Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes

Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes

Santa’s yummy reindeer!

These cute Christmas reindeer cupcakes are extremely chocolatey, flavorful, and perfect for a holiday baking project! Have fun decorating these little Christmas treats with reindeer’s favorite foods: pretzels, M&M’s, and peanut butter. Yum!

My Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

The cupcake’s batter is an easy, mega-moist chocolate cupcake recipe. I love topping my chocolate cupcakes with a smooth chocolate ganache because it tastes fantastic and is a breeze. For decorating, I think it’s fun to use hard mini pretzels for reindeer antlers, candy eyes, and M&M’s for reindeer noses. You may use Nilla wafers instead of peanut butter as a side note.

Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes – Ingredients and Tips

To make these Christmas reindeer cupcakes, all you need is the following:

  1. Cocoa Powder: Use unsweetened cocoa powder for an ultimate chocolate flavor! While most bakers use Dutch-processed baking cocoa, I prefer Nestle Toll House 100% Cocoa Powder for its deep chocolate flavor. That is, use whichever you like and what you have available!

  2. Hot Coffe: I love using freshly brewed coffee for all my chocolate cake recipes! While you can’t taste it, coffee blends beautifully with cocoa powder, creating the most intense flavor. With that in mind, please feel free to substitute boiling or a decaf version if you are worried about caffeine.

  3. Whole Milk: is usually the professional standard for baked goods because it includes all the fat needed for a creamy, moist cake! However, if whole Milk is unavailable, you may use buttermilk instead.

  4. Canola or Vegetable Oil: produce a moister cake than butter! In my experience, I believe that chocolate cakes made with vegetable or canola oil stay moist and tender much longer than cakes made with butter.

  5. Peanut Butter: is optional! However, this little touch adds a nice flavor to the chocolate cupcake and ganache, especially when paired with an M&M!

  6. Other Baking Staples: all-purpose flour, baking soda, sugar, eggs, chocolate chips, heavy cream, and vanilla extract are necessary for this recipe. Moreover, just a bit of salt goes a long way to balance and bring out the intensity of chocolate; therefore, please do not skip the salt!

  7. Decorating Ingredients: this part is a lot of fun! Enjoy breaking mini hard pretzels to make reindeer antlers and adding candy eyes. To finish it, pipe some peanut butter frosting and top it with an M&M to make reindeer noses! Bon appétit!

Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes

Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes

Laila Benjelloun Bailey
These super-duper cute reindeer cupcakes are extremely chocolatey, flavorful, and perfect for a holiday baking project! Have fun decorating these little Christmas treats with reindeer's favorite foods: pretzels, M&M's, and peanut butter. Yum!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Inactive Time 10 minutes
Total Time 48 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 cupcakes


  • a muffin/cupcake pan
  • muffin/cupcake liners
  • a hand or stand mixer


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup hot, freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1/4 cup creamy low-sugar peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (or as needed)

Decorating Ingredients

  • Red and Brown M&M's
  • Candy eyes
  • Mini hard pretzels (broken in halves to make antlers)


Make the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners and set it aside.
  • Whisk the flour, salt, baking cocoa, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set it aside.
  • In a separate, large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar. Gradually add oil and whisk until it's all combined. Add the milk and vanilla extract, gently whisking with every addition. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk until it's all combined. Finally, gently whisk the hot coffee until the batter gets smooth and runny.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin pan, filling the liners only halfway. (about 2 Tbsp each liner). You may have some batter left; keep it aside. Bake in the middle rack for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter until it's all done. Finally, allow an additional 20-30 minutes of cooling; the cakes should be at room temperature before decorating.

Make the Chocolate Ganache

  • Bring the heavy whipping cream to a gentle boil and pour it over the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Set it aside for a couple of minutes. Whisk the two ingredients until it's all combined. Next, add the softened butter and whisk until your ganache becomes homogenous.
  • Immediately dip the top of your cupcakes into the ganache. Add the mini pretzels and the candy eyes, and set them aside to harden. Meanwhile, prepare the peanut butter frosting (if using). Do not refrigerate your cupcakes.

Make the Peanut Butter Frosting (optional)

  • Mix all the ingredients using an electric mixer, and beat until smooth and creamy. Pipe a small dollop onto the cupcake using a piping bag and place an M&M over the top to make a reindeer nose. I like using red for Rudolph and brown for the remaining reindeer. You may use Nilla wafers instead of peanut butter frosting as an alternative option. Et voila! Enjoy!
Keyword chocolate reindeer cupcakes, christmas chocolate cupcakes, christmas cupcakes, reindeer cupcakes, rudolph cupcakes

Looking for more Christmas treats? Check these cute hot cocoa cupcakes out!
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream
These hot cocoa cupcakes are so fluffy, mega moist, and too darn cute! They are filled with a decadent chocolate ganache filling, a smooth marshmallow buttercream frosting, and decorated with a peppermint candy cane handle for a beautiful holiday treat!
Check out this recipe
Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

Did you make these Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes? Tag @petitapron on Instagram so we can find you!

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