Watermelon Cupcakes

green cupcakes with pink watermelon frosting with mini chocolate chips for watermelon seeds on marble background

Make these fun summer watermelon cupcakes! Bright green cupcakes with buttercream frosting that tastes like watermelon! Add mini chocolate chips for the watermelon seeds! Serve these cupcakes at a one in a melon themed party! 

Kool aid has just revolutionized my buttercream frosting! 

You can take any flavor of powdered kool aid and add it to buttercream and voila – now you have buttercream frosting that tastes like watermelon, mango, pink lemonade, kiwi-lime! The flavors seem endless!

Plus it’s such a fun way to jazz up cupcakes for a birthday party. These Watermelon Cupcakes would be so fun to serve at a summer birthday party or a “one in a melon” themed party! 

green cupcakes with pink watermelon frosting with mini chocolate chips for watermelon seeds on marble background

How To Make Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

Our recipe calls for a lot of moist ingredients. We use egg whites instead of whole eggs, sour cream and milk. Using egg whites only gives the batter a nice white look. The sour cream and milk are where the fat, flavor, and moistness come into play.

Watermelon Cupcake Ingredients

  • unsalted butter: makes the cake tender and helps with leavening 
  • granulated sugar: adds sweetness and flavor
  • egg whites: binds the cake together by providing structure 
  • sour cream: adds moisture and creaminess
  • milk: adds moisture 
  • vanilla extract: adds flavor
  • all purpose flour: flour is necessary to build structure
  • baking soda: helps to leaven and lift the batter, reacts with the sour cream
  • salt: just a pinch to balance the sweetness and enhances the other flavors of the cake
  • leaf green gel food coloring: important for getting that vibrant green color

How to Make Watermelon Cupcakes

  1. In a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer, 1-2 minutes until fluffy. 
  2. Add in the egg whites, one at a time, lightly mixing with a spatula after each one. 
  3. Add in the sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat lightly with the electric mixer. 
  4. In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients a few spoonfuls at a time. Mix until just incorporated. Add in a small amount of Wilton’s “leaf green” gel food coloring until you get your desired green color. 
  5. Fill the muffin liners 1/2-3/4 full. Bake for 5 minutes at 400º F. Keeping the cupcakes in the oven, turn the heat down to 350ºF and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until a few moist crumbs remain on a toothpick when inserted into the center. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding the frosting.
green cupcakes with pink watermelon frosting with mini chocolate chips for watermelon seeds on marble background

Watermelon Frosting Ingredients

  • unsalted butter
  • powdered sugar
  • watermelon kool aid powder mix
  • red gel food coloring
  • mini chocolate chips

How to Make Watermelon Frosting

The watermelon kool aid actually doesn’t add much color to the buttercream (adds a lot of flavor though!) so you’ll need some red food coloring to help create a watermelon pink color.

I used the no taste red gel food coloring from Wilton, adding a little at a time, but it actually takes a lot to even just get the buttercream this color. I have not tried using pink food coloring so I don’t know if it would create the same color.

Don’t forget to add the mini chocolate chips! They complete the look of these Watermelon Cupcakes!

How Long Does it Take to Make these Summer Cupcakes?

  • 10 minutes to prep the batter
  • 15 minutes to bake the cupcakes
  • 1 hour, at least, to cool the cupcakes
  • 15 minutes to make the frosting and frost the cupcakes
green cupcakes with pink watermelon frosting with mini chocolate chips for watermelon seeds on marble background

Frosting Piping Supplies

Piping bags – I love these bulk piping bags
Piping tips – Larger piping tips are better for frosting cupcakes. My go-to tips are the Wilton 1M2D, 12 and 199.

How to Pipe Frosting onto Cupcakes

I used a wilton 2D piping tip to pipe the frosting on these cupcakes. A wilton 1M and an Ateco 844 are both very similar to the 2D.

Start in the center of the cupcake, applying pressure to the frosting bag, going in a swirling motion until you reach the edge of the cupcake then lift the tip up and tip more frosting onto that base layer you just made, stacking the frosting and continuing in a swirling motion until you reach the center of the cupcake.

How to Freeze Unfrosted Cupcakes

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Wrap each cupcake in plastic wrap, then place inside a freezer ziplock bag or freezer storage container.

To thaw: place the bag or container of cupcakes on the counter overnight. Frost once fully thawed. 

How to Make Gluten Free Cupcakes

This recipe turned out great using gluten free flour! We love King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour. Follow the directions as stated, but substitute gluten free flour for all purpose flour. 

green cupcakes with pink watermelon frosting with mini chocolate chips with text overlay

Tips for Making Cupcakes

  • Properly measure the all purpose flour using the spoon and sweep method.
  • Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until they are combined. Over mixing could lead to dry, dense cake.
  • You’ll bake the cupcakes at 400º F for the first 5 minutes. This will help the cupcakes dome and rise. After 5 minutes, turn the heat down to 350º F while keeping the cupcakes in the oven.
  • We got our super bright green cupcake liners at Party City – they really seem to match the Watermelon Cupcakes perfectly!
  • Store these cupcakes covered on the counter.

More Summer Desserts

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For a step-by-step of how to make this watermelon cupcake recipe, watch this short video:
Three delicious Watermelon themed Cupcakes with pink buttercream frosting and green cupcake liners.

Watermelon Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Make these fun summer watermelon cupcakes! Bright green cupcakes with buttercream frosting that tastes like watermelon! Add mini chocolate chips for the watermelon seeds!

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup & 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup & 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • leaf green food coloring by wilton (or similar light green food coloring)

Watermelon Frosting

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter (1 & 1/2 cups), room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of powdered watermelon kool aid mix
  • small amount of red gel food coloring, to give the buttercream a pinkish color
  • mini chocolate chips

Instructions

CUPCAKES

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer, 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Add in the egg whites, one at a time, lightly mixing with a spatula after each one. Add in the sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat lightly with the electric mixer. In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients a few spoonfuls at a time. Mix until just incorporated. Add in a small amount of Wilton’s “leaf green” gel food coloring until you get your desired green color.  Fill the muffin liners 1/2-3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes at 400º F. Keeping the cupcakes in the oven, turn the heat down to 350ºF and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until a few moist crumbs remain on a toothpick when inserted into the center. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding the frosting.

Watermelon Frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar and the watermelon kool aid powder, beat together.
  3. Add in more powdered sugar as you see fit, up to 2 more cups,
  4. A small amount of red food coloring (to give the frosting a pinkish color), mixing one last time with an electric mixer until it's smooth and combined.

How to assemble

  1. Place the buttercream in a large piping bag fit with a 1m wilton piping tip. Push the buttercream down into the bag. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, starting in the center of the cupcake, swirling out, and then swirling back into the center, progressively stacking the frosting as you get to the center.
  2. Add mini chocolate chips on top of the buttercream.

Notes

We got our super bright green cupcake liners at Party City – they really seem to match the Watermelon Cupcakes perfectly!

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70 comments

  1. These are absolutely adorable, and look so delicious too!

  2. I have made these before and just love them.  Was amazed at the flavor.  Thanks for sharing. 

  3. These look delicious, and your photography is gorgeous!!

  4. This is awesome! I’m so going to have to do this for my grad party!

  5. These have got to be the cutest cupcake I’ve ever seen! So clever!

  6. Love these. I will be trying them out at a picnic very soon.

  7. is there any way to make these without kool aid flavoring?

  8. How was the red food coloring used in this?

  9. I made these last weekend for a family reunion. In the interest of time I used a boxed white cake mix. This frosting is so delicious. Tangy and tart and mixed really well with the not too sweet cupcake. I loved them!!!! I am a huge citrus fan so I will use this frosting in different flavors. Thanks!!

  10. This is the powdered Koolaid that you would normally add sugar to, isn’t it?

  11. Thanks for the recipe, but not seeing when you add the green colouring. Want to do this with my girls club on Saturday.

  12. Can watermelon jello powder be used instead of the koolaid powder?

    • Hi Mindy! I’m not sure, but that’s a great question! If you try it, report back!

  13. Is there an alternative to sour cream? Thanks!

  14. I actually tried a flavored jello on a frosting and I really couldn’t taste the flavor (orange) and I think it was a little too sweet ???? so I’m excited about trying the Kool aid…Thanks!

  15. When is the egg added?

  16. Hi can you use water melon flavor oil from dram lorann. As im from Australia and we can’t buy water melon kool aid

  17. Butter isn’t sold by the “stick” where I live. Can you please give an actual measurement for the butter? Thanks.

  18. Hi! How much frosting does one recipe make? And can you use salted butter?

  19. The frosting is waayyyyy too sweet, I would suggest using about half the amount of kool aid. However the cupcakes are delicious and these are so cute!

  20. Even if you don’t like using the watermelon flavoring, you can still tint the frosting.

  21. These are adorable! Certainly the hit of a summer BBQ.

  22. These are pretty! Very pretty for summer parties!

  23. These are absolutely adorable. I love that the buttercream is watermelon flavored! I love flavoring frosting with koolaid. So good !

  24. I can’t find watermelon Kool-Aid.  I’m using my own buttercream recipe and going to try Watermelon juice work in place of the milk.  Hopefully it works!

    • Hi Stacey! A lot of stores should carry the watermelon kool-aids packets, check by the rest of the small kool aid packets!

  25. The cupcakes are adorable!  However, the watermelon kool-aid was so difficult to find.  After 4 different grocery stores, I finally found it at Smart and Final.
    After the kool-aid hunt, turns out the  frosting was way too sweet.  If I make them again I will omit the kool-aid.  

    • Hi Anita! I’m sorry you had trouble finding the watermelon kool-aid. I have found it at Meijer and Walmart before. You can definitely use less kool-aid and less powdered sugar for a less sweet frosting.

  26. Hi there! These look absolutely beautiful! I’m planning on making these for my best friend’s going away party (watermelon is her favorite fruit) but I don’t want to include the watermelon flavor to the icing. If I take it out, will the buttercream frosting still taste good or do you suggest using another recipe? Thank you!

  27. Hi there! Your cupcakes look absolutely gorgeous! If I wanted to make these cupcakes without the watermelon flavor does your buttercream frosting work without the koolaid or is that what gives the frosting its flavor? If so, would just using another frosting recipe be better? Thank you! I’m making these for my best friend’s going away party and these really caught my eye.

  28. I made these before in the states and my grandkids loved them. I’m now living in Cambodia and sour cream is extremely expensive and difficult to find. I was wondering if I could replace it with Greek yogurt.

  29. Those are adorable! I had a recent cupcake disaster (over my daughter’s birthday cupcakes, no less!) so I’ll have to try some new ones to redeem myself.

  30. What piping bag tip do you use? First time using a piping set. Thanks.

  31. Hi what is Koolaid, is it powdered cordial! I live in Australia!

  32. When using the boxed cake mix, do you include any of the other ingredients? Sour cream sounds good to me , so I was wondering if it could still be added to the box cake?

  33. I made these today for my baby’s first birthday party and they turned out perfect and we’re a big hit!! I cheated and used boxed cake mix but followed the instructions for everything else. 

  34. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I made them for my daughter’s class birthday party (which is tomorrow) and they look amazing. Of course I need to perfect my piping skills as they don’t look like yours, but I don’t think 10/11 year old’s will care. The frosting is amazing! We couldn’t stop accidentally getting our fingers in it! :-)

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  36. WHO DA THUNK IT????
    Kool Aid??? Really????

    I am so going to use this!!!! So many flavors to choose from.

    Thank you for being an absolute GENIUS!!!!!

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  38. These are the cutest cupcake I’ve ever seen. Thank you so much for posting this recipe.

  39. If I don’t want to use shortening in the frosting, I would use 3 sticks of butter?  Also, if I am doubling the cake recipe should I double the frosting? 

    • Yes, that is correct. Simply replace the shortening with butter. And yes I would double the frosting too!

  40. I tried these using a pink food coloring in the frosting instead of red it was lighter than yours but I actually liked the paler ones too. My niece is having a 1 in a melon party next month and these are perfect. I can’t wait to try more flavors and I’m thinking red, white, and blue for the 4th of July.

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  43. Looks so cute! Looks so summery too… and delicious!

  44. My cupcakes taste good but came out very dense? Is there something I  could have done wrong? Gotta get these right before the party in four days! 

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