Wow, I feel like we just started this school year and now, here I am getting graduation invitations and planning graduation gifts to celebrate. Thanks to the vaccinations, our friends are finally ready to throw some small, outdoor graduation celebrations to recognize their kids’ accomplishments, and in my book, that calls for graduation treats!

Seriously, if anyone deserves to be celebrated, it’s those kids who have made it through high school in a pandemic — or middle school, or elementary, frankly.

2021 graduate cupcake wrappers for homemade -- or semi homemade -- graduation treats! | JessicaJCreates on Etsy

Cute 2021 graduation cupcake wrappers from JessicaJCreates on Etsy

So, bakers, get your rolling pins out. And for those of you who prefer those semi-homemade dessert recipes, I have some clever hacks to help you to make these adorable graduation treats, too. In fact, any cupcake at all would be fantastic if you pop it into a special graduation themed cupcake wrapper,a nd there are a ton from shops on Etsy.

Who knows, maybe one day you’ll graduate to fully homemade! Ha.

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Related: 7 special graduation party ideas to safely celebrate during COVID


5 fun graduation treats, from easy to whoa

Graduation Treats: Graduation cap cupcakes

Graduation treats: Graduation cap cupcakes at In Katrina's Kitchen

These graduation cap cupcakes at In Katrina’s Kitchen are a variation on the cap-cupcake theme that you’ll see a few times here, but I have to admit that using a snack-cake bottom with a cookie mortarboard on top looks extra delicious to me. And not hard! I’d even choose an m&m and tassel in our school’s colors for a more festive look.


Graduation Treats: Diploma cupcakes

Graduation treats: Diploma cupcakes at Cake Whiz

Are you a fan of fondant? Then you’ll love these homemade diploma cupcakes at Cake Whiz, which are so festive and impressive, but I don’t think they’ll take you the entire day to perfect.

In fact, even if you aren’t a confident baker, you can buy store-bought cupcakes then top them yourself following Abeer’s instructions for rolling the fondant into tiny diplomas. Time-saving hack, whoo!

If you love this idea, I found this massive fondant decorating tool set for under $20, on sale on Amazon. Good excuse to grab it! And of course, you can find plenty of goodies from Wilton if you’re into cake and cupcake decorating, or any kind of candy making.


Graduation Treats: Grad year pretzel pops

Graduation treats: Pretzel pops at Hungry Happenings

As you can tell from the date on these pretzel pop graduation treats at Hungry Happenings, these are a time-tested favorite treat. Hey, what else holds up so well after 8 years? (Ha.) The 2-ingredient modeling chocolate mortarboards are the most complex part, but you could save some time by using store-bought chocolate numbers and mortarboards instead of making them from scratch.

Or, just skip the mortarboards and go with the decorated, chocolate-dipped candy sticks in your school colors. Our kids would still gobble them up!

Related: 17 great high school graduation gift ideas kids actually want, besides cash

Graduation Treats: Mortarboard cupcake toppers

Graduation treats: Mortarboard cupcakes at She Knows

These festive mortarboard cupcake toppers at She Knows are a really impressive, but deceptively easy semi-homemade baking craft that can upgrade any store-bought baked goods. Honestly, I think they’re cute enough to serve on their own as a party treat.

The best part is that they’re all made from candy you can buy affordably in bulk, or find them right at the grocery aisle. No need to make a special trip to some fancy baking shops for supplies.

Graduation Treats: A candy tube craft. No baking at all!

Graduation treats: Candy mortarboard tubes at No Biggie

If you’re still being really diligent about individually packaged graduation treats — I get it! — then these graduation treat candy tubes from Tiffany Nelson of Paper and Pleats, shared on No Biggie, are a fun sweet to add to your snack table. Tiffany has filled plastic tubes with chocolate gum balls, but you could also grab a larger tube to fill with mini brownies or macarons for a more dessert-y feel.