Christmas Cupcakes

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You’ll love these easy Christmas Cupcake ideas with tutorials for 8 fun and festive cupcakes including Santa, Reindeer, and Christmas Tree cupcakes too!

a gorgeous plate of Christmas themed cupcakes

Easy Christmas Cupcake Ideas

My favorite things about the holidays is obviously baking, and while I am partial to sugar cookies, this year I am setting my sights on some festive Christmas Cupcakes. I just love how they turned out.

Whether you’re new to decorating cupcakes, or a seasoned pro, there’s something here for everyone. I am sharing 8 easy tutorials with step by step instructions so you can make these at home. 

What type of cupcakes should I use?

This is really up to you, but I recommend either my vanilla cupcakes or chocolate cupcakes. Both recipes are quite simple to make and are absolutely delicious. If you’d prefer a seasonal flavor, I recommend my pumpkin cupcakes or gingerbread cupcakes. Either of these would also pair well with vanilla frosting.

top down view of a cupcake decorated to look like Santa

What type of frosting is best for decorating cupcakes?

The key to being successful when it comes to decorating is to have a stable frosting. My go-to recipe is my easy vanilla frosting. This recipe starts with cold butter, which is my secret weapon to making a fluffy frosting that is super stable and perfect for piping.

If you’d prefer to flavor this frosting with something other than vanilla, try something almond or peppermint extract.

A couple of the cupcakes I shared below use my chocolate frosting recipe. If you’d prefer not to make two different frostings, you can dye the vanilla buttercream with a brown gel color.

If you new to working with buttercream, I recommend checking out my tutorials for how to color buttercream and how to use a piping bag as they go into further detail and include lots of helpful tips. 

an overhead shot of a bowl of mixing bowl filled with vanilla frosting

How much frosting do I need for each color?

It hard to put an exact amount by color because it really depends on how many cupcakes you want to decorate in each design. One batch of my frosting makes 4 1/2 cups. The 3 primary colors used are white, red and green and then chocolate (or brown) frosting.  As a general rule of thumb, I dye at least 1 1/2 cups each of red and green buttercream. 

3D designs such as the Santa Hat, the Christmas tee and the Reindeer cupcake will require more frosting than some of the other designs. 

Quick tip when it comes to dying frosting colors. Most colors are really bright when they’re straight out of the box. If you want to darken the color, add tiny drops of black dye to deepen the color. It can be hard to get really small drops of color, so I use a clean toothpick to add the black to the dyed frosting. It’s best to add very little at a time so you don’t over do it. It’s easy to make a color darker, but once it’s too dark, it’s difficult to correct. 

My favorite tools for decorating cupcakes

Here is a list of the tools you’ll need to decorate the various cupcake ideas I’ve shared in this post (The below items are affiliate links).

A Christmas cupcake decorated with a wreath

How to make Santa Hat Cupcake

Equipment: piping bag, large open round piping tip (Ateco 808 or similar), Piping tip size 12 open round, red butter, white buttercream.

  1. Use a piping bag fitted with a large open round (Ateco 808) piping tip and red buttercream, pipe from the outside edge, working your way up to the center.
  2. Use a piping bag fitted with a size 12 piping tip and dot the edge of the hat and top of the hat with white frosting

Vanilla cupcake decorated to look like a Santa hat

How to make an easy Santa Cupcake two ways

Option 1 Equipment: angled spatula (or knife), piping bag, piping tip size 12 open round, red buttercream, white buttercream, parchment paper, sprinkles, decorative eyes and nose (MnMs, Non Pariels),

  1. Spread a base of white frosting on your cupcake and smooth over with an angled spatula or knife.
  2. Gently place a piece of parchment paper over 2/3 of the cupcakes and then roll the bottom in a bowl filled with white sprinkles or nonpareils
  3. Spread a bit of red frosting over the top 1/3 of the cupcake (or use Use a piping bag fitted with a size 47 piping tip, flat edge facing up), and smooth with a knife
  4. Use a piping bag fitted with a size 12 piping tip and dot the edge of the hat and top of the hat with white frosting. Then place the nose and eyes.

4 images showing you how to decorate a Santa cupcake

Option 2 Equipment: angled spatula (or knife), piping bag, piping tip size 12 open round, Basket weave tip size 47, white buttercream, chocolate frosting or brown tinted buttercream, red sanding sugar sprinkles, silver square dragées (or similar)

  1. Spread a base of white frosting on your cupcake and smooth over with an angled spatula or knife.
  2. Dip the cupcake in red sanding sugar
  3. Use a piping bag fitted with a size 47 piping tip, flat edge facing up and pipe the belt from one edge to the other. Smooth with a knife as needed
  4. Use a piping bag fitted with a size 12 piping tip and chocolate buttercream, place 3-4 dots above the belt for buttons. Place a silver square dragées for the belt buckle or something similar.

top down view of a cupcake decorated to look like a Santa suit

How to decorate a Christmas Tree Cupcake two ways

Option 1 Equipment: angled spatula (or knife), piping bag, piping tip size 21 open star tip, chocolate frosting or brown tinted buttercream, green buttercream, sprinkles

  1. Spread a base of chocolate frosting on your cupcake and smooth over with an angled spatula or knife.
  2. Use a piping bag fitted with a size 21 piping tip and green frosting. Starting at the top edge, and move your hand side to side, increasing the width as you work your way down the cupcake. Add sprinkles.

top down view of a cupcake decorated with a Christmas tree and sprinkles

Option 2 Equipment: piping bag, piping tip size 846 open star tip, green buttercream, sprinkles

  1. Use a piping bag fitted with a size 846 piping tip and green frosting. Start piping from the outside edge, working your way up to the center at the top. Garnish with sprinkles.

A Christmas tree cupcake on a red cake stand

Easy Christmas Wreath Cupcakes

Equipment: angled spatula (or knife), piping bag, piping tip size 846 open star tip, white buttercream, green buttercream, sprinkles. Note this can also be done with 1M piping tip

  1. Spread a base of white frosting on your cupcake and smooth over with an angled spatula or knife.
  2. Use a piping bag fitted with a size 846 piping tip. Holding at a 90-degree angle, pipe in a circle. Decorate with sprinkles.

top down view of a cupcake decorated with a Christmas wreath and sprinkled

Easy Grinch Cupcakes

Equipment: angled spatula (or knife), white buttercream, green sprinkles, heart sprinkles

  1. Spread a base of white frosting on your cupcake and smooth over with an angled spatula or knife.
  2. Roll the cupcake in green sprinkles and then place a heart sprinkle on top.

top down view of a cupcake decorated for Mr. Grinch

Reindeer Cupcakes

Equipment: piping bag, piping tip size 864 French star tip, chocolate frosting or brown tinted buttercream, edible candy eyes, red MnMs, Candy Canes or pretzel twists

  1. Use a piping bag fitted with a size 864 piping tip and chocolate frosting. Start piping from the outside edge, working your way up to the center at the top.
  2. Place the eyes and nose into the frosting. I recommend placing the antlers just prior to serving as the candy canes seem to get wet and start melting once stored (be sure to remove the wrapper).

A reindeer cupcake on a red cake stand

More Christmas desserts you’ll love

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a gorgeous plate of Christmas themed cupcakes

Christmas Cupcakes

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes

Description

Easy Christmas Cupcake Ideas You’ll Love to make with the kids

Ingredients

For the vanilla frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cup (339 g) (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold.
  • 5 cups (650 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)

Instructions

  1. Back a batch of cupcake and cool completely.

For the vanilla frosting

  1. Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, beating until the butter look light in color.
  2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into the butter then add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  3. Next, add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.
  4. Add last 1 cup powdered sugar along with the heavy whipping cream. Beat on low until the ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.

Notes

Nutrition Information:
1 cupcake
400
47g
118mg
18g
58g
.4g
3.1g
57mg
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Christmas Cupcakes, Christmas Cupcake Ideas, Easy Christmas Cupcakes,

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1 Response
  1. Kellie

    I am loving your fun holiday posts with the spooky dip (SO cute!!) and now these adorable Christmas cupcakes!! Thanks so much for your helpful and beautiful site!

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