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Watermelon Cupcakes

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Prep Time: 20 minutes     Cook Time: 20 minutes

5 from 7 votes

These watermelon cupcakes are so cute! Using boxed cake mix makes them a breeze to prepare and they combine citrus flavors with watermelon for a refreshing result.

They’re so easy to make. You just need to beat all the cake batter ingredients together and beat all the frosting ingredients together.

A watermelon cupcake close up.
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This watermelon cupcakes recipe is perfect for the hot summer months since they are lighter than cake or cheesecake for example. Fresh watermelon is always a great treat during summer, so you might like to serve them with some fresh watermelon on the side as a refreshing afternoon snack.

So if you’re looking for something brand new, make these watermelon cupcakes! They’re really simple to make and you can’t deny they are gorgeous! And if you're on the hunt for even more fruity summer treats, then I definitely recommend these peach cupcakes and our mini strawberry cheesecakes.

Main Ingredients

The ingredients used to make watermelon cupcakes laid out on a table.

If watermelon is one of your favorite kinds of fruit, you are definitely going to love these cute watermelon cupcakes. They’re made with watermelon-flavored gelatin, but I still love enjoying some fresh watermelon on the side. Here are the key ingredients you need to make them:

  • White cake mix: To simplify the recipe. Rather than using flour, butter, sugar, and everything else you have to use to make watermelon cupcakes from scratch, just grab a box of white cake mix to make things easier. Yellow cake mix would also be fine.
  • Lemon-lime soda: For a citrusy tang. Watermelon is a light, refreshing ingredient, which is why the flavor pairs so wonderfully with citrus. You can use any brand of lemon-lime soda here or use Sprite with a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Watermelon gelatin: The star of the recipe. Not only does this infuse the cupcakes with the unmistakable flavor of watermelon, but it means you can add this flavor without having to use fresh watermelon. The amount of fresh watermelon you’d need to get a strong enough flavor would mean a very watery cake batter that wouldn’t set properly.
  • Food coloring: For picture-perfect results. Using red food dye in the cake batter and green food dye in the frosting adds plenty of charm to the watermelon cupcakes. Use liquid food dye or gel food dye. Just add a tiny bit at a time so you don’t add too much.
  • Confectioners' sugar: To sweeten the frosting. Confectioners’ sugar, sometimes labeled as powdered sugar or icing sugar, can be used in no-bake recipes. Granular sugar wouldn’t blend in as well and nobody wants to crunch on sugar grains in their cupcake frosting.

Instructions Overview

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. I like to use red or white cupcake liners, but the choice is of course yours! Now add all the cupcake ingredients to a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat everything together.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean and they are springy, they are done. Let them cool while you work on the frosting.

The frosting is just as easy as the cupcake batter. Again, you simply need to beat the ingredients together. When the watermelon cupcakes are completely cool you can use a star tip to pipe on the frosting. And voila - they’re ready to sink your teeth into!

The inside of a pink and green cupcake.

Common Questions

Is gel color same as food coloring?

Actually, the answer is both yes and no! Gel coloring dyes food just like liquid food coloring does. However, there is a difference. Gel food coloring is more concentrated so you will need less of it. Also gel food coloring seems to give a brighter, more intense color. Either one will work in this recipe so if you have some to use up then go ahead and use that. Otherwise just take your pick but bear in mind you should add gel one drop at a time since a little goes a long way.

Is watermelon considered a dessert?

This fruit is really versatile. It can be enjoyed as a dessert, as a side dish, a snack, an appetizer, or whatever you want! However, watermelon is especially great as dessert because of its natural sweetness. Take these watermelon cupcakes, for instance. They're incredible as they are but if you serve a slice of fresh watermelon alongside you are going to elevate them to the next level! Serious watermelon fans take note – this dessert is definitely for you!

What is considered lemon lime soda?

Sprite, 7-Up and Sierra Mist are considered lemon lime soda and would work well in watermelon cupcakes. You could even use Mountain Dew which is even more citrusy but still works great here. Just pick whichever lemon lime soda you like to drink and I'm sure it would be perfect in this cupcakes recipe.

Can I make watermelon cupcakes ahead?

You can make them ahead of time, although they’re best served on the same day.

What should I serve with them?

I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t be good with watermelon cupcakes. But I do like to enjoy this with some fresh watermelon on the side. Add a sprig of mint on top of the watermelon pieces and it makes a wonderful dessert.

How should I store them?

Keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. After that, they will become dry and hard.

Can these be frozen?

If you aren’t going to eat these within a few days, it’s best to freeze them. They will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. Use a plastic container rather than Ziploc bags to protect the frosting a little more.

Do I have to use cupcake liners?

It’s not strictly necessary if you use a silicone muffin pan or use a nonstick spray in a metal one, but they look neater and more ‘finished’ if you do.

Cupcake with green frosting topped with mini chocolate chips.

Chopnotch Tips

  • Optionally sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the frosting to resemble watermelon pips.
  • Don’t add too much red food coloring or green food coloring at once. A couple of drops go a long way, so add a little at a time until the color looks good.
  • Canola oil works well in baked goods since it’s economical and doesn’t change the flavor of the cupcakes. You could use your favorite kind of vegetable oil in its place though.
An overhead shot of several green and red watermelon cupcakes.

Watermelon cupcakes are not only gorgeous to look at but they taste amazing. This unusual flavor works wonderfully with cupcakes and making these colorful treats can be a lot of fun.

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.


How to Make

Watermelon Cupcakes

Watermelon cupcakes are light, refreshing, and gorgeous to look at. The recipe is incredibly easy and everyone will love these delicate bites.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup lemon-lime soda
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 ounce watermelon gelatin
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • red food coloring, 20 drops

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 ounce watermelon gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons lemon-lime soda
  • green food coloring, 20 drops
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To make the cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with 24 paper liners. Set aside.
  • Combine all of the cupcake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and then beat on low for about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 2 minutes or until the batter is well combined.
  • Transfer the batter into the muffin pan filling each cup ¾ of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. They are done when the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
  • Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the muffin pan and then let them cool completely on a cooling rack.

To make the frosting:

  • Combine all of the frosting ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake using a star tip. Enjoy!
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  • Optionally sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the frosting to resemble watermelon pips.
  • Don’t add too much red food coloring or green food coloring at once. A couple of drops go a long way, so add a little at a time until the color looks good.
  • Canola oil works well in baked goods since it’s economical and doesn’t change the flavor of the cupcakes. You could use your favorite kind of vegetable oil in its place though.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 260kcal (13%), Carbohydrates: 52g (17%), Protein: 2g (4%), Fat: 19g (29%), Saturated Fat: 11g (69%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 41mg (14%), Sodium: 294mg (13%), Potassium: 25mg (1%), Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugar: 12g (13%), Vitamin A: 481IU (10%), Vitamin C: 1mg (1%), Calcium: 56mg (6%), Iron: 1mg (6%)
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