These soft, sweet strawberry cupcakes packed with fresh chopped strawberries are topped with a silky smooth meringue buttercream loaded with fresh strawberry flavor. During peak strawberry season, these cupcakes are an absolute must!

A fresh strawberry cupcake topped with strawberry frosting without a wrapper on a pink counter with a piece of chopped strawberry.

When I first made these strawberry cupcakes, my husband proclaimed that this was the best cupcake I had ever made. That’s saying quite a bit, considering that the likes of chocolate salted caramel cupcakes, chocolate & peanut butter cupcakes, margarita cupcakes, and many more have graced my kitchen.

So what makes this cupcake so amazing? Two very important elements: An incredibly moist and light cake loaded with tons of chopped fresh strawberries and a strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream that is absolutely to die for!

Fresh, Frozen, or Freeze-Dried Strawberries?

When it comes to making strawberry cupcakes, there are a number of ways to get that delightfully sweet strawberry flavor into your cupcakes. Each different option provides a delightfully sweet addition; if you are thinking about adding strawberries to your baking, here are a few things to keep in mind with each one.

  • Fresh strawberries: I deeply believe when a recipe calls for fresh, fresh is best. It adds a better texture and appearance to the finished product.
  • Frozen strawberries: These work best when a dessert is going to be baked. You may need to adjust the baking time by increasing a few minutes since they will add additional moisture.
  • Freeze-dried strawberries: These are most often used to add a pink color and a strawberry flavor without adding additional moisture to a recipe. More often than not, when you are adding freeze-dried strawberries you will need to pulse them into a fine powder.

For this recipe, I use fresh strawberries. Especially when they are in season, there is truly no better option.

A white plate with a rim holding four strawberry cupcakes topped with fresh strawberries on a pink counter.

How to Make Strawberry Cupcakes

Ingredients You Will Need

  • Cake Flour: Cake flour helps give the cupcakes a tender, fluffy finish.
  • Baking Powder + Baking Soda: Gives the cupcakes rise while they bake.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter at room temperature in these cupcakes.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the batter.
  • Vanilla: Added flavor!
  • Eggs + Egg white: Adds a little structure and form to the cupcakes as they bake.
  • Whole Milk: Adds flavor and tenderness to the cupcake batter.
  • Strawberries: Fresh strawberries that have been washed and finely chopped add sweet juiciness to each bite.
Ingredients for strawberry cupcakes on a pink counter with purple labels.

Make the Strawberry Cupcakes

I love the reversed creaming method, which results in unbelievably moist and tender cupcakes. 

We start by preheating the oven and preparing a standard muffin tin with paper liners, then get into mixing the batter:

  • Sift the dry ingredients: I like using a fine-mesh sieve for sifting.
  • Mix in butter, milk & vanilla: The mixture will end up looking crumbly and thick.
  • Add in remaining milk, eggs, and sour cream: The batter will be luscious and creamy. Avoid overmixing; small little lumps are okay!
Side by side photos of a mixing bowl showing the different steps for strawberry cupcakes.
  • Fold in strawberries: Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the chopped strawberries by hand.
  • Bake the cupcakes: Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Cool the cupcakes: Transfer the pans to wire cooling racks and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn out the cupcakes onto the rack and let them cool completely before frosting.
A mixing bowl on the left with strawberry cupcake batter and a cupcake tin on the right with the strawberry cupcakes before baking.

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream

This strawberry meringue buttercream is fluffy, has a light-as-air texture, isn’t overly sweet, and completely melts in your mouth. Adding pureed fresh strawberries makes it the perfect complement to the strawberry-studded cake beneath. To whip up this buttercream frosting, you will need the following:

  • Strawberries: Fresh pureed strawberries give the frosting a delicate pink color and all the sweet strawberry flavor.
  • Eggs Whites: Lightly cooked and whipped with sugar, these egg whites give the frosting a silky smooth finish.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the frosting and helps whip the egg whites to soft peaks.
  • Butter: Adds flavor and structure to the buttercream.
  • Vanilla + Salt: Lots of flavor!
Ingredients for strawberry meringue frosting on a pink counter with purple labels.

Now that you have the ingredients, let’s whip up some frosting!

  • Prepare the strawberries: Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender then set aside.
  • Dissolve sugar in the eggs: Combine the egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
  • Whisk the egg mixture: Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing the speed to medium-high, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bow), about 10 minutes.
Side by side photos on making meringue butter cream frosting showing the egg whites and sugar cooking and beating to soft smooth peaks.
  • Add the butter: Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Mix well after each addition.
  • Flavor with strawberry puree: Add the strawberry puree and beat until combined and silky smooth. Stir the frosting with a rubber spatula until the frosting is smooth.
Step by step photos of adding the butter and strawberry to the strawberry meringue buttercream frosting.

Troubleshooting the Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I want to warn you that when you add the fresh strawberry puree to the buttercream mixture, it WILL look curdled (see the photo above). Just keep beating and be patient; it will transform into a gorgeous, silky smooth frosting.

If you still run into some problems, these are some of the most common issues people encounter when making Swiss meringue buttercream; let’s learn how to fix them:

  • No stiff peaks – In this case, prevention is the best medicine. When separating your eggs, be sure that not a single drop of egg yolk gets into your whites, or no matter how hard or how long you mix them, you just will not be able to achieve stiff peaks. If you’re sure that’s not the reason, pop the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and then try again. Usually, a cool-down can help.
  • Frosting runny or won’t thicken – This is always due to heat. Either the meringue was still too warm, the butter became too warm while sitting out, or the ambient temperature in your kitchen is on the warm side. To remedy this, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, then whip again for 3 to 4 minutes and it should become thick and luscious. Return to the refrigerator and whip again if necessary.
  • Frosting “breaks” or becomes curdled – To fix this, place the mixing bowl back over a saucepan of simmering water until you see the edges begin to melt. Place it back on the mixer with the whisk attachment, start on low speed, then gradually increase to medium-high and whip for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat as necessary.

Decorate the Cupcakes

If you are planning to frost the cupcakes the same day you make the frosting, keep the frosting at room temperature. To frost the cupcakes:

  • Use an offset spatula to frost the top. 
  • Fill a piping bag fitted with an Ateco #828 Open Star tip. Starting in the center, swirl around to frost the base, then move the tip inward and swirl a smaller layer, continuing up until the desired height.

Alternate Frostings

If you are looking for additional frosting options here are a few other frostings that would pair deliciously with these strawberry cupcakes!

A sliced cupcake showing the inside of the strawberry cupcake and frosting topped with a strawberry.

Storing, Freezing, Making Ahead

  • Storing unfrosted cupcakes: Store unfrosted cupcakes for up to 1 day in an airtight container.
  • Storing frosted cupcakes: Frosted cupcakes can also be stored for up to 1 day on the counter in an airtight container. They also can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  • Freezing: Freeze cupcakes for up to 2 months in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
  • Making ahead: Since they do not last longer than 3 days I would recommend freezing the cupcakes if you plan to make them in advance.
Strawberry cupcakes topped with fresh strawberries on a pink counter.

Adjusting the recipe

  • For Mini Strawberry Cupcakes: This recipe will make 24 mini cupcakes. Divide the batter between the wells of a mini muffin pan. Bake for 9-14 minutes. Check for doneness at 9 minutes by inserting a toothpick in the center. Add time as needed until cooked through. 
  • To Make into a Strawberry Cake: Double the recipe (see recipe notes) and bake in a 9×13-inch pan at 350 for 28 to 32 minutes. You can also divide the batter between two 9-inch cake pans. Begin checking for doneness around 18 minutes.
A strawberry cupcake with strawberry icing with a bite taken out on a pink counter.

Sweet Strawberry Recipes to Try Next

If you make these Strawberry Cupcakes and love them, remember to stop back and give the recipe a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

A square photo of a strawberry cupcake without a wrapper topped with strawberry meringue buttercream and a fresh strawberry.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream

These soft and sweet strawberry cupcakes are studded with fresh chopped strawberry and topped with a silky smooth strawberry meringue buttercream.
4.39 (73 ratings)


For the Cupcakes:

  • cups (343.75 g) cake flour
  • ¾ cup (450 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (1 tablespoon) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 teaspoon) salt
  • ½ cup (227 g) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (244 ml) whole milk, room temperature and divided
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 (3) egg, at room temperature
  • 1 egg white, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (288 g) finely chopped fresh strawberries

For the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream:

  • 8 ounces (216 g) fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 5 (4) egg whites
  • cups (250 g) granulated sugar
  • cups (340.5 g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
  • Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of the milk, the sour cream, the egg, and the egg white; set aside.
  • Beat the dry ingredients on low speed for 15 seconds to combine.
  • Add the butter, vanilla, and remaining ¼ cup of the milk. Mix on medium speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the wet ingredients in 3 additions, beating for 15 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for an additional 15 seconds. It’s okay if there are some lumps, do not overmix!
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chopped strawberries.
  • Divide the batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream: Place the strawberries in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Place the egg whites in a heatproof mixing bowl (the bowl of your stand mixer would be ideal, but another heatproof bowl will work). Fill a medium saucepan with 1 to 2 inches of water and place over medium-low heat for a slow simmer.
  • Add the sugar and whisk together. Place the bowl over the saucepan and whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. This can take anywhere from a few minutes up to 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl from the saucepan and place on your stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer if that’s all you have). Whip on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 to 15 minutes. (If you have stiff peaks but your bowl or the meringue is still warm to the touch, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to cool down before you add the butter.)
  • Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on medium-low speed while adding the butter one piece at a time, waiting for each piece to fully incorporate before adding the next.
  • Once all of the butter has been incorporated, add the vanilla extract and salt. Beat for 30 seconds, stop and scrape down the sides and bottom. With the mixer running, add the strawberry puree and continue to beat until incorporated and silky smooth. The frosting may separate and look curdled, but KEEP BEATING! It will come back together. Once it has all reincorporated, increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Pipe or slather the frosting on the top of the cupcakes.


  • Equipment: Standard muffin tin / paper liners
  • Doubling Recipe: If you plan to double this recipe, use ⅓ cup sour cream and 3 whole eggs, and double all of the remaining ingredients.
  • Mini Cupcakes: This recipe will make 24 mini cupcakes. Use a mini muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 9 to 14 minutes.
  • 9×13-inch Cake: This can be baked in a 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 28 to 32 minutes.
  • Layer Cake: Divide the batter between two 9-inch cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes.
  • Storing unfrosted cupcakes: Store unfrosted cupcakes for up to 1 day in an airtight container.
  • Storing frosted cupcakes: Frosted cupcakes can also be stored for up to 1 day on the counter in an airtight container. They also can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  • Freezing: Freeze cupcakes for up to 2 months in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
  • Making ahead: Since they do not last longer than 3 days I would recommend freezing the cupcakes if you plan to make them in advance.
  • Base cupcake recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Nutritional values are based on one serving
Calories: 260kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 51mg, Sodium: 87mg, Potassium: 97mg, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 450IU, Vitamin C: 8.7mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 0.6mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Photography by Dee Frances