Grinch Cupcakes - Mom On Timeout

These adorable Grinch Cupcakes are sure to make everyone’s hearts (and stomachs) grow three sizes! These Christmas cupcakes are easy and decorated to look just like our favorite animated green meanie. This dessert just might steal Christmas in the best way possible!

Starting to feel a little like the Grinch this holiday? Make life a little easier and little more merry with my Christmas Punch, adorable Grinch Cookies and Peppermint Ice Cream!

six cupcakes decorated like the grinch with red santa hats sitting on a white cake stand.

Christmas Cupcakes

He’s a mean one, Mr.Grinch, but he sure makes a tasty cupcake! These Grinch Cupcakes are as delightfully festive as they are delicious. Bring everyone’s favorite Christmas curmudgeon to life in cake form. These adorable Grinch Cupcakes are sure to help your heart grow three sizes!

Use your favorite boxed mix, a dash of green food coloring, and some BRILLIANT decorating to bring the Grinch to your holidays and watch everyone find the meaning of Christmas… or maybe just find their sweet tooth. Either way, these cute cupcakes will turn your party into quite the Holiday Whobilation! 

Add a smirk, a smile or a frown to really give your Grinch Cupcakes some personality!

close up look at grinch decorated cupcake complete with santa hat. bright green frosting and cupcake.

Why You’ll Love These Grinch Cupcakes

  • These delightful cupcakes are standouts among the holiday treats. Have you seen their faces? The bright colors will excite and entice anyone to take a bite of these delicious cupcakes.
  • They’re easy to make even if they look a bit complicated. The cupcakes themselves are simple, and while the decorations may look as over the top as Martha May’s house, the design is deceptively easy. 

More Christmas Recipes Even The Grinch Won’t Turn Down

  1. Christmas Bark
  2. Peanut Butter Fudge with M&Ms
  3. Homemade Gumdrops
  4. Christmas Crack
  5. Reindeer Cookie Bars
wide shot of four grinch cupcakes in white cupcake liners all decorated and ready to be enjoyed.

What You’ll Need

Don’t be a mean one this Christmas, up the Who-liday Cheer with a tray of festive Grinch Cupcakes. As always, you can find the full printable recipe with complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need…

  • white cake mix – you can use your favorite boxed mix or make homemade white cupcakes if you prefer. If you go the homemade route, you won’t need the eggs, milk and butter. I love these almond cupcakes for this recipe!
  • eggs – you’ll need 3 large at room temperature.
  • whole milk – While you can substitute for lower fat milk or a non dairy option, I find that whole milk gives the best flavor and consistency.
  • salted butter – You’ll want the butter completely melted. You can use vegetable or canola oil in place of the butter if you prefer, but the cupcakes won’t be quite as rich and flavorful.
  • food coloring –  Neon green and red.
  • white frosting – You’ll want at least two 16-ounce tubs. It never hurts to have a little extra in case you start to run out. And of course, if you have a white frosting recipe you love (cream cheese frosting is always a good option) – you can use that instead. The one from my carrot cake recipe is perfect.
  • powdered sugar – This will help stiffen the frosting so it’s easier to decorate with.
  • yellow Reese’s Pieces – Or M&Ms depending on your preference. You’ll need 48 total for the eyes. Make sure to place them printed side down.
  • black cookie icing – For the little details. You can find this in the baking aisle of your store or online.

How To Make Grinch Cupcakes

Make the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line the cupcake tins with liners and set aside.
  2. Mix the cake mix, eggs, whole milk, and melted butter together. Beat until fully combined.
  3. Drop in the neon green food coloring a little at a time until you reach the perfect grinchy color.
  4. Pour the batter into your muffin tins, only filling each liner about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 18-23 minutes. They are ready when a toothpick interested in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack while you prepare the frosting.

Prepare the Frosting

  1. Use a hand mixer and dump one tub of frosting into a bowl with ¼ cup of powdered sugar and enough drops of the green food coloring to match the color of the cupcakes. Beat until fully combined and there are no streaks of food coloring.
  2. Transfer the green frosting into a piping bag. I like to use a large, circular piping tip for this step. Pipe a tall, thick swirl of green onto each of the completely cooled cupcakes.
  3. Set aside about ¾ cup of white frosting from the remaining tub. Scoop that into a piping bag and fit with a smaller circular tip.
  4. Mix the remaining tub of frosting with a few drops of red food coloring. You can mix a bit of powdered sugar in to stiffen this up as well. Mix until you get a bright red color with no streaks.
  5. Scoop into a piping bag and use a tip to pipe a swirl of red to look like a Santa hat.
  6. Pipe white frosting trim around each hat and a dollop on top for the ball at the end of a Santa hat.
  7. Place two yellow candies on each Grinch head just below the fur trim of his hat.
  8. Use the black cookie icing to add in the details like eyebrows, irises, nose and mouth. You can choose whether he’s smiling or frowning, or maybe even smirking.
  9. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready. Happy Who-Lidays!
three image collage showing how to make grinch cupcakes.

Storage Information

You can store these cupcakes in an airtight container (make sure the dish is deep enough so the frosting on top doesn’t get squished) in the fridge for up to 5 days to keep them fresh or at room temperature for up to 2 days,.

To freeze: You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes after they’ve cooled completely. Store them in a freezer safe container or wrap them individually in plastic wrap before placing them in their container. They’ll stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost until they reach room temperature, decorate as directed and enjoy. Keep in mind that the frosting will likely change in texture and consistency.

green cupcakes with green frosting decorated to look like the grin with the main cupcake with a bit taken out of it.

Grinch Cupcakes FAQs

Where Can I Find Piping Bags and Frosting Tips?

Piping bags and frosting tips can typically be found at any supermarket or ordered online. Usually near the party supplies (you’d think baking aisle and you may find a few there) and craft department. However, for more of a selection your local craft and hobby supply store will have their own section specific to cake decorating. 

What If I Can’t Find or Don’t Have Piping Tips?

The piping bags and tips are definitely going to make things easier but these cupcakes can be made without them if necessary. Use ziploc bags for the piping bags. For the head, cut a hole in the corn, large enough to create the swirls. Using the same method, cut a slightly smaller hole for the hat. For the fur, cut an even smaller hole and just add lots of dots to the bottom of the hat and also to the top. Freezer ziploc bags are thicker and hold up better to the squeezing.

Can I Use A Different Flavor Of Cake Mix?

You can! White works best to really show the green Grinch color but feel free to swap for yellow or vanilla.

Special Tools and Ingredients Needed

Trish’s Tips and Tricks

  • When it comes to the paper cupcake liners I think green, red or white works best, those will all work with Grinch’s Santa suit. 
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely or otherwise they will slowly melt the frosting,
  • If your frosting doesn’t seem to be holding shape, place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes and see if stiffens up a bit OR you can add more powdered sugar to stiffen it and chill it in the fridge for a few minutes. The frosting will warm up in the piping bag the longer it’s in your hands so you may want to pop it in the fridge halfway through if you notice your Grinches start to slouch.  
  • This recipe makes 24 cupcakes but it’s super easy to double the batch and make a whole Whoville worth of Grinches!
  • Don’t overfill your liners. This helps to make sure all the cupcakes are baked evenly and avoids any batter spilling over the edge.
christmas cupcakes decorated like the grinch with red santa hat.

More Christmas Treats

  1. Grinch Cookies
  2. Stained Glass Cookies
  3. Whipped Shortbread Cookies
  4. Buddy The Elf Cookies (Haystacks)
  5. Polar Bear Paw Cupcakes

How To Make Grinch Cupcakes

Grinch Cupcakes

These adorable Grinch Cupcakes are sure to make everyone’s hearts (and stomachs) grow three sizes! These cupcakes are easy and decorated to look just like our favorite animated green meanie. This dessert just might steal Christmas in the best way possible!

Keyword christmas cupcakes, grinch cupcakes
Author Trish – Mom On Timeout

Ingredients

  • 15.25 ounces white cake mix 1 box
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter melted
  • Neon green food coloring divided
  • 32 ounces white frosting (2) 16 ounce tubs
  • ¼-½ cup powdered sugar
  • 48 yellow Reese’s Pieces or M&Ms
  • 1 tube black decorating icing
  • Red food coloring

Instructions

Make the Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two muffin tins with liners.

  • Beat together the cake mix, eggs, milk and melted butter in a large mixing bowl, until well combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Mix in the neon green food coloring, adding a few drops at a time, until you get a lovely grinchy green color.

  • Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each liner about ⅔ of the way full.

  • Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  • Remove cupcakes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the Frosting

  • Combine one tub of frosting, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and enough green food coloring (that you get a color that closely matches the green cupcakes) and use a hand mixer to beat together until thick and combined, with no streaks. Check to make sure that the frosting holds its shape when piped. If the frosting doesn’t hold its shape, add additional powdered sugar and beat again.

Decorate

  • Transfer the frosting into a piping bag with a 2A Wilton piping tip and pipe a tall swirl of green frosting on each of the cupcakes. This is the Grinch’s head so you want it to cover the cupcake and be tall and large enough for the eyes and a red Santa hat.

  • Remove about ¾ cup of white frosting from the remaining tub of frosting and transfer to a piping bag with a #22 Wilton piping tip. Set aside.

  • Add several drops of red food coloring to the rest of the tub of white icing and mix until combined. Add enough drops to get a nice, bright red color. Think Santa red.

  • Now transfer the red frosting in a piping bag with a #12 Wilton piping tip and pipe Santa hats onto the top of each Grinch head. Make sure you leave some room for the white “fur” trim we’ll be piping on next.

  • Use the white frosting to pipe around the hat and a dollop on the top.

  • Place two yellow Reese’s pieces or yellow M&Ms (Grinch’s eyes) right below the white “fur” of the santa hat. You can even have them slightly higher so they seem to jut out above the white.

  • Finally, use the black decorating icing to pipe on Grinch’s eyebrows, irises, nose, mouth (smile or frown). You can put the eyebrows on the white “fur” of the hat if you want.

Notes

Storage Information You can store these cupcakes in an airtight container (make sure the dish is deep enough so the frosting on top doesn’t get squished) in the fridge for up to 5 days to keep them fresh or at room temperature for up to 2 days,. To freeze: You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes after they’ve cooled completely. Store them in a freezer safe container or wrap them individually in plastic wrap before placing them in their container. They’ll stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost until they reach room temperature, decorate as directed and enjoy. Keep in mind that the frosting will likely change in texture and consistency. Special Tools and Ingredients Needed Make Your Own Frosting Skip the store bought frosting and make your own buttercream instead:
  • 1 cup unsalted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Beat butter on medium speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Add salt, vanilla extract and one cup of powdered sugar. Beat until completely combined.
  3. Beat in 2 more cups of powdered sugar, one cup at time, beating after each addition, until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and continue beating.
  5. Mix in the remaining cup of powdered sugar, half a cup at a time.
  6. Add additional heavy cream, one teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Turn the mixer to speed to medium high and continuing beating for an additional minute until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 237mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 167IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg

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