How Long Does it Take for Cupcakes to Cool

Who doesn’t love to eat cupcakes? These adorable, bite-sized treats are loaded with an abundance of flavor in a perfectly moist tiny cake topped with indulgent frosting. But baking them can be a little tricky, especially when it comes to cooling them.

Cupcakes need to cool for five to ten minutes inside the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack for 30-90 minutes. Honestly, though, the longer you wait, the better. After all, trying to frost warm cupcakes will leave you with a melted, unappealing mess.

Hey, hey, hey! I’m Michelle, a cupcake enthusiast, and baking adventurer. I’ve been baking since I was 13 and have enjoyed every step of the process. 

To this day, one of my favorite things to bake is cupcakes. There’s truly nothing more charming than a cupcake, especially mini cupcakes

Today, we’re discussing how long it really takes for cupcakes to cool (and why it’s oh, so important).

How Long Do Cupcakes Take to Cool?

Cooling cupcakes is a two-part process

First, cupcakes should be left to cool down in the pan they were baked in for around five to ten minutes. 

Then, they are transferred to a wire rack to finish cooling. This will take anywhere from 30-90 minutes, depending on your environment and where they’re cooled. For example, cupcakes can cool down in as little as 15 minutes in the freezer.

That said, cupcakes take anywhere from 35 to 100 minutes to cool thoroughly. But the longer they’re left to cool, the better. But why?

Why You Need to Cool Cupcakes

There are two main reasons you need to cool your cupcakes.

For one, trying to frost a warm cupcake leads to an evident disaster. Once the frosting makes contact with the warm mini cake, it will melt. Not only will this ruin your decoration, but it will leave you with quite a mess. So you must cool your cupcakes before frosting them.

Secondly, a warm cupcake is going to be quite crumbly. Whether you’re trying to decorate it or eat it as-is, it will be a struggle. You will likely end up with half of the cupcake scattered around the floor, leaving you with yet another mess to clean up. No, thanks!

That said, it’s best always to let your cupcakes cool for the recommended time (or longer).

2 Ways to Cool Cupcakes

Okay, so now you know how important it is to cool your cupcakes. But what’s the “right” way to go about it? Should you leave them inside the pan or move them onto a wire rack? Here’s how to do it correctly:

1. Leave Them in the Pan for 5-10 Minutes

Don’t try to maneuver your cupcakes the moment you take them out of the pan. Freshly baked, piping hotcakes are difficult to move and might get ruined if you try to move them too soon. It’s best to wait at least five minutes before transporting.

Your cupcakes should not stay in the hot pan, though. If left in the pan, the cupcakes will continue to bake, quickly leading to dried-out, unappetizing mini cakes. You will need to move them to a wire rack.

2. Transfer to a Wire Rack for 30-90 Minutes

The next step is to move your cupcakes to a wire rack. This can be done by hand. If your cupcakes are stuck to the pan, you can use a rubber spatula or knife to gently scrape around the borders, setting your cupcakes free.

Place the cupcakes on the wire rack and let them cool at room temperature, in the fridge or the freezer. The freezer will be the fastest way to cool your cupcakes, while room temp will take the longest, especially if you live in a warmer climate. 

Space the cupcakes, so they’re not touching. After all, the whole purpose of the wire rack is to allow for air circulation. If they’re connected to each other, you will block the critical airflow.

Don’t have a wire rack? Don’t panic. While you will get the best results from a wire rack (and I highly recommend purchasing one for the future), you can use any plate or baking sheet.

The key is to use a room-temperature surface. While it won’t allow for complete air circulation or speed up the cooling process like a wire rack, it will halt further baking that will otherwise dry out your mini cakes. 


Cupcakes need about an hour to cool completely. Want to learn more? Check out these frequently asked questions.

How long do cupcakes take to cool before icing?

Cupcakes need 30-90 minutes before they’re iced. But honestly, I’d wait a little longer. I think 60 minutes should be the minimum. It’s better to be on the safe side. Icing is quite delicate and will melt in the presence of heat, even if it’s lukewarm.

How do you cool cupcakes quickly?

Don’t want to wait seemingly forever for your cupcakes to cool? You can always place them inside the fridge or freezer! Just make sure you wait for the initial five to ten minutes before transferring them to your wire rack (or another surface).

How long does it take for refrigerated cupcakes to become room temperature?

Have you left your cupcakes in the fridge a little too long? Need them to come to room temperature before frosting or eating? No worries! Cupcakes will come to room temp quickly after being refrigerated, typically only requiring around ten minutes before they’re ready.

Can I put the cupcakes in the fridge to cool?

You certainly can! If you cool cupcakes in the fridge, it should only take about 20-30 minutes. If you opt for the freezer, you will wait even less time. Most cupcakes will cool in the freezer in as little as 15 minutes. Yay!

Final Words

Cupcakes must be cooled for 5-10 minutes in their baking pan before being moved onto a wire rack or other surfaces such as a plate or baking sheet. Then, they should be cooled for at least 30-90 minutes before attempting to decorate or consume. The longer, the better, though, so be patient!

How long do your cupcakes take to cool? Do you cool them on your kitchen countertop or place them in the fridge or freezer? Share all of your thoughts with us!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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