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Have your piña colada and eat it too! These extra moist pineapple coconut cupcakes will make everyday seem like a trip to the beach. 

piña colada cupcakes topped with coconut frosting, shredded coconut, a cherry, slice of pineapple, and a straw

Today’s recipe was inspired by one of my favorite “activities.” A beach, a book, a piña colada, and an impossibly blue sky. Pure contentment right there. Though today’s piña colada cupcakes don’t have any alcohol in them, I’m not stopping you from serving them with a beachy alcoholic beverage. No judging here!

I’m all about summer these days in my kitchen. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a little over the cold weather. Winter was sooo last month. Bring on the flips!

piña colada cupcakes topped with coconut frosting, shredded coconut, a cherry, slice of pineapple, and a straw on a green plate

If you have an hour or two to spare, use it wisely and make these cupcakes. They’re a tropical-tasting medley of pineapple and coconut flavors, all mixed into my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe. One bite will instantly brighten your mood. Since no one stops at just 1 bite of a cupcake, just think what the entire cupcake will do.

Happiness in a cupcake wrapper.

I was inspired to make these cupcakes last week after we finished booking our trip to Mexico. Kevin and I are headed there at the end of this month for Kristen & Seth’s wedding. Riviera Maya to be exact. Have you ever been there? 5 days of sunshine, flip flops, and wedding festivities. I’m so excited for their wedding, pink sunsets, turquoise water, some great food, and of course – the fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. Always umbrellas.

2 images of pineapple coconut cupcakes in a cupcake pan and a can of coconut milk

Today’s cupcakes are an upgraded version of my favorite homemade funfetti cupcakes. Still keeping that brilliant vanilla flavor, I amped things up a bit and added the flavors of sweet pineapple and coconut. Making them is about as easy as a walk on the beach.

I used nearly all brown sugar in these cupcakes. Brown sugar + pineapple is exactly what I love about my Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, so the swap from white to brown sugar here was a no brainer. You’ll love how much flavor the brown sugar brings.

A couple things you’ll need that you may not already have: 100% pineapple juice and coconut milk. I use full-fat canned coconut milk in this recipe and highly suggest you do the same. This coconut milk (pictured above) is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. And it has a high oil content. It makes the cupcakes SO moist. The moistest cupcakes I’ve ever made.

Coconut milk and coconut cream are not the same items. Coconut milk is 1 part water simmered down with 1 part coconut pulp. Coconut cream is 1 part water and 4 parts coconut pulp. Coconut cream is much thicker – I’ve never attempted this recipe with coconut cream. Stick to coconut milk. More information about coconut milk can be found in my recipe notes at the bottom.

piña colada cupcakes topped with coconut frosting, shredded coconut, a cherry, slice of pineapple, and a straw on a floral plate

The frosting I use for these piña colada cupcakes starts with my ordinary vanilla frosting recipe. The same vanilla frosting I use to top my cakes, cupcakes, and even cookies. If you’re looking for a go-to vanilla frosting, this recipe is it.

To amp up the flavor, I add a touch of coconut extract. Coconut extract can be found in the baking aisle in your grocery store with the vanilla extract and spices. There’s no way around the coconut extract unless you want to compromise the coconut taste or texture of the frosting. If you can’t find coconut extract, simply use a little extra vanilla.

This coconut frosting is ultra thick and creamy, perfect for piping and slathering on top of the pineapple coconut cupcakes. So rich, velvety, and buttery.

coconut frosting in a blue bowl

May I suggest topping a spoonful of this creamy coconut frosting with mini chocolate chips? Or slather it on my favorite homemade chocolate cupcakes. Go ahead, indulge.

These cupcakes are certainly sweet, just like typical piña colada cocktails. I always like to add a pinch of salt to my frosting to offset some of the sweetness. Works like a charm. If you want a lighter frosting, try a simple whipped cream flavored with a drop of coconut extract. Or here’s a tasty strawberry whipped cream recipe if you’re interested as well.

(Add a splash of rum if you’re feeling jazzy!)

piña colada cupcakes topped with coconut frosting, shredded coconut, a cherry, slice of pineapple, and a straw

Since there’s no alcohol in these piña coladas, they’re the perfect tropical treat to share with little bakers. They can help decorating the frosting with coconut – oh gosh, please do this over the sink. I ended up with coconut pieces all over my kitchen floor and Jude jumped at the opportunity to help clean. He didn’t get to any in time, don’t worry.

If you’re looking for another fun drink-inspired cupcake, try a batch of my margarita cupcakes! See those recipe notes for an alcohol-free sweet lime version, too.


(Blue straws used as decoration are from Sweets and Treats Boutique.)

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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piña colada cupcakes topped with coconut frosting, shredded coconut, a cherry, slice of pineapple, and a straw

Piña Colada Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Super-moist pineapple coconut cupcakes topped with creamy smooth coconut frosting. Decorate each cupcake with a sprinkle of coconut (toasted or not), a slice of pineapple, and a cherry on top. Have your piña colada and eat it too! 


  • 1 and 2/3 cups (209g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) pineapple juice*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) full-fat coconut milk*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • optional: coconut, pineapple slices, and cherries for decoration

Coconut Frosting

  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream or half-and-half*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in egg, pineapple juice, coconut milk, and vanilla extract until combined.
  3. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  4. Make the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat the softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Turn mixer off and add confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla, and coconut extracts. Mix on low for 1 minute then increase to high speed and beat for 3-4 full minutes. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (I usually add 1/4 teaspoon). Frost cooled cupcakes. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake. I used a Wilton #12 piping tip. Decorate cupcakes with coconut, pineapple slices, and/or a cherry.
  5. Leftover cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 4.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cupcakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and the frosting covered tightly in the refrigerator. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.
  2. Pineapple Juice: Use 100% pineapple juice (not syrup). You can freeze leftover pineapple juice and thaw overnight in the refrigerator to make another batch!
  3. Coconut Milk: I used 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk. I suggest using full-fat if you can for the moistest, richest taste and texture. The brand I used is pictured above in this post and was purchased at my regular grocery store in the international foods aisle. Do not use coconut cream or cream of coconut. You can always freeze leftover coconut milk and thaw overnight in the refrigerator to make another batch.
  4. Heavy Cream: Feel free to use coconut milk in the frosting instead of the heavy cream/half-and-half. I do not suggest using milk because you will lose a lot of its creamy texture.

Keywords: piña colada cupcakes

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I made these today! They were so rich and moist. The frosting was super creamy too. Perfect treat for sunny day. Thanks Sally!

  2. How much rum can I add to the frosting without compromising the consistency?

    1. I’d start with 1 Tablespoon and add a little more at a time until you are pleased with the taste and consistency.

  3. Hi Sally! These have been on my must-bake list for a long time now and I’m so excited to finally be making them this weekend for Canada Day. I can’t wait to have one of these babies in one hand and a real ice-cold pina colada in the other. This is the perfect summer cupcake! To amp up the pineapple flavour, can I add some diced pineapple to the batter, maybe a cup? Or do you not recommend this? Hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend, Sally!

    1. You can, definitely. I had a reader add about 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple to the batter before. She reduced the pineapple juice down to 1/4 cup. I’ve never tried it but she said they were wonderful.

  4. in the frosting can the heavy cream/ half and half be replaced with pineapple juice?

    1. I’m sure the flavor would be great but the frosting wouldn’t be creamy. I would try reducing the amount of heavy cream (make sure it’s full fat) and adding a touch of pineapple!

  5. Any idea what modifications would be needed to make this a two layer cake instead of cupcakes? Quantity and bake time?

    1. Hi Tracie! I’m unsure about a 2 layer cake, but I’ve made a 3 layer. Double the recipe to fit into 3 9-inch cake pans. The layers will take about 25 minutes, but use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  6. Hi Sally. I’m about to make these beauties hopefully tomorrow but I’ve got a question. I did click the link about proper measuring but the recipe doesn’t say if we need to sift the flour. I know you have said that you sift your cake flour (I had previously asked about that since the type of cake flour we both use is already sifted) but… what do you suggest I do here? Just wanted to make sure I do it right and not waste ingredients. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon…

    1. Hi Tammie! No need to sift the flour unless a recipe specifies it. At least that’s how I write my recipes! No need to sift it for these pina colada cupcakes.

  7. Hi Sally, how do you recommend I turn this into a sheet cake?

    1. Hi Christina! I actually recommend my vanilla sheet cake recipe. Substitute 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk and 1/2 cup pineapple juice for the milk. This coconut frosting should be plenty, but you can 1.5x the recipe to have a little extra just in case.

  8. Hi sally i have 2 questions??! First can i add 2 tbsp of oil for that extra moistness in the cupcakes and if i was to double this to make a cake would the leavening agents be enough for a good rise? If double it would be more than 3 cups of flour and i was wondering if the baking powder/soda would be enough I would apreciate your answer thanks.

    1. I find this recipe to be very moist and would recommend sticking to the ratio of ingredients listed here! If you are going to try doubling the recipe for a cake, go ahead and double all of the ingredients! Let me know how it turns out!

  9. I’d like to bake this into a ‘giftable’ loaf so it will travel better. Is this recommended or are there any tips/changes I should make so I don’t ruin it, lol?
    I’m a kinda new baker but love your recipes, they are delicious and very approachable!:)

    1. Hi Renee, I have made this into a layer cake but I have not tested it in a loaf pan! It should work but I’m unsure of the bake time. Watch it closely and gently cover the top with aluminum foil if the top is browning before it is finished baking in the center.

  10. Good flavor, but too dense for my liking. I like a lighter fluffier cake. I frosting was delicious.

  11. can I use the pineapple juice from a can of sliced pineapples?

    1. Hi Raquel, Make sure you use Use 100% pineapple juice (not syrup). See recipe notes!

  12. Hi Sally, I made these and they turned out so good! However I’m wondering if its possible to achieve a stronger pineapple taste in the cake (and leave the super coconuty flavour for the frosting). Could I substitute some or all of the coconut milk in the recipe for more pineapple juice? Or possible add some pineapple chunks? I would love your opinion.
    Thanks! 🙂

  13. I was comparing the chocolate caramel coconut cupcake recipe with this one, and I was trying to find the most coconut-y version, but without using cake flour. For this recipe, can I substitute coconut oil instead of the butter, or do half-half? Can I also put shredded coconut into the batter, or will that make it too dry?

    1. Those changes should work, Ana. I recommend 3/4 cup of sweetened shredded coconut.

  14. I’ve been making this recipe for a few years now and i want to share a few tips. The recipe is good as written, but if you want the pineapple flavor to shine, reduce the amount of vanilla. Two teaspoons is way too much! I use a half teaspoon and it lets the pineapple come out a bit more. I have also made these as another reader mentioned, by reducing the pineapple juice to 1/4 cup and adding 1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple, and it works great! Adds more pineapple flavor.

  15. Question- Could this recipe be converted into a cake?

    1. Hi Heather, absolutely! One batch of this cupcake batter yields enough batter for a 3 layer 6-inch cake. Make this batter, then follow the baking instructions in this 6 inch cake recipes post. Or for a larger cake, double the recipe to fit into 3 9-inch cake pans. The layers will take about 25 minutes, but use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  16. Good day, if I wanted to add coconut or pineapple rum to it what amount should I use?

    1. I using Disposable Plastic Transfer Pipettes on mine. You can find them on Amazon and you just put the alcohol in them and stick them into the cupcake.

  17. Ok so can you explain the instructions for the lighter frosting the chopped cream with coconut?

    1. Hi Karin! You can flavor this whipped cream with a drop of coconut extract for a lighter cupcake topping. Enjoy!

      1. Hello,
        what would i need to do to turn this recipe into a sheet cake?

      2. Hi Mabel, we actually recommend our vanilla sheet cake recipe. Substitute 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk and 1/2 cup pineapple juice for the milk. This coconut frosting should be plenty, but you can 1.5x the recipe to have a little extra just in case.

  18. Hi, i so want to try this cupcake, as it sounds amazing but just a samll doubt, when you say pineapple juice, is it the regular fresh juice we make out of a fruit or the bottled pineapple juice from the supermarket??

    1. Hi Sarah! You need 100% pineapple juice for this recipe – I can usually find it in small cans by the canned fruit in my grocery store.

      1. Since there’s no canned juice available in my city can I use a homemade fresh juice..if yes then do i need to cook it before using or can I use it as it is??

      2. Fresh pineapple juice would work perfectly! No need to cook first.

  19. Hi Sally, could you recommend any egg substitutes for this recipe? Thank you!

    1. Hi Virginai, We haven’t tested these cupcakes with any egg substitutes but let us know if you try anything. If you are interested here are all of our egg free recipes.

  20. I made it with coconut cream on accident, we called them “coconut pound cake”, delicious but dense 🙂

  21. Hello! I have to make 3 6 inch cakes and about 60 cupcakes. I am going back a forth between this recipe or the pineapple /coconut cake with the curd. Do you have any recommendations which is better?

      1. Hi Rachel, you can, but the frosting may separate from the cupcakes during the thawing process. If this isn’t a concern for you, feel free to freeze them!

  22. I loved this recipe! They were so good, I have now made them twice since finding the recipe 2 weekends ago. &, that frosting is to die for! The second time I decided To add some crushed pineapple (no juice) to the cupcake batter and they were fantastic still! Everyone I gave them too raved! Thank you

  23. I made these for my son’s birthday Luau. They were so delicious! Thank you for the fantastic recipe!

  24. I made this two ways one with pineapple juice other with crushed pineapple. I liked that so much better. Reduce pineapple juice to 1/4 and add 1 cup crushed pineapple was amazing