Piña Colada Cupcakes

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 cupcake recipe. 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.


(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
  • 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 (210g) 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


Comments are closed.

  1. Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste says:

    These look INCREDIBLE, Sally! Cannot wait to make them!

  2. I am so going to make these!

    The last time I went to Mexico was to Rivera Maya for a friend’s destination wedding too. SO fun! You are going to have a blast!

    1. Thanks Nicole! And if you try these, let me know. Riviera Maya sounds like the perfect place for a destination wedding, can’t wait!

  3. Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen says:

    You seem to always read my mind baking wise! I was dreaming of a pineapple cupcake yesterday and voila I check out your blog and I come across a perfect pina colada cupcake! 🙂 These look so beautiful and summer-y – LOVE!

  4. These look so fun and tropical, summer is coming : ) Woohoo!

  5. Laura (Tutti Dolci) says:

    Absolutely adorable cupcakes, love the coconut frosting!

  6. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says:

    These are so pretty Sally! I’ve never actually had pina colada (one of those childhood negative association things) but I think I need to try. I mean, I love all the ingredients. So I’d love them!

  7. Sydney Eliff says:

    I just discovered your blog and I l-o-v-e it!!! I will definitely be browsing through your recipes and making some fun things from now on!


  8. Jamie @ Sometimes Healthy Living Blog says:

    Oh my, these cupcakes literally have me daydreaming…about me, a beach, a chick lit novel, a margarita in one hand and this cupcake in the other hand!

    And the frosting alone is enough to make me swoon! I have used coconut extract in the past, but I always ended up using too much, and it didn’t taste very good. I’ll be sure to measure it out when baking these up 🙂

    1. It’s SO easy to accidentally go overboard on the coconut extract. It’s like mint extract – so, so powerful and can turn an amazing goodie into something awful. I need to find a good chick lit novel for our trip this month!

  9. To make sure you have the right amount of batter. .do u eye ball it and use a measure cup? Or do you use a cupcake scooper? Ive been looking on amazon and I saw a cpl cool ones! They had this set of 3 for jumbo…regular. .and mini from wilton. And then they had a steel scoop. ….?

    1. Hey Jennifer! I do not use a scoop for cupcakes; I use a large spoon and fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full. Usually this amount is around 1/4 cup of batter.

  10. Been following your website for a year now and love it. Bought your book too! Ironically reading about your piña colada cupcakes and Mexican vacation while at the valentin riveria resort in cancun!!! Couldn’t be better. Enjoy yourselves

    1. That is TOO funny, Carolyn! Have a great time in Cancun.

  11. suzie blair says:

    Sally, these cupcakes sound wonderful. I bought your book even though I am vegan. I loved the look of your book and thought that I would try to veganize some of my favorite recipes. I have seen that you do have some vegan offerings, so my question is do you think that I could sub flax seeds for the one egg in this recipe. Also, would you please make more vegan goodies. You are so good at what you do, I can only believe that anything you come up with would be stellar.

    1. Hi Suzie! Thank you so much for buying my cookbook, even though a majority of the recipes are not vegan. That means a TON to me. For these cupcakes – I’m going to assume the flax egg would work here. I’m taking note of your vegan request!! Thanks so much, let me know how these turn out.

  12. So I wake up craving cupcakes and I turn to my trusty sall’ys baking blog, to find there is no carrot cupcake recipe!!!!! too traditional? Please make it an upcoming post 😀

    1. Hi Maria! My favorite carrot cake cupcake recipe is in my cookbook, actually! http://www.amazon.com/Sallys-Baking-Addiction-Irresistible-Sweet-Tooth/dp/1937994341

  13. Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life says:

    Say what?
    Pineapple and coconut. In a cupcake.
    Um, can you deliver?

    1. Hahahaha Mary Frances your comments are always the best. Make me smile each time!

  14. These look so good, Sally! Love the flavors!!!

  15. Philip Friend says:

    Wow, what a wonderful idea for a cupcake. Gorgeous.

  16. Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

    Yum yum delish! Now all I need is a beach and I am set!

  17. Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugar says:

    So colorful and tropical mmm perfect for these warm months coming up!

  18. Marie from G says:

    Heaven, I´m in heaven!
    They are so delicious!
    I think I´m gonna freeze the rest of the juice and the coconut milk for the next pina colada cupcakes!

    1. Great idea, Marie! I’ll add that to the recipe notes because others will find freezing the leftover liquids helpful!

  19. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says:

    Yes please!! OMG!! This is my favorite drink and probably my new favorite cupcake!!

  20. Lisa @ Simple Pairings says:

    I’m so over the winter weather, too, Sally! Your cupcakes have cheered me up, for sure. Love pineapple in baked goods – the sweetness is so fresh and vibrant.

  21. Hi Sally! Love your blog! Everything I’ve made from it has been fabulous. If I were to double this recipe, do you think it would work as a 9″ round layer cake? 2 or 3 layers? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer! You don’t have to double this recipe for a cake in a 9-inch pan. It will fit just fine. About 30-35 minutes bake time. It will be quite tall – if you want to make a double layer cake, you’ll have to double the recipe and fill the cake pans only 2/3 of the way full and use leftover batter for cupcakes.

      1. Thanks so much for your quick reply! I really appreciate it. I’ve been making a cake for each of my co-workers’ birthdays and I think this one would be perfect for the next birthday girl! Thanks again!

  22. Hi Sally,
    Could only find imitation coconut extract help! Will that work, found everything else.

    1. That would be fine. Enjoy!

      1. Thank you. You’re the best and so are all your recipees. My family is going through a tough time and I bake something of yours almost everyday and it brings everyone to life. Baking has helped me ( sounds crazy ) but I’m sure you understand. I hope you become huge , there is beauty in simplicity and that is in all your recipees.

  23. I made these last night and they came out wonderful! When the first batch came out of the oven I knew I had to double up. One batch of batter made 16 cupcakes for me, and I was able to stretch one batch of the frosting to cover all 32 of the finished product. Your recipe is spot on, but I am a coconut fiend so my only change was to add about a half cup of shredded sweetened coconut to the batter to really get that flavor and texture. When I went to make the frosting I realized I was out of half and half so I used coconut milk instead and the result was creamy and perfect! You were right about using brown sugar in the batter–it was a lovely accompaniment to the pineapple flavor. I also roasted the pineapple slices with a little brown sugar and butter before garnishing the cupcakes to give them a caramelized flavor. Thanks so much for posting; this recipe is a keeper!

    1. Oh Shannon, your version of these cupcakes sounds incredible!! Roasting the pineapple for garnish is brilliant. I’m trying that next time! So happy you enjoyed them.

  24. Made these yesterday for Easter, what a big hit, thank you for a great recipe. I toasted coconut for the garnish, added sweetened coconut to the batter (just a handful), and a little extra coconut extract to the frosting. Will be making again for sure.

    I am though one of those people that only had cream of coconut on hand.. I doubled the recipe to make 24 cupcakes.. so I used 3/4 cup of the cream of coconut whisked with 1/4 cup water.. and had no problems at all. The cake was super moist and perfect.

  25. Thank you so so so much for this recipe, Sally! I turned it into pina colada muffins and they just blew my mind. Yet to try a recipe of yours that hasn’t turned out great 🙂

  26. These are awesome! I made them with gluten free flour and they turned out great. I was a little disappointed that the cupcake tasted more like a vanilla one though than like coconut or pineapple. I also added a lot more coconut extract to the icing.

  27. I made these today for Mother’s Day. They are A-MAZ-ING! I added some flaked coconut directly in with the frosting. A total hit!

    1. Yum! Now that sounds pretty good. Thanks for reporting back Karyn!

  28. Made these today and all I can say is WOW!!! Simply delicious. Thank you for sharing with all of us 🙂

  29. Hi Sally,
    Is it possible to make this into a three-layer 9-inch cake?

    1. Definitely. Double the recipe to fit into 3 9-inch cake pans. The layers will take about 25 minutes (give or take). Enjoy!

  30. Hi, this recipe is great.
    I just wanted to ask if you could you show the measuring cup?
    Please, it would be very helpfull.
    Have a good day!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally