These perfect Tres Leches Cupcakes are lightly soaked in a three milk mixture and topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. One of our favorite Mexican dessert recipes!

I’ve been asked for years to convert my popular Tres Leches Cake recipe into cupcakes and I finally made it happen, with the end result becoming a new favorite dessert recipe!  I’ve also converted my German Chocolate Cake into German Chocolate Cupcakes.

Tres Leches Cupcakes with whipped cream and a strawberry on top.

What I LOVE about this recipe:

  • Individual servings: These tres leches cupcakes make the perfect individually portioned dessert that’s lower calorie and people go crazy for!
  • No butter or oil:  I get asked all the time if this is a mistake (“where is the butter?”), but it’s not!  This recipe is not made with butter or oil. The light and airy texture comes from whipped egg whites, and the three milk mixture poured over the cupcakes adds the perfect sweetness.

How To Make Tres Leches Cupcakes:

1. Combine dry ingredients: In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. Separate the eggs placing the yolks and whites in two separate bowls. Add ¾ cup sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks and mix on high speed until the yolks are pale yellow. Add the ⅓ cup milk and vanilla and stir to combine.  Use electric beaters to beat the egg whites on high speed, gradually adding the remaining ¼ cup of sugar as you mix, beating until stiff peaks.

3. Combine and pour in muffin tins: Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Fold egg whites into the batter gently until combined. Divide batter evenly among muffin liners.

4. Bake at 350F for 12-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Four process photos for making the batter and baking Tres Leches Cupcakes.5. Poke holes in cupcakes.  Use a long toothpick or thin skewers to prick holes deeply all over each cupcake (but be careful not to poke through the cupcake liners).

6. Add Tres leches (three milks): Combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk in a small bowl. Slowly spoon 2 Tablespoons of the milk mixture over each cupcake.

Two process photos for poking holes and pouring three milk mixture over tres leches cupcakes.7. Refrigerate the cupcakes for at least 1 hour or overnight, to allow them to soak up the milk.

8. Top with cream and serve.  In the meantime, whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks. Spoon a little over the top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add fresh strawberry slices, if desired. Enjoy!

Tres Leches cupcakes topped with whipped cream and cinnamon, lined up on a baking tray.

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: Make the cupcakes 1-2 days in advance (making them up to step 8 of the recipe) and store them, covered, in the refrigerator. (Do not poke holes in them yet).

To freeze: Make cupcakes up to step 8 and allow them to cool completely.  Do not poke holes in them yet.  Store them in a freezer safe bag for 2-3 months.  Allow them to thaw completely, then poke holes and pour milk mixture over them.

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Recipe

Tres Leches Cupcakes with whipped cream and a strawberry on top.
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 1 hour 35 minutes
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Ingredients
 
 

For the whipped cream:

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with foil liners (don't use standard paper liners; the milk mixture will soak through).
  • In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Separate the eggs, placing the eggs in one bowl and the egg whites in another.
  • Add ¾ cup sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks and mix on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Add the ⅓ cup milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
  • Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir gently just until combined (don't over-mix).
  • Use electric beaters to beat the egg whites on high speed. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar as you mix and continue beating until stiff peaks.
  • Fold egg whites into the batter just until combined.
  • Divide batter among muffin liners. (I fill them ¾ full and am able to get about 22 cupcakes.)
  • Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  • Use a long toothpick or thin skewers to prick holes deeply all over each cupcake (being careful not to poke through the cupcake liners).
  • Combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk in a small bowl.
  • Slowly spoon 2 Tablespoons of the milk mixture over each cupcake.
  • Refrigerate the cupcakes for at least 1 hour or overnight, to allow them to soak up the milk.
  • Just before serving whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks. Spoon a little over the top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add fresh strawberry slices, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

To make ahead: Make the cupcakes 1-2 days in advance (making them up to step 8 of the recipe) and store them, covered, in the refrigerator. (Do not poke holes in them yet).
To freeze: Make cupcakes up to step 8 and allow them to cool completely.  Do not poke holes in them yet.  Store them in a freezer safe bag for 2-3 months.  Allow them to thaw completely, then poke holes and pour milk mixture over them.
Recipe adapted from Tres Leches Cake, from the Pioneer Woman.

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 5gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 93mgPotassium: 188mgFiber: 1gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 473IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 132mgIron: 1mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

4.99 from 136 votes (128 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Growing up abroad until I was 8 years old, and having tres leches cake every holiday, all I can add is to let the cupcakes soak the milk mixture overnight in the fridge! One hour is not long enough!

    Believe me as a kid I used to try to sneak in bites in the middle of the night before it was ready, and was always dissapointed. Let the milk do it’s job overnight, and you’ll see how moist these come out!

    And use a clean meat injector for the mixture, it works very well! Inject the mixture into the cupcake until you see the milk coming up around the edges.

  2. 3 stars
    Is there some secret to getting the milk mixture to go IN the cupcakes that I’m not aware of? My first attempt at these is lackluster so far because even though I poked plenty of holes and am pouring the milk slowly, the vast majority of the milk went straight down the sides of the cupcakes and made a HUGE, sticky mess. Far more milk went dribbling down the sides than actually went in and I’m worried it’s not going to turn out.

    1. You’re right that the milk will not immediately soak in to the cupcakes. That’s why you need foil liners. The milk will eventually soak up into the cake as it rests.

      1. I had the same problem and could only add a tsp at a time. It took me 45 min to divvy up the milk mixture onto 12 cupcakes! My husband suggested that I use a syringe to infuse the cupcakes. For the next 12, I did this and it worked really well! 15mL equals
        1 T.

        1. 5 stars
          I made these cupcakes as a dry run in lieu of the cake for taste testing purposes and practice for a friend’s upcoming wedding anniversary party. Everyone that has tried them so far has “absolutely loved them!” Their words! One of them asked a good question and wanted to know if the sugar could be replaced with Splenda? Will this change the consistency of the cake? Will it whip the same with the eggs? I wanted to make sure I could do this before I made the actual cake for the party. Thank you so much!

  3. 5 stars
    I had to make some adjustments to this recipe. I wasn’t a fan of the cupcakes. I would’ve rather it been a cake because it’s messy. The foil cupcake liners did help and it didn’t leak through but I would’ve preferred a cake.

    I LOVED how light and fluffy the cake was. I loved the tres leche mix. However the whipped cream was NOT sweet. I added more powdered sugar and vanilla and it was perfect!!

  4. I follow a few of your recipes and always get great compliments (coconut cake I made got my dad’s birthday 😊)
    I want to make a tres leches for my sister and happen to find this cupcake recipe for tres leches, Perfect! Can’t wait to bake them this weekend. (I’m also planning on using your peach cobbler recipe for my mom, she loves peach cobbler🥰) Thank you for your recipes!!

  5. Can you do mini cupcakes instead of standard size? Making them for an international presentation and making a ton of them.

  6. I am wondering if you could freeze the milk mixture in small containers when you freeze the cupcakes so you could take out just a couple cakes and a container of milk….cooking for 2 it would be nice for a special desert..

    1. Yes, or at least not cold, However, I do like to separate the eggs when they are cold, because the yolks and whites come apart easier.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Lauren
    Can I bake this cupcakes in to 4 ounce mason jars instead of liners i want it for a wedding what do you recommend ?

  8. 5 stars
    These might be the best thing I’ve ever tasted!!!! So amazing and I will be making these many many more times!!!! Thank you for sharing 😊

  9. Could you use the silicone muffin pans? Just to keep from accidentally poking a hole in the cupcake liner.

  10. If I’m bringing to a party, can I top with whipped cream and refrigerate until dessert time? It will hold its shape right?

    1. Do I need to use a specific kind of baking cups so they don’t stick? Like foil? Or what would you recommend me doing to ensure they don’t stick to the paper cups? Thank you!!

  11. 5 stars
    These were amazing!! Very light and airy but moist. Delicately sweet. The whole family devoured them. Thanks for sharing!

  12. 5 stars
    Hi Lauren
    If i make one day before to the party can leave overnight poke holes and pour milk mixture .
    Or i have to do this the same day to the party?
    Thanks

  13. 5 stars
    We loved this recipe. I added some dulce de leche in the middle of the cupcake and everyone loved them. I love all your recipes and my family enjoys eating them