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Easy Cinnamon Cupcakes From A Box Cake Mix

Easy Cinnamon Cupcakes From A Box Cake Mix

Are you curious about what you can make with your box cake mix? How about using it to bake cinnamon cupcakes? 

Yes! Yes, that’s a thing. I’m a big fan of baking in that delicious cinnamon flavor. 

Using a cake mix to make other baked goods such as cupcakes or cookies is the best baking hack that I know. Who doesn’t love a homemade cupcake?

When using a cake mix you’re still “scratch” baking because you’re mixing ingredients in your kitchen and actually baking the cake. We’re not baking snobs here.

As a matter of fact, Andi makes the most delicious bundt cakes and she almost always starts with a box cake mix. This turned out to be one of our favorite cupcake recipes. With a recipe this simple we don’t even wait for a special occasion to make cupcakes. 

How do you make cupcakes with a cake mix?

You don’t need to change anything about the cake mix when using it to make cupcakes. The only thing that changes is the pan you use and how long you bake the cupcakes. So in this instance, you are using cupcake pans (or muffin pans) instead of a cake pan. 

When making cupcakes from a cake mix, reduce baking time to about half the time as a 9 x 13 or layer cake (round 8 x 8 pan).

  • Standard cupcakes at 350F bake for 18 to 22 minutes.
  • Mini cupcakes at 350F bake for 11 to 16 minutes.
  • Jumbo cupcakes at 350F bake for 30 to 35 minutes

Ovens vary, of course, so it’s better to check on them early. Then check one of the cupcakes with a toothpick to see if they are done. If they aren’t, keep baking your cupcakes in 2-minute increments. 

Is cupcake mix and cake mix the same?

This is such a popular question and the answer is yes. Cupcake mix is exactly the same as cake mix or vice versa. Remember, cupcakes are nothing more than tiny individual cakes.


Cake mix – For this recipe use either a white or a yellow cake mix. (Box cake mix usually calls for oil, eggs, and water, too.)

DarkBrown sugar – Dark brown sugar just makes everything better. It will help make your cupcakes moist and soft. 

Cinnamon – This is the spice that makes this cupcake recipe what we love: layers of “molasses” style flavor and warm ground cinnamon.

How to make cinnamon cupcakes with a cake mix

Making cupcakes out of cake batter is pretty easy to do. So we are taking a yellow cake mix and simply adding in cinnamon and dark brown sugar. 

  • Step one: Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  • Step two: Place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. If you are not using cupcake liners, then spray the pan with baking spray. 
  • Step three: First thing is to follow the directions of the cake mix to make the batter. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl first. Most cakes mixes require: eggs, oil and water. I recommend using a large bowl because you will be adding more ingredients. 
  • Step four: Break apart any lumps in the brown sugar with your fingers before adding. Then gently fold in the 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar and 1 heaping teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Don’t overmix.
  • Step five: Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 the way full. Be as careful as you can to evenly distribute the batter. By filling the cupcake slots evenly, the cupcakes will bake more evenly as well.
  • Step six: Bake the cupcakes at 325F for 24 minutes or 350F for about 18 minutes.
  • Step seven: The cupcakes are done when you poke them halfway through with a toothpick in the center of the cupcake and the toothpick comes out clean. 
  • Step eight: Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them on an elevated cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely.
  • Step nine: Once the cupcakes are completely cool you can ice them as desired. Double up on that cinnamon goodness with our cinnamon buttercream, or try our lightly sweet, smooth cream cheese frosting (Andi is particularly proud of this one.)

Other tips

  • Don’t over-mix your cupcake batter. Mix it slow and on low. If you overbeat it, there won’t be any air bubbles and they will be dense instead of airy and fluffy.
  • Push the pan to the center of the oven. This is where it will bake best. Sometimes, there is a temptation to leave the pan near the front of the oven. Don’t do that. Go ahead and give it a bit of a shove and center it.
  • Allow the ingredients to come to room temperature before mixing the batter. This way nothing will clump together. It will mix smoother and easier and you won’t feel the need to overbeat the batter.
  • When filling the cupcake pan, fill each cup about 2/3 full. Be sure to be as even as possible when you scoop the batter so that the cupcakes bake evenly.
  • I highly recommend using cupcake paper liners. The cupcakes will not turn out as brown on the edges.
  • Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack.
  • If you don’t have a toothpick, you can use the tip of a butterknife or gently press on a cupcake and if it springs right back up, it is likely done. They will continue baking for a minute or so out of the oven, so don’t overbake.
  • Don’t frost a hot or even slightly warm cupcake. I know that you are excited but patience is needed. Even a slight amount of heat is enough to melt that frosting.

The bottom line

Making cupcakes at home doesn’t need to be a dramatic chore. You can easily make homemade and delicious cupcakes using a cake mix. By the way, you don’t even need to use a piping bag for the perfect cupcake. The perfect cupcake is the one that puts a smile on your face. 

We love making a cake mix taste better by adding in our own personal mix of spices and flavors. In this instance we added brown sugar and cinnamon. This is a great way to make cupcakes fast. If you enjoy the baking, your family will enjoy the treat. 

Make Cinnamon Cupcakes from a Box Cake Mix

Make Cinnamon Cupcakes from a Box Cake Mix

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes

This is our easy cinnamon cupcake recipe made with a vanilla box cake mix.


  • 1 yellow cake mix (with eggs and oil/butter as directed on the box)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place cupcake liners in a cupcake/muffin pan (or spray with nonstick cooking spray).
  3. Follow the mixing directions on the box mix.
  4. Break apart any lumps you see in the brown sugar.
  5. Fold in brown sugar and cinnamon to the batter.
  6. Fill the cupcake slots 2/3 the way full.
  7. Bake for 18 minutes or until the cupcakes are done.
  8. Check for doneness with a toothpick. No batter should stick to the toothpick. Don't overbake.
  9. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack.
  10. Once they are completely cool serve them or ice them with our cinnamon buttercream recipe here.
  11. Optional: Top with pecan halves, crushed walnuts, or sprinkle on more cinnamon


If you prefer, you could use a white cake mix.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1149Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1920mgCarbohydrates: 258gFiber: 3gSugar: 156gProtein: 10g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Dara G. Delger

Monday 6th of February 2023

How much cinnamon brown sugar do you add in?

Andi Reis

Tuesday 2nd of April 2024

Hi, Dara. Thanks for your note. I went ahead and added the measurements to the post too, but you'll use 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar and 1 heaping teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the cake batter.


Monday 7th of November 2022

NOOOO! Recipe would have made 24 cupcakes.... NOT 12. Still cleaning my oven, even though I put extra dough in a couple ramekins. What a MESS!


Saturday 6th of November 2021

Yield is 2?

Andi Reis

Sunday 7th of November 2021

Yikes! Nope, 12! Thanks for the note. We've fixed the serving size and updated a few of the instructions too.

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