Margarita Cupcakes

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Margarita cupcakes, like margaritas themselves, go down smooth. They leave you with just a small tickle in your mouth from the coarse salt and sugar sprinkled on top.

They won’t get you drunk, but they are boozy. There’s tequila in both the cupcake batter and the margarita buttercream!

Margarita Cupcakes

These cupcakes are beloved by readers, friends, and family. I’ve made them for friends’ weddings and some of my friends have started making them themselves if I don’t make them often enough.

They are EASY to make! There is no need to use an electric mixer for the batter; you only need two bowls.

The cupcakes are also incredibly moist and loaded with fresh lime and a splash of tequila.

Margarita cupcake ingredients

How to Make Margarita Cupcakes

First, mix all of the wet ingredients, lime zest, and sugar. The wet ingredients include lime juice, vegetable oil, milk, tequila, and vanilla.

Bowl with lime and sugar and milk

Next, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Adding dry ingredients to wet ingredients

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.


You could frost these cupcakes with any frosting that you like, but using margarita buttercream makes them extra special.

To make it, use a basic buttercream recipe. Instead of flavoring it with vanilla extract, use lime zest and a little tequila.

For those of you who like your margaritas with a salted rim, I highly recommend sprinkling a mixture of kosher salt and coarse sugar over the frosting. It makes the cupcakes sparkle and also helps gives them their distinct margarita flavor.

Margarita cupcakes


The cupcake recipe (not the frosting) originally came from the vegan cupcake cookbook called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World [paid link]. While I typically make the recipe using whole milk, the only change required to make the whole cupcake vegan would be to use soymilk as the recipe was originally written. The frosting can be a vegan buttercream if you swap the butter for plant butter.

Other Cocktail Cupcakes

If you like cocktail cupcakes, consider trying some of my other favorites:

Did you make this recipe? Leave a review!
Margarita Cupcakes
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4.80 from 5 votes

Margarita Cupcake Recipe

Margarita cupcakes, like margaritas themselves, go down smooth. They leave you with just a small tickle in your mouth from the coarse salt and sugar sprinkled on top.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 18 Cupcakes
Calories 398kcal
Author Stefani


Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest zest of two limes
  • 2 cups milk whole milk or soymilk for a vegan option
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons tequila
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Margarita Buttercream Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest zest of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • coarse sugar to taste, optional for topping
  • kosher salt to taste, optional for topping


Cupcake Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix together lime juice, lime zest, milk, oil, tequila, vanilla, and sugar.
  • In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the lime mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Divide evenly among 18 cupcake liners.
  • Bake at 350 F for 20-24 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed.

Frosting Instructions

  • Beat butter on high speed with an electric mixer for about three minutes until light and airy.
  • Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  • Add lime zest, tequila, and salt and continue to beat for another minute.
  • Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
  • Optionally, mix coarse sugar and kosher salt together in a small bowl in a 3:1 ratio and sprinkle over the tops of the cupcakes.


The cupcake recipe (not the frosting) originally came from the vegan cupcake cookbook called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World [paid link].
Cupcakes last for two days at room temperature or up to five days in the refrigerator.


Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 239mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 362IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. Doreensays:

    5 stars
    These cupcakes were so refreshing with the outstanding lime flavor. I would have liked a bit more tequila to come through but will make that happen the next time I make these. There will most definitely be a next time. These were a big hit.

  2. Lulusays:

    2 stars
    I think cupcakes need eggs! Unless completely vegan which this recipe isn’t. The texture is super gummy and the flavor isn’t the best. Might be better to cut the amount of milk and add an egg. Also either more lime zest or juice for more flavor:

    • Stefsays:

      I think it’s a personal preference. These cupcakes are favorites with all my friends. In fact, one of friends even picked them for their wedding!


    Im reading in the recipe 2 cups of milk, is that right? isnt that too much liquid?

  4. RazorSQL Keysays:

    NIce Recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  5. fl studio 12 regkeysays:

    5 stars
    Superb content thanks for sharing this wonderful article.

  6. Susan Esays:

    Am making these cupcakes for the second time, both times they came out perfectly btw, The first time I made them for a March of Dimes fundraiser. The hospital is having another MoD bake sale and have had many requests for them from co-workers. This time I am going to rim them with the sugar-salt mixture. I bought some coarse sugar(shimmer white sugar), added a little salt, too salty, so I added some regular table sugar…perfect! Then I added some pink glitter gel to it so it would show up against the lime green color I made the icing. I’m sure these will sell out as quickly as the last ones did!
    Thanks for coming up with so many great recipes! I can loose myself for hours reading your blog site!

  7. Anonymoussays:


  8. Becca Leighsays:

    Stef! so much irony! I hadn’t until now checked your response to my icing/Pillsbury combination post, to which you said “you should try the vanilla bean buttercream.” You may notice i have JUST commented under the VANILLA BUTTERCREAM post about how this is the greatest icing recipe find of my life.

    About to make the margarita cupcakes again for an office shindig. Do you think the Vanilla Bean icing would really go well with the margarita cupcake? I liked the whole Tequilla-icing factor… Just not how runny it turned out..

  9. Tina Mariesays:

    They can also be dangerous due to the sharp edges on the metal cap of the tequila bottle which stabbed my hand and gave me a “splinter”. But the cupcakes currently in my oven smell AWESOME!

  10. Stefsays:

    Rebecca – Have you tried my vanilla bean buttercream? I think you might like it better than the Pillsbury – at least I hope so!

  11. Rebeccasays:

    I made these cupcakes a few months ago at an office fundraiser bakesale. They were a huge hit! I think the idea of “margaritas” in the workplace helped that along.

    Besides which, they were absolutely delicious and I’ve remade them several times since. Thank you so much for your creative and genius recipe!

    My only alteration was to the icing – at first I couldn’t get it right and it was way too liquidy. So I ended up combining it with store bought pilsbury vanilla icing. it came out amazing and I’ve been doing it that way since!!

  12. Kathrynsays:

    Yum! I wish my baking creations looked that pretty! You should try these banana chocolate chunk cupcakes. They are incredible!

  13. delicieuxsays:

    I love the inclusion of the umbrellas in the cupcakes. So cute! They look and sound so delicious too. Perfect for a party.

  14. Anonymoussays:

    Made these for two friends 21sts and they were successful. My first from scratch cupcakes too. thanks

  15. Carly Annsays:

    My girlfriend & I made a big batch of these cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday and they were a huge success. Thanks for posting this! :)

  16. Stefsays:

    Interesting idea. I hadn’t thought of it, but I don’t see why not!

  17. Sylviasays:

    I wonder if these would work in the scoops. (Like you did with the Fiesta cupcakes)

  18. Stefsays:

    Northwest – Sure, any kind of milk would work. Glad you are enjoying the blog!

  19. Northwest Janesays:

    I love margaritas and cupcakes, but despise soy milk. Can I make the cupcakes with “real” milk?
    I just found your blog and love it! I tried your yellow cake recipe over the weekend. I’d show pictures, but all the cupcakes are gone : )

  20. Lornsadaisysays:

    gotta try these too – they look fantastic!

  21. Heather Camposays:

    Tried this recipe and LOVED it! Wrote about it on my blog. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Stefsays:

    After you finish frosting the cupcake, just put a salt and sugar mixture on a small plate. Dip the edge of the cupcake into the plate and slowly turn it.

  23. Csays:

    How did you rim it with salt? Methinks I might be slow and have missed that part.

  24. peace of cakesays:

    This is such a fun idea! I once made a Patron cake for a friend’s birthday party and these would have been the perfect accompaniment (especially since no one could bring themself to actually cut the cake).

    Patron cake pic:

    I think these cupcakes would look great with one of those jelly candies that look like a lime on the side or maybe a candied lime zest curl. Can’t wait to make ’em!

  25. Terrisays:

    Okay, I’m in love with anything that resembles the flavor of a Margarita, so I thought this one was great! My husband Alan is the family member that is really, really in favor of this one making an appearance at the wedding. However, I don’t think Margaritas really go with the New Years Eve them. But we host an annual Cinco de Mayo party – so what do you think Stef? You can come with Cheryl & Bryan and bring the dessert!
    PS I like the idea of an eggnog cupcake, but can’t imagine enjoying a peppermint cupcake.

  26. Anonymoussays:

    The specific “cupcake of doom” that I had was hand picked by Stef and handed to me… Maybe she gave that one a rim of glass shards instead of sugar and salt. I recognize this possibility is completely unrealistic. We all know that Stef prefers to use words to cut me. I don’t blame the cupcake. I liked the cake part. Even the icing was good.

  27. Cherylsays:

    Nice rating system. I’ll have to try to remember details of all the cupcakes, but from here on it will be easier.

    And yes, I knew Penzey’s was a chain, but they’re still pretty fun. I love spices…

  28. Bryansays:

    Cake: A+ (Best Yet)
    Icing: B+
    Overall Taste: A-
    Appearance: B
    Overall Rating: A-
    Comment: I thought that these were very good. I was skeptical, but the salt/sugar was a nice addition. Also, I am over 5, so I was able to eat it without injuring myself. :-) These are great, but probably not winter cupcakes. Also, I would say no green icing, made it look messy.

  29. Bryansays:

    I understand that Stef had final say over some things (this doesn’t shock me).

    However, I would argue that there is a huge difference between peppermint and mint. I think of mint as in mint chip ice cream. A very different and unique flavor to peppermint. I understand that they might be a hybrid, but a different flavor is a different flavor

  30. Stefsays:

    You can tell Bryan that Peppermint is just a hybrid variety of mint.
    No further clarification needed.

    I’ve wanted to try Pensey’s , but they seem to always be closed when I am there. I’m going to have to check them out though. Thanks for the tip. Did you know they are a chain? I had no idea.

  31. Cherylsays:

    Yeah, we had the peppermint versus mint debate. I think Bryan’s under the impression that candy canes are a separate category, so we might need to clarify the rules.

    On a different subject, I know Penzey’s sells Dutch processed cocoa, if you need a supplier. Can’t wait to try the latest installment.

  32. Glensays:

    I think the real question on everybody’s mind is, “Can margarita cupcakes cause permanent or life-threatening injury, and what safety precautions should one take before consuming one?”

  33. Stefsays:

    I was actually considering making an eggnog cupcake. I’ve even bookmarked a recipe for one. It’s in the cue in my head.

    As for peppermint, I think your stepdad is going to need to review the cupcake rules.

  34. Cherylsays:

    You’ve definately got some big fans from the families. They had all sorts of winter suggestions, like eggnog and peppermint, but my stepdad is holding out for “a cupcake for every season.”
    And I for one loved the actual cake–I thought it was kind of fluffy and just right, so don’t throw out the vegan recipe just yet.

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