Rainbow Cupcakes

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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 cookies, chocolate cupcakes, dump cake and fruity pebble cake mix rice krispies.

    rainbow cupcakes with buttercream frosting on cake stand

    Rainbow swirl cupcakes

    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. ;)

    These rainbow cupcakes 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! how to make rainbow cupcakes

    How to make rainbow cupcakes

    Scroll down for the printable rainbow cupcake recipe.

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
    2. 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. Separate batter into 5 bowls, then add different colors of food coloring to each. Stir each bowl until smooth.
    4. Add one spoonful (about 1 Tablespoon) of each color to cupcake liners and fill about 3/4 of the way.
    5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
    6. Remove from oven and allow rainbow cupcakes to cool on cooling rack. Frost once cooled. Enjoy!

    rainbow cupcakes on cake stand

    How to decorate rainbow cupcakes

    If you’re wondering how to decorate rainbow cupcakes, I’ve got you covered! 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!

    • Rainbow cupcakes icing: My favorite frosting for these cupcakes is buttercream. You could also use cream cheese frosting too.
    • 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 on these rainbow cupcakes.
    • Fruit: Keep it simple and try adding a cherry on top for more height!

    TIP: Wondering how to frost the perfect cupcake? Check out this easy step by step tutorial.

    rainbow cupcakes

    Rainbow Cupcake Recipe

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: rainbow cupcakes
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes
    Servings: 20
    Calories: 314
    Author: Jamielyn Nye
    EASY Rainbow Cupcakes made with a doctored cake mix recipe and buttercream frosting! So colorful, fun and festive. Perfect for your next party! 


    • 15 ounces white cake mix (1 box)
    • 5.9 ounces vanilla pudding mix (from box, not instant)
    • 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


    rainbow cupcake with bite taken out of center

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