How Many Sprinkles Do I Need? A Complete Cupcake Guide!

Today we’re back with part 2 of our series about covering your sweets with sprinkles to answer – How Many Sprinkles Do I Need For Cupcakes?

How many times have you started baking cupcakes only to realize you didn’t know exactly how much sprinkles you needed?  It’s happened way more times than we can count for sure!

We had such a great response from you guys about our cake post, we just knew we had to do a new post adapted to our favorite dessert! When we saw this question wasn’t answered anywhere on the internet, we just had to get on that!

Weight, volume, and different size bags or bottles can just be too much to decide. We’ve made it easy to pick your number per batch baked and your coverage to get your started! So easy. If you are making a sprinkle cake, check out the sister post answering the same question but for covering cakes instead.

We took so much time to plan out the details to give you this comprehensive, super detailed overview to cover all the questions we’ve been asked over the years. Check out our charts and how to below! No matter where you are getting yours from, we are glad we can help you figure out just how much you need. Enjoy!

How many sprinkles do i need for cupcakes? Here are different types of coverage for sprinkle cupcakes

How Many Sprinkles Do I Need For Cupcakes?

We know that when ordering sprinkles from the shop it can be hard to decide exactly how much you’ll need for your desserts. Especially with over 200 varieties in the shop and sizes from 4oz to 25lb bulk boxes (Yes, that’s what dreams are made of!). We know it can leave you scratching your head and just not sure where to start!

When it comes to covering cupcakes with sprinkles, we want to help you navigate just how much you’ll need so you won’t have too much extra, or worse not enough! 

Speaking of sprinkle mixes, how cute is our Birthday Cake mix featured in this post! It’s one of our favorites for sure and yours too.

Birthday cake sprinkles in white dish for dipping cupcakes

The Type of Sprinkles Matters

Just like in our cake post, we want to point out that sprinkle types do matter when if comes to covering cupcakes. Our sprinkle bags contain 4 ounces of sprinkles which is roughly 1/2 cup.

Sprinkles with a heavier density like nonpareils and sugar crystals take up way less room so you will need to err on the higher side for full coverage. These two types of sprinkles are much closer once you cover with them and take up less surface area. This really all just boils down to what look you are going for.

Jimmies and quins are bigger and cover way more but may leave a little buttercream popping through. It’s a look we love but you may not. The picture below shows this well and shows the different sprinkle coverage options side by side.

We’d love to hear your favorite! We are partial to the side dip and classic swirl frosting method but there’s always a special place in our heart for full coverage because, hello color!

How Many Sprinkles Do I Need To Cover Cupcakes? Frosted sprinkle cupcakes with sprinkle dish for covering cupcakes with sprinkles - how many sprinkles do i need to cover cupcakes?

Which Sprinkle Coverage Should I Choose?

Below we describe each method and the most common usage. Using the same strategy in our cake post we’ve laid out how many sprinkles you will need to cover cupcakes based on the amount of coverage for a dozen.

You will easily be able to multiply these numbers to get a close estimate of how many sprinkles you will need no matter how many you are baking. So whether it’s 12 cupcakes or 1200 cupcakes, our list below will help you calculate what you need.

And because we love a good visualization, we have a few images to demonstrate the amounts we have charted below. After all, how many sprinkles you need depends on how you decorate your cupcakes so we used our three favorite methods for the test!

Full coverage dipped sprinkle cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles on top

Dipped – Full Sprinkle Covered Cupcakes

  • For 12 cupcakes, you’ll need 4oz of sprinkles or 1 bag
  • For 24 cupcakes, you’ll need 8oz of sprinkles or 2 bags
  • For 36 cupcakes, you’ll need 12oz of sprinkles or 3 bags

This method is a complete dipping with almost no frosting peeking through at all. That’s right, when you’re covering cupcakes with sprinkles using this dipped method, and we mean covering.

For 12 cupcakes you will need 4 ounces of sprinkles or 1 bag using this full coverage decorating method. Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that. We sure didn’t. This method will lend itself to being the most colorful POP of coverage.

Swirl sprinkle cupcakes rolled in birthday cake sprinkles

Modern – Sprinkle Trimmed  Cupcakes

  • For 12 cupcakes, you’ll need 2.5oz of sprinkles or 1 bag
  • For 24 cupcakes, you’ll need 5oz of sprinkles or 2 bags
  • For 36 cupcakes, you’ll need 7.5oz of sprinkles or 2 bags

This the most modern of the three frosting methods. We love the look of sprinkle trimmed cupcakes! So simple to do yet they look so neat! Not only is this seen a ton on our cupcake tutorials here, it is a super trendy, modern coverage seen at lots of kids parties.

For this modern cupcake decorating style, you’ll only need 2.5 ounces of sprinkles for 12 cupcakes.

Side dipped swirl sprinkle cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles

Classic – Swirl Sprinkle Cupcakes

  • For 12 cupcakes, you’ll need 2.5oz of sprinkles or 1 bag
  • For 24 cupcakes, you’ll need 5oz of sprinkles or 2 bags
  • For 36 cupcakes, you’ll need 7.5oz of sprinkles or 2 bags

Although this swirl look is currently super trendy, we would consider this a standard sprinkle-to-frosting ratio! So if you’re going for a more traditional sprinkle coverage, this one is for you!

For 12 cupcakes you’ll need 2.5 ounces of sprinkles, or 1 bag for this classic swirl frosting method. Who would have thought that this style used the exact same amount as the border trim / sprinkle rim cupcake style above?

This is such an elegant look, super popular for wedding cupcake towers. This is our favorite cupcake frosting technique and the one we use most often. It adds a pop of color to your cupcakes table but keeps the elegant frosting swirls for any celebration.

covering cupcakes with sprinkles - how much do i need?

For all of these cupcake decorating styles, you’ll only need 4oz of sprinkles per 12 cupcakes!!

Yes, you read that right. We were so impressed how far a single bag of sprinkles went. What about you?

Now that you are a pro, be sure to check out the sugar selection and the cupcake liner selection of our site where you’ll be sure to find all the sprinkles you need, and so much more!

You may also want to head on over and check our cake covering post if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet so you won’t ever have to guess when sprinkle shopping again. Check out our Buttercream Frosting Recipe for the perfect icing for your gorgeous sweets!

So, now when someone asks you how many sprinkles do i need for cupcake decorating, you know the answer! They’ll be just as shocked as we were when we started experimenting.

Other FAQs on this topic

How much is 4 oz of sprinkles?

There is approximately a 1/2 cup of sprinkles by volume in a 4 oz bag of sprinkles. The reason we had to clarify volume is because actual ounces of weight is a whole different measurement.

If measured by weight, you will get WAY more quins as compared to WAY less in sugar crystals. That’s why you see different net weights on the same size of sprinkle bottles at the store. The density varies wildly.

Now that we got the scientific explanation out of the way, let’s continue…. There is 1/4 cup for 2 oz of sprinkles and there is 2 cups of sprinkles by volume in one of our 1 pound bags of bulk sprinkles.

Do sprinkles melt in the oven?

We get asked a lot if you can bake with our sprinkles. The answer is emphatically YES. While they could melt depending on the oven temperature and at some point the colors will bleed, the amount of time that cupcakes or even cookies bake in the oven is negligible.

It’s simply not enough time for our sprinkles to melt or bleed into your baked goods. We share lots of recipes on our blog and many of them show how they look after baking and they are just as perfect and bright as when they went in.

That’s why sprinkle quality matters, they are not all created equal. The smooth, coated, soft sprinkles tend to be the ones that bleed and melt in the oven when baking.

Will sprinkles melt on frosting?

Ooh, this is a good question. Sprinkles won’t melt on frosting but if exposed to extremely high humidity, the colors could very well start bleeding onto the cupcake frosting. Ever put fondant decorations in an airtight container? Yeah, disaster!

So, the answer is technically no. But we see behind this actual question and answer what we believe is meant. To us, it’s not a temperature question as much as it is a humidity one. We would know, Louisiana is hottttttttt.

If you loved this how many sprinkles do i need post, you’ll love our other posts!

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