This is the best cinnamon cupcakes recipe! These easy cinnamon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are moist and delicious, and dusted with a perfect cinnamon sugar topping! They're an upgrade to a traditional vanilla cupcake and a MUST for cinnamon lovers!
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Easy Cinnamon Cupcakes Recipe
We're using a boxed cake mix as the base for this cinnamon sugar cupcakes recipe to make it super easy! No need to measure out flour or worry about your cupcakes coming out too dry.
But these won't be your typical cake mix cupcakes! We're making some key swaps for a few simple ingredients that will make a huge difference to add a more moist, buttery, homemade flavor. Then these cinnamon spice cupcakes will be the perfect treat!
What is the secret to moist cupcakes?
Most cake mix cupcakes turn out pretty moist, but they're lacking that extra oomph of homemade flavor and texture. So with these cupcakes we're making some changes! Adding an extra egg to the batter, swapping the water for milk, and swapping the oil for butter. This produces a richer, moister cupcake that tastes just like it's from scratch!
Add to that the cinnamon sugar swirl inside each cupcake, and you've got a decadent fall treat that no one will believe came from a box! This is sure to be one of your go-to autumn cupcake recipes!
Moist Cinnamon Cupcakes Ingredients
You can check the recipe card below for the full ingredients and measurements, but here's your shopping list for the best cinnamon cupcakes:
- boxed cake mix - you can use white, vanilla, or yellow cake mix. The size should be 15.25 ounces.
- whole milk - instead of the water called for in the cake mix, we'll use milk, which adds richness and density to the cake batter. If you prefer, you can use lowfat or 2% milk, or any nondairy milk you like.
- melted butter - instead of making these cinnamon cupcakes with oil, we're using melted salted butter, which gives these cupcakes a delicious buttery flavor. To combat the loss of some of the moisture that oil would provide, we're upping the quantity of butter, which makes these the most moist cinnamon cupcakes ever! I use salted butter for this recipe, but if you use unsalted you can just add ¼ teaspoon salt in with the cake mix.
- large eggs - we're adding an extra egg to the three that most cake mixes call for, adding more richness and density to these cupcakes!
- brown sugar and cinnamon - to make the cinnamon swirl, we'll combine dark brown sugar (or light brown if you prefer) and ground cinnamon!
Then we'll top our cupcakes with a rich and decadent cinnamon cream cheese frosting! Here's what you'll need to make this delicious treat:
- cream cheese - your cream cheese should be softened to room temperature. See below for a tip to soften your cream cheese quickly!
- salted butter - like cream cheese, your butter should be softened to room temperature.
- powdered sugar - for accuracy, you powdered sugar should be measured by weight with a kitchen scale or with the spoon-and-level method.
- ground cinnamon - we're adding more cinnamon for even more delicious cinnamon flavor in our cream cheese frosting too. Check the recipe card below for a cinnamon sugar topping to add on top of the frosting!
Making the best cinnamon cupcakes recipe is a breeze with the right equipment. All you need is a muffin pan, muffin liners, and a large mixing bowl. You will also need a hand mixer or a stand mixer to make the mixing process easier. This will ensure a light, fluffy cake batter. You may also want a wire rack to cool your cupcakes.
Step By Step
You can check the recipe card below for the full detailed instructions on making these easy cinnamon cupcakes, but here are the basic steps:
Combine cake mix, melted butter, milk, and eggs in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat for several minutes until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and brown sugar.
Scoop tablespoonfuls of cupcake batter into prepared cupcake pan and layer with cinnamon and brown sugar mixture. You'll end up with 3 tablespoon of batter and 3 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar mixture.
Bake, and spread cream cheese frosting over cooled cupcakes. Top with cinnamon-sugar topping!
Hint: For best results with this cinnamon cupcake recipe, be sure not to over-fill your cupcake liners! They should be about ⅔ of the way full. For more tips for homemade cupcakes, check out my Lavender Lemon Cupcakes!
Cinnamon Cupcakes with Oil Instead of Butter
If you prefer not to use butter, you can definitely prepare these easy cinnamon cupcakes according to the cake mix instructions, using vegetable oil, eggs, and water! It'll be just as easy and delicious, and you can add the cinnamon swirl filling to the batter in the same way.
And for another favorite cake mix recipe, try my Ginger Crinkle Cookies!
Store frosted cupcakes in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
These gorgeous cinnamon swirl cupcakes are best frozen unfrosted -- just wrap each cooled cupcake in plastic wrap, then store in a freezer bag for up to 2 months.
You can also freeze the frosted cinnamon roll cupcakes too. Just freeze them uncovered until the frosting is solid, then wrap them in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw cupcakes unwrapped at room temperature.
To bring your butter or cream cheese to room temperature quickly, unwrap it and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 15-20 seconds, rotating every few seconds, until slightly softened.
Frequently Asked Questions
The secret to achieving domed cupcakes is maintaining the right oven temperature, proper leavening agents, and filling cupcake liners appropriately to allow controlled and even rising during baking.
Ultimately, the choice between oil and butter depends on the flavor and texture you prefer in your cupcakes. Butter adds amazing flavor to cupcakes, but oil is more effective in ensuring moisture. Some recipes may even use a combination of both for a balance of flavor and moisture. For these cinnamon cupcakes, we're using a double portion of butter to add lots of delicious buttery flavor and extra moisture too!
The toothpick trick for cupcakes involves inserting a toothpick into the center of a baked cupcake; if it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cupcakes are done. If wet batter sticks to the toothpick, the cupcakes need more baking time.
First, don't use warm ingredients: Ingredients like eggs, milk, and butter should be at room temperature to ensure proper incorporation and even baking.
Avoid overmixing: Overmixing the batter can lead to tough and dense cupcakes. Mix until just combined to prevent excessive gluten development.
Make sure you don't overfill your cupcake liners: Filling liners too full can cause cupcakes to overflow and lose their shape during baking. Fill about two-thirds full for proper rising.
Don't open the oven too soon: Opening the oven door too early can cause temperature fluctuations that affect the cupcakes' rising and texture. Keep the oven closed for the first ⅔ of baking time.
And finally, never frost warm cupcakes: Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting to prevent the frosting from melting and sliding off.
Looking for other ideas like this easy cinnamon cupcakes recipe? Try these:
These are my favorite recipes to that go well with these cupcakes:
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a star review rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
Equipment you may need
- pastry bag and tips
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350℉ (180℃) and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Spray liners lightly with baking spray.baking spray
- In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, milk, and melted butter. Use an electric mixer to mix on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy.1 box cake mix, 1 cup milk, ¾ cup salted butter, 4 large eggs
- In a separate small bowl, stir together brown sugar and cinnamon.2 tablespoon ground cinnamon, ½ cup brown sugar
- Scoop a tablespoonful of batter into prepared cupcake liners and smooth the top. Top with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and brown sugar mixture.
- Repeat two more times until you have three layers of each, with the cinnamon and brown sugar on top. Muffin liners should be about ⅔ full.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick entered into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before adding frosting.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat softened cream cheese and butter until smooth.8 oz cream cheese, ½ cup salted butter
- Mix in vanilla extract and cinnamon until combined.1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Gradually add powdered sugar while continuing to mix until you've achieved your desired consistency. Beat an additional 1-2 minutes. Frost onto cooled cupcakes (see notes for optional cinnamon-sugar topping)4½ cups powdered sugar