Homemade Twinkies

 Growing up, and as an adult, there are foods that I absolutely adore and that have virtually no nutritional value, but taste amazing and that I can polish off in record time.  Twinkies are one of them.

Others include: Girl Scout Thin Mints, Girl Scout Samoas Cookies, Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies, Hostess Chery Pies, Dairy Queen Heath Bar Blizzards.  Shall I continue?

Twinkies and their spongy, yellow cakey goodness, their ability to stay fresh while wrapped in cellophane for years and years, are just amazing little logs of preservatives.

And that marshmallow fluffy filling.  It’s so sweet and smooth; airy yet oddly dense.  I wish I could figure out how the Hostess people make it or at the very least, I wish I could hook up an IV drip and mainline it.

When making the homemade Twinkies, I was tempted to let them bake completely and then inject them at the end with marshmallow fluff from a pastry bag using a wide-tipped pastry tip in an effort to recreate the Hostess fluffy marshmallow filling.  However, that sounded like a lot of work, messy, and worst of all, there would be Fluff stuck to the inside of a pastry bag and wasted.  I wouldn’t want to waste a drop of that precious nectar HFCS.

Strategically placing a few marshmallows down the center of each Twinkie, halfway through the baking period, seemed much more realistic for my ambition level.  As long as I was unnecessarily reinventing the wheel, I thought I’d make it as easy on myself as possible, and I just stuck with whole marshmallows, dropped in.

Homemade Twinkies, anyone?



Homemade Twinkies (with Gluten Free Suggestion)

Makes 1 dozen

1 cup of yellow cake mix

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup vanilla or plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons white sugar, optional and to taste (the batter was a tiny bit tart after adding the Greek yogurt; taste your batter and add a bit of sugar as desired)

1 cup mini-marshmallows, reserved

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray Twinkie pan with cooking spray extremely well (I used this Chicago Metallic silicone metallic dessert bar pan that I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond or order online, or try this Norpro Canoe Pan), or make the Twinkies as muffins in a 12-cavity muffin pan and either use liners or spray extremely well with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, except marshmallows, and stir by hand until smooth. The batter will be fairly thick (thicker than brownie batter or cake batter, not as thick as cookie dough) and fill each cavity half-way full with batter. I did this by taking my time and doing it with a spoon rather than bothering with a pastry bag. Do not fill the cavities more than halfway full (if making as muffins, fill only halfwa); do not overfill.

Place Twinkie pan on a cookie sheet for stability, and bake for 7 minutes, or until the surface of the Twinkies (or muffins) appears to be just setting up. If the surface has not begun to set up, cook for 1 or 2 more minutes until it has. Remove Twinkies from the oven, add 8 to 10 mini-marshmallows to each Twinkie, by lightly and carefully pressing the marshmallows into the barely-set surfaces with your fingers or by very lightly tapping them down with a fork. Return the Twinkies to the oven and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until they have risen, marshmallows have begun to barely melt, and a toothpick comes out clean from the cake part. Do not overbake as they will continue to firm up while cooling. Allow the Twinkies to cool completely and extremely well in their pan before attempting to remove them. The tops may fall and the marshmallows may fall a bit, that’s okay. Serve upon cooling and store extras in an airtight container on the countertop for up to one week or wrap them individually in plasticwrap for storage, snacks, or lunch boxes.

Tip: Don’t try to flip the pan over and invert to remove the finished Twinkies. Instead, take your finger and push up on the underside of the silicone pan to help loosen them. After my Twinkies were completely cooled, they popped out very easily using this method and none of the marshmallow on the tops was marred or wasted.

Notes: I used Greek yogurt which is thicker than regular yogurt and I don’t know how regular yogurt will work. I don’t know if soy or coconut milk yogurt will work either, since the dairy protein in cow’s milk-based yogurt likely had an effect on the finished product (same principle that pudding will not set up using soy milk and “real” cow’s milk is required); therefore I cannot confidently make suggestions for a vegan version but feel free to experiment.

You could try this with a gluten-free cake mix, and I suspect you will have good results, but I have not experimented. Take care to make sure the marshmallows are gluten-free if attempting to keep the recipe gluten free.

If making as muffins, I’d suspect the muffins would be done after approximately 18-20 minutes total, and about 9-10 minutes into baking, add the marshmallows, and complete baking them.


Gather your ingredients, all five of them, and mix the batter with a spoon in a bowl.  You don’t need to dirty a mixer for this.

Spoon it carefully into your Twinkie pan which was $14.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond.  The intended usage is for biscotti but when I saw it I had Twinkies on the brain.  I also plan to use it for Rice Krispies Treats bars, No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars, other bar and candy-making projects.  You could also use a muffin tin.

Do not overfill the cavities; filling no more than halfway full.  I repeat, no more than halfway full, because 1. the batter will expand quite a bit and 2. after inserting the marshmallows, the “water level rises” dramatically, so to speak.

Halfway through the baking process, after about 7 minutes, I carefully placed 8 to 10 marshmallows in each cavity, lightly tapping them down, and then baked for another 8 minutes.

Are these a dead ringer for Twinkies? No, not a dead ringer. Are they pretty flippin’ close?  Yes.  For a five-ingredient recipe, with no added butter or oil and a mere two optional tablespoons of added sugar, they’re really close to Twinkies.  And dare I say “healthier” than Twinkies, although that was not my intention when I embarked on this project.

I embarked on the project as a “just because”.  Just because I wanted to reinvent the wheel just to see how close I could get to factory-made Twinkies at home because I like a good kitchen challenge.

And truth be told, I wanted to surprise Skylar with these for her fifth birthday!

Scott got homemade Ho-Ho’s for his birthday.  Skylar got homemade Twinkies.  Maybe I’ll make some Ding Dong’s for mine since knockoff Hostess products on birthdays has been a trend this year.

The yogurt kept them very moist and spongy, and I suspect, that’s also what gave them a bit of a dimpled appearance.  I’m sure there are ways to make these much more authentic-tasting, or professional-looking, but at that point, just go buy a box of Twinkies.

One-half dozen were inhaled seconds after the photos were completed and the other half got wrapped in plasticwrap and tossed into lunches.

For something that will definitely be a conversation piece at the dinner table or at a birthday party, make these.

For a It’s a Tuesday night and I’m going to have a party in my mouth party, make these.

They’re a 20 minute project, start to finish, and only dirty one bowl.

I love that almost as much as I love Twinkies.

Do you like Twinkies?  Any childhood favorites that you loved then, or maybe still love now, completely devoid of nutrition but completely full of happy memories?

Have you re-created any store bought favorites at home?

I’ve done plenty…

Raw Vegan Girl Scout “Thin Mint”-Inspired Fudge

Krispy Kreme Donuts

Samoas Bars (Vegan & GF options)

Butterfinger Bars (No Bake, Vegan & GF options)

Ritz Cracker Stuffed Peanut Butter Cups (No Bake)

Have a great week!


76 Responses to “Homemade Twinkies”

  1. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — February 5, 2012 at 11:49 am (#

    I love your creativity (especially using greek yogurt) – I’m sure Scott and Skylar appreciate it even more! :)

  2. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — February 5, 2012 at 11:51 am (#

    If you could do a homemade Yodel, I will forever be in your debt ;)

  3. Angela / Canned Time — February 5, 2012 at 11:52 am (#

    These Twinkies look so good. My sugar splurge is the 2 chocolate Hostess cupcakes though. With a bag of Lays potato chips. Nothing makes me feel more self indulgent than that on a bad day. I love the pan and will have to look for that one. Marshmallows on to make them even look prettier than the real thing. Great idea!

  4. Katie @ Raisins&Apples — February 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm (#

    Those really look so much better than actual Twinkies! and I want to eat one…now.

  5. Maureen — February 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm (#

    I have avoided Twinkies for years!! Now, I think I may have to indulge more often!

  6. Emily (Edible Psychology) — February 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm (#

    Very impressive! And I love that there are so few ingredients and only one bowl. I love baking, but sometimes you just want a quick throw-together recipe rather than an all-day project. This sounds like a total winner!

    Hope Skylar had a wonderful birthday. I’m sure the homemade twinkies helped!


  7. Aylin @ Glow Kitchen — February 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm (#

    Those twinkies look so good–they have the “light at the end of the tunnel” glow.

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm (#

      There’s one picture with that “glow” that I just wanted to bite it’s little Twinkie butt right off because it had such a nice little glow (2nd shot in the post). Lol

  8. Paula — February 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm (#

    I have young nieces and nephews who would love these…and I know plenty of adults who would too!! Great re-creation of a classic! My favorite treats I remember trying as a kid are Girl Scout cookies and butterfingers.

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm (#

      They’re easy and just make em in a muffin tin (with liners!) if you want to impress them and no twinkie pan.

  9. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — February 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm (#

    I have actually never had a Twinkie! Yours look much better than the ones I have seen in the stores.

  10. Heather (Where's the Beach) — February 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm (#

    Love the simplicity factor. Good call on that. I know I mentioned before, I preferred the vanilla zingers – but it was mostly for the icing LOL.

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm (#

      I actually made icing while these were baking and was going to use it but then decided it was overkill…and have been eating the icing…on other things :)

  11. Katie — February 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm (#

    I was actually not a huge twinkie fan. But, swiss cake rolls, those peanut butter bars (what were they called?!?), ding dongs and hohos for sure. I also didn’t like the oatmeal creme cakes.

    These though, look AWESOME and are making me wish I had some yellow cake mix right now. one bowl is the only way I roll.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE listen to this. Do it while you are baking. It is hysterical. It is Micheal Pollen on Wiat Wait Don’t Tell Me and he’s ripping on Ring Dings. Paula Poundstone chews him a new one. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128417647

  12. kyleen — February 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm (#

    I’m not going to lie, I’ve never tried twinkies… I blame it on my mom :D But after looking at these little morsels of deliciousness, I think I’ll just make myself some twinkies and avoid the preservatives. These look so yummy!

  13. Marina@cowboycountryvegetarian — February 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm (#

    I love the color of those twinkies. Really, for a gray day like we have today it’s a little sunshine for my heart. Great post!

  14. Ellen — February 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm (#

    I vaguely remember liking Hostess stuff when I was a kid but when I went vegetarian they became a no-no…same with marshmallows:( if anyone knows of vegetarian marshmallows that are good that would be awesome! I love the idea of homemaking the usually store-bought treat:)

  15. MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College — February 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm (#

    Genius I tell ya…GENIUS!

  16. Nicole — February 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm (#

    Wow! Quite a project. I used to enjoy those Little Debbie pb & chocolate Nutty Bars. I’m eat them layer by layer. Yum.

  17. Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles — February 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm (#

    Homemade Twinkies!! I loved these little things so much growing up that I named my first dog after them! =) A Twinkie pan is genius….yet another kitchen gadget I need to pick up haha!

  18. Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — February 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm (#

    Ohh yes, Twinkies hold a place in my heart, for life! That an Zebra Cakes :) These are awesome, love the homemade version!

  19. Anna @ On Anna's Plate — February 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm (#

    I love your snack cake reinventions :-) I can’t remember the last time I had a real Twinkie, but I’d take one of these any day!

  20. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — February 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm (#

    You are one brilliant woman! Love this!

  21. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — February 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm (#

    You kill me with your sweet sweets!! Now I want a twinkie! This looks a nice recipe and easier then actually making twinkies!! I need to dedicate a day to baking all of your goodies!!

  22. Michele Sparrow — February 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm (#

    LOVE it, Averie! I am so gonna make those. My kids will be thrilled!

    I have super fond Hostess memories from my youth as well. We would freeze twinkies, hostess chocolate cupcakes and ding-dongs and eat them straight out of the freezer. There was something about that marshmallowy stuff super cold that we all just loved. We were all blissfully ignorant of the crap inside those things! I’m glad…cause it’s fun to have the memories, even if I don’t eat them now! :-)

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm (#

      These are so easy, too. I hate baking projects that are….projects. These will leave kids AND mom happy…LMK how they like them!

    • Michele Sparrow — February 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm (#

      That’s one of the reasons I love your recipes so much. They don’t take tons of time, 12 different bowls and a bazillion ingredients. These are quick, delicious and a hit with my boys. That’s all I need, thank you very much!

  23. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine — February 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm (#

    True story: I’ve never had a Twinkie. REALLY! Can you believe it?! I love that you made a homemade version of them though! I’ll bet they’re way more delicious than the prepackaged ones, given the fact that they’re fresh and don’t have a 3 year shelf life…

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm (#

      You’re about the third person who’s told me she’s never had a Twinkie…you went to culinary school but you never had a Twinkie…ok woman, you have to have one!

  24. Julie — February 5, 2012 at 9:13 pm (#

    I made these years ago and injected the frosting. DID NOT WORK. It just kept spilling over. This is a much better idea.

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm (#

      Thanks for LMK that you tried the injection plan to no avail…makes me feel better about my method.

  25. jackie @ marin mama cooks — February 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm (#

    OMG, these look zoo good and bring back so many childhood memories! I loved hostess cakes and twinkles as a kid. Remember Little Debbie? My mom use to buy the boxes upon boxes of those cakes and I would have one in my lunch every day. My favorites were ding dongs, twinkles and hoho’s. I use to take my finger and scoop out the frosting.

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm (#

      Yes, I remember Little Debbie. Me and Oatmeal Cream Pies are BFFs :)

    • jackie @ marin mama cooks — February 6, 2012 at 6:29 am (#

      Hi Averie. Next you have to make those mini donut holes from Dunkin Donuts. I lived on those as well as a kid. I am surprised that I was a skinny kid with all the junk I ate.

  26. Sarah @ The Healthy Diva — February 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm (#

    I’m a hostess fan too…but of the mini muffin variety. again no nutritional value, but they tasted so addictive so i couldn’t help myself. I recreated them at home but did a orange cranberry version. so good!!! But i have a confession to make….I’ve never ever ever tried a twinkie! I’m sure they are equally as addictively delicious though…especially ur homemade variety :)

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm (#

      You’re about the third person who’s told me she’s never had a Twinkie…go find some and enjoy :)

  27. AikoVenus — February 6, 2012 at 5:59 am (#

    This is amazing – I never thought of using marshmallows for twinkies. I wonder if mochi would work because of my laziness…hm. :3

  28. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — February 6, 2012 at 6:57 am (#

    wow these look too good!

  29. natasha — February 6, 2012 at 7:03 am (#

    YUM! Makes me think of Little Debbie Zebra Cakes which are my ultimate weakness! I eat well all week and usually by Sunday treat myself to a zebra cake (or 2).

  30. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — February 6, 2012 at 9:00 am (#

    what a cute little pan! genius for making individual bars and treats! I love packaged goodies too – mostly zebra cakes and Tastykakes (it’s an east coast brand of packaged cakes and they are the best!)

  31. Anna @ The Guiltless Life — February 6, 2012 at 9:23 am (#

    I’ve always wondered what a Twinkie was (I know I know, but they didn’t have them where I grew up!) and I just never thought to pick one up when I travelled in the US. These look adorable, probably a storebought Twinkie would be a major disappointment after these!

  32. Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — February 6, 2012 at 9:39 am (#

    I’ve kinda, sorta been toying with the idea of getting a twinkie pan ever since I saw one in the King Arthur catalog. I’ve always talked myself out of it because I didn’t think I’d use it enough. But, your post just passionately talked me back into it!

  33. nicole {sweet peony} — February 6, 2012 at 10:37 am (#

    this is so awesome! i can’t believe you made homemade twinkies! and they’re healthier?! get out! totally love this, averie :)

  34. Amber K — February 6, 2012 at 11:21 am (#

    Twinkies were my absolute favorite snack cake growing up. I always ate off the bottom first so I can spend a good long while swiping the frosting out with my finger. Delicious! You are truly a baking master!

  35. Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 6, 2012 at 11:22 am (#

    How fun are these? Great minds think alike… I was thinking of making homemade twinkies myself! Yours look so soft and spongy! Love them!:)

  36. Audra@The-Baker-Chick — February 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm (#

    What a clever alternatie to Twinkies! These look so much better though. Yum! :)

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm (#

      I like your idea much better of working your way through Milk. If you need a substitute, have a dropout, or need anyone else for the cook-you-way-through challenge, I’m 100% right there to help :)

  37. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — February 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm (#

    Holy Cow – you just make twinkies! That is impressive! I was never a huge fan of them as a kid, but I can imagine a homemade version is better!

  38. Pure2raw twins — February 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm (#

    oh Averie you have out done yourself with this recipe!!! looks amazing

  39. Deborah — February 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm (#

    I want that Twinkie pan, and I want these twinkies!!

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — February 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm (#

      BB & B, $10 bucks with a coupon. Get thee to the nearest mall. You’ll have a field day with it, too, because you can make all kinds of no-bake stuff in it, too! I am just waiting to play around with it..til I eat-down some of the stash we have around here!

  40. sara — February 7, 2012 at 7:44 am (#

    Yum! These are so cute – love them! :)

  41. Christine (The Raw Project) — February 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm (#

    What a fun recipe, so creative. You are the dessert queen and I bet Scott and Skylar loved these!

  42. Lauren at Keep It Sweet — February 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm (#

    LOVE this!

  43. Beth — February 12, 2012 at 4:59 am (#

    Ok these look awesome and FUN! I’m so happy I found your site. You are hilarious btw. Off to make your Sugared almonds!

  44. Miranda — March 4, 2012 at 6:27 am (#

    I know I’m late finding this but had to comment anyway! I was LOOKING and HOPING for a twinkis recipe lately. Did you know Hostess is going bankrupt? NO MORE TWINKIES?!!! I was heartbroken when I read that! Not that I have a stash, or indulge on any sort of regular basis, but the world seemed a little sadder knowing that they were going to vanish completely. Now I have a homemade version, and the Twinkie Legacy will live on….all thanks to you! :0) Thank you!

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga — March 4, 2012 at 7:43 am (#

      I had no idea?!!! I would assume that some other company would buy them out and that Twinkies will live on, somehow. But the next time I go to the groc store, I’m going to check and see if they’re on store shelves and I’m going to buy a box for old times sake!

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