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How To Fill Cupcakes

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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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Sunday 27th of August 2023

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


Tuesday 29th of August 2023

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

Abigail Wenderson

Tuesday 4th of August 2020

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.


Sunday 9th of August 2020

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


Friday 10th of March 2017

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


Monday 13th of March 2017

Sounds amazing, Ravonda! Thank you for your thoughts!


Friday 10th of March 2017

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  


Friday 10th of June 2016

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.  


Monday 13th of June 2016

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

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