Graduation Cupcake Ideas

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Looking for easy graduation cupcake ideas? Whether preschool, middle school, high school, or college graduation, we’ve got you covered with some perfect cupcake ideas for graduation day! 

A grouping of graduation themed cupcakes with a Congrats Grad! sign in the middle

The very last thing you need as you prepare your graduate for the big day is stress – so we’ve come up with some very simple graduation cupcake decoration ideas and options for you and this whole series includes using pre-made vanilla cupcakes (or whatever flavor you like) as you base so that all you need to do it decorate your cupcakes with store-bought ingredients and toppings! 

Easy Graduation Cupcake Ideas 

Of course, you could buy graduation cupcake toppers, but we love the idea of decorating these festive cupcakes for the big day!

First of all, make sure to know your graduate’s school colors. The biggest pop of color in these comes from the Wilton foil baking cups. These paper liners give you instant school spirit and can be found at party supplies stores and we love the selection online in the Wilton baking store.

Wilton buttercream frosting kit and a mixer, mixing bowl and a stick of butter on the counter

From there, you can use sprinkles or my favorite new decorating tool: color mist spray! It is perfect for white frosting! Your favorite vanilla buttercream frosting is transformed in seconds! 

Spraying a cupcake in a bowl with WIilton color mist. Cupcake decorating supplies including chocolate squares, M&Ms in the background.

The great thing about Wilton Color Mist spray is that it allows you to transform the top of the cupcake without using a ton of gel food coloring that you would need to get the deep colors of your school’s color. 

A dozen blank white cupcakes sitting in a cupcake container on a white counter top next to a bowl of white frosting

As mentioned, we went for really easy graduation cupcakes here by purchasing pre-made cupcakes, but of course, you can make your own cupcakes from your own cupcake recipe if you like. With each of these five graduation cupcakes recipe ideas, we are using Wilton Buttercream Icing Mix or a simple cream cheese icing mixture. 

Here are our top five graduation cupcake picks for fun and easy grad-themed desserts for your graduation celebration: 


White and green decorated graduation cupcakes featuring graduation and congrats flags with green and white star sprinkles

The easiest of the five designs, this cupcake is frosted using the Wilton 1M tip.

Cupcake decorating supplies on a white countertop next to a box of undecorated cupcakes

Sprinkle stars and nonpareils while the frosting is freshly piped to ensure they stick, and then top with a “Grad” pendant. This one was purchased from a craft supplies store.


A cupcake in a purple foil wrapper sitting in a clear plastic cup on top of purple M&Ms topped with white frosting and sugar sprinkles

Start by putting 1 inch of m&m candies in a 5-ounce plastic tumbler. Next, place your foil cupcake liner, followed by your cupcake. By doing it in this order, you won’t risk damaging the frosting by having to handle it more than necessary.

Bowls of purple M&Ms sitting on a marble countertop with undecorated cupcakes and a container of sprinkles

The next easiest design, this one, was piped with the Wilton 2A tip, but you could just use a coupler in your piping bag, since the 2A is a round tip. The motion used was that of how you would make a soft-serve ice cream cone. Sprinkle sparkles, and you are done!


Cupcakes in red foil wrappers with white and red frosting topped with white chocolate graduation caps

This design is made using the Wilton 2A tip. Start in the middle and pipe in a spiral, making it bigger and bigger as you go. 

A cupcake in a bowl being sprayed with Wilton red food coloring spray

Place your baked cupcake into a medium bowl and spray with the Wilton color mist. Start with a small amount, building color until you get your desired color. Set it into your foil color liner.

A cupcake with sprayed red frosting in a red foil cupcake wrapper with a clear glass of red M&Ms behind it

To make the graduation hats, place a small amount of melted chocolate on the bottom of your white miniature peanut butter cups. Top with a white chocolate Ghiradelli chocolate squares (they are the ones in a beige wrapper).

To the top of the hat, add a dot of melted chocolate, a mini m&m candy, and finish with a tassel made from the chocolate melts. 

Red melted chocolate dot on a white mini reese's peanut butter cup.

You could use a chocolate bar for the top of the chocolate graduation cap, but I found that the Ghiradelli prewrapped ones were. A better way to get the cap to look more finished. You could alternately use thin mints. 


A white cupcake with white frosting in a blue cupcake wrapper topped with a blue chocolate graduation cap and a blue tassel made out of fruit rollups

These graduation cap cupcakes take longer but are still super easy. To melt your colored chocolate disc, place them in a narrow bowl and put them in the microwave for 45 seconds. Stir, and add an additional 30 seconds until chocolate is fully melted. 

A white bowl of large marshmallows and a tray of graham crackers to be dipped into a bowl of melted blue chocolate

Use a square cookie as the top of the cap and put a dot of melted chocolate wafers in the middle. Next, add a marshmallow.

A white bowl of large marshmallows and a tray of graham crackers to be dipped into a bowl of melted blue chocolate

Dip a popsicle stick into the melted chocolate and pierce the top of the marshmallow. You can place these in the freezer for 5 minutes to speed up the hardening. 

Once the chocolate is set, dip the entire cap into the melted chocolate melts. You may have to pop the bowl of chocolate into the microwave for an additional 30 seconds if the chocolate has started to harden.

A blue strip of fruit roll up being cut in smaller strips

The tassel is made with a 2-inch section of fruit roll-ups. Cut small slits 3/4′ into the roll-up. Roll them up and attach them to the top of the cap by dabbing a small bit of melted chocolate and then placing an m&m candy on the top. You could also use licorice strips if they match your color scheme. 

Use various star tips to make the textured design and frost your cupcakes. If your school colors had brown, this design would be fun with chocolate cupcakes and plain chocolate melts or melted chocolate chips


Close up of a white cupcake with white frosting in a gold cupcake wrapper and topped with a chocolate graduation cap and tiny told tassel.

For this design, use a Wilton 1M star tip to frost cupcakes. Place the frosted cupcake in a large bowl and spray a dusting of Wilton’s editable glitter. Gold was used in this one, but they have several colors to match your decor.

A cupcake in a bowl being sprayed with Wilton gold edible glitter spray

Mix it up! We love the thought of grabbing a cupcake display holder and having these fun cupcakes on display so they double as colorful party decorations as well as yummy treats for all graduation attendees!

Graduation themed cupcakes with chocolate hats and gold foil wrappers with grad themed background

No need to heat oven if you buy them from your favorite bakery unfrosted. At our local Albertson’s, they were half the price of the frosted ones. SCORE!

We love creative party ideas! If you are looking for more fun dessert ideas, make sure to check out our Cookie Monster cookies, Panoramic Sugar Easter Eggs or our Chocolate Bark recipe.

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