| |

Rainbow Cupcakes

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Rainbow cupcakes are so easy to make! This colorful dessert is always the hit of the party! Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, birthdays, or any occasion!

rainbow colored cupcake topped with vanilla frosting and sprinkles

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email & I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, get great new recipes from me every week!

Save Recipe

I originally published this recipe way back in 2013 and thought it was about time to update it six years later with some significantly better photography and share it again.

These rainbow cupcakes are one of those super easy desserts that make a big impact. Every time I make these I get so many compliments! Little do they know that I “cheat” and use boxed mix and premade frosting for this rainbow cupcake recipe!

cupcake batter in glass bowl with mixer nearby

How to Make Rainbow Cupcakes

Using a boxed mix makes these treats soooo easy! Simply prep a normal box of white cake mix and divide the batter into six separate bowls.

If you want to make the mix taste more homemade I recommend adding an extra egg, a package of vanilla instant pudding mix, and 1/3 cup of vegetable oil in addition to the ingredients on the box. (More about how to hack a cake mix here.)

colored cupcake batter in bowls with spoons

Use gel food coloring to color the batter without affecting the taste. I recommend this brand of gel food coloring because it has the brightest colors and won’t thin the batter. I used red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple but you can use any combination you can come up with!

overhead view of muffin pan with liners and purple cupcake batter in the bottom of each liner

After preparing the batter, spoon it in layers into a muffin pan lined with liners.

I start with purple then work my way up the rainbow but you can add the batter in whatever order you prefer.

Once you’ve added all of your colored batters, cook the rainbow cupcakes according to the box instructions. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

overhead view of colorful rainbow cupcakes with white frosting and sprinkles on cooling rack

You can use any kind of frosting to top off these cupcakes. They are delicious with a cream cheese frosting, or you can hack a store bought frosting to top it off.

I like to add 8 ounces of cream cheese OR a container of cool whip to the store-bought icing and then whip it up in the large bowl on my stand mixer (affiliate link). It will fluff up and taste amazing with no need to start from scratch!

And of course, rainbow sprinkles are a must for the cupcakes too!

rainbow cupcakes with sprinkles


Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

You can freeze the cupcakes before frosting for up to 3 months in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container (affiliate link).

A close up of a rainbow cupcake topped with white icing and sprinkles on white plate

Aren’t they the best?? No one will ever guess just how easy these rainbow cupcakes are! They are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, birthday parties, or just anytime you want a simple, special treat.

If you try this recipe please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
close up of rainbow cupcake with cream cheese frosting and rainbow sprinkles

Rainbow Cupcakes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.8 from 4 reviews


Rainbow cupcakes are so easy to make! This colorful dessert is always the hit of the party! Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, birthdays, or any occasion!


Units Scale

For the rainbow cupcakes:

  • white cake mix & ingredients on package
  • gel food coloring

If desired, add in addition:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 package vanilla pudding mix

For the icing:

  • 1 container store bought white icing
  • Sprinkles, optional

If desired, fluff in the mixer along with 8 ounces of cream cheese or one container of whipped cream


  1. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions, adding extra ingredients if desired.
  2. Divide mix into six bowls and add different food color to each until the desired intensity is reached.
  3. Drop colored batter into lined muffin tin a spoonful at a time, layering the colors.
  4. Cook according to package instructions.
  5. Allow to cool completely.
  6. Whip frosting with extra ingredients in a stand mixer (affiliate link) if desired. Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkled is desired.


Nutritional information is for cupcakes without additional ingredients added in.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 140
  • Sugar: 12.1 g
  • Sodium: 85.3 mg
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.5 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 24.8 mg

Similar Posts


  1. These cupcakes you made looks too cute.
    I tried this recipe last night you stated in this post. It was yummy but mine cupcakes didn’t look this much cute although i followed you step by step.
    BTW Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe, I would love to see more like this from you. Hope you will come up with these cool and delicious ideas in the future.

  2. wow, this recipe is just amazing it looks so easy to make such beautiful cupcakes. There are also so many ways for you to decorate your cupcakes with. Everybody likes to follow a method that is easy for them and gives the best results. Method for baking every cupcake is pretty much the same but there is only change in the flavor and recipe.


  3. Hello, I did the cupcakes as noted. However, how did you get the tops to be so red? When I did them it came out like tie dye at the top. Also the gel dye did slightly change the flavor. I wish I could leave a pic!

  4. YUM! I never think to use cool whip as frosting.Great idea. Looks light and fluffy and nummy! Sometimes frosting can just be too rich!! I am going to try these for our family dinner Sunday! My niece will get a kick out of them! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  5. The cupcakes look great! It takes TLC for them to look so good. I can’t even frost the cupcake well, let alone mixing different shades together. Awesome work.

  6. These are so cute, they’d be perfect from Easter! New follower and can’t wait to see more creative ideas!

  7. These cupcakes are GORGEOUS !!
    I love colors in food, especially desserts
    It’s fun and it catches the eye, and we do eat with our eyes first.
    I LOVE these cupcakes

    1. I didn’t try regular food coloring, my grocery store only carries the gel kind. My only concern with using the liquid kind would be they sometimes alter the taste if you use a lot (I learned that the hard way!)

  8. These cupcakes are so much fun! Pinned, shared on Facebook, and will be featuring tomorrow 🙂 That’s how much I love them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star