The Best Chocolate Cake Mixes That Taste Fresh From the Bakery

You don't need much to make fluffy and moist chocolate cakes at home thanks to these

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Best Chocolate Cake Mixes

The Spruce Eats / Sabrina Jiang

When you get a hankering for chocolate cake or have a birthday party to prep for, you don’t have to bust out a pantry’s worth of ingredients to make something truly outstanding—there are plenty of boxed chocolate cake mixes out there that fit the bill.

Jenny Kellerhals, a Food Writer & Pastry Stylist, says that she loves that "there are now so many cake mixes available that are tailored to specific dietary needs and flavor preferences, that anyone can have cake without becoming an expert in food science or buying tons of expensive ingredients that they're likely to never use again."

Whether you love German chocolate cake or fudgy molten options, there are plenty of chocolate cake mixes that require just a few ingredients, whip up in a fraction of the time, and could fool even the most discerning palates.

Best Overall

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Premium Cake Mix

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Premium Cake Mix


Whether you like milk or dark chocolate, this cake mix is sure to satisfy. It’s a real sweet spot between the two since it’s made with world-renowned Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate. The result is a moist cake that’s not too bitter and not too sweet. 

Like any good cake mix, you don’t need many other ingredients—just eggs, water, and vegetable oil. And a single box yields your choice of an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake, a single 8-inch square cake, or approximately 12 cupcakes. If you’re feeling inspired, take your creation to new heights with the ganache or buttercream frosting recipes included on the back of the box.

Price at time of publish: $3

Size: 12.75 ounces | Servings Per Container: 8 | Allergens: Wheat, milk, soy

Best Budget

Duncan Hines Classic Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix


Courtesy of Walmart

When it comes to boxed cake mix, there’s a reason Duncan Hines is such a staple. Despite insanely competitive pricing, the brand makes an incredibly wide variety of flavors (more than 80 different baked-good mixes ranging from cakes and brownies to muffins and cookies!). You can’t beat their classic dark chocolate fudge, though. It’s a moist dark chocolate flavor that no chocolate lover could possibly resist.

Like other mixes, there are options abound. Simply add water, eggs, and oil to whip up a range of cakes, from a round layer cake to a bundt cake or even two dozen cupcakes. The box also boasts other options, including a cake recipe made with applesauce or brunch-ready chocolate cake waffles.

Price at time of publish: $1

Size: 15.25 ounces | Servings Per Container: 10 | Allergens: Wheat

Best German Chocolate

Betty Crocker Super Moist German Chocolate Cake Mix

Betty Crocker Super Moist German Chocolate Cake Mix


Because German chocolate cake is a chocolate layer cake that’s traditionally topped with a coconut-pecan frosting, this super-moist German chocolate cake mix yields two round cakes (either 8-inch or 9-inch), so that you can more easily recreate the original. Alternatively, if you’re serving a crowd, you can opt to modify this into a large 13 x 9-inch sheet cake or 24 cupcakes.

The recipe requires the same pantry staples as other boxed mixes—eggs, water, and oil—but, since the quantity is a little bigger, you’ll need just to have just a little bit more of each on hand. Trust us: It’s all worth it for the ensuing moist, rich treat that’ll be waiting for you when your timer goes off. 

Price at time of publish: $2

Size: 15.25 ounces | Servings Per Container: 10 | Allergens: Wheat

Best Dark Chocolate

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Premium Cake Mix

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Premium Cake Mix


This boxed cake mix isn’t as sweet as some of the others, which is a must for all dark chocolate lovers out there. Instead, it has the decadent, slightly bitter taste you’d expect to get from a product made by a premier chocolatier that’s been in business for more than 150 years.

Though the ultimate convenience food (just dump in a bowl, add a few ingredients, and stir), this mix utilizes quality ingredients, like real Ghirardelli dark chocolate. The result is a mouthwatering, delectable cake with a moist texture that tastes just as good as something you might pick up from your local bakery. If one box isn't enough, you can stock up with a 12-pack.

Price at time of publish: $5

Size: 12.75 ounces | Servings Per Container: 8 | Allergens: Wheat, milk, soy

Best Gluten-Free

Simple Mills Almond Flour Chocolate Muffin & Cake Mix

Simple Mills Almond Flour Chocolate Muffin & Cake Mix


"I like boxed cake mixes because they provide a cake with the absolute lowest amount of stress and effort, with a reliable level of satisfaction for just about everyone," Kellerhals says. "Most boxed chocolate cake mixes are just a pre-scaled mix that includes the essential dry ingredients that any cake needs: sugar, flour, cocoa powder, a leavening agent (like baking soda or powder), and a pinch of salt."

That’s exactly what this chocolate cake mix is. The ingredients include organic coconut sugar, almond flour, organic coconut flour, cocoa, arrowroot, baking soda, and, of course, salt. Best of all, the blend of its two flours makes it gluten-free. 

Gluten-free baking is quite different from baking with regular flour, and sometimes it can come out hefty and not light and airy. Not this mix, though, as it bakes into not-too-dense cakes or even muffins. All you need is eggs, oil, water, and vanilla—making the final baked cake dairy-free. You can even swap the eggs for an alternative to make the cake suitable for those following a vegan diet.

Price at time of publish: $7

Size: 11.2 ounces | Servings Per Container: 12 | Allergens: Almond and coconut

Best Flourless

Godiva Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Torte with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Godiva Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Torte with Dark Chocolate Ganache


Although flour is an integral ingredient in chocolate cake, the flourless option proves it isn’t 100 percent necessary. The gooey, thick, chocolatey texture and flavor of a flourless chocolate cake is quite the indulgence, and thanks to this Godiva mix, you can make it at home whenever you’d like. 

We love that it is made with a ton of chocolate and just a few other ingredients. It comes with a packet of ganache you can pour on top of the cake after it sets in the refrigerator for 2 hours after baking and cooling. It’s optional, but Godiva recommends dusting the cake with cocoa powder and placing a dollop of whipped cream on each slice before serving, and we have to agree.

This is a very thick and dense cake that might be too rich for some. But without the flour, it is also gluten-free.

Price at time of publish: $7

Size: 13.2 ounces | Servings Per Container: 4 | Allergens: Milk and soy

Best Single-Serve

Duncan Hines Mug Cakes Walnut Brownie Mix

Duncan Hines Mug Cakes Walnut Brownie Mix


When you have a craving for chocolate cake, but can’t justify baking an entire box, try this convenient single-serve option. It’s just as flavorful as the full-size versions, but it’s even easier to whip up.

Unlike traditional cake mixes, this box comes with four individual pouches that each contain just enough mix to make a personal serving of brownie-flavored chocolate cake.

It’s called a mug cake for a reason. You simply empty the contents of the pouch into a microwave-safe mug, add two tablespoons of water, stir, and pop in the microwave for just 55 seconds. When you push open the door, you’ll have a fluffy, moist chocolate cake waiting for you.

Price at time of publish: $3

Size: 9.1 ounces | Servings Per Container: 4 | Allergens: Tree nuts (walnuts), wheat, eggs

Best Molten Chocolate

Williams Sonoma Molten Chocolate Cake Mix


Williams Sonoma

For a fancier chocolate treat, try the molten chocolate cake. This mix, created by a French pastry chef, yields a dinner party-worthy treat without the effort and finesse required to make one from scratch. 

The ingredients, like premium European bittersweet chocolate, are all expertly sourced to ensure the finished product has the same rich flavor you expect from five-star dining experiences. All you have to do? Add butter and water, bake, and savor each cake and fudge combined bite.

Price at time of publish: $26

Size: 21.5 ounces | Servings Per Container: 10 | Allergens: Wheat, eggs, soy

Final Verdict

Whether you have to satisfy a chocolate craving or need to whip up a crowd-pleasing cake, pick up a box or two of Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Premium Cake Mix. For an option that's safe for individuals with a gluten allergy or sensitivity, we recommend the Simple Mills Almond Flour Chocolate Muffin & Cake Mix.

What to Look for When Buying Chocolate Cake Mixes


Like Kellerhals says, most mixes have the same primary ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, a leavening agent, and salt. Many online sellers provide multiple images of the box so you can scan the ingredient list, nutrition, and baking instructions. Read the mix's ingredients carefully if you hope to bake a chocolate cake that meets certain diet restrictions. Some cake mixes contain allergens like soy, wheat, or nuts, or they may have powdered dairy products, while others are friendly for vegan and keto diets. You'll also want to know what other ingredients you need to bake the cake; typically, that's just eggs, oil, and water. And don't forget the frosting.

Cake Size

The box should indicate the size of cake you can make with one package. The average 15-ounce cake mix will make two 8-inch or 9-inch cakes for a layered cake or 24 cupcakes. Many will also fill a 9 x 13-inch cake pan, though some bakers use one and a half or two boxes to make a thicker cake. For smaller cake mix packages, plan on two boxes to get the same amount of cake.

Type of Chocolate

There are several types of chocolate, and each has a slightly different flavor. When choosing a cake mix, look for milk chocolate if you want the sweetest cake and dark or bittersweet chocolate for a cake that's not too sweet. Since it's a dry product, many cake mixes simply use cocoa powder, which offers a classic rich chocolate taste. You can also find devil's food, German chocolate, and fudge chocolate cake mixes.


Can you use milk instead of water in a chocolate cake mix?

Milk is an excellent substitute for water in any cake mix. Use an equal amount, and your chocolate cake will taste more like a homemade cake. You can also use buttermilk for a more decadent cake that has a lusciously moist and dense texture. Buttermilk is thicker than water and milk; adding a tablespoon or so extra may be needed to get the right batter consistency.

"Substituting milk or buttermilk for all or part of the water will make for a slightly more tender crumb and a richer cake," Kellerhals says. "You can also add a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt in addition to the water for a similar effect."

Does adding an extra egg to a cake mix make it moister?

An extra egg will instantly jazz up a boxed cake mix. Most mixes call for three eggs, and a fourth egg will add moisture and make it richer. For a real bakery-style cake upgrade, try cake mix with the required eggs and two egg yolks.

What does adding sour cream to a cake mix do?

Similar to milk, sour cream adds fat to cake; it just has more fat. Since box mix cakes tend to be on the lighter side, tossing 1/2 to 1 cup of sour cream into the batter will produce a thicker, richer, and moister cake.

How We Selected

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best chocolate cake mixes on the market, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, allergens, and price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

This roundup was written by Brigitt Earley, who has written and edited food content for various publications over the course of the last 10 years. She also holds a culinary degree from the French Culinary Institute. 

Amanda McDonald is an editor at The Spruce Eats and has over seven years of experience researching, writing, and editing about all things food — from what new products are at the grocery store to chef-approved hacks that keep tricky leftovers fresh for days. She updated this article to include the most up-to-date information.


Updated by
Colleen Graham
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Freelance writer and cocktail book author Colleen Graham is a seasoned mixologist who loves sharing her knowledge of spirits and passion for preparing drinks.
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Amanda McDonald
Amanda McDonald
Amanda McDonald is a journalist living in New York City and Commerce Updates Editor for The Spruce Eats. She has written and edited health, wellness, food, and fitness content as well as recipes for multiple publications.
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