Whether you’re invested in your favorite team or just there for the snacks, everyone loves a great spread of game day eats, and these adorable Football Cupcakes are a fantastic addition. Whether it’s for a Super Bowl party, a tailgate, or to celebrate your favorite high school players, these are sure to be a big hit.

Overhead view of a large platter filled with decorated football cupcakes.

Cute Football Cupcakes for Parties

These adorable and seriously easy football cupcakes are the perfect dessert to whip up for any game day! They are impressive and fun, but so easy to make with just a couple of basic decorating supplies.

In this post you’ll find detailed instructions on how to make the cute football tops, along with my favorite recipes for chocolate buttermilk cupcakes and chocolate and vanilla buttercream frosting. You can, however, definitely make the cupcakes with a cake mix and/or use store-bought frosting that you pipe on yourself to save even more time and effort.

And if you prefer vanilla cupcakes, by all means, do that instead!

Angled view of a cupcake decorated to look like a football with chocolate frosting and white buttercream

Ingredient Notes

Here are a few notes and shopping tips about the ingredients you’ll need. Find full amounts in the print-friendly recipe card below.

  • All-purpose flour. Can substitute a 1-to-1 gluten-free blend.
  • Granulated sugar.
  • Cocoa powder. For both the cupcake batter and the chocolate frosting, you’ll want classic unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s.
  • Buttermilk. This is for the cupcakes only. A buttermilk substitute is included in the recipe card below.
  • Vegetable oil. Canola oil or anything similar.
  • Eggs.
  • Vanilla extract. Feel free to swap in vanilla bean paste!
  • Butter. I usually use unsalted butter but using salted is fine if that’s what you stock.
  • Powdered sugar. Also known as confectioners’ sugar, this is the base of a classic American buttercream.
  • Milk. Any kind – whole milk, 2%, non-dairy, or even half-and-half or heavy cream. This is just to loosen up and finish the frostings.
  • Baking soda.
  • Baking powder.
  • Salt.


You’ll also need a few basic supplies to make this happen. Fortunately all of these are great staples that you’ll use again and again if you like to decorate cakes, cupcakes, or cookies.

How To Decorate Football Cupcakes

Making the cupcake base is pretty straightforward. You can either follow the recipe below for our favorite chocolate buttermilk cupcakes — and they do turn out perfectly every time, with a tender crumb, rich taste, and nice flat tops for decorating — or use your own favorite recipe or a cake mix.

After baking the cupcakes, set them aside to cool completely prior to decorating.

While the cupcakes cool, make your frostings: chocolate buttercream for the wavy football shape, and vanilla buttercream for the “laces.” Recipes for both are included below, and of course you only need a tiny bit of the white. Short on time or energy? Store-bought frosting works fine.

Countertop spread with a mix of undecorated cupcakes, partially decorated cupcakes, a bowl of white frosting, and a piping bag full of chocolate frosting.

Grab two piping bags. Fit one with the open star tip and chocolate frosting; the other with the small round tip and white frosting. Twist the top and you’re ready to go.

Pro Tip

Resist the temptation to fill your piping bags all the way to the top: about halfway or just over is perfect. This makes it easier to hold the bag and apply pressure from the top so the frosting comes out smoothly. It also prevents your hands from warming up the frosting, and makes it nice and neat to refill the bag as needed.

Begin with the chocolate buttercream footballs. Start on one edge of the cupcake and make a tight back and forth zig-zag or “S” swirl, getting widest in the center and narrowing towards each edge, as shown. This is really quick and easy once you get in the rhythm.

Now grab the white frosting and pipe a narrow line lengthwise across the swirls, as if cutting them in half. Add four or five shorter perpendicular lines in white, and you’re done!

You can also go further into the football decorating theme and add green “grass” frosting around the outside of the cupcakes, use green cupcake liners to mimic that effect, or use cupcake liners or sprinkles in colors themed to match your favorite team!

How to Store Frosted Cupcakes

Once frosted, these football cupcakes can be stored airtight at room temperature for 3-4 days. You can choose to keep them in the fridge if you like; in this case, take them out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving for the best taste and texture.

Pro Tip

If you bake a lot, a cupcake carrier is a great investment! Not only is it perfect for transporting cupcakes safely to parties, the office, school, etc., it’s also a convenient spot to store cupcakes at home that’s completely airtight, has a high lid to protect pretty piped frosting designs, and prevents shifting and sliding around.

Complete the Spread

Hoping to round out your game day eats? Homemade guacamole, blender salsa, black bean salsa, pinto bean nachos, and BBQ-glazed chicken bacon bites are top of our list! Some tasty rye chip Chex mix always goes fast, too!

Need a main dish that will be an easy and popular? Crockpot BBQ chicken sandwiches are just the thing.

Platter of football cupcakes served for a tailgate party with chips, salsa, and frosty cold beer.

Related Recipes

Love cute cupcakes? They’re my favorite for a fun yet elegant treat! Easy champagne cupcakes, strawberry lemonade cupcakes, filled lemon cupcakes, Mojito cupcakes, and Mexican-inspired Paloma cupcakes are some of our favorites.

If you try these Football Cupcakes, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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5 from 1 vote

Football Cupcakes

These cute and super easy chocolate football cupcakes are perfect for your next game watch or tailgate party! Adorable and delicious!


For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter 1 stick
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk any kind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Frosting:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter very soft
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Like two muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on medium speed until well-combined.
    1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Add buttermilk, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, just until the liquids are somewhat incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and mix for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl at least once to ensure everything is well combined.
    3/4 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup hot water, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Divide the batter evenly among cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the centers are set and a toothpick or sharp knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool for 10-15 minutes inside the baking tins, then remove to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  • To make chocolate frosting, melt butter in a large bowl, then stir in the cocoa powder. Using an electric mixer, incorporate the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla beating on medium-high until the frosting is a smooth and light consistency.
    1/2 cup butter, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • To make the vanilla frosting, beat powdered sugar into the softened butter and whip vigorously until it forms a thick frosting. (I usually just do this by hand since it's such a small amount.) Add the milk and stir well. Beat in more powdered sugar or milk to adjust the consistency as desired.
    2 Tablespoons butter, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon milk
  • Fit one piping bag with a Wilton #21 open star or similar tip and the fill with the chocolate frosting. Fit another piping bag with a Wilton #3 or similar small round tip and fill with the vanilla frosting.
  • To pipe on the chocolate buttercream footballs, start on one edge of each cupcake, making tight back and forth "S" swirls, making them wider to cover the full width in the center of the cupcake and narrow again towards the other edge.
  • To add the white buttercream laces, pipe a thin line lengthwise across the swirls, as if cutting them in half. Add four or five shorter perpendicular lines in white.
  • Serve cupcakes right away, or store tightly covered at room temperature for 3-4 days. Enjoy!


  • Substitute Store-Bought: You can easily make these cupcakes using any combination of a chocolate cake mix, chocolate frosting, and vanilla frosting. You’ll still need similar decorating tips and frosting bags. They’ll be just as cute and plenty delicious!
  • Buttermilk Substitute: To make a substitute for the buttermilk, measure out a scant 3/4 cup of milk, then stir in 2 and 1/4 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 5-10 minutes, stir again, and proceed as you would with true buttermilk.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 216 kcal, Carbohydrates: 41 g, Protein: 3 g, Fat: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 4 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0.2 g, Cholesterol: 28 mg, Sodium: 171 mg, Potassium: 121 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 32 g, Vitamin A: 185 IU, Calcium: 30 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!