No-Added-Sugar Chocolate Muffins Suitable for Diabetics

Updated on January 2, 2020
Melovy profile image

Yvonne Spence loves to create healthy recipes and believes we don't have to give up enjoyment when we give up refined sugar.

Chocolate muffins with no added sugar.
Chocolate muffins with no added sugar.

Most sugar-free recipes are complicated, take a long time to prepare and taste—well, sugar-free! After much experimenting, I’ve found that pureed dates are the most effective sugar substitute for several reasons:

  • They are easy to obtain.
  • They are easy to prepare.
  • Compared to other dried fruits, they add sweetness without overwhelming the flavour of the muffins.

Unlike sugar, dates are a good source of fibre, minerals and vitamins. They are especially high in potassium, containing even more than bananas. A least one study has found them to be safe for diabetics. (If you can’t get dates, the next best fruit would be sultanas, which use the same method of preparation as described for the dates below.)

About This Recipe

These muffins are easy to make and have passed the ultimate taste test: children’s birthday parties! So you can enjoy watching the kids have fun all the more since you know that they are eating healthy food.

I usually use either spelt or wholewheat flour, but white flour or half-white, half-wholemeal are also fine. This recipe is for plain flour, so if you use self-raising, omit the baking powder—but not the bicarbonate soda.

This recipe is not meant to be slavishly followed but as a starting point to create your own. Vary the quantity of dates and cocoa and the type of flour depending how sweet and chocolatey you like your muffins. You can also add walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts, and they are also good with a mashed banana added into the wet ingredients.

This recipe makes 12 standard muffins or 24 mini ones. Enjoy!


  • A 12-hole standard muffin tin, or 2 tins of mini-muffin/fairy cake size. (If you plan to eat the muffins at home, you can just grease the tins with oil. If the muffins are to go on an outing, it’s best to line the tins with paper cases. This keeps the muffins intact—otherwise, take along a spoon for all the crumbs!)
  • Alternately, you can use silicone cases, which stand alone on a flat baking tray.
  • A large bowl, a smaller bowl and a measuring jug
  • A small pan
  • A blender (a hand-blender is ideal)


  • 9 ounces (250 grams or 2 cups) and 2 tablespoons flour, whichever variety you choose
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (add another spoonful if you’d like them very chocolatey)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 to 6 ounces (110 to 175 grams or 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup) dried dates* (vary the amount depending on how sweet you’d like them)
  • 4 fluid ounces (90 milliliters or 1/2 cup) sunflower or corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or vanilla powder
  • 3 to 5 fluid ounces (75 to 150 milliliters) milk or water, plus extra water for the dates**

Ingredient Notes

*As an alternative to dates, you could use rapadura, a whole cane sugar, which is becoming more widely available in the UK and USA.

**Whether you use milk or water depends on your taste, similar to whether you prefer black or milk chocolate. The muffins keep better without milk, but then they never last long! White flour will need less liquid than wholemeal. It’s best to start with the lower amount and add more if you need it later. With wholemeal flour, you could also use a mixture of plain yogurt and water—this gives some extra lift.


  1. Put dates in a small pan, along with 5 ounces (150 milliliters) of water and boil gently. (They will be soft and ready when you need to use them, just like magic!)
  2. Prepare muffin tins: Either grease them with oil or line with muffin papers. Preheat oven to 190 to 200°C (375 to 400°F or 170°C fan oven or gas mark 5 to 6 on middle rack, 4 to 5 on top). If your tins are shiny tins, they reflect heat and so take longer than dark tins—not a problem I’ve had!
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt (if using) and cocoa. Add chocolate chips or walnuts if using. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Add milk, vanilla and oil.
  5. Remove dates from heat, and blend to form a smooth paste. (If you haven’t got a blender, you could mash them with a fork, but this will create texture.) Add dates to wet ingredients.
  6. Pour all of wet mixture into dry. Stir until just combined—the batter will look lumpy, that’s absolutely fine. The mixture should drop easily off the spoon. If it doesn’t, add a little more liquid.
  7. Spoon into tins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes for standard size and about 15 to 20 minutes for the smaller size. If the tops spring back when pressed they are ready. Leave them to cool for around 5 minutes—this makes it easier to remove them from the tins.

Photo Guide

Use dates instead of sugar. Cook the dates till soft.
Use dates instead of sugar. Cook the dates till soft. | Source
Prepare wet and dry ingredients separately, then add together.
Prepare wet and dry ingredients separately, then add together. | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Enjoy with a cup of tea!Light, fluffy, tasty muffins.
Enjoy with a cup of tea!
Enjoy with a cup of tea! | Source
Light, fluffy, tasty muffins.
Light, fluffy, tasty muffins.
3.5 stars from 37 ratings of Cast your vote for No-added Sugar Chocolate Muffins

Tips to Guarantee Success

  • Prepare the wet ingredients separate from the dry and mix as little as possible. This will result in soft moist muffins.
  • Apart from leaving them in the oven too long, which will result in muffins that are slightly dry, there’s little than can go wrong. I once forgot to add baking powder, and what came out of the oven were little flat cakes—which turned out to be very similar to brownies and which my children loved!
  • Even muffins that have been overbaked can be rescued—just spoon some yogurt on top. This is also a great way to enjoy muffins that have managed to survive a few days, and these taste even better if you first reheat them for a few minutes.

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        2 years ago from UK

        Hi Millie, thanks for your feedback. Glad you liked the muffins and they are nice with banana too. You didn't say which oil you used, but if you don't like the taste, just try a different one. As well as sunflower I've used olive oil and melted coconut oil and both worked.

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Just made them- I'm gluten & dairy free so I substituted flour and milk for 1cup GF flour and 1cup ground almonds and soy milk - they came out really nice, good texture and rose well! Not that sweet and can slightly taste the oil so I'd add a banana or more dates in next time. But good recipie!

      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        3 years ago from UK

        Hi Gorana, thanks very much for your feedback. I'm pleased you found they tasted good for healthy food. It can take a while for tastebuds to adjust, so yes, go ahead and add more dates, bananas etc. I often do add a banana or 2, so it's a great addition.

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Thank you for the recipe, I tried them yesterday. True, they were not sweet, but they are healthy muffins. I will try next time to add more dates, or some bananas or to add honey. They were perfectly baked and they taste good for healthy food :)

      • renee21 profile image

        Tori Leumas 

        4 years ago

        These look a delicious alternative for those who are sugar free. Great hub!

      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        6 years ago from UK

        Permille, thanks so much for your feedback. Sorry for taking so long to reply to your comment but it had gone into my spam folder and I only just found it.

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        Hi there!

        I just made these delicious muffins, and I gotta say... they taste AMAZING. I've tried to bake other sugar-free things, but they never really turn out that great.

        The only difference with mine was that I used rice milk instead of regular milk. Worked fine :-)

        Thanks for the recipe! I'll definitely use it again.

      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        7 years ago from UK

        Sana you're welcome!

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Hey Thanks for the tip :)

      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        7 years ago from UK

        Hi Sana, yes it should be fine to use fresh dates in this recipe. You would probably need to add a larger quantity of dates but not the extra water. You'd probably need about 8 - 12 ounces (225 - 300 grams) of fresh dates depending how sweet and soft they are, and there's no need to boil them in water first.

        Thanks for your comment.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Hi these seems like a superb recipe. Can I use regukar dates instead of dried dates? I dont really know what dried dates look like, and I just seem to find regular dates at the store.

      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        7 years ago from UK

        Thanks coffeealera,

        I am glad you found this useful and thanks for the vote up. I hope you enjoy the muffins!

      • coffeealera profile image


        7 years ago

        I love the sound of this, I'm going to try that recipe.

        Voted up and useful for you.

      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        8 years ago from UK

        Thanks alocsin, I’m sure you’ll hardly notice these don’t have sugar. This was my very first hub and I keep meaning to go back and add more photos - will have to make more muffins soon!

      • alocsin profile image

        Aurelio Locsin 

        8 years ago from Orange County, CA

        These sound yummy. It looks like the dates, cocoa and vanilla extract are reasonable substitutes for the sugar flavor. Voting this Up and Useful.

      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        8 years ago from UK

        HI Ardie,

        Glad to hear you’re inspired to try these. I’ve got a few other sugar free recipes and a hub with tips on how to reduce or replace sugar - the links are at the bottom of this hub I think! If you use sweeteners then be sure to stick with natural ones such as stevia as aspartame and saccharin are pretty nasty. My husband is a pilot and their association advises not to use them because of the adverse effects.

        Thanks for your comment, and good luck with cutting out sugar.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        These look so good I am going to have to make some. I am trying to cut sugar out of all our diets at home and I miss my baked goods! I've learned I can substitute artificial sweeteners for almost all baking now :)

      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        8 years ago from UK

        Hi Sharyn,

        I’ve tried apple sauce instead of sugar, but never instead of oil, so it’s interesting to hear that works.

        Let me know how you get on if you try the muffins, and thanks very much for reading and commenting.

      • Sharyn's Slant profile image

        Sharon Smith 

        8 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

        Hi Yvonne,

        This sounds like a great recipe and all the details including equipment needed is here if someone is new at baking. I love this first hub. I like the idea of using dates. The only thing I have ever substituted, which does work pretty good, is applesauce instead of oil. Nice job!


      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        8 years ago from UK

        Hi Maralexa,

        Thanks for your comment. I hope you enjoy the muffins and have a good Thanksgiving.

      • Maralexa profile image

        Marilyn Alexander 

        8 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

        These look very good! I just love the taste of dates. I will give it a try this weekend - Thanksgiving in Canada.


      • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvonne Spence 

        8 years ago from UK

        Carmen and Annmackiemiller,

        Thanks for visiting my hub. Hope you enjoy the muffins.

      • annmackiemiller profile image


        8 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

        these sound wonderful - I will certainly be giving them a go. thanks for sharing

      • Carmen H profile image

        Carmen Beth 

        8 years ago

        So yummy yet so healthy!


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)