Making reindeer cupcakes is super easy and they are great for the holiday and Christmas season. The actual cupcake batter only requires 4 ingredients and you can have them baked and decorated from start to finish in just 1 hour!
If you have a holiday party where you really want to wow your guests, consider whipping up a batch of these Rudolph cupcakes. These are actually great if you want to host a decorating party. You can bake and frost the cupcakes ahead of time, then let the kids handle the decorations.
After we made these adorable penguin cookies earlier in the year, I knew I had to create a recipe specifically for Christmas cupcakes because the kids had so much fun. If your children’s school allows homemade treats to be brought in, they will love these for Christmas parties.
Another easy dessert we love making during the holidays are chocolate covered strawberry Christmas trees, they are the cutest! And honestly, who couldn’t use a little more fruit during the baking season.
Why You’ll Love These Reindeer Cupcakes
- Quick and easy – Just 4 ingredients and 1 hour of cooking.
- A clever, memorable holiday party treat.
- Kids love decorating these holiday cupcakes!
Ingredients Needed For Reindeer Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
- Chocolate cake mix – use your favorite brand. For an extra fudgy cupcake use Devil’s Food
- Vegetable oil
What You Need for the Reindeer Decorations:
- Chocolate fudge frosting – you can make your own icing, but store bought is much easier to use since there is more decorating to be done
- Vanilla wafer cookies – also known as Nilla Wafers, which are for the faces
- Brown and red M&Ms – we are going to use these for the reindeer noses.
- Chocolate covered mini pretzels – these will be for the antlers
- Candy eyeballs
How To Make and Decorate Easy Reindeer Cupcakes with Vanilla Wafers
Bake and Frost Cupcakes. Combine ingredients for cake in a large bowl using a hand or electric mixer until fluffy. Place the liners into a muffin tin and fill about ⅔ of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, or follow the instructions on the packaging of the cake mix. Allow them to cool completely. Ice them with chocolate frosting. If any of the cupcakes have a dome shape, use a serrated knife to cut the top to flatten them out.
Place about ½ cup of the frosting into a Ziploc bag and snip off the tip of one corner. If you already have real piping bags on hand, use those instead.
DECORATE: Place a vanilla wafer a little off-center on the edge of each cupcake. Use two mini pretzels for the antlers of each one, placing them just above the cookie. Pipe two small dots at the base of the pretzels, just above the wafer, and press on the candy eyes. Pipe a dot of icing on the middle of the reindeer face, and use a brown or red m&m for the nose. Draw a smile with the icing just below the nose.
- Use our homemade chocolate cupcake recipe for the cupcakes OR use premade cupcakes from the grocery store!
- A flat top on the cupcakes is helpful to hold the decorations on one plane – otherwise, they start slipping or look funny at different angles.
- If you use grocery store frosted cupcakes, I’d recommend taking an offset spatula/knife and just smooth out the frosting into a flat top.
- White candy melts could be substituted for the nilla wafers.
- Make different faces/smiles/expressions with the frosting for variety.
- We used chocolate covered pretzels. Regular mini pretzels can also be used.
- If you don’t have candy eyes you can pipe white frosting for the base, then use brown or black for the inner portion.
- You can keep these cupcakes on the countertop or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Feel free to freeze the cupcakes so you can have those ready ahead of time, but I don’t recommend freezing them after decorating.
- 1 piping bag
- 1 cupcake tray
- 1 hand mixer
Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
- 1 package chocolate cake mix
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup vegetable oil
Reindeer Decoration Ingredients:
- 2 – 16 oz. tubs chocolate fudge frosting
- 24 vanilla wafer cookies
- Brown and red M&Ms
- 48 chocolate covered mini pretzels
- 48 medium candy eyeballs
- Prepare cupcakes – In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, water, and oil.. Beat with a hand mixer or the standing mixer for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and well combined.
- Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill each liner ⅔ of the way full. Bake according to the cake mix package instructions (approximately 15 minutes at 350°F.)
- Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
- If the cupcakes have domed tops, use a serrated knife to trim off the dome and form a flat top. Frost with chocolate frosting.
- Transfer about ½ cup of the frosting to a small ziploc bag and cut a very small opening in the corner to use it as a piping bag.
- Place one vanilla wafer along the edge of each cupcake (off center).
- Place two miniature chocolate covered pretzels above the vanilla wafer to form the reindeer antlers.
- Use the “piping bag” to pipe two small dots of frosting and place two eyeballs at the base of the pretzels and just above the vanilla wafer cookie.
- Pipe a dot of frosting to glue on an M&M nose.
- Pipe a mouth below the nose.