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Looking to add some extra flavor to your cupcakes? Learn how to fill cupcakes with anything from jam to frosting to up your cupcake game!

Cupcake filled with strawberry jam cut in half and set on a white plate.

I spend way too much time in my kitchen, so I’ve tried a lot of cooking and baking tips and tricks out over the years.

Some of them are great, like my buttermilk substitute or knowing how to soften brown sugar. Some of them aren’t as great and I never do them again.

I’ve filled a lot of cupcakes in my day, so I’ve tried out a lot of methods. And I can say that I’ve found my hands-down favorite method, so that’s what I’m sharing with you today.

Once you learn how to fill cupcakes, you’ll be unstoppable!

Baked cupcakes cooling on a wire rack.


Adding a filling to your cupcakes is definitely an extra step, but it can be one that’s really worth it!

Not only is it a fun surprise, it can add so much extra flavor to your cupcakes.

Imagine lemon cupcakes filled with a dollop of lemon curd. Vanilla cupcakes filled with raspberry jam. Peanut butter cupcakes filled with grape jelly.

You get the idea. 

I’ve spent a lot of time trying different methods for filling cupcakes and I’ve definitely landed on the best method.


I’m going to share two ways to fill cupcakes with you today. The first one – using an apple corer – is definitely the easiest way to do it.

But in case you don’t have an apple corer on hand, I’ll also teach you how to fill cupcakes using a paring knife.

Three images showing how to insert an apple corer into a cupcake to hollow out the cupcake.

Using an apple corer

This is far and away my favorite way to core cupcakes for filling. If you eat a lot of apples, you may already have an apple corer on hand! 

Grab your apple corer and gently push it into the center of the cupcake about halfway down into the cupcake. Make sure not to go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake.

Jam being piped into a hollowed-out cupcake.

Rotate the corer to cut a full circle and pull the corer out of the cupcake. Push the small cake round out of the corer. Repeat this for each cupcake.

Once all of the cupcakes have been hollowed, pipe or spoon in your favorite filling and top with your favorite frosting.

If you would like to add a bit of cupcake on top of the filling prior to frosting, use a small knife to cut the top from each of the cupcake centers; place on top of the filling before adding the frosting.

Cupcake that has been hollowed with an apple corer filled with strawberry jam.

Using a paring knife

This method is definitely more tedious, but still works fine if you don’t have an apple corer.

Insert a paring knife at a 45-degree angle just off-center of the top of the cupcake, inserting it about halfway down into the cupcake. Make sure not to go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake.

Three images showing how to remove the center of a cupcake with a paring knife.

Keeping the knife at an angle, cut a circle around the center of the cupcake. Lift out the cake cone that you have just cut. Repeat this for all of the cupcakes.

As with the other method, once all of the cupcakes have been hollowed, pipe in your favorite filling and top with your favorite frosting. 

Cupcake that has had the center hollowed out with a paring knife.


So what makes a great filling for cupcakes?

Cupcake that has been cored with a paring knife filled with strawberry jam.

Almost anything that isn’t too runny! Most fruit sauces are a bit on the runny side so I wouldn’t recommend using those, but here are some fillings I think work great:

No matter what cupcake recipe or filling you use, knowing how to fill cupcakes is a great way to impress your friends and family next time you bake!

Filled and frosted cupcake set on a countertop.

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  1. Anne says:

    I don’t have an apple corer such as yours. Mine has a pointed end. I think I might try a melon baller though!

    1. Jamie says:

      A melon baller should work great! You could also try using a large piping tip if you happen to have one handy. Happy baking!

  2. Abigail Wenderson says:

    Wow, i was always fail to fill cupcake properly, your content let me know where I’m making the mistake. Going to try this filling today.

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Abigail! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!

  3. Ravonda says:

    Update after searching online:  looks like the cupcakes with the custard filling baked in that I remembered were a Pillsbury product called Pudding Pockets. 

    1. Jamie says:

      Sounds amazing, Ravonda! Thank you for your thoughts!

  4. Ravonda says:

    Love your site and recipes.  I haven’t tried anything that didn’t work well for me.  I have a fun challenge for you: I remember a cupcake mix that was available for a few years and discontinued (late ’80’s maybe) that had a vanilla custard filling baked inside (Boston Cream Pie style), rather than piped in after.  You prepared the cupcake batter and the custard batter, then assembled by spooning in some batter, then a spoon of custard, and topping with more batter. There was also a packet including for a chocolate glaze. They were great and seemed less messy and time consuming. These days I always bake from scratch, but wonder if  a recipe like this could be developed. Seems baking wouldn’t hurt a custard – maybe the consistencies of cupcake batter and custard might need tweaking  

  5. RHONDA says:

    I used a knife the first time I filled. This time I’ll use the apple corer.  I am making yellow cupcakes filled with chocolate fudge, like you use for ice cream, and topped with whipped peanut butter buttercream frosting.  

    1. Jamie says:

      Your cupcakes sound great, Rhonda! I hope it all goes well!

  6. Rose says:

    Love the idea of the apple corer to set the stage for a filling. My question is..what kind of fillings? Can you use regular icing -like cream cheese icing? Also, can this be done a day after the muffins have been baked? You can tell I’m a novice at this….

    1. Jamie says:

      You can fill the cupcakes with anything you like. Any icing, fruit filling, pudding. Also you should be fine to fill them the next day after baking. I hope this helps.


  7. shellie says:

    Can’t you use a Wilton number 230 as well? I don’t have an apple corer, and it seems like it would be too big of a hole that it makes. It is a very good idea though. :)

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks, I think you could use anything of a similar size to make the hole. Thanks for stopping by.


  8. Chellie says:

    I recently found a new — even easier way to fill cupcakes and thought I would share. Instead of scooping out the middle just fill an icing bag with your filling and push it in to the center and squeeze your filling in. Just use a large opening tip on the icing bag.
    I used the technique in some cupcakes a while back and it was great. Here’s a link to the post where I showed how I did it…
    This is not my original idea — but the link I’m posting has a link to the site where I found the idea.

    1. Paula says:

      @Chellie, honestly I feel like that’s a better way to go because then you’re not wasting product or taking so much extra time to make all the little holes. Which is usually what I do, but I came here to see if I could just shove my piping tip in and squirt away. Lol.

  9. Jane says:

    I’ve tried a small paring knife and a melon baller, and I have to say, the apple corer is the tool that provides most consistent results. And the little ‘tunnel’ that it makes is perfect for a piping bag. The cupcakes are easiest to core when cold (I stick them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes). If they are just cool, they are moist, and just stick to the corer. I use the end of a chopstick to push out any stuck cake.

    Once you get started filling cupcakes, you get so creative with them!

  10. Gaby says:

    Thanks!! I’m really trying to make perfect cupcakes but it’s so difficult!