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EASY rainbow cupcakes made with a doctored cake mix recipe and buttercream frosting! So colorful, fun and festive. Perfect for your next party!

I love to doctor up a box of cake mix! It helps simplify the baking process and still turns out equally as delicious! These rainbow cupcakes are a fun way to use cake mix, as well as cake mix cookiesdump cake and funfetti cookies.

rainbow cupcakes with buttercream frosting on cake stand

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This rainbow cupcake recipe is sure to make anyone smile! They are so cute, bright and festive. They would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, a birthday party or even an end of the school year party. Okay let’s be honest… they’d be perfect any day of the week. ;)

They were so easy to make (I used a box of cake mix…shhh) and they tasted fabulous. People ask me all the time if I always bake from scratch and I tell them that I’m all about doctoring up cake mixes, especially when I’m baking with kids. It just simplifies things sometimes.

My kids were obsessed with these rainbow decorated cupcakes and are already begging to make them again. They sort of remind me of tie-dying shirts (or scrunchies)…which was pretty much my favorite thing to do when I was younger. So fun and colorful!

different colored batter in bowls with spoons

How to make rainbow cupcakes

  1. Prepare. Preheat oven to 325°F and line cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
  2. Mix batter. Add cake mix and dry pudding mix to a large bowl and stir until combined. Then mix in eggs, canola oil and water and stir. Finally, mix in sour cream.
  3. Color the batter. Separate batter into 5 bowls, then add different colors of food coloring to each. Stir each bowl until smooth.
  4. Fill cupcake liners. Add one spoonful (about 1 Tablespoon) of each color to cupcake liners and fill about 3/4 of the way.
  5. Bake in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack. Frost once cooled. Enjoy!

swirled rainbow cupcake batter in cupcake tin


Although these rainbow cupcakes are quite festive without any decorations – the more, the better…right?! Check out a few of my favorite decorations below. You could even play around with the cupcake batter colors and only use 2 or 3 of your favorites instead of 5!

  • Frosting: My favorite frosting for these cupcakes is buttercream. You could even make rainbow buttercream for even more pizzazz. Cream cheese frosting tastes delicious as well!
  • Sprinkles: We love to use rainbow sprinkles! The colorful sprinkles are a fun contrast on top of the white buttercream frosting.
  • Edible glitter: Using edible glitter adds such a fun touch and looks a little more fancy. :)
  • Cupcake toppers: Cupcake toppers are perfect to add for a celebration such as a birthday or holiday party. A unicorn or rainbow cupcake topper would be fun.

TIP: Check out this easy tutorial that gives step-by-step instructions on how to frost the perfect cupcake. You’ll become a pro cupcake decorator in no time!

rainbow cupcake with bite taken out of center

More cupcake recipes you’ll love:

rainbow cupcakes

Rainbow Cupcake Recipe

5 from 9 votes
EASY rainbow cupcakes made with a doctored cake mix recipe and buttercream frosting! So colorful, fun and festive. Perfect for your next party!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 20


  • 15 ounce box white cake mix
  • 5.9 ounce box vanilla pudding mix (not instant, use cook & serve kind)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 cup  sour cream
  • 2 cups buttercream frosting
  • sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and dry pudding mix. Stir until combined. Next mix in the eggs, canola oil and water. Finally mix in the sour cream.
  • Separate batter into 5 bowls. Add different colors of food coloring to each bowl and stir until smooth. Add one spoonful (about 1 Tablespoon) of each color to your cupcake liner (about 3/4 the way full).
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they spring back when touched. Do not over cook. You can also test with a tooth pick to make sure the centers are cooked all the way through.
  • Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool on a cooling rack. Frost with buttercream frosting.

Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 49mg | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Jamielyn Nye


rainbow cupcakes on cake stand

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