Reindeer Cupcakes

how to make reindeer cupcake

The Story:

There are 16 days until Christmas! I wrapped a pile of presents and sent out family Christmas cards, now I just need a tree! I’ll confess I’ve been watching Christmas movies since mid November and still going strong every night with a cup of hot chocolate.  Thanks to Netflix, the Lifetime and Hallmark channels I will never run out of cheesy Christmas romances full of mistletoe, perfect snow and flying reindeer.  [end-story]

Reindeer Cupcakes

Reindeer Cupcakes


Chocolate Cake:
1 box devil's food cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 C. oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. milk or buttermilk
1/2 C. sour cream
Chocolate Frosting:
1 C. butter
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 C. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
Pretzles, for antlers
Nilla Wafers, for muzzles
Brown M&M's for noses (some red for Rudolph)
White Mint M&M's for eyes


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, vanilla extract, milk and sour cream until smooth.
4. Stir in cake mix.
5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 16-20 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
6. Let cool.
7. Chocolate frosting: Beat butter. Add cocoa powder, 2 C. powdered sugar and milk. Slowly add more powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
8. Prep reindeer "faces" by using frosting to stick brown M&M's on Nilla Wafers (some red for Rudolphs if you want). Melt down a few chocolate chips, put in a small plastic bag, snip off the tip to make a mini piping bag and "dot" little eyeballs on the white M&M's to make eyes.
9. Frost cupcakes.
10. (See photos below) Place Nilla wafers with M&M's on cupcakes, then place pretzels above. Use a little frosting to stick on 2 eyes and there you go!

These aren’t something new, there have been a lot of posts on blogs about these cute cakes.  But I couldn’t seem to find a really good how-to post, so I thought I’d offer my take on them.  Now, there are a few ways to do the pretzel antlers but I like this way because it’s the most simple and really easy to pack and deliver to friends and family.  

I used Nilla Wafers (or store brand) for the muzzles, brown M&M’s for the noses, and white chocolate mint M&M’s for the eyes with a dot of melted chocolate.

How to make Reindeer Cupcakes


reindeer cupcakes

These are seriously so cute and easy for anyone to make!  


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26 thoughts on “Reindeer Cupcakes

  1. 1
    Lissa says:

    Adorable! I know what I will be making for my son’s class before winter break 🙂

  2. 2

    So cute, I think I would want all rudolph lol

  3. 3
    Donna says:

    So cute!!! You are always so creative!! I love how the recipe is simple but the results are spectacular!

  4. 4
    Laura says:

    I love it!!! <3

  5. 5
    Letty Chen says:

    This is something my 9 year old can do with me. I think I just found the cupcakes to make for this year!

  6. 6
    Jackie Gibson says:

    So cute,clever, & creative!! Thank you for all your great stories &
    lovely sweets & recipes!

  7. 7
    Bridget says:

    I will probably end up buying the candy eyes they sell at some stores for the eyes, so I could cut out one additional step. This might cause the reindeer to be “bug-eyed” though. They are so cute I now have (another) holiday treat that my girls will love to help me make

  8. 8
    Sunny Smith says:

    Too cute.

  9. 9
    Carissa says:

    Just finished making a little over 50 of these with my 4 year old for my students and for her class! They are so cute, but man that was a lot of little reindeers! lol

  10. 10
    Tara says:

    Do you use regular sized Nilla wafers or the mini ones? We are making these tonite–so cute!

  11. 11
    Dianne says:

    Thanks for sharing such creative idea!! My family and friends love them 🙂

  12. 12
    Jacqui says:

    How many cupcakes does this recipe make?

  13. 13
    July says:

    You are so creative… *.*

  14. 14
    Janna says:

    Love your cupcakes. Should I bake at a lower temperature or shorter time when using dark muffin tins? I’ve burned many cupcakes.

  15. 15
    Melanie says:

    Oh my goodness, thank you so much for this! I have seen this many places, but you laid it out so well that even I can make them!

  16. 16
    Dee says:

    These are adorable. What size M&M’s did you use?

  17. 17

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