Easy 4th of July Cupcakes are the life of the holiday! These red, white and blue frosted cupcakes make the dessert table pop and are so easy to make! These patriotic cupcakes will become a Fourth of July tradition.
If you need some patriotic 4th of July cupcakes but don’t want a fussy recipe, this Independence Day recipe is a perfect addition to your July 4th celebration. Cake mix cupcakes using a box mix make vanilla cupcakes topped with a fancy red, white and blue frosting is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday. No one will guess how easy they were to make.
Mini Jalapeno Corn Dogs, American flag cookie pizza, Firecracker punch and these 4th of July cupcakes are all you need for an exciting Fourth of July party! This fun dessert is great for Memorial Day too.
Red White & Blue Frosting
A beautifully frosted cupcake always grabs attention. It also usually leaves me thinking ‘I could never do that’.
You absolutely CAN make this red white and blue frosting. You’ll never guess how easy it is to make red, white and blue 4th of July cupcakes! Your party guests will marvel at the fancy frosting and only you need to know the trick to make them.
Pastry bags, food color gel and our white frosting recipe are all you need to make the best 4th of July cupcakes!
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Box of white cake mix or vanilla cake mix. Choose your favorite brand, regular or gluten-free, along with ingredients specified on the box for preparation.
Gluten-free white cake mix can be difficult to find. We used a gluten-free white cake mix, I found Bob’s Red Mill YELLOW cake mix has instructions for making a white cake that works great.
Unsalted butter. Start with room temperature butter.
Confectioners’ sugar. Also called powdered sugar. This is a classic ingredient in buttercream frosting.
Heavy whipping cream. Just a little is used to adjust the thickness of the frosting. Whole milk could also be used.
Vanilla extract. Flavors the frosting.
Red and blue gel food coloring. These create two of the colors of the frosting. The natural color of the frosting makes the white color.
Sprinkles. These are optional decorations.
- Cupcake liners
- Piping bag with a star tip (or a gallon plastic zipper bag can be substituted for the piping bag)
- Wilton 1M tip.
How to Make 4th of July Cupcakes
Refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post for recipe details.
STEP 1. Preparation
Add cupcake liners to a muffin pan. Preheat the oven per the cake mix instructions.
STEP 2. Make and Bake the cupcakes
Prepare cupcake batter on the box cake mix per the instructions on the package (photos 1-4).
Spoon batter into the prepared pan (photos 5-6). Bake per package instructions.
STEP 3. Cool cupcakes
After baking, cool cupcakes for 5 minutes in the pan (photo 7) then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely (photo 8).
STEP 4. Make the buttercream frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat together.
Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating to fully mix in. Add heavy whipped cream and beat at high speed for 4-5 minutes.
STEP 5. Three color frosting
Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip (Wilton 1M tip).
Using a food safe brush or dining spoon, spread some red gel food coloring along one side of the piping bag. Repeat with blue gel food coloring on the opposite side leaving clean space in between.
Add in the white buttercream into the prepared piping bag.
Pipe a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake in a spiral. Top with red, white or blue sprinkles, white star sprinkles or other decorations to create festive cupcakes (if desired).
If you need some frosting ‘how to’ guidance this video should help!
Make different flavors. Extracts can be added to the cake mix to make different flavors of cake.
Make funfetti cupcakes. Use a box mix or our homemade funfetti cake with red and blue sprinkles.
Red velvet cake mix. For patriotic red cupcakes, red velvet cake mix can be used for red velvet cupcakes.
Add a sparkler on top. This should only be done where sparklers are legal and for presentation as monitored by an adult. Extinguish the sparklers before serving the colorful cupcakes.
How to Store
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Allow to warm slightly before serving.
More Recipes You’ll Love!
4th of July Cupcakes
- 1 box white cake mix with ingredients on box for preparation; regular or gluten-free mix
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) Unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Red and blue gel food coloring
- Piping bag with a star tip a plastic zipper bag can be substituted
- Sprinkles optional
Baking the Cupcakes
- Add cupcake liners to a muffin pan.
- Prepare the cupcake batter according to the mix instructions. Bake as directed.
- After baking, cool cupcakes for 5 minutes in the pan then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting
- While the cupcakes are cooling prepare the frosting.In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat the butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla. Beat to mix in.
- Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating to completely combine.
- Add in the heavy whipping cream. NOTE: If the frosting is too thick add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Once all ingredients are combined, mix on high speed for 4-5 minutes.
Preparing the Piping Bag & Frosting the Cupcakes
- Using a food-safe brush or dining spoon, spread some red gel food coloring along one side of the piping bag.
- Repeat with blue gel food coloring on the opposite side leaving clean space in between (refer to photo in the blog post).Add in the white buttercream into the prepared piping bag.
- Test pipe some frosting onto a paper towel until the red and blue color come through on the frosting.
- Pipe a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake in a spiral. Top with sprinkles if desired.
Originally published: May 16, 2019