350°F is the perfect temperature to use for beautifully golden-brown and tasty cupcakes. However, several factors affect how long to bake cupcakes at 350 F.
Learn how the pan type, cupcake size, altitude, and oven type affect the temperature and time necessary for perfect cupcakes. We’ll also explain how to know when your cupcakes are done and give you tips for baking the perfect cupcakes.
What Temperature is Best for Baking Cupcakes?
The best temperature for baking cupcakes is 350°F (or 170°C). Baking your cupcakes at 350°F will result in moist golden-brown delicious cupcakes.
The only exceptions to baking cupcakes at 350°F happen at altitudes above 3000 feet and when forced-air baking. If this affects you, we have included sections about baking cupcakes under these conditions.
Why Are Cupcakes Best at 350°F?
Different things happen to the ingredients in our foods at different temperatures. Baking cupcakes up to 350°F allows all of these chemical and biological processes to occur, resulting in the perfect cupcake.
One of the most magical transformations in the cupcake baking process, the Maillard reaction, happens at 300°F. The Maillard reaction is responsible for the distinctive golden-brown coloring cupcakes have when they’re done.
However, the Maillard reaction isn’t the only thing that happens to cupcakes as its batter warms up and your cupcakes eventually bake and brown:
- 72°F to 170°F: baking powder reacts and releases carbon dioxide gas to help the cupcakes to rise
- 90°F and above: butter or other fats melt, releasing trapped air and water, which allows the cupcakes to rise
- 140°F and above: eggs and gluten proteins in the flour dry, stiffen, and set
- 140°F to 200°F: starch granules swell and become gelatinous
- 160°F: bacteria such as salmonella in eggs or flour die
- 160°F and above: enzymes become inactive, which prevents the enzymes from digesting your cupcakes and breaking them down after baking
- 300°F and above: the Maillard reaction results in cupcakes turning golden brown
- 338°F: sugar caramelizes
If sugar caramelizes at 338°F, you might wonder why we don’t set our ovens to 340F° instead of 350°F. The main reason is that there’s no guarantee that your oven temperature is perfectly calibrated. Adding an extra 12°F gives you more wiggle room in case your thermostat is wrong.
Using an oven thermometer and turning your cupcakes halfway through baking can help ensure they bake to their best potential.
Can You Bake Cupcakes Below 350 F?
If you have baking temperature limitations, you can bake cupcakes at any temperature above 160°F. Just be aware that it will take longer to bake cupcakes at a lower temperature.
Cupcakes you bake to at least 160° will be free from bacteria like salmonella and undergo all of the most necessary chemical processes of the baking process.
However, cupcakes you bake below 300° will not have a golden brown color, and cupcakes you bake below 338°F will lack the rich flavor of caramelized sugar.
How Long to Bake Cupcakes at 350 F
It takes 18-20 minutes to bake 12 regular-sized cupcakes at 350°F. However, the amount of time it takes to bake 12 cupcakes depends on the size of your cupcakes and your altitude.
Remember that the more batter is in your cupcake, the longer it will take to bake. Compared to regular-sized cupcakes, it takes less time to bake mini 12 mini cupcakes and more time to bake jumbo cupcakes.
Do Cupcakes Bake Faster Than a Cake?
At 350°F, it takes 30-35 minutes to bake a regular cake. Since it takes 18-20 minutes to bake a dozen cupcakes, you can see that it takes much less time to bake a cupcake than a cake because there is less batter in each cupcake.
How Long Does It Take to Bake Mini Cupcakes at 350 Degrees?
Mini cupcakes take far less time to cook than standard cupcakes. Mini cupcakes contain about one heaping tablespoon of batter compared to the ¼ to ⅓ cup of batter in a classic cupcake.
While it takes 18-20 minutes to bake standard-sized cupcakes, it only takes 8-10 minutes to bake mini cupcakes.
How Long Does It Take to Bake Jumbo Cupcakes at 350 Degrees?
Jumbo cupcakes take the longest to bake in any cupcake size. Jumbo cupcakes contain about ½ to ⅔ cup of batter compared to the ¼ to ⅓ cup of batter in a standard cupcake.
While standard-sized cupcakes need 18-20 minutes to bake, it takes 20-22 minutes to bake jumbo cupcakes.
Does the Type of Pan I Use Affect How Long it Takes to Bake Cupcakes?
When we talk about cupcake cooking times, we’re assuming that you’re using a metal pan, so the times we have mentioned so far are for metal pans. However, your baking time will change if you use a silicone cupcake pan or a stoneware cupcake pan instead.
You may also like our article: Best Muffin Pans to Bake Cupcakes
How Long Does it Take to Bake Cupcakes in a Metal Pan?
Here are the cupcake baking times you can expect in a metal pan:
- Metal Mini cupcake Pan (1 tablespoon batter): 8-10 minutes
- Metal Standard cupcake Pan (¼-⅓ cup batter): 18-20 minutes
- Metal Jumbo cupcake Pan (½-⅔ cup batter): 20-22 minutes
How Long Does it Take to Bake Cupcakes in a Silicone Pan?
If you’ve used silicone bakeware before, you will have noticed that it takes longer to cook anything in them. The metal in metal bakeware helps to conduct heat and transfer it to your food as it bakes. Silicone, on the other hand, doesn’t have this property.
If you use the baking times for metal pans for your silicone pans, your cupcakes won’t finish cooking in the middle. However, the no-oil, quick-release nature of a silicone pan can be a nice tradeoff on time.
So, how long does it take to bake cupcakes in a silicone pan? You should add five or ten minutes to the average baking time using a silicone pan.
- Silicone Mini Cupcake Pan (1 tablespoon batter): 13-20 minutes
- Silicone Standard cupcake Pan (¼-⅓ cup batter): 23-30 minutes
- Silicone Jumbo cupcake Pan (½-⅔ cup batter): 25-32 minutes
How Long Does it Take to Bake Cupcakes in a Stoneware Pan?
Stoneware cupcake pans aren’t that common, but if you ever attended a Pampered Chef party, you may have walked away with one.
Stoneware retains heat well and bakes food more evenly than some other bakeware options.
If you compare a cupcake from a metal pan with one from a stoneware pan, you will find that the stoneware cupcake is softer and retains more moisture.
So, how long does it take to bake cupcakes in a stoneware pan? Adapting a recipe to stoneware requires you to add an extra one or two minutes to the cooking time:
- Stoneware Mini cupcake Pan (1 tablespoon batter): 9-12 minutes
- Stoneware Standard cupcake Pan (¼-⅓ cup batter): 19-22 minutes
- Stoneware Jumbo cupcake Pan (½-⅔ cup batter): 21-24 minutes
How Does Altitude Affect How Long it Takes to Bake Cupcakes?
The higher your altitude, the longer it takes for water to boil. However, it’s not just water that takes longer to heat up. Anything you cook or bake will also have a longer cooking time.
Why Does Altitude Affect Cupcake Cooking Times?
An increase in altitude and the resulting decrease in atmospheric pressure at higher altitudes affects foods in three ways:
- Liquids boil at a temperature 1°F lower with every 500-foot increase in elevation.
- Liquids evaporate faster, especially in low humidity.
- Gases from leaveners like baking powder and baking soda expand more.
When liquids like cupcake batter have a lower boiling point, you must increase cooking time to compensate for the lower boiling temperature.
How Should You Adjust Cupcake Cooking Time For Higher Altitudes?
You will need to add one additional minute of cooking time for every 1000 feet in elevation above sea level up to 3500 feet. Here are the cooking time adjustments you would need to make using a standard metal cupcake pan.
- Sea Level: 18-20 minutes
- 1000 Feet Above Sea Level: 19-21 minutes
- 2000 Feet Above Sea Level: 20-22 minutes
- 3000 Feet Above Sea Level: 21-23 minutes
Raising the temperature instead of increasing cooking times at elevations between 1000 and 3000 feet results in dry rather than moist cupcakes.
However, if you live higher than the elevation above 3500, everything changes.
What Adjustments Should You Make When Cooking Cupcakes at Altitudes Above 3000 Feet?
When baking at elevations above 3000 feet, you will no longer be baking your cupcakes at 350°. You will need to make several adjustments to your cupcake recipe when cooking above 3000 feet:
- Temperature: bake at a temperature of 365°F to 375°F (185°C to 190°C), using the lower temperature with chocolate or more delicate cupcakes
- Baking powder: reduce by ⅛ teaspoon for every teaspoon
- Sugar: decrease 0-1 tablespoons for every cup
- Liquid: at 3000 feet, add 1-2 tablespoons for every cup, and add an extra 1 ½ teaspoons for every 1000 additional feet (you can add eggs to increase liquids)
- Flour: at 3500 feet, add one more tablespoon, adding one more tablespoon per 1500 additional feet
What Are the Cooking Times for Cupcakes Above 3000 Feet?
When you bake cupcakes above 3000 feet, you will need to decrease the baking time by 5-8 minutes for every 30 minutes of baking time. Since even the most enormous cupcakes bake less than 30 minutes, there is no need to adjust the cooking time at higher altitudes.
You will still use the exact baking times at higher temperatures as with a 350°F baking temperature. However, since you will be cooking the cupcakes at a higher temperature, you will want to check cupcake doneness at the lowest temperature in the range rather than the highest:
- Mini cupcake Pan Above 3000 Feet: 8-10 minutes
- Standard cupcake Pan Above 3000 Feet: 18-20 minutes
- Metal Jumbo cupcake Pan Above 3000 Feet: 20-22 minutes
Which Fan-Forced Oven Temperature is Best for Cupcakes?
In a fan-forced oven like a convection oven or air fryer, you will want to drop the baking temperature of your cupcakes by 25° to 315°F.
The cooking time will remain the same.
How Can I Tell When My Cupcakes Are Done?
In a perfect world, cupcakes would be done exactly when you think they should be. However, baking is a selective process, and you will need to check to make sure your cupcakes are done before you start eating them. Cupcakes should be moist, but the dough shouldn’t be wet or raw.
There are three ways to tell if your cupcakes are done:
- Toothpick method: If your toothpick comes out clean when you insert it into the center of the cupcake, it’s done.
- Knife method: If a thin-bladed knife comes out clean when you insert it into the center of the cupcake, it’s done.
- Touch method: If the cupcake bounces back when you press down on the top of the cupcake with your finger, it’s done.
What Should I Do If My Cupcakes Aren’t Done?
Despite timing your cupcakes based on the type of pan you are using and your altitude, there’s still a chance your cupcakes may not be done when you test them.
If the cupcake batter or wet crumbs stick to your toothpick or knife or if the top of your cupcake doesn’t bounce, you should cook your cupcakes longer.
We suggest checking your cupcakes every 2-3 minutes so that they don’t overcook.
How Do I Bake the Perfect Cupcake?
If you want to make cupcakes at home, here are tips for baking the perfect cupcake:
- Follow the recipe
- Use high-quality ingredients
- Start with room-temperature ingredients
- Make changes related to altitude if needed
- Don’t over-mix (results in dense and rubbery cupcakes)
- Don’t under-mix (results in ingredient lumps)
- Use cupcake liners
- Measure batter to avoid overfilling
- Use an oven thermometer
- Only cook one batch of cupcakes at a time
- Bake your cupcakes in the very center of the oven
- Turn the cupcakes halfway through baking
- Test for doneness before removing from the oven
- Cool completely on a rack before frosting
- Frost before storing to retain moisture
- Store at room temperature but move to the refrigerator after two days
Final Thoughts About Temperature and Times for Baking Cupcakes
The perfect temperature for baking cupcakes is 350°F except in altitudes above 3000 feet and when using a fan-forced oven.
Cooking times for baking cupcakes vary based on the pan type, cupcake size, altitude, and accuracy of your oven’s thermostat.
When you know how long to bake cupcakes at 350 F, adjust for different factors, and follow a few baking tips, you will be able to make the best cupcakes possible.