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Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

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Bacon cupcakes?

By now, you’ve most likely noticed the recent pervasiveness of bacon in grocery stores, in restaurants, and especially on Pinterest… Bacon chocolate bars, bacon vodka, bacon cinnamon rolls, bacon toothpaste?? Scarily enough, all of these items are very much real entities.

Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes

And bacon cupcakes: rich chocolate cupcakes with a smokey flavor sure to please any bacon lover in your life.

While a bacon cupcakes recipe might seem out of place on this blog, I wanted to offer a healthier alternative for those interested in trying out the bacon trend without the extra calories and saturated fat… or for those who love Charlotte’s Web and Babe as much as I do! The thing is, you don’t actually need any real bacon to achieve that textbook “bacon” flavor; all you need is a secret ingredient found at pretty much any mainstream grocery store: liquid smoke.

Bacon Cupcake

I made a glaze for the cupcakes by taking my Reeses Fudge Frosting and thinning it out with a little extra almond milk. Then I sprinkled a few bacon bits on top (Frontier Bac’uns, Betty Crocker, and McCormick bacon bits all happen to be bacon-free) and they were good to go!

Bacon Cupcake

Bacon Cupcakes

  • 1 cup spelt or all-purpose flour (135g) (Arrowhead Mills gf also works.)
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder (30g) (not Dutch)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup xylitol or sugar of choice (180g)
  • 1/2 cup mayo-style spread, such as Vegenaise (For a mayo-free version, click here.) (110g)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup water (180g)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place 12 liners inside a muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients and sift very well. In a separate bowl, combine remaining four ingredients and whisk until the mayo spread is completely smooth. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just combined. Immediately divide among the liners—it won’t seem like a lot of filling, but these cupcakes rise a lot! Bake 21 minutes, remove from the oven, then let sit 15 more minutes before removing from the pan. These taste much more fudgey and rich the next day, so bake the day before eating if you can. Store in the refrigerator for optimum freshness. (The recipe for the healthy chocolate frosting shown in the photos is linked under the second picture in this post.)

I can vouch for the recipe working with homemade cashew mayo, Vegenaise (low-fat or regular), or Earth Balance Mindful Mayo. Although I can’t vouch for every single homemade mayo spread out there, the recipe should work as long as your mayo spread includes vinegar or lemon juice and a fat source such as oil or cashews. If you are using a homemade mayo, I recommend omitting any onion powder and mustard called for in your recipe.

View Nutrition Facts

Bacon Cupcakes

Save a horse, ride a cowboy.

Save a pig, eat a cupcake :).

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. I have never really understood the bacon and chocolate obsession going around – but I feel like I need to try it after seeing these! You can’t hate till you try it right!? Maybe it will be my new favorite thing! :)

  2. I’m terrified to try the chocolate bacon combination even though it seems all the rage. What section of the grocery store is liquid smoke found? I’ve searched for it a couple times, but to no avail.

    1. Jessica says:

      It would most likely be with spices and marinades. I tend to use smoked paprika if I’m looking for the smoky flavor (not vegan/vegetarian but bacon is almost all unhealthy fat) so I’ve never actually shopped for it though.

      Now I have to try paprika and chocolate to see how it’ll turn out…

    2. Sarah says:

      In my grocery store it is the isle with all of the gravy packets

    3. jane says:

      In my store it is next to the BBQ sauce.

    4. Jessa says:

      Liquid smoke one of those things that ends up in random enough places that I always just ask an employee. In one of the stores near my house it’s in the spices section, in another it’s in the condiment area — and in the last it’s in with the sugar for some unknown reason.

  3. Yum! I love chocolate and I love bacon! I’m not vegan or vegetarian, so I think I will be using actual bacon in these. I haven’t tried the bacon chocolate combination, but it’s been on my to-do list for sometime now. Maybe today’s the day! ;D

  4. George Lin says:

    Damn. And of course I just found the little paper cupcake cups too.

  5. I love liquid smoke! Most brands are clearly labeled as vegan and it lends a meaty taste to any vegetarian/vegan savory dish. Good to see it’s just as tasty in cupcake form 😉

  6. Michelle says:

    Have you tried Phoney Baloney bacon… It’s made from coconut and the best I’ve ever tried. I put it on everything. It’s online or a bunch of health food markets. I tried on vanilla cupcakes before… Now will try on these….. Yum

    1. I haven’t… I’ve heard great things, though!

      1. Michelle says:

        The owner had a vegan shop here used to sell sandwiches with it… he closed it to concentrate on this… If you have a chance to try it…you’ll be hooked. I think Isa has a cupcake recipe using it…. btw I voted for you on the veg awards… =)

        1. Erin says:

          I actually make my OWN coconut bacon! It is easy and oh, so yummy!! Coconut flakes are spread on to a baking sheet and drizzled with a liquid smoke, tamari, water and maple syrup blend! Bake until golden. A perfect salad or sandwich, or CUPCAKE, topping!!!

          1. nuu says:

            Do you have a recipe for this, Erin? It sounds fantastic. ^_^

  7. I know my boyfriend would run away from these screaming … which just means more for me! I’ll have to make these soon … :)

  8. Lauren says:

    This is less healthy than a ‘normal’ bacon cupcake (cept frosting). So ya kno. But still looks great:)

    1. nuu says:

      How is it less healthy when it doesn’t have all the calories and saturated fat that actual bacon has?

      1. Lauren says:

        Don’t worry bout calories. And natural sat. fat is not bad. It’s the ‘bad carbs’ that get you. Like the flour, xylitol, mayo-style spread.

  9. Eric Pudalov says:

    Hey Katie! First off, I love the blog; great recipes. Second, I have a question: I’m considering starting a food blog of my own, and I’m curious – how did you get readership? Did it happen naturally?? Thank you!

    1. Hi Eric,
      Good luck! This is a link with all of my posts tagged “blogging tips.” Hopefully something in one of those posts can be helpful!

  10. Niki says:

    OO Bacon! I would much prefer grassfed bacon instead of who knows what is in it bacon bits. And saturated Fats are actually not the enemy!

    1. Steph says:

      Correction: grass-fed saturated fat is good for you.

      Factory-raised meat is highly inflammatory and in excess will make you gain weight in all the wrong places.

      1. Agreed! And it tastes tons better! :)

      2. Jessica says:

        Trans fat is really the only REALLY bad fat (I know I said about unhealthy fat before, but I meant shear quantity compared to the protein content). Fat helps keep us full longer, and we do need about half a gram of fat per pound of body weight to function. However, most people get that easily. I’d rather get it from higher protein sources. Bacon is something I have to work in.

        1. lauren says:

          most oils are bad too. olive oil is okay when not heated tho. but like canola n veg :( no

      3. Bob says:

        tell that to all the people with heart disease. LOL. good luck with your little fantasy that eating pig corpses are healthy.

    2. lou says:

      katie –
      these comment are heinous, dangerous to the general public, and absolute horse $h!t… you know that… why let them fly??

      1. Niki says:

        Oh I’m sorry I definitely do not mean to be henious or dangerous to the public. I truly believe this. I eat grass fed butter every morning and feel it has not hurt me one bit. I would love to hear why you feel my views are dangerous to the general public. The last thing I would want to do is hurt anyone. I just think real grass fed bacon is so much better for us than bacon bits with the chemicals.

        1. Lul says:

          It’s just strange that you say grass fed bacon. It’s an animal. A sweet, smart, heart beating, feeling being. I think you should visit an animal sanctuary and see for yourself. Don’t hate, just saying…and I don’t hate…just sounds weird to me. Like you are referring to a machine…peace out!

      2. Carly says:

        Lou–I like how anything that you don’t personally agree with is “horsesh*t”. And “dangerous to the public?” Give me a break. There are worse things in life than thinking that eating an occasional slice of bacon is okay. Not everyone agrees with you; get used to it.

        1. bob says:

          um, you’re on a vegan blog. most people aren’t vegan. of course most people don’t agree with lou – most people are fine with animal cruelty and murder. if you want to eat salted pig strips, do it, but don’t get mad when you come to a vegan blog and talk about murder and the vegans don’t like it.

    3. Joanna says:

      Id avoid those nasty chemicals in bacon bit too! Who knows what kind of diseases they can cause!??

      1. The Fronteir brand bacon bits are organic and chemical free; however, you definitely don’t need ANY bacon bits to make the recipe. They were just for garnish in the photos… not needed at all if someone doesn’t want to add them :).

    4. CFL says:

      Agreed that natural is better than fake/created. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I’d think twice about using items that are made in a factory rather than outdoors. In the interest of healthy – and I understand and like the purpose of your work Katie – I think it’s important to not go too far. McCormick Bacon Flavored Bits contain: Textured Soy Flour, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Cornstarch, Natural Flavor and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Corn Gluten and Wheat Protein, FD&C Red 3 and Autolyzed Yeast.

      1. Hi CFL,
        The bacon bits are actually not called for in the recipe. I used them as a garnish (I used Fronteir brand). But you can easily leave them out :).

  11. N says:

    I’m sorry but I have a huge problem with you saying “guilt”. No one should ever feel guilty because of something they have EATEN. I’m not sure you meant it in those terms but considering how rigid, strict, and skinny you are I don’t take it lightly and am offended. Thos words can be very triggering to certain people and I hope you choose more carefully next time

    1. Hi N,
      Point well made, and you are 100% correct… I’m sorry for my thoughtlessness/carelessness with my word choice. Thanks for calling me out on it. The post has been changed now.

      1. lou says:

        please stand up for yourself in response to such outrageous comments. please do not “apologize” for doing NOTHING wrong. “N” is not “100% correct” he/she is 0% correct. this person has made offensive comments about your slim appearance, and healthy lifestyle choices. additionally, the phrase “guilt-free” is commonly used EVERYWHERE. If you take offense to such a commonly used phrase… lose weight, or grow up.

        but katie – PLEASE do not question yourself, and do not cater to the demands of such hostile, and easily offended humans.

        1. Hi Lou,
          I agree the comments about my appearance were not necessary, but I do think N was right about my word choice not being the best one. Although I hadn’t actually said people should feel guilty for eating something with an unhealthy amount of fat, that is sort of what my words were implying. I was happy to change them in this case.

    2. Lz says:

      If you’re offended because no one should feel guilty- Okay. If you’re offended in part because she is skinny and used the word ‘guilt’ maybe you need to look in the mirror, because that’s pretty offensive.

  12. I am a huge fan of bacon in chocolate bars. I know I would love one of these.

  13. I just discovered liquid smoke and I LOVE IT! Never thought of using it in baking though…thanks for a brilliant idea!

  14. Sarah says:


    1. Ikr! Bacon bits scare me. As does most processed food.

  15. Genius! I have a bottle of liquid smoke in the back of my cabinet that I’ve been wondering how to finish off…

  16. Danielle says:

    Hi Katie,
    Great idea! I’m not sure if you are aware but liquid smoke is actually under investigation as to whether it is a safe flavoring as it seems to be carcinogenic. If people want that smokiness without that ingredient they might want to leave it out and replace the salt your recipe calls for with smoked salt instead…Otherwise very cool!

    1. Thanks for the heads up! I tried to google it, but the only articles I could find that said it was a danger were from at least 3 years ago… do you have a link to something more current so I can check it out?

        1. Kate says:

          Not convinced by that article link. It also lists coffee and tea on the list of DNA damage.

  17. Bethany says:

    I’ve had bacon cupcakes before and they are pretty out of this world. I’m not sure how artificial bacon bits could be called healthy though. All the brands I’ve seen have msg and artificial food dyes in them, among other questionable ingredients.

  18. April says:

    Do you have a recipe for homemade cashew mayo? I have more cashews than I know what to do with, at present. *grin* Also, I’d love to try this with the coconut “bacon” that’s so popular around these parts lately.

    1. C says:

      I would also love to see the cashew mayo recipe! :)

      1. I don’t actually have a recipe of my own. But if you google “cashew mayo” you can find some recipes for it… or look in a good all-purpose vegan cookbook. Most of the recipes I’ve seen are pretty similar to each other, so you shouldn’t have a problem no matter which you choose. :)

  19. chocolover says:

    Hi Katie,
    I love your blog! Do you by any chance have a chocolate pudding recipe? The one we like to make has sooo much sugar. Thank you!

    1. I have this one:
      I’m also working on a version with cornstarch or arrowroot, but it’s proving to be a bit tricky.

      1. chocolover says:

        I would like to find a cornstarch-type recipe so that I don’t have to get the food processor out for my pudding, but I suppose until I find one your fantastically amazing chocolate mousse will just *have* to suffice. :)

  20. jane says:

    Personally, I think these are a great alternative to pig based bacon cupcakes, processed bacon bits and all. Not every dessert needs to be the healthiest food of your day, that’s why it’s a treat! I am pretty excited to make these!

  21. Becca says:

    HA! I saw this recipe originally in my feedly and I glanced over it because of course I don’t eat bacon! Then, I saw again and thought WHAAAAT. I will have to try these on my bacon loving boyfriend!

  22. I’ve never heard of bacon cupcakes before! Interesting. I have noticed that Pinterest seems to be spilling over with bacon food lately. xD
    Liquid Smoke sounds amazing!

  23. Jen says:

    When I saw the title of this post in my inbox, I nearly laughed–how could this POSSIBLY be healthy, much less vegan? But I guess there are lots of ways to makes things taste meaty (or smokey) without meat these days.

    Also: You MUST do pumpkin pancakes. Soon. Fall is just around the bend, and we must prepare ourselves. I will be your biggest fan every and I will personally bring cookie dough dip and that mind-boggling cashew-based Oreo pie you have to the next potluck and/or dinner I am invited to. *puppy eyes* Please?

    1. It has been on my to-do list for a long time! :)

  24. Lul says:


    I love your blog and have tried many of your recipes. I have to be honest though and let you know it’s off putting to see bacon in the title of this recipe. Maybe this recipe could be called smoky flavoured chocolate cupcakes . Just like you said, we don’t need pig flesh to achieve the version of the dead thing. Happy long labour day weekend!

    1. emma says:

      ehhh I might disagree… I think it depends where you are coming from. Personally I was very excited to see bacon cupcakes in my inbox… and that may bring a new ‘type’ of people to her blog who wouldn’t come regularly…. that said I can so see where you are coming from as far as people who don’t like bacon or are vegetarian or vegan :)
      I looovvvee bacon! ;D haha

      1. lul says:

        that’s cool. i hear ya and raise you a veggie bacon sandwich. :) peace out. happy long labour day weekend!

    2. Thanks for your honesty… I completely understand what you mean, and I guess it’s just not a black-and-white issue and there are good points to be made on both sides. I decided to call them “bacon cupcakes” so that people who would otherwise try a different bacon cupcake recipe might give this recipe a chance instead and see that they’re really just as good when made without any actual bacon in there :).

      1. lul says:

        thanks for replying katie. i love the personal touch… and i hear what you are saying. keep up the awesome work and i guess you can’t please all of the people all of the time, right? but you come pretty darn close. :) anyhoo, i voted for you btw. xo hope you win!!

        1. Aw thanks Lul :).
          And seriously, it really means a lot to me when people take the time to leave honest feedback, even if it’s negative. It really helps me to learn for the future.

  25. Joanna says:

    Ahh i will take all the saturated fat and have real bacon! I need it for my health. I used to use tempeh bacon when i was a vegan, but after that horrid time, i started eating real bacon again and it is awesome! Trader joes has really good stuff if u ever want to try it. No nitrates and uncured. I totally get the bacon obsession since i am now part of the club haha

  26. emma says:

    ohhh baaaccon! ;D
    do you think it would work okay/be good with added bacon bits in the cupcake itself? Or would that just not do anything?
    :) thx

    1. Yes, definitely that would work!

  27. Colleen says:

    I’m amazed at the controversy here! I was scrolling through the comments to find opinions on the actual recipe, has anyone made these? (Katie you do a great job at peace keeping – as well as great recipes!) I don’t see the harm in calling these ‘bacon’ cupcakes but I am surprised how many meat-eaters here find the need to try to impose their views on what is obviously a vegan blog.

    1. Hi Colleen,
      I don’t think anyone has actually made them yet… maybe check back in a few days to see if someone reports back (and read the bottom comments first). But the recipe is similar to this one
      So maybe some of the reviews on that post could be relevant.

  28. Melissa says:

    Y’know, I tried a bacon dessert, and I wasn’t impressed. It reminded me of breakfast. If I wanted that flavor, I’d rather have pancakes with maple syrup and thick strips of bacon perfectly cooked on the side (can we tell I’m not a vegetarian LOL). I don’t need it all fancified up as something else. Let the bacon be what it is.

    1. kate says:

      ….your point

  29. So decadent and delicious! I love the sweet-salty combination in these cupcakes. Great recipe, Katie!

  30. Robyn says:

    This is a really unique idea!

  31. Carly says:

    Katie, these sound awesome and I can’t wait to try them. I’ve wanted to try the whole bacon/chocolate thing for ages now, and I definitely never thought I’d see a lower-cal way to do it!

    I have to say that some of the other commenters need to get a grip–I’ve never seen such nit-picky, judgy comments on a freakin’ dessert blog before. Either try the recipe or don’t and go on with your life, for Pete’s sake! What’s the point of forcing your own eating habits on random online strangers?? Makes me think of Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer: “You eat what you like and I’ll eat what I like!”

    Anyway, I love your blog dearly. It has clued me in to a bunch of healthy alternatives that I never would have known about otherwise. Keep up the fabulous work!

  32. These cupcakes are honestly the first time I was tempted to try a bacon dessert. These look really good! I love how chocolatey they look,

  33. Marci says:

    I made these yesterday for a wedding reception, except I used the second version (without the mayo). Everyone loved them, but not everyone noticed the subtle smokey flavor.
    While these were baking, they smelled great. But right when they came out of the oven they stunk up the house! I couldn’t even try one, but they were a hit among everyone else :)

  34. ioanna says:

    i want that thing:)