How to Make Moist Cupcakes

We all love cupcakes! From the classic vanilla and chocolate to the all-time favorite red velvet—we can never seem to get enough.

But the thing that makes them extra special, aside from the lovely frosting of course, is cupcake moisture content.

We all love soft, fluffy, and extra-moist cupcakes. But, how do we get them? Read below to find out the key ingredients to making the cupcake of your dreams!

Quick Look

Ingredients to Substitute for a Better Cupcake

How to Subsitute
Use 3/4 cup oil for 1 cup butter
Instant Pudding Mix
One small package pudding for 12 cupcakes
Sour Cream or Yogurt
Substitute half of volume of wet ingredients (except egg)
Brown Sugar
Replace half of sugar with brown sugar
Replace half of butter or oil with applesauce
Add 1/4 cup to wet ingredients
Cake Flour
Substitute cake for all-purpose flour

More Detail


Instead of using butter, substitute canola oil or olive oil. The fat content in the oil will make the resulting cupcakes moister than when you use butter.

If your original recipe uses butter, use a ratio of 1 cup butter to 3/4 cup oil to substitute. The science behind this is that oil reduces gluten formation.

Gluten is a protein substance found in wheat that binds the baked products together. If they are less bonded, it will result in softer cupcakes.

Instant Pudding Mix

Add one box of small pudding mix to your normal 12-piece cupcake recipe and it will come up extra soft.

The pudding mix changes the consistency of your cupcake batter, making it smoother as well. You can always experiment with pudding flavors and the flavor of your cupcakes.

For example, if you are going for chocolate cupcakes, go for chocolate pudding mix as well. Or, if you want an extra kick to your cupcakes, why not add a mint pudding mixture instead? The result? Soft, smooth, and moist chocolate mint cupcakes!

Sour Cream or Yogurt

Substitute sour cream or yogurt based on how much liquid ingredients you have (except egg). If your recipe calls for 1 cup of water or milk, you can replace it with 1 cup of sour cream or yogurt.

I highly recommend combining water and sour cream or yogurt in the batter since the former has a distinct aroma and taste that could affect the flavor of your cupcakes.

Or, if you want to make it even moister, you can proceed with your recipe for 12 cupcakes as is and add 1/2 cup of sour cream or yogurt instead. This acidic dairy product adds moisture to cupcakes and makes it denser as well.

Brown Sugar

I only highly advise using brown sugar if you are making chocolate cupcakes, carrot cupcakes, or other dark-colored cupcakes because the color of the sugar will taint the appearance of the finished product.

You can substitute all white sugar in your recipe but I highly recommend you do it half-and-half: half white sugar and half brown sugar. Brown sugar can give your cupcakes extra moisture but is also sweeter than white sugar.

Hence, if you substitute all of the sugar, you may end up with extra sweet cupcakes. If your recipe for 12 cupcakes requires 1 cup of sugar, I suggest going for 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup brown.


If you want a healthier alternative to the fat content of your cupcakes as well as a better texture, applesauce is the best substitute for that.

You can replace all butter or oil in your recipe with applesauce. But the problem with doing that is that your cupcakes might not rise as much as when you used butter or oil.

Therefore, the best proportion you can use is to use 1/2 butter or oil and 1/2 applesauce. If your recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter or oil, use 1/4 cup of butter and oil plus 1/4 cup applesauce.


While mayonnaise may seem like the last thing you will want to put in your cupcakes, this will certainly add that extra moisture you want your cupcakes to have. And besides, mayonnaise is made with eggs and oils which are ingredients found in creating cupcakes anyway.

Moreover, mayonnaise contains vinegar which acts as a natural preservative making your cupcakes last for a longer time. Add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise to your batter for a 12-piece cupcake recipe.

Cake Flour

Use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. Cake flour has less gluten content than all-purpose flour which keeps cupcakes light.

This type of flour is also bleached which makes the acid content higher. The higher acid content allows for starch to store more moisture.

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Comments 18 comments

Krystal Bivins 2 months ago

What type of mayonnaise? Dukes? mirocle whip?

pinklemonadegirl profile image

pinklemonadegirl 19 months ago from Manila, Philippines Author

@trudy: I also didn't know that until a few weeks before I made the article and tried it for myself.

trudy 19 months ago

Start making moist cupcakes sell them keep me busy reading everyone post never knew you can add maynoise making cupcakes

elilamis, philippines 22 months ago

this article was an eye opener to explore more delicious cupcakes.

thank you very much for the effort to help others

floridacupcake profile image

floridacupcake 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

Love this!

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

I love baking cupcakes and this hub is surely a good one for me to follow. Thanks for sharing. I´ll try baking cupcakes with the use of oil soon. Have a nice day!

Nancy 2 years ago

What a useful article! I appreciate how you listed every option with clear and concise directions and explanations. It makes it super easy for people like me Googling with no answers. I'm going to give the mayo a shot. Thanks much!

lafessler profile image

lafessler 2 years ago

Very useful article! My personal favorite is Greek yogurt. Thanks for sharing!

BBDbaker 3 years ago

Thank you for the tips!!! Personally, the mayonnaise does the best job of moistening the cupcake and balancing the sweetness without changing the flavor. This article was sooo helpful!!!!

pinklemonadegirl profile image

pinklemonadegirl 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines Author

@vibesites: yes! surprisingly, it doesn't really give that "mayonnaise" sourness to the cupcakes. It is very moist and balances the sweetness. :)

vibesites profile image

vibesites 3 years ago from United States

Sounds good idea with the mayonnaise. It will also give some tartness to cupcakes too to balance the flavor. Thanks for sharing. :)

pinklemonadegirl profile image

pinklemonadegirl 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines Author

@cristina: I am really glad that you tried experimenting! I am glad this article was able to help you. :)

Cristina 3 years ago

The mayonnaise was the ingredient that worked the best. It made them moist. The olive oil gives a salty taste to the muffins that is not too notorius, but is there.

Thank you very much for the tips! It was fun to experiment!

Cristina 3 years ago

I am at this moment baking the cupcakes with the olive oil instead of the butter! Will tell you how it went!

pinklemonadegirl profile image

pinklemonadegirl 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines Author

@vespawoolf: I am really glad to hear that you will use these suggestions. Let us know how your cupcakes turned out! :)

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

We're moving to higher altitude and these suggestions will help me develop a moister high altitude cupcake, something that's always a problem when we live in the Andes. Thank you! Very useful and interesting. Voted up and shared.

pinklemonadegirl profile image

pinklemonadegirl 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines Author

Thank you! I hope these tips will really help. :)

joanveronica profile image

joanveronica 3 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

Hi there, welcome to Hubpages! This was an interesting read, I love cupcakes! I don't cook nowadays, but I will surely share this with the person in my home who does!

Voted up, useful and interesting! I hope to see you around!

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