How To Frost Professional-Looking Cupcakes In Minutes!

frosting cupcakes

So here’s a dilemma. What do you do if you LOVE cupcakes, but you HATE frosting them??? For those of you who answered “just don’t frost them”….BITE YOUR TONGUE! ;-)  A cupcake without frosting is like a hug without a squeeze! It’s just not the same! Ok, NOT frosting the cupcakes is not an option….so now what?? Well, I’m about to tell you what! And if you’re a cupcake fan like me…you are going to think this is one of the best ideas since sprinkles!

I first spied this idea at Sweet C Designs, and although she showed how to frost a CAKE…I was pretty certain it would translate just fine to cupcakes. As a matter of fact, this isn’t only a MUCH EASIER way to frost cupcakes…it also makes them look like they just came from a gourmet bakery!

Here is how this is accomplished:

What You’ll Need:

  • cupcakes
  • frosting (from a can or homemade)
  • a microwave
  • a spoon
  • sprinkles (optional)

frosting cupcakes

Cook your cupcakes and allow them to cool. I took the wrappers off my cupcakes after they had cooled, but in hindsight I could just as easily have left them on.

Take your frosting and heat it up in the microwave for approximately 10 seconds. Stir it well with a spoon and check the consistency of it. It needs to be thin enough to run off the spoon, but not so runny it will completely run off the cupcake as well. Mine took about 15 seconds overall before it was the perfect consistency.

frosting cupcakes

frosting cupcakes

Now place one cupcake in the center of your frosting plate and drizzle the slightly runny frosting over the top until it is completely covered. The excess will drip off the sides of the cupcake onto the plate, but don’t worry, you can spoon that back into the frosting and use it on another cupcake.

frosting cupcakes

Repeat for the rest of your cupcakes (taking time to re-heat the frosting as necessary to keep it the right consistency.)

frosting cupcakes

If you like a THICK layer of frosting LIKE ME, repeat with a second “coating” of frosting after the first coating has set for a few minutes.

frosting cupcakes

Immediately top with sprinkles (if desired) so they will “stick” before the frosting dries.

frosting cupcakes

Don’t those look amazing!?  Although I initially was eager to TRY this trick because of how much I loathe frosting cupcakes with a knife…I can’t believe how much nicer they turned out than any other cupcakes I’ve ever frosted the “old-fashioned” way. They almost look like they are covered in fondant….which LOOKS pretty but doesn’t taste very good in my opinion.

Easier,  faster, and prettier!  Cupcake making just became a LOT more enjoyable at my house! :-)

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • I totally agree about cupcakes needing frosting!!!! I totally saw this idea on Sweet C’s and did both of my kids’ birthday cakes this way this year! What a time saver!! She actually has it in cake, cupcake, and even donut form I think! Genius!

  • I go with the pastry bag almost every time…but disposable ones. I put a drip or two of food coloring in the tip every so often & get pretty swirls of color, without having the hassle of mixing it into all of the frosting! Refilling the bag is as easy as putting the tip down in a small kids cup (you know, those 12oz ones every restaurant on the planet seems to give away) & folding the edges down over it. No mess on my hands! I also have a habit of mixing sprinkles, mini-choc chips, or m&m mini’s into my cupcakes to get my kids to eat ’em!

  • Love this idea. Can also microwave a cup of icing & dip the top of your cupcake into it.

    Do your kids lick the icing off the cupcake ? Try This:
    hold cupcake (fingers on one hand grasp bottom & fingers from other had grasp top), gently pull apart.
    Place the bottom of the cupcake on the top. Now your icing is in the middle. Most kids will love the idea especially if they get to do it. :)

  • Like the idea– They look so pretty & look like they freeze well too. You didn’t say if you used homemade icing or not. Would love a followup icing recipe; I tend to use light fluffy or butter cream icings and don’t think it would work in this case.

  • I personally think the nicest and thickest frosting/icing is piped on and if you are using a disposable piping bag, you don’t even necessarily need a metal tip. You can just snip a tiny hole in the bag. You won’t get the star shaped swirl icing but you don’t have to have that. Just start small with your hole or reinforce it with tape as it can enlarge especially if your icing is thick. You can even use a freezer ziplock bag in a pinch or a cone of parchment paper! Even a star tip only costs a dollar or two and you don’t need fancy couplers or anything unless you plan to use more than one tip as you work. This is very pretty but even with two coats, not nearly enough icing! This is a good base for adding any sort of decorations though like the plastic ones you get at the store or making lady bugs by adding chocolate chips and licorice laces etc. You need a nice smooth surface for that sort of decorations. Definitely a good tip. To cover the messy wrappers, many cupcake decorators are simply adding a pretty wrapper on top of the one they are baked in and if you did so while the icing was still slightly wet it would stick and you’d never notice!

  • Wow, usually people eat cupcakes around my house without them being frosted(they are too impatient to wait. But I think this will work great and I may just make them wait now. I am supposing this will work on mini cupcakes too. That would be great. Thanks so much.

  • How about leaving them on a drying rack over the plate and you could do a few at a time? And then drizzling chocolate on top! Chocoholic alert!

  • Looks yummy! However, there is another way you can also try. Don’t heat your frosting, fluff it with a fork (if you’re using homemade, use a little less liquid). Leave the wrappers on, but allow the cupcakes to completely cool. Turn the cupcake upside down and gently swirl in the frosting. Easy-peeve!

  • So pretty! I like a LOT if frosting myself so I recently purchased a set of extra large Wilton tips. You can use them without a coupler so I just slide them through the tip of a ziplock bag. The 1M tip makes perfect rosettes every time without even trying and you can really pile on the frosting with it :-). This method would be great for the drippy caramel icing recipe I have though… Yum!

  • Isn’t a cupcake without frosting just a muffin? When making from scratch, cooked frostings get a bad rap because you have to get a man dirty and watch it on the stove, etc but they do look so pretty.

    I make a very easy Boston cream layer cake, which get covered in a robust amount of cooked chocolate frosting (not quite but almost a glaze) and everyone always ohhhs and ahhhs over it.

  • Very nice looking! But I’ll have to admit that even the second coating would be a bit skimpy for me. Yes that’s alot of frosting and frosting goes right to the hips. Just make sure you eat two — that way one goes to each hip and you stay balanced.

  • Ok, I’m going to have to try this method, and Sheila’s method… and actually, I think I’m going to try your method the next time I make a cake… just heat it up and pour it all over the top. I tend to find cake chunks in my frosting when I frost cakes or cupcakes…. annoying!

  • I like this idea – but, I have an even easier way to frost cupcakes! Heat up the frosting until it is of a thin consistency, then turn the cupcakes upside down and dip in frosting (leave paper wrappers on). Then add sprinkles or other candied trim……soooooooo easy.

    • Great idea! I’ve seen this method on cooking shows. Instead of frosting they used ganache. No matter which topping, I think the dipping method would be the easiest. Thanks for suggestion.

    • I also prefer to dip cupcakes into warmed frosting, as opposed to spooning the frosting over the cupcake. This works especially well for frosting that starts warm and doesn’t easily re-heat (meringues and caramels). The dip method also produces a thicker first coat (although I do still double-dip to show I care).

  • i don’t mind frosting cupcakes, but i’ve recently purchased some beautiful, TALL cupcake wrappers, which make frosting with a knife impossible. i think i’m stuck with using a pastry bag, or the frosting in a ‘spray can’, for those. if i try this, it’ll probably run over and build up on the edges since it can’t run off, huh?

  • Well, like you, my cupcakes MUST have a second coat! I would probably need to keep the paper on – until I got a hang of the process. I could just see a sloppy mess on the bottom! I could just take off the paper right before presenting like a pro! Thanks for your demonstrations and your humor! You make it enjoyable to learn new things!

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