Your friends won't believe it when you make them a batch of grilled cupcakes. They're just as easy as baking them in the oven, but so much more fun for the summer.
4.29 from 7 votes
red white and blue cupcake on a grill grate

By Christie Vanover | Published June 28, 2016 | Last Updated June 27, 2018

This simple grill hack makes baking on a grill possible. Your friends won’t believe it when you bake them a batch of grilled cupcakes.

Grilled Cupcakes

Your grill is essentially the same thing as an oven. It has a heat source; it has a cooking area and it can be completely enclosed.

With all those similarities you’d think you’d be able to easily bake cupcakes or cookies on the grill, but there is one main difference that makes that a little tricky.

In the oven, your heat source is on top, and you control where you place your oven rack, so the food is not super close to the heat. On a grill, the heat source is on the bottom, and your shelf isn’t adjustable, so the bottom of any baked good can burn before the baked good is cooked through.

Here’s where the hack comes in.

Preheat Your Outdoor Oven – AKA Grill

Preheat your grill temperature to match the oven temperature called for in the baking recipe. On a gas grill, medium usually registers about 350F degrees and medium-high is usually around 425F degrees. If you have 3-4 burners, consider turning the center burner(s) off and only using the side burners. This will reduce the direct heat under the baking sheet.

If you’re using a charcoal grill, you’ll have to adjust the vents on the top or bottom to find the right zone. I also recommend, pushing the coals to one side and baking over indirect heat (the side without charcoal). It’s a little more effort, but baking over charcoal can add a surprising smoky twist to rolls and breads.

Make Your Grill Grate Adjustable

All you need is a pie tin or metal pan. You can even use a veggie grill basket flipped upside down.

rolls baking on a grill with a pan resting on a veggie basket

Place that directly on the grill grate, and then place your cookie sheet or muffin tin on top of that. Voilà! You’ve just made your grill grate adjustable, distancing the bottom of the pan from the heat.

Now that you’ve expanded your baking repertoire, let’s get grilling.

The Last Cake Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Below are my go-to cake batter and icing recipes. I’ve used them for decades for birthdays and weddings, and they always gets rave reviews. The recipe calls for boxed cake mix, but it’s super moist, because I add extra eggs and a box of pudding mix.

You can use any flavor cake mix. If you choose a flavor other than white or vanilla, try using a complementary flavor pudding. For instance, lemon pudding goes great with lemon cake, and chocolate pudding goes great with chocolate cake. Butterscotch pudding is a rich addition to spice cake.

When I bake/grill red velvet or spice cake, I usually use cream cheese frosting. Buttercream is my favorite for everything else. Sometimes, I add a splash of lemon extract or almond extract instead of vanilla.

Grilling cupcakes is just as easy as baking them in the oven, but they’re so much more fun for the summer.

red white and blue cupcake on a grill grate

Grilled Cupcakes

Your friends won't believe it when you make them a batch of grilled cupcakes. They're just as easy as baking them in the oven, but so much more fun for the summer.
4.29 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 20



  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 oz box sugar-free instant vanilla pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water

Buttercream Icing

  • 1 stick Crisco shortening
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8 ozs cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk


  • Heat the grill to 400F degrees with an area of indirect heat. For my gas grill, I turn 2 the two outside burners to medium and leave the two inner burners off.
  • Mix the cake batter ingredients in a large bowl. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Add cake batter to the liners, filling 3/4 of the way full.
  • Place a pie tin on the grill over the indirect heat. Place the cupcake pan on top of the pie tin, so it's elevated.
  • Close the lid, and grill for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and grill for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the grill and let cool.
  • Mix together the icing ingredients, and pipe the icing onto the cupcakes.


Calories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 236mgPotassium: 29mgSugar: 33gVitamin A: 50IUCalcium: 59mgIron: 0.6mg
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