These are the best pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They are so fluffy and delicious—not to mention quick and easy to make! I love baking these cupcakes for Halloween parties or as an alternative to pie for Thanksgiving dessert.

pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting on open paper liner with more cupcakes behind it

When it comes to pumpkin desserts, cupcakes have to be my favorite. Pumpkin purée makes cakes extra moist and the pumpkin pie spice in these cupcakes is so prevalent you just can’t say no. Top each pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting (it’s the same recipe I use for my apple spice cake) and you have the perfect fall dessert!

Why this recipe works

Pumpkin cupcakes have pumpkin puree, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice for the ultimate pumpkin flavor. The best frosting for pumpkin cupcakes is cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It complements the cupcakes’ flavor palette perfectly.

pumpkin cupcakes ingredients in bowls labeled with text
cinnamon cream cheese frosting ingredients in bowls labeled with text

Recipe variations

You can make these pumpkin cupcakes into mini cupcakes if you like! Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and fill each cup almost full. Baking time will be 10 to 12 minutes and this will yield about 30 mini cupcakes. You can also add mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts into the cupcake batter. I suggest about 3/4 cup. If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, try making my vanilla buttercream frosting instead.

How to make pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

photo collage demonstrating how to make pumpkin cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients—flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Beat together wet ingredients—pumpkin puree, brown sugar, melted butter, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  5. Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes and cool completely before frosting.
  6. Beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon, then mix until combined. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  7. Transfer frosting to a frosting bag with desired tip and frost cooled pumpkin cupcakes.
photo collage demonstrating how to make cinnamon cream cheese frosting in a glass mixing bowl

Helpful recipe tips

To ensure perfect pumpkin cupcakes, use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients (it’s more accurate than measuring them). Be sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. When adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, avoid overmixing the batter. Finally, let the cupcake cool completely before frosting.

Cream cheese frosting can be finicky. I suggest using cream cheese that is softened, but still cool (especially if you are in a warmer climate). When adding the confectioners’ sugar, avoid overmixing the frosting as this will make it thinner—mix just until combined.

hand holding frosting bag and frosting pumpkin cupcakes on wire cooling rack

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make my own pumpkin pie spice? 

Yes, for this recipe whisk together 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon allspice (or ground cloves).

Can you freeze pumpkin cupcakes? 

Yes, once the cupcakes have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container (unfrosted). Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and frosting.

Why is the cream cheese frosting melting? 

There are a few reasons for this. The cream cheese could have been too warm. It’s best if it’s softened, but still cool. Another reason could be that the frosting was over-mixed when adding the confectioners’ sugar. To thicken cream cheese frosting, place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, remix for 10 seconds, then frost the cupcakes.

Can I use homemade pumpkin puree in pumpkin cupcakes?

Yes, I suggest Googling how to make homemade pumpkin puree to make sure it comes out right. It tends to be a little wetter than store-bought. I suggest blotting it with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Can you double this recipe?

Yes, this recipe can be doubled to make 24 pumpkin cupcakes.

Can I use this recipe to make a cake?

Yes. Double the recipe to make two 9-inch round cakes or three 6-inch round cakes.

open paper liner with pumpkin cupcake with a bite taken out of it

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

pumpkin cupcake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting on open paper liner

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are quick and easy to make from scratch. This fall dessert has all the pumpkin pie spices!
5 (11 ratings)

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 cup (125 g) all purpose flour⁣
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder⁣
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda⁣
  • ½ teaspoon salt⁣
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree, (I prefer Libby's)
  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • ¾ cup (150 g) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup (225 g or 8 oz package) cream cheese, room temperature (see notes)
  • ¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, melted butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, transfer batter to prepared muffin tin filling each cup ⅔ full. Divide batter evenly among the 12 cups. Bake cupcakes at 350° F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon. Mix just until combined, then mix in the vanilla. Avoid overmixing the frosting.
  • Transfer frosting to a piping bag with desired tip. Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Notes

Pumpkin pie spice: 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ginger + 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon allspice
Cream cheese frosting: If baking in a warm climate, I suggest using cream cheese and butter that is soft, but still cool to the touch. This will help prevent the frosting from becoming too soft. If the frosting does get too soft, place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then stir the frosting with a rubber spatula to check if the consistency is firmer.
Store pumpkin cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
How to freeze pumpkin cupcakes: Once cooled completely, place the cupcakes in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and frosting.
Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 316kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 221mg, Potassium: 149mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 3827IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 63mg, Iron: 1mg

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