The Best Homemade Twinkie Recipe

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Learn how to make this prized lunch box snack with our easy Twinkie recipe.

“You’re going to risk our lives for a Twinkie?” asks Columbus, played by Jesse Eisenberg, in the movie Zombieland. Luckily, the zombie apocalypse isn’t yet upon us, so there’s no need to rush out and snag an emergency box of Twinkies.

However, it’s always good to be prepared (in case the zombies ever come knocking), so I created this homemade Hostess Twinkie recipe. (You know…for survival purposes.)

What’s in a Twinkie?

Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

What makes a Twinkie special? It begins with an ultra-moist vanilla sponge cake baked in an eclair-shaped pan. It’s springy, tender and loaded with rich vanilla flavor. Some would argue that the Twinkie cake is simply a vessel for the vanilla cream filling.

Twinkie filling is somewhat of a mystery. It’s not exactly a whipped cream, it’s too light to be straight marshmallow fluff and it isn’t quite sweet or dense enough to be buttercream frosting. For a homemade version of the filling, you’ll need a careful blend of these components.

See what the Twinkies packaging used to look like.

How to Make Twinkies at Home

This recipe makes eight homemade Twinkies.

Ingredients

Vanilla Sponge

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tools You’ll Need

  • Twinkie Pan: Did you know there is an official Twinkie pan available to purchase? We didn’t either! This one has a nonstick surface, making it a breeze to remove the Twinkies cleanly from the pan after baking.
  • Filling Injector: The filling isn’t going to hop into the Twinkies itself. A simple, affordable cupcake injector makes filling Twinkies fast and easy. A simple kit of piping bags and round pastry tips will also do the job.
  • Stand Mixer: This KitchenAid stand mixer is a must for baking projects.

Editor’s tip: Baking on a whim and don’t have an injector or pastry bags? You can fill the Twinkies with a Ziploc bag instead.

Directions

Step 1: Mix cake batter

Preheat the oven to 325°F with the rack in the center position.

Mix cake batter Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the eggs, vanilla and sugar until foamy; about 3-4 minutes. Next, add the oil, mix to combine and then add the dry ingredients.

Mix cake batter Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Gently stir until moistened. Then, add the milk. Mix until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain.

Step 2: Bake

Bake Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Grease your pan and fill each depression a little more than halfway full with batter. Tap the pan gently on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles from the cake batter. Then, bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges of each Twinkie begin to turn slightly golden.

Bake Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Step 3: Remove and cool

Remove and cool Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Remove from oven and immediately run a knife around each Twinkie cake. Then, flip the pan over onto a wire cooling rack. Gently lift the pan from the Twinkies and remove. Removing promptly will help the bottom of the Twinkies flatten as they cool.

Remove and cool Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Let cool completely.

Step 4: Mix filling

Mix filling Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

While the Twinkies cool, combine the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir until everything is blended evenly together and then transfer to a filling injector or a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.

Step 5: Fill with cream

Fill with cream Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Insert the pastry tip into the Twinkie cake from the bottom, starting at one end and injecting the filling until the cake begins to bulge slightly. Remove the tip and inject the cake two more times from the bottom—once toward the middle and again at the opposite end. When finished, you should have three small holes brimming with filling on the bottom of each Twinkie. Serve and enjoy.

Fill with cream Homemade Twinkies recipeLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Editor’s tip: When filling the Twinkies, you want to insert the pastry tip deep into the Twinkie—almost to the point of thinking it might poke through the other side. This will help ensure you’re able to generously fill each cake without skimping on the good stuff.

How to Store Twinkies

Later in Zombieland, Woody Harrelson’s character, Tallahassee, goes on to say, “Believe it or not, Twinkies do have an expiration date.” While store-bought Twinkies won’t expire for several months, homemade Twinkies will stay fresh for up to five days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Editor’s tip: In testing, we found that the Twinkies actually tasted best 1-2 days after making them. The filling permeates the inside of the cake as they sit and makes the vanilla sponge even more tender and delicious. Pop a day-old Twinkie in your old-school lunch box for maximum nostalgia!

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.