forms that you can use on Paleo are cocoa powder and dark chocolate, because that way you are just getting the chocolate without the dairy and added sugar that’s in milk chocolate. This recipe is using cocoa powder so it’s all good, and the other recipes all pass the Paleo test.

8. Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes
If you haven’t tried chocolate and pumpkin mixed together it’s high time you did. They really mix well, and in this recipe they’ve made it so you’re getting the familiar taste of pumpkin, with nice big chunks of chocolate so you get equal tastes of both. There’s a cream cheese frosting on this, and to compromise they’re using organic cream cheese, which may cut out some of the antibiotics from conventional, but a Paleo purist would want to take a pass on it, or use a Paleo cream cheese alternative.

9. Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
These might have a holiday feel to them, but they can be enjoyed all year long. They’ve captured the essence of eggnog and crammed it into a cupcake, adding chocolate chips just to be sure that it tastes awesome. In true Paleo fashion they have provided alternatives to every gray area when it comes to ingredients, so you can tinker with this and keep it within the bounds of what you consider Paleo. Remember that there are no rules set in stone, so find your own Paleo balance and stick to what works for you.

10. Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
These cupcakes are perfect for anyone that’s been jonesing for a cinnamon roll. It provides the taste you expect from a freshly baked cinnamon roll and puts it into cupcake form so that you can satisfy your craving without bailing on your diet plan. They’re using all-natural ingredients whenever possible, but they do use cream cheese, which technically is a Paleo no-no. You can find a suitable replacement, or just forego it altogether if you want to stay completely on the path. Many Paleo followers find that once they cut out all the dairy for awhile they can introduce organic dairy products in limited amounts, but it’s up to you to decide.


red velvet cupcakes
Photo: Gutsy By Nature

11. Naturally Red Velvet Cupcakes
These cupcakes have been tinkered with until they found the perfect mix of ingredients so that they taste good, are colored red, and don’t taste too much like beets. They get their color from the beets, which means they’re also getting plenty of nutrition as well. There’s no dairy used in these, even though they have a nice dollop of frosting on the top. These are a fitting example of how Paleo takes traditional foods and actually makes them healthy for you, or at least not unhealthy.


12. Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
If you want a cupcake that doesn’t look exactly like a cupcake, but still tastes amazing, you have to go with these Boston Cream Pie cupcake bites. They are smothered and covered with yummy vanilla cream and chocolate, and no grains have been harmed in the making of this recipe. You can enjoy the familiar taste of Boston Cream Pie without the familiar stomachache afterward. The one thing you’ll notice when eating Paleo is that you can get full without feeling stuffed or gross after you eat.

13. Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
Get the cool taste of peppermint mixed with the crave worthy taste of chocolate all in one cupcake. Great for those that like mint chocolate chip ice cream or Girl Scout Thin Mints. You can serve these up at a holiday party, or bake them throughout the year whenever you get the notion. The best part is that you won’t be breaking any Paleo rules because there’s no dairy, and no grains, and the ingredients are all sourced from natural, whole foods. They also look really good once they’re finished, which makes them great for presentation at a party or other gathering.

14. Yellow Cupcakes
Keep it simple with these yellow cupcakes, and you’ll have a classic and familiar taste without having to compromise your diet plans. The beautiful thing about this cupcake recipe is its short list of ingredients compared to your traditional cupcake. Just 8 ingredients go into the cake part of the cupcake, and they even provide a recipe for the icing so you’ll be all set. These eight items are all high quality, and they even suggest using organic coconut flour, so you can see that they’ve paid a lot of attention to the ingredients and making these as pure as possible.

15. Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream
These cupcakes have a lot to offer, and are combining two tastes that could stand alone, but work great together. The vanilla bean flavor of the cupcakes gets put next to the flavor of mocha on top, so your taste buds get a one-two punch that will have you thinking you’ve ruined your diet. But no worries, it’s still intact and you’re actually doing better than before because now you’ll be less likely to binge or cheat with pre-packaged sweets. Never get into the deprivation mentality on Paleo, because that’s not what it’s about.


chestnut chocolate cupcakes
Photo: Paleo Fondue

16. Chestnut Chocolate Cupcakes
These cupcakes are made in a way that makes them a little different than every other cupcake recipe we’ve seen, because they use chestnuts. These are not your typical nut like almonds or walnuts which we often see in baking recipes. It gives these a unique flavor that manages to hold its ground even with all the chocolate in play. The frosting gets its sweetness from honey, way better than the High Fructose Corn Syrup that you’ll find in conventional store bought frosting. It also uses a healthy form of oil, unlike the kind you’ll find in commercial brands of frosting.


17. Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes
Only on Paleo will you find recipes that incorporate vegetables into desserts. This cupcake recipe uses zucchini along with chocolate and hazelnut to come up with a sweet treat so scrumptious even kids will like it. Leave it to The Paleo Mom to come up with a dessert like this, and figure out a way for kids to eat their vegetables and not even raise a complaint. Vegetables are a very important aspect of the Paleo diet, so be sure you eat them every chance you get, even when they’re as yummy as this.

18. Pumpkin Pie Stuffed Cupcakes
Want a cupcake with the distinction of being stuffed with pumpkin pie? Talk about the perfect holiday cupcake! You get the classic flavor of pumpkin pie but done up as a cupcake so it’s portioned out perfectly and is easier to eat. Cupcakes with internal surprises are always fun, and this offering is no slouch. This is a wonderful cupcake for those that like pumpkin pie but don’t really care for the crust. And of course you can serve these any time of year, because pumpkin always tastes great, it just tastes a little better in the fall.

19. Meatloaf Cupcakes
No Paleo cupcake list would be complete without a meaty offering. These cupcakes are really mini meatloaves so you are getting plenty of protein in a handy ready to eat format. The best part about these is their “frosting” which is made from sweet potatoes, so you’re getting your vegetable and your meat in pretty equal proportions which is a pillar of the Paleo diet plan. It’s not all about the meat, it’s about a balance between meat and vegetables and these cupcakes are a microcosm of that balance.

20. Guava Cupcakes with Whipped Guava Frosting
It’s not often you see guava make it onto a list of cupcakes, so it’s pretty awesome that they’ve managed to work it into this concoction. They’ve broken the recipe down into two parts, the cake part and the frosting part so it’s easy to whip up both and then combine them for the desired appearance. The health benefits of guava will come through on this, as they won’t be diluted by a bunch of unhealthy things like grain-based flour and refined sugar. You’ll find this is the case with many Paleo recipes, which makes baking fun again.

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