Red White and Blue Cupcakes

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Red White and Blue Cupcakes are perfectly festive, fun and patriotic for 4th of July and summer parties.

red white and blue cupcakes on a cooling rack

If you’re looking for a very festive cupcake recipe for 4th of July, you might consider this one.  It’s so pretty with red, white and blue swirled throughout the cupcake and swirled into the buttercream frosting too.

These are so fun to display on the dessert table at your summer party.  They’ll be the standout dessert, and everyone will wonder if you bought them at a bakery.  But you get to tell them that you baked them yourself!

red white and blue cupcake batter in a cupcake pan with bowls of each color batter along the sides. A long wooden stick used to do the swirling.

How to make Red, White and Blue Cupcakes:

Begin by making a simple white cake batter.  This recipe is for a homemade white cake, but you can certainly substitute a boxed cake mix if you prefer. Then you’ll divide the batter evenly between three bowls.  Next you’ll add a little color to each bowl of white batter… a little red, a little white and a little blue.  Then you’ll put a spoonful of all three colors into each muffin cup, and use a toothpick or skewer to swirl them together.  They’ll bake up all swirly and pretty!

frosting red white and blue cupcakes with a piping bag

How to frost cupcakes:

You’ll be doing the same thing with the frosting.  Divide the frosting between three bowls, and add color to each frosting.  Then you can put all three frostings side by side in a large piping bag with a 1M tip from Wilton.  When you squeeze the bag to frost the cupcakes, the three colors kind of blend together and create a swirled look.

red white and blue cupcakes on a cooling rack

What kind of food color should be used for these cupcakes?

I recommend using gel paste for the color.  Don’t use liquid food coloring.  The paste is rather dry, and it won’t add any unnecessary liquid to the frosting.  Plus, the color is very easy to control using paste.  Look for gel paste at your local craft (Michael’s) or baking supply store in the cake decorating supplies aisle.  You want bright red, royal blue and pure white gel paste.

red white and blue cupcake unwrapped

More decor ideas for Red, White and Blue Cupcakes:

Adorn these cuties with festive 4th of July sprinkles.  They’d also be cute with toothpick flags stuck in there too.  Look for these goodies and more at a party supply store just before 4th of July.

red white and blue cupcake cut in half to see the inside

Here are a few more red, white and blue recipes you might like to try:

red white and blue cupcakes on a cooling rack
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5 from 6 votes

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes

Festive cupcakes for your patriotic summer parties!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 449kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword 4th of july cupcakes, patriotic cupcakes, red, white and blue cupcakes



  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups all purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • red, white and blue gel paste


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy or regular whipping cream



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Split the batter evenly into three small bowls. Add red, white and blue gel paste until you achieve the colors that are desired. (The white won't turn completely white, but a squirt or two will lighten up the batter a little bit.) Spoon the batter into the muffin cups- a spoonful of red, white and blue in each cup. Use a toothpick to gently swirl the batter in each cup.
  • Bake 16 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (the center should puff up slightly and not feel gooey-- and it should feel springy to touch when done). Cool completely before icing.


  • In a large bowl, with a hand or stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter on low speed. Mix until well blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more.  Add more cream if needed for desired spreading/piping consistency.  


  • Divide the frosting into 3 bowls and color red/blue. Put red/white/blue icing in the SAME piping bag, and you'll get a nice swirl effect with all three colors. The Wilton 1M tip is a good one for creating the look in the photos.


  • *Use clear vanilla extract to get a whiter cupcake.
  • *Gel paste can be found in baking supply stores. You can also use the Wilton brand that is found in craft stores like Michaels.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 815IU | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
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Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

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  • Becky Hardin wrote:

    So fun for the 4th of July!

  • Katie wrote:

    These cupcakes are so fun and festive! I’ll be sure to make them next week for the 4th.

  • Sara Welch wrote:

    Such a colorful and fun recipe! Will definitely be making these for the 4th and saving again for the future!

  • Chelsea wrote:

    These cupcakes are already on the plan for the 4th of July!! Soo cute! Thanks for sharing!

  • lauren kelly wrote:

    These cupcakes are so fun and festive! I just love the colors and I can’t wait to make them for July 4th!

  • Serena wrote:

    Couldn’t you just use a box white cake mix divided into thirds, one part dyed red, the other blue?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      If that’s the way you’d like to do it!

  • Nancy wrote:

    LOVED these cupcakes. They were delicious and looked great for the 4th. Thanks so much for another fab recipe

  • Ray wrote:

    awwwwww! these are such a great treat

  • Karen wrote:

    Really love these cupcakes. I use the same technique and expand the color selection with the cupcake mix and frosting to make rainbow cupcakes.