EASY Vanilla Cupcakes (5 ingredients!)

Moist and tender vanilla cupcakes made with just 5 simple ingredients in 30 minutes. This simple dessert will become one of your all-time favorites! 

These vanilla cupcakes are adapted from my favorite chocolate cupcakes. They are so simple to make and require only 5 simple ingredients. We commence with a box of cake mix and doctor it up with a few secret ingredients to make them extra delicious.

vanilla cupcakes on counter

This is my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe. The cupcakes taste like they’re completely from scratch, however they’re made by doctoring up a box of cake mix. The secret to making them extra delicious is by mixing vanilla pudding and sour cream into the batter. These two added ingredients will make the cupcakes super moist and tender.

These cupcakes are great for birthday parties, making it simple to grab and go. This is also a great treat for the kids to help out with because it’s super simple and great for beginners. This is definitely one of those recipes to have in your back pocket!


Amounts included in printable recipe below.

  • Cake mix: This recipe starts with a box of your favorite white or yellow cake mix.
  • Pudding mix: Next comes the instant vanilla pudding (the dry mix). No need to make the actual pudding…you’ll just stir the dry mix into the batter.
  • Eggs: Add in 4 large eggs (the amount needed on the box may be different, however stick with this number instead).
  • Oil: This recipe calls for canola oil to help keep it moist. Use the amount needed in this recipe vs. what’s included on the box.
  • Sour cream: This is one of the secret ingredients (along with the pudding mix) that makes the cupcakes super soft and moist.
  • White chocolate chips: These are optional, although I love the extra boost of flavor they add.

beating vanilla cupcake batter in bowl

How to make vanilla cupcakes

  1. MIX. Stir together the cake mix and dry vanilla pudding in a large bowl. If adding in chocolate chips, stir them in now. Next mix in the eggs, canola oil and water. Then stir in the sour cream until smooth.
  2. FILL. Pour the batter into 2 muffin pans lined with cupcake liners. Make sure each liner is about 3/4 the way full with batter.
  3. BAKE. Bake at 325°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

baking vanilla cupcakes in muffin pan

Frosting for vanilla cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes are so simple to customize. You can color the frosting or decorate them with colored sprinkles if you’d like. Below are some of my favorite frostings to use.

  • Chocolate buttercream: This is a classic and one of my favorites to use.
  • Strawberry frosting: I love using a berry frosting in the Spring or summertime. You could even add a fresh strawberry or chocolate covered strawberry on top.
  • Buttercream: A classic buttercream is always delicious. I love to use this base if I’m going to be adding food coloring to the frosting.
  • Cream cheese frosting: The cream cheese adds a delicious wealthy flavor. If using this recipe to frost cupcakes, I usually add about 1-2 more cups of powdered sugar so that it holds it’s shape.

Baking tips

  • If adding white chocolate chips, mix them in with the dry cake mix and vanilla pudding. This helps avoid them from sinking to the bottom.
  • Use a large cookie scoop to fill the muffin pan. If you don’t have one, make sure to only fill the liners 2/3 the way full.
  • Use a toothpick to check if the middle is done. Try not to open the oven too many times, as the heat will escape and could cause the cupcakes to deflate.
  • Follow my tips on how to frost the great cupcakes.

vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting

More cupcake recipes to try:

Vanilla Cupcakes

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: vanilla cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 24

Calories: 194

Moist and tender vanilla cupcakes made with just 5 simple ingredients in 30 minutes. This simple dessert will become one of your all-time favorites! 

  • 15 ounce box white or yellow cake mix
  • 3.9 ounce box instant vanilla pudding (dry)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line cupcake liners in 2 muffin pans. 

  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and vanilla pudding. Add the white chocolate chips in now (this will avoid them from sinking) and stir until combined. 

  • Next mix in the eggs, canola oil and water. Then stir in the sour cream.

  • Pour the batter into the liners (about 3/4 the way full). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean. Do not overcook. 

  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Wait to frost until cooled completely. 

Find my favorite frosting recipes here: 

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 98IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg



jamielyn nye
Jamielyn Nye

Jamielyn Nye is the creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. She is also the author of the I Heart Naptime Cookbook. When she’s not creating in the kitchen, Jamielyn loves to chase her four small monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.

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