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Dessert Recipes

This Tequila Sunrise Cupcakes Recipe Takes You on a Tropical Getaway With Every Bite

Vibrant layers of zesty orange juice and tequila create a fun cocktail you can eat!

Cupcakes are a universally loved treat, but sometimes you want a new, exciting flavor to bring to the party. Maybe a flavor that can take you on a little vacation, perhaps. Well, look no further than our tequila sunrise cupcakes recipe. It offers a vibrant twist on the classic dessert, drawing inspiration from the iconic Tequila Sunrise cocktail. Layers of moist yellow cake infused with fresh orange flavor and tequila, all topped with a creamy, orange frosting and maraschino cherries. A touch of red food coloring adds a beautiful color gradient, mimicking the stunning hues of a tropical sunrise. Serve the cupcakes at a pool party, outdoor barbecue or anytime you want a touch of sunshine to your day. And don’t worry; while the tequila flavor is subtle, it adds complexity to the overall flavor profile.

For a nonalcoholic version of this tequila sunrise cupcakes recipe, simply swap in water for the tequila. Want more tropical recipes? Try this Mangonada recipe!


24 servings

Total Time

Prep Time

Cook Time


  • 1 (15.25 oz.) pkg. yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup tequila (optional)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 2 1/2 cups butter
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Red and yellow liquid food coloring
  • Halved orange slices and maraschino cherries (optional)


• Heat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Prepare cake mix according to package directions with eggs, 1/2 cup orange juice, tequila (or 1/2 cup water) and oil. Stir in zest. Divide batter among liners. Bake until pick inserted in centers comes out clean, 18–20 min. Cool in pans 10 min. Transfer from pans to rack; cool.

• On medium speed, beat butter until fluffy, 2 min. On low, gradually beat in sugar, then remaining juice; on medium-high, beat until fluffy, 2–3 min. Divide frosting between 2 bowls; tint 1 pink with red food coloring. Tint 1 orange with red and yellow food coloring. Transfer some of frostings to separate disposable pastry bags; snip 3/4“ opening from each. Place both bags in larger pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe frosting on cupcakes, refill bags as needed. If desired, garnish with oranges and cherries.


  • Calories: 410 kcal
  • Fat: 25 gram
  • Saturated Fat: 14 gram
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrate: 46 gram
  • Fiber: 0 gram
  • Cholesterol: 75 mg
  • Sugar: 37 gram
  • Sodium: 310 mg
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