Home » desserts » (Supreme!) Homemade Keto Hostess Cupcakes 🍫

(Supreme!) Homemade Keto Hostess Cupcakes 🍫

These gluten free and keto hostess cupcakes likely need no introduction! Think a deliciously tender low carb chocolate cupcake, all filled up with a scrumptious vanilla buttercream and dipped in a chocolate glaze!

Gluten Free & keto hostess cupcakes with vanilla buttercream
Gluten Free & Keto Hostess Cupcakes

Gluten Free & Keto Hostess Cupcakes 🍫

i.e. Little Debbies, ‘Pinguinos’ et al!

Whether you dub them hostess cupcakes or Little Debbies, you might be surprised to hear that iterations of this highly American sweet treat are found across the world! In Mexico, for instance, they’re known as ‘pinguinos’ (penguins!); and so whipping these up for you guys surely brought me back to my childhood!

And while they’re traditionally filled with a marshmallow fluff sorta thing, I took the liberty of whipping up a scrumptious vanilla buttercream in place. A little different, but oh-so-delicious!

Fact is, feel free to think of these guys as little fat bomb cupcakes! Just be sure to use a grass-fed butter for maximum nutritional benefits: it’s loaded with Vitamin-K2 (which de-calcifies your arteries), anti-inflammatory fatty acid called butyrate, among many other perks. So if you have to choose just one product to splurge on, this is it.

The Method

The chocolate cupcakes are a spinoff of my classic keto chocolate cake! Having said that, they have a couple extra ingredients to make them a little bit sturdier (to handle the cutout and filling).

The most important thing with chocolate-anything? The baking time! Just be sure to take them out as soon as they’re set and a toothpick comes out clean (a few specks are cool).

You’ll then allow them to cool completely before cutting them out (with a paring knife or an actual round cutter), fill them up with vanilla buttercream and dip them in a chocolate glaze! Swirls optional… but highly suggested!

Filling keto chocolate cupcakes with vanilla cream
Gluten Free & Keto Hostess Cupcakes

The Sweetener

You’ve got plenty of options for the chocolate cupcakes. Think xylitol and allulose (no aftertaste), Lakanto (barely any aftertaste), and Swerve (some slight cooling sensation). Xylitol takes (much) longer to ‘dry out’ though so your cupcakes will be extra delicate right after baking, so just keep that in mind.

Fun fact: it might also be my taste buds here, but I’ve noticed that stevia-based sweeteners (such as Pyure) don’t work so great when chocolate is involved as the aftertaste is accentuated. So I cannot recommend enough that you don’t use stevia-based sweeteners here.

Oh, and if just paleo or gluten free (or not restricted by sugars), simply sub 1-to-1 with coconut or regular sugar.

And for the vanilla buttercream, your best options are Lakanto powdered (twice as sweet) and xylitol. But they must be powdered.

So if you’re using xylitol: get your blender out, make sure it’s completely dry, and process your sweetener of choice until powdered. Just make sure you wait a few moments for the dust to settle before opening the blender or food processor.

And if using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys!

Closeup gluten free & keto hostess chocolate cupcakes
Gluten Free & Keto Hostess Cupcakes

The Flours

To turn hostess cupcakes keto you’ll need some super fine almond flourgolden flaxseed meal, coconut flour and a touch of xanthan gum.

Just keep in mind that for best texture and rise, you’ll always want to regrind your flaxseed meal in a dry blender or bullet.

In terms of brands, for the almond either Anthony’s or WellBees work great. Both are super fine grinds. And for coconut I always favor Anthony’s here (honestly best taste by a mile!).

The Chocolate

You’ll want to use a Dutch-processed alkaline cocoa here. As there’s baking powder involved, using cacao won’t give the same results (at all!).

In terms of brands, my favorite will forever be Valrhona, known to be one of (if not the) best cocoas in the world.

And for the chocolate glaze, you can either use Lily’s chips (completely sugar free) or a dark chocolate (say 70-90%).

Keto hostess cupcakes with vanilla buttercream filling
Gluten Free & Keto Hostess Cupcakes
Freshly glazed keto hostess cupcakes
Gluten Free & Keto Hostess Cupcakes

Gluten Free & keto hostess cupcakes with vanilla buttercream

Gluten Free & Keto Hostess Cupcakes

These gluten free and keto hostess cupcakes likely need no introduction! Think a deliciously tender low carb chocolate cupcake, all filled up with a scrumptious vanilla buttercream and dipped in a chocolate glaze!
Oh, and if baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cups for an instant conversion.
4.96 from 23 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 cupcakes
Calories 285 kcal


For the chocolate cupcakes

For the vanilla filling

For the chocolate glaze


For the chocolate cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line (or grease and dust with cocoa) a muffin pan, set aside. 
  • Add almond flour, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, baking powder and xanthan gum to a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined, set aside. 
  • Add butter, heavy cream, cocoa powder and salt to a large heatproof bowl. Melt over a water bath whisking constantly (or use the microwave in small bursts). Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. 
  • Add in the sweetener and one egg at a time, whisking well after each one until completely incorporated. The texture should appear smooth and thick, with all the sweetener dissolving into the mixture (if using erythritol, some granules may remain). Add the flour mixture, whisking vigorously until fully blended (about a minute). Divide the batter into prepared muffin pan. 
  • Bake for 14-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Always keep in mind, however, that your cupcakes will continue to cook while cooling! 
  • Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes in the muffin pan. They'll be particularly fragile right out of the oven, so you need to let them set. Keep stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 

For the vanilla filling

  • Add the butter, sweetener and salt to medium bowl and cream with an electric mixer for 6-9 minutes until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla extract and feel free to add a little heavy cream (about a tablespoon), for a lighter filling. 

For the chocolate glaze

  • Heat the cream until it just begins to bubble, add in the chocolate and remove from heat. Stir until melted and add in the butter. Sugar free chocolate sometimes needs a little more heat and heavy cream to reach the right consistency, so feel free to use a water bath if need be. 

To assemble

  • Cut a hole onto the top of each cupcake with a paring knife or a cutter, keeping the cutout. Pipe (or spoon!) a dollop of vanilla buttercream onto each cupcake, close with reserved cutout and dip in the chocolate glaze. Pipe a swirly squiggle across the top and enjoy!


*Please see section on sweeteners for deets and possible substitutions. Just keep in mind that stevia doesn't work (at all!) for these! 
**Feel free to make a cream cheese buttercream! Simply sub half of the butter for cream cheese. 
Please note that nutrition facts were estimated for the cupcakes with the filling and the glaze. The chocolate cupcakes solo are only 2g net carbs. 


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.5g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 4g | Vitamin A: 735IU | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Keyword gluten free, keto, low carb
Whip up this recipe?Comment below or drop me a line @gnomgnom._ and tag #gnomgnomyum!


  1. JanP says:

    5 stars
    Hello. These look so good and I have been craving Hostess cupcakes lately.
    My only issue is with flax, which my stomach does not tolerate well. I have seen a couple of other folks have asked this question, but I cannot find the answer (I apologize if you already answered it), but is there a sub for the flax? I was thinking possibly psyllium husk or ground chia? Not sure how much to sub though.
    Has anyone tried anything?
    Looking forward to another one of your wonderful creations!!

  2. Cynthia Breed says:

    5 stars
    I want to start by saying I choose your recipes over any other Keto recipe site hands down!!!
    I probably shouldn’t have rated yet as I’m in the preliminary stages of pre measuring everything. I like to cook live so I’ll be sure to post your link! I’ve been making the recipes from our app so haven’t really made many of yours live.
    My question is, you mention to store the cupcakes in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Is this BEFORE filling them with the Cream and icing with the ganache?

  3. Jada says:

    5 stars
    Finally got around to making these – in short, we don’t deserve your talent! These are incredible 😭 For a second, I thought I was eating a non-keto cupcake. This is the first dessert I’ve made that doesn’t taste like almond flour, and I cannot wait to share this recipe. Thank you so much!

  4. Lacie says:

    5 stars
    I am obsessed with these! I’ve made them 3 times within the last couple weeks. My husband agrees that they taste just like the “real” thing. I’m honestly too lazy to stuff and glaze them so I just sweeten cream cheese with liquid stevia and ice them like a normal cupcake and sprinkle Lily’s chocolate chips on top. Seriously thank you for this recipe they are amazing!!

  5. Shari Trumbull says:

    Hi Paola!
    Can ghee be used instead of grass-fed butter?
    Soooo wanna make these and making the grocery list for the items I don’t currently have on hand 🙂
    Thanks so much-

  6. Becky says:

    When I click on “US cups” link to change the recipe to cups instead of g’s it doesn’t happen. Help, please!! 🙂
    Thank you!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Hi Becky! Would you mind letting me know what browser and operating system you’re on? It seems to be a problem with some users since last weekend, but we cannot figure out exactly for whom xo!

  7. Kathy Charest says:

    5 stars
    I’d really love to try making these…but I’m kind of sticking to a line you mentioned at the top of the post “swiss rolls”… Would it be possible…do you think… for me to spread the batter in a baking sheet and bake a thin cake layer, then roll it warm in a towel? I’d like to spread the filling, re roll and make little swiss rolls… thoughts on that??

  8. Christina says:

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh Paola, made these last night and they are ahhhhmazing. I didn’t do the filling or the glaze, just made them as regular chocolate cupcakes – then topped them with a half batch of your chocolate buttercream (subbed mascarpone for the cream cheese because I don’t like it too tangy) from your Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe. They behaved beautifully throughout mixing and baking, And they are SO good! Just perfect.

  9. Roberta Jackson says:

    The filling didn’t work at all for me, but the rest is great. I played with it, making it into a pudding of sorts so it still tasted good. Most of your recipes I’ve tried are absolutely wonderful! Thank you.

  10. Sophie L says:

    5 stars
    I have to say these are actually amazing!! I am new to your site, but three ladies made these in our facebook group and couldn’t stop raving. Boy were they right! The muffins themselves are so tender and moist, I wouldn’t have been able to tell it was keto! A bit less sweet than usual, would probably up the xylitol when I make them solo. But with the filling and frosting the sweetness was perfect! So happy to have discovered your site, cannot wait to try teh cinnamon rolls thsi weekend mind blown! I didn’t know it was possible to still use yeast without gluten 🙂

    • Paola says:

      Sophie how wonderful to hear! And agreed on the sweetness, you’ll find that throughout the site I give a range for sweetness (lowest amount is for those Keto peeps who keep sugar alcohols to a minimum and the upper range will give you a more traditional sweetness). Hope you love the cinnamon rolls (personal favorite of mine!) xo!

    • Paola says:

      Hi Heather! Keto batters always resemble sort of cookie dough… but if they came out dry it sounds like it was simply a case of overtaking (gotta be extra careful with chocolate goods!)

      • Kaylene B says:

        Remember to SPOON the dry ingredients into measuring cups and level off with a knife. Do not scoop directly out of the bag. You’ll get too much dry ingredients, and your end product will be dry. I had to learn how to do to this for low carb baked goods, as some of my first tries didn’t turn out very well and were quite dry. I’ve also learned that is using silicone baking sheets, mats, cups, etc. is a necessity, as my low carb baked goods stuck to parchment/wax paper, even. The silicone products were a Godsend. Hope these suggestions help!

        • Lynn says:

          Thank you for the the tips. Im just starting to bake keto way. First cinammon rolls did not turn out. I sub’d cocanut flour for almond, should have decreased the amt. Leaned this later and too late. Tasted ok? but very heavy! Live and learn.

  11. patricia says:

    These look so delicious….a favorite back in the days! One question…I have to be egg free. Could I use psyllium husk powder, or chia egg or flax egg for the sub for 3 eggs? If so, how much?
    Thank you, love your recipes

  12. LEAH S says:

    5 stars
    Made these last night, and my husband said they are the best keto dessert I have made so far, and I have made a lot of good keto desserts! I did tweak the cream a little bit. I put about 2oz of cream cheese in it, but I love the flavor of cream cheese frosting. Love your recipes.

    • Paola says:

      Leah this is so wonderful to hear wow! And I’m with you on the cream cheese… it’s not traditional and a few peeps might not be into it, but I also tried it while trying out the recipe and it worked SO well 😉 xo!

  13. Wendy Ellis says:

    I’ve been wanting to try Allulose, but how does the conversion work in recipes? You give a range of 1/3 to 1/2 for the sweetener, and I don’t know how Allulose falls on if it’s sweeter or less sweet than sugar or the other sweeteners you recommend? There aren’t that many recipes out there that call for Allulose. Can it always be substituted for whatever amount of sweetener that is called for in a recipe? Sorry for such a technical question – trying to learn to adapt recipes! Thank you!

    • Paola says:

      Hi Wendy! You’re right, I missed the allulose conversion in this post: it’s 70% as sweet as sugar so you need to add 30% more. So for instance, I give a range of sweetness in my recipes as I’ve learned that sweet palates on keto vary A LOT! For these with 1/3 cup they’ll be very lightly sweetened, but since you’re adding the filling it will balance out so they’re not sickly sweet.

      Back to the allulose conversion, I generally prefer to do the math in tablespoons. So say 1/3 cup = 5.3 TBSP x 1.3 (to get 30% more) = 6.89 TBSP (just round up to 7 TBSP!). So essentially just multiply the sweeteners by 1.3 to get your allulose amount (I’m not sure if it works yet on crisp cookies… but I’ve found its pretty interchangeable to xylitol, which is awesome to bake with!) xo!

      • Wendy Ellis says:

        Ok, that’s great! Thank you for all of that detail! So, adding additional dry ingredients (x 1.3) does not change the texture or anything for a recipe? And to clarify: you’re saying if a recipe calls for Xylitol, I could substitute Allulose in the same amount? I’ve heard that Allulose tastes exactly like sugar with no cooling effect (I really dislike the cooling effect), so I’m excited to try it!

        Thank you for all your hard work and explanation in your posts. My goal is to learn how to do some things on my own, so I can experiment with other recipes if I want, as opposed to just following a recipe to the letter, and all of your explanation really helps with that! You are educating us, not just giving us great recipes, which I so appreciate! I spent the morning learning the difference between dutch processed cocoa and regular cocoa and when you would use each! LOL

  14. Novella says:

    5 stars
    You are the BOMB!! I was just thinking about making these. I love them in the store but NO sugar for me. Any who, thanks for all your great recipes. Making your bread right now. When will we get see that cornbread recipe? And.. I can’t say I’m a peanut pancake fan, so I would love to see your verse or the regular pancake 😉 just saying with love…

  15. patricia says:

    Oh my, my husband loved these before celiac! I will have to try. But, have to be egg free also. Think a chia egg or flax egg would work in these?…..or maybe a little psyllium husks? IF SO HOW MUCH?
    Thanks…..love your recipes!

    • Paola says:

      Hi Patricia! Oh man I’m the worst person when it comes to eggless conversions! I’m not sure if I’ll be much help here so don’t take my word in stone pls as I haven’t tried it myself. I think you shouldn’t do flax eggs though because theres already some flax and the cupcakes could end up dry. So maybe chia eggs? You’ll definitely lose a bit of the fluffy texture, but taste should still be spot on. Hope this helped!

  16. Pam says:

    Hi Paola.

    I’m an estrogen responsive breast cancer survivor. As such, I have to avoid flax, in any form, as much as possible. But, I love Hostess cupcakes, and would love to give this a try.

    Is there any substitute I can use to replicate the crumb and texture of using the finely ground flax meal? If so, could you please tell me the precise measurement and method for doing so?


  17. Annie says:

    Wow amazing! I’m not sure about the assembly instructions though. It looks like a big piece is cut out to allow for the filling, do you then replace with a smaller piece just to cover the top?

    • Paola says:

      Hi Annie! Yup! I cut out a piece with a paring knife (I dont have the special cutouts), filled it up and covered it with the piece I cutout (trimmed to about half to allow for the added filling). Then just dipped in chocolate (you can see the cutouts, but they still look quite pretty- mind you my piping skills are C- 😂)

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