Rainbow Cupcakes are super fun to make and super fun to eat!

Inspired by unicorns? These magical morsels are so fun to frost and decorate. These are a great birthday party idea with colorful, “over the rainbow” swirls in each one! This is the easiest dessert ever!

platter full of Fun and Easy Rainbow Cupcakes

Colorful Cupcakes

  • So easy to make, any day can be a celebration! Pick team colors and bake for game day or the holidays.
  • It doesn’t get any easier than a box of cake mix and food coloring! No need to buy the pricey brand, either.
  • Make them as mini cupcakes for halftime, playtime, or game time. So many ways to decorate!
  • A great starter recipe for little bakers and artists.

Ingredients and Variations

CAKE MIX: A vanilla cake mix provides the ideal canvas for rainbow cupcakes, but a yellow cake or a red velvet cake will produce dramatic results, too! And of course, you can always make cake batter from scratch!

FOOD COLORS and MIX-INS: Keep a variety of food colors or gel for swirling. Fun mix-ins are white chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, butterscotch or toffee pieces, toasted coconut, and dried cherries.

TOPPERS: Ice rainbow cupcakes with any color that calls to the artist! Non-pareils, jimmies, chopped peanuts, crushed Oreo cookies, even sugar wafers can be added to the top. Anything goes!

process of adding food colouring to Fun and Easy Rainbow Cupcakes

How to Make Rainbow Cupcakes

Fun, bright and colorful cupcakes like these make any birthday celebration a blast!

  1. Prepare cake batter & divide equally into one bowl for each color. Keep one bowl of plain white batter.
  2. Mix food coloring into each bowl.
  3. Place white batter in each cupcake liner & then add scoops of colored batter, per recipe below.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Serve warm or allow to cool. Frost & decorate as desired.

Fun and Easy Rainbow Cupcakes before cooking

To Frost or Not to Frost?

Rainbow cupcakes can stand on their own. Unfrosted, they can be easily transported in a covered container or a zippered bag for a fun treat to a classroom or the playing field! Or frost with a Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, or Fresh Lemon Buttercream Frosting. Or just use a ready-made cream frosting and mix in a variety of colors.

Tips & Tricks

  • Divide frosting into small bowls and tint with food coloring or gel. Scoop into small sandwich bags and snip off a corner to use for piping frosting on cupcakes. Prepare bags of colored frosting in advance so they’re ready for action!
  • For extra fluffy cupcakes, add an extra egg to the cake mix.
  • To make boxed cake batter taste homemade, follow these tips!

Crazy for Cupcakes

Did everyone rave about these Rainbow Cupcakes? Be sure to leave us a rating and a comment below! 

close up of Fun and Easy Rainbow Cupcakes with whipped cream topping
5 from 3 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Fun and Easy Rainbow Cupcakes!

Rainbow Cupcakes are bright and colorful, everyone will enjoy this easy-to-make dessert!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 servings


  • 1 box white cake mix batter prepared according to directions on box
  • food coloring various colors


  • Separate cake batter into individual bowls, one for each color being used.
  • Add food coloring, several drops at a time, to each bowl of batter until desired colors are achieved, blending well. Be sure to leave one bowl of white batter.
  • Place muffin wrappers in the muffin pans. Place half a teaspoon of white batter in the middle of each one.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of the next color batter onto the center of the white batter. Repeat with each color, dropping it carefully into the middle of each previous puddle of batter, until the muffin wrappers are ½ full.
  • Bake at 350°F for approximately 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.


Nutrition information includes white cake mix only.
If the scoops are too small the colors will become muddled or the colors will mix too much. Adding white batter between the colors will help keep the colors separated, especially if they're colors that won't blend well.
Gel coloring will provide brighter deeper colors.
5 from 3 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 160 | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
close up of Fun and Easy Rainbow Cupcakes with writing
Fun and Easy Rainbow Cupcakes with a title
Fun and Easy Rainbow Cupcakes on a plate with writing
close up of Fun and Easy Rainbow Cupcakes before cooking and finished with a title



Like our recipes?
Follow us on Pinterest!

Follow us on Pinterest

Recipes you'll love

About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
See more posts by Holly

Follow Holly on social media:

pinterest facebook twitter instagram

Free eBook!

Subscribe to receive weekly recipes and get a FREE Bonus e-book: Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals!

You can unsubscribe anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of emails you receive.

Latest & Greatest

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating