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margarita cupcakes on a wire rack with salt and a lime in the background

Margarita Cupcakes

Margarita cupcakes, made easy with a boxed cake mix, are a delicious dessert perfect for Cinco de Mayo, football tailgaters, and summer BBQs!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 44 minutes
Servings 20 cupcakes
Author Kelsie


Lime cupcakes:

  • 1 16-ounce box white cake mix
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest of 3 limes
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Tequila-lime syrup:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tequila


  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons tequila
  • 2 teaspoons cointreau
  • zest of half a lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • lime zest and coarse salt for sprinkling (if desired)



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 20 to 22 muffin cups with paper liners and set pans aside.
  2. Place all cupcake ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide batter between the prepared muffin cups and bake 14 to 18 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  3. While your cupcakes are in the oven, prepare the tequila-lime syrup.

Tequila-lime syrup:

  1. Heat the lime juice in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves, then stir in the tequila.
  2. Remove cupcakes from the oven and use a toothpick to poke several holes about 1 inch deep into each of the cupcakes. Use a pastry brush to brush the syrup over the cupcakes. Carefully remove cupcakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.


  1. Once cupcakes are cool, make the frosting. Beat butter until very smooth, then add 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, tequila, cointreau, lime zest, and salt and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then turn mixer to high and beat 3 to 4 minutes, until very fluffy. Add additional powdered sugar if frosting is too thin and additional milk if frosting is too thick. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with salt and lime zest as desired.

Recipe Notes

Be sure you zest your limes before juicing them—it’s next to impossible to zest limes once the juice has been squeezed out.