How to Cool Cupcakes

If you’re an avid baker, you know that one of the biggest problems you can have is frosting your cupcakes too soon. Not only does it make a mess and ruin how pretty the cupcakes can be, but the texture of the frosting is awful once it melts because the cakes are still too warm.

For tips on how to cool your cupcakes both ideally and quickly, keep reading!

Make Sure The Cupcakes Are Fully Cooked

One of the biggest mistakes bakers make when trying to rush with their cupcakes is not ensuring that they get fully cooked through.

To know if the cupcakes have finished baking, you can try one of two quick tricks. The first is the tried and trusted toothpick test. Insert a toothpick into the middle of the cupcake and down through the middle.

When you remove the toothpick, it should be clean, with no traces of liquid batter or cake stuck onto it. If you see that there’s cake on the toothpick, that means that it’s not finished cooking yet.

The other method is to use your finger and push gently on the top of the cupcake, in the middle. If the cake top springs back after you’ve pushed it, it’s done. If there is a small indentation where your finger was, that means it still needs to bake in the oven.

Trying to cool down cupcakes that have not finished baking can be disastrous. For example, if you put them in the freezer, the middle can become a chunk of ice because it hasn’t fully solidified. And no one wants that!

So, just be sure that your cupcakes get baked thoroughly and proceed to cool and store them.

How to Cool Cupcakes

If you have a lot of time on your hand, it’s a good idea to be aware of how you would normally cool your cupcakes down from the oven.

You’ll need close to two hours to cool the cupcakes straight from the oven. I’m sure many of us have made that mistake, and it’s just not worth the mess if you don’t have to cut it close.

Of course, the taste will be good nonetheless, but you want the presentation to be off because the frosting melted!

A cooling rack is a good investment if you can get your hands on one. Let the cupcakes sit near a window on a cooling rack for about an hour and a half after you’ve removed them from the oven.

Next, take all of the cupcakes and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Make sure you have wrapped them tightly and put them in the refrigerator overnight.

By morning, you’ll have the perfect cupcakes, completely cooled with a heavenly texture.

We don’t always have a whole day to dedicate to cooling our cupcakes. But, in the instance that you can do a little preplanning, try this method out!

How Long to Cool Cupcakes Before Frosting Them

So, it can be confusing to say how long the cupcakes have to cool before the frosting. That’s mostly because there’s a certain point at which you can frost them without problems. After all, they’ve cooled off enough. And then there’s the optimal time when you know for sure that there won’t be any issues with melted frosting.

That said, you should be good to go after about an hour and a half. The method that you use to cool the cupcakes down also matters. If you cool them in the freezer, you wouldn’t let them stay as long as you would if they just sat near a window or on a cooling rack atop the kitchen counter.

An hour should be enough time, but an hour and a half is the safer choice. The longer, the better to ensure that there isn’t any residual heat.

How Do I Cool My Cupcakes Quickly?

So you did it! You’ve prepared the perfect cupcakes, and they’re looking the way that you thought they would. However, you have one pressing problem; you have to decorate them as soon as possible, and waiting for hours to let them cool is out of the question! You have a deadline that you cannot miss, and therefore you have to roll the dice.

No worries! That doesn’t mean that you can’t still have awesome cupcakes just because you’re speeding up the cool-down process.

So what can you do when you need to abandon convention to cool a cupcake as quickly as possible? Follow these steps to help you cut a few corners without compromising on the taste or quality of your cupcakes.

Take the Cupcakes Out of the Pan First

The first step to getting your cupcakes on the road to cooling off faster is to remove them from the hot pan. Although the cupcakes are out of the oven, the pan retains heat and will cause your cupcakes to be hot as well.

Removing the cupcakes from the hot pan will allow some cool air to get to the cupcakes, enabling them to cool much quicker than they would if left in the hot metal pan.

There’s one big challenge posed when trying to flip cupcakes out of a hot pan. It is quite difficult to remove cupcakes out of the pan as soon as they get done. Choosing to do so can result in cracking or falling apart as you flip the pan upside down. And we all know that broken cupcakes are the worst.

The solution is allowing the cupcakes to cool down for ten minutes after coming out of the oven. Next, take a butter knife and gently slide it around the edges of the cupcake; this method will loosen the cupcakes from the pan.

Then, place a cake board or a place directly over the surface of the cupcakes. Carefully flip the pan over while holding a kitchen towel to protect you from the hot pan and allow the cake board or the plate to catch the cupcakes, keeping them intact.

Grab a Cooling Rack if You Have One

If you can get a hold of a cooling rack, this will make the cooling process faster. Remember that if you place the cupcakes on a cake board or a plate, the bottom of the cakes will get covered. That means the heat gets trapped and is unable to escape.

That is where a cooling rack is useful. A cooling rack lifts the cupcakes off the table. This structure allows the cool air to flow and touch every part of the cupcakes. This method is simple and yet effective.

You can find a cooling rack online at Amazon, and you’ll find that they’re very affordable!

Perhaps you don’t have a cooling rack readily available; it’s possible to improvise and create a makeshift cooling rack.

Grill Rack

If you happen to have a very clean grill rack, you can set the rack on your counter and elevate it by placing a pot beneath the rack. You can then place the cupcakes directly on the rack, mimicking the function of a legitimate cooling rack.

Wooden Rack

A wooden rack is a viable option as well, that is, if you have one. If not, you can build one so that you can have one in the future. The last recourse is to sit the cupcakes on a cool surface and be diligent to make sure that they don’t stick.

Use a Flat Box Instead

Use a flat box if you don’t have access to a wire rack. Simply take the wire rack and insert a hole where the cupcakes can sit, allowing the cool air to touch them.

These are indeed the easiest ways to cool your cupcakes down quickly. If you have access to a refrigerator, you can certainly use it to accelerate the process. However, if you are in a situation where this is not possible, you can use the natural air surrounding to prepare your cupcakes for frosting.

It’s important to remember that your cupcakes have to be cooled down before you begin frosting them. And if you choose to use the freezer, be sure to keep a close eye on your cupcakes.

You may also like: How to Fill Cupcakes.

Use the Freezer

Using the freezer will most certainly cool your cupcakes quickly. However, there are some caveats to doing so. Giving your cupcakes time to cool down on a wire rack for at least an hour serves to prevent condensation.

When cupcakes are in the freezer, condensation will cause ice to form on the cupcakes. The results end up being a very soggy cupcake, especially if left in the freezer for too long.

However, if you take the proper precautions and leave them in the freezer for the recommended amount of time-based on the number of cupcakes you have, they should be fine. Just be sure that they are entirely cool when you remove them.

Remember that just because the top of the cupcakes is cool, the center may still be very hot.

You can certainly use the freezer method in conjunction with the cooling rack method. Simply remove the cupcakes from the hot pan and put them into the freezer for several minutes.

You can then transport the cupcakes to the cooling rack allowing them to finish the cooling process at room temperature.

Please don’t put your cupcakes in the freezer and forget that they are in there. This happens more often than you may think.

Place the Cupcakes Near the Window

This method can be used for both fast cooling and if you’re not in a rush as well.

You can sit the cupcake pan directly next to an open window, but it will take a bit longer because the pan itself will still be hot. Eventually, it will cool down, but after a short while, the tops of the cupcakes will be cooled down, and the bottom will still be very warm.

This may not be problematic since you generally only frost the top of the cupcake; however, the heat radiating from the bottom could present some problems.

It’s best to remove the cupcakes from the pan if you can and place them in a dish near the window. The breeze will cool the cupcakes down very quickly. This is perfect for those who live in tropical climates where there is a steady wind flow.

Read also: How to Ice Cupcakes Without a Piping Bag



Make sure that your cupcakes are wrapped. Unwrapped cupcakes are prone to dry out quickly when placed in the freezer.

Keep in mind that cooling cupcakes in the freezer or the refrigerator after they come from the oven can change the crumb texture of your cupcakes.

While you can most certainly use the refrigerator and the freezer to help cool your cupcakes. Just don’t leave them in there for too long and ruin all of the hard work that you’ve done!

Use these tips when you are in a time crunch. Otherwise, use the conventional way to cool your cupcakes. It gives the best results without any risk of ruining them.

Final Thoughts

It seems easy enough, but baking cupcakes and cooling them can be tricky if you’re not aware of the best ways to do so.

The biggest tips to be mindful of are that you have to make sure your cupcakes have baked long enough and are finished cooking and to let them cool long enough before frosting.

Don’t forget that a cooling rack is beneficial because it keeps the bottom of the cupcakes exposed, allowing for better airflow. When the cupcake bottoms are covered, it makes it harder for the heat to get released.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of the refrigerator if you’ve paid your dues like the rest of us, and after many errors, you’ve got the timing down!

Too long in the refrigerator will change the texture of your cupcakes, but if you play your cards right, it can keep them moist and make for a delicious bite. Good luck and Happy Baking!

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Ava Gardner
Ava Gardner

Hi! My name is Ava and I love baking. I love the process of creating something from nothing, and the satisfaction of taking a bite of something I made myself. I love trying new recipes and experimenting with different flavors. Baking is my form of self-care; it's how I relax and unwind after a long day. That's why I founded!

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