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Make moist strawberry cupcakes with boxed cake mix. It’s the easiest way to make delicious cupcakes with much less effort than traditional homemade strawberry cupcakes. 

French Vanilla Cupcakes from Zestuous

Fresh strawberry cupcakes

There is nothing fancy about these strawberry cupcakes—other than they are bite-size, so for icing lovers, you get the perfect amount of buttercream in every bite. And the cake batter is very moist. I usually make mini cupcakes, but I’ve used this recipe to make wedding cakes, too.

The secret ingredient in this recipe? Boxed cake mix. Using boxed cake mix makes it so much easier to make cupcakes because you don’t have to worry about all the other ingredients that go into making homemade cupcakes. 

Instead, you just dump a box of cake mix into a bowl and add some pudding mix, eggs and vegetable oil. It’s the perfect solution for those who don’t want store-bought cupcakes but aren’t ready to dive into the hassle of an all-out homemade cupcake recipe.

If you’re a fan of strawberry desserts, you’ll love these tender strawberry cupcakes. Topped with a rich buttercream icing, they’re downright addicting and perfect for parties or for when that strawberry craving kicks in. 

4.24 from 30 votes

Christie’s Mini Cupcakes

Make moist strawberry cupcakes with boxed cake mix. It's the easiest way to make delicious cupcakes with much less effort.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 50 cupcakes


  • 16.5 oz box Duncan Hines cake mix
  • 1 oz box sugar-free pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup water


  • 1 cup Crisco shortening
  • 16 oz powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbls milk


Cupcake Instructions

  • Prep: Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line mini muffin pans with mini muffin cups.
  • Mix: Mix all ingredients well until smooth (I use a stand mixer). Use a small ice cream scoop to spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
  • Bake: Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
  • Ice: Allow to cool. Then ice.

Icing Instructions

  • Mix: Using a hand or stand mixer, whip shortening until smooth. Gradually add sugar and mix. It will be stiff. Slowly mix in milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you get a smooth spreadable consistency.
  • Ice: Spoon icing into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe onto cupcakes in a circular motion.


Calories: 141kcalCarbohydrates: 17gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 98mgPotassium: 10mgSugar: 12gVitamin A: 20IUCalcium: 23mgIron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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Strawberry Cupcakes from Zestuous

Ingredients for strawberry cupcakes

  • Duncan Hines strawberry cake mix: Provides the base flavor and structure for the cupcakes.
  • Sugar-free pudding: Adds moisture and enhances texture and flavor. Use the vanilla instant pudding. 
  • Eggs: Bind the ingredients, providing structure to the cupcakes.
  • Vegetable oil: Adds moisture for a tender texture. You can also use canola oil. 
  • Water: Adds liquid for consistency and moistness.
  • Crisco shortening: Creates a rich and smooth texture in the icing.
  • Powdered sugar: Sweetens and thickens the icing.
  • Milk (for icing): Thins out the icing and adds creaminess.

Substitutions: Instead of Crisco, you can use butter.

See the full recipe card for servings and a full list of ingredients.

How to make homemade strawberry cupcakes


Do not overmix the batter. If you overmix, you may end up with denser cupcakes.

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 350F. Line mini muffin pans with mini cupcake liners.
  2. Mix: Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients in an electric mixer or handheld mixer on medium speed with the paddle attachment. Use a small ice cream scoop to spoon the cupcake batter into muffin cups.
  3. Bake: Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched. You can also stick a toothpick into the center of the cupcakes to test doneness. It should come out clean. 
  4. Ice: Allow the unfrosted cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. Then ice.


Don’t leave the cupcakes in the muffin pan, as they will continue to cook. Once they come out of the oven, remove them from the pan and set them on a wire rack to finish cooling. I suggest waiting around 15-20 minutes for the cupcakes to cool before icing them.

Icing Instructions

  1. Mix: Whip shortening until smooth in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Gradually add sugar and mix. It will be stiff. Slowly mix in milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you get a smooth, spreadable consistency.
  2. Ice: Spoon icing into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe onto cupcakes in a circular motion.

How to serve fluffy strawberry cupcakes

Serve these cupcakes up at a party or for dessert with a glass of cold milk.


Leftover strawberry cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days and in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

​You can also store the cupcakes unfrosted and ice them later if you like.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes. You can make this recipe 1-2 days ahead of time and store the cupcakes on the counter. You can also make these ahead and freeze them. When you’re ready to serve, take them out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge until completely thawed. Let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes until they reach room temperature and serve.

Can I make strawberry frosting with the icing recipe?

Yes. Feel free to add strawberry extract to the icing. You could also add fresh strawberry puree for more fresh strawberry flavor. 

​What variations can I make with this recipe?

Here are some variations you can make with this recipe:
Grate a little lemon zest on top for a vibrant kick. 
Add vanilla extract to make vanilla buttercream icing.
Top the cupcakes with real strawberries. 
Use a different flavor of boxed cake mix, such as vanilla, chocolate or red velvet. 
Sprinkle shredded coconut over the frosting.
Drizzle melted chocolate on top for a sweet twist.
Try a cream cheese frosting instead of the buttercream frosting. 

Does this recipe work with regular-sized cupcakes?

Yes. You will need to cook them longer, around 18-21 minutes. You can always add more time as needed. 

How do I make sure my cupcakes are fluffy?

Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, not completely clean. Baking too long can make them dry.

Make sure ingredients like eggs and milk are not too cold. Having them at room temperature helps everything mix together better and keeps the cupcakes smooth.

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Christie Vanover

About Zestuous

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Most recipes say it makes either 60 or 72 cupcakes. Your recipe says it makes 50. Why the difference?

    1. No. You can use regular instant pudding. When I do, I usually only use about 3/4 of a box though.