Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
These pumpkin cupcakes are super delicious, soft, moist, and topped with an easy homemade cream cheese frosting. Perfect for pumpkin lovers!
One of my favorite things about fall is all of the pumpkin recipes! So today I’m bringing back an old favorite of mine – this homemade pumpkin cupcake recipe.
Originally published in 2015, I’ve updated this cupcake recipe to make it even better! This new and improved version is softer, lighter, and bakes up beautifully. I’ve also included tons of information so that you can easily perfect these cupcakes in your own kitchen.
I topped these cupcakes with a homemade cream cheese frosting, but I’ve included some different frosting options for you to try with them. These would even be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table too!
Ingredients For This Recipe
These pumpkin spice cupcakes can be whipped up at a moment’s notice using ingredients you likely have in your pantry already. Here’s what you’ll need to make the pumpkin cupcake recipe:
- All-Purpose Flour: There’s only 1 cup of flour in this recipe so that the cupcakes are soft and light.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder: I adjusted the amount of baking soda and baking powder to give these cupcakes the perfect amount of lift – not too much, but not too little.
- Spices & Salt: There’s a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves that really compliment the pumpkin. Plus a little salt to enhance the flavors.
- Pumpkin Puree: The star ingredient of these cupcakes! Just make sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Oil: I typically use canola oil in this recipe, but vegetable or melted coconut oil will work fine too.
- Sugar: There’s a mix of brown sugar and granulated sugar in this recipe. The brown sugar adds flavor and moisture to the cupcakes.
- Eggs & Vanilla: The eggs provide structure and the vanilla adds a little extra flavor.
How to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes
To make these pumpkin cupcakes, you’ll start by whisking together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until fully combined.
Once you’ve mixed up the dry and wet ingredients, you’ll mix the two together until just combined. It’s best to avoid overmixing the batter because this can lead to denser cupcakes. Then, evenly divide the batter between 12 liners in a muffin pan.
The cupcakes will take about 17 to 22 minutes in the oven. I always check them around the 17-minute mark with a toothpick to see if they’re done. If there’s still a little batter on the toothpick, let them go another 1 to 2 minutes and then check again.
Different Frosting Options
For the frosting on these cupcakes, I stuck with my homemade cream cheese frosting. If you prefer a different frosting option here are some more that would work great!
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Vanilla or Caramel Frosting (scroll to the bottom of the post for how to make the caramel version)
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
I also used my Wilton 1M tip to frost these cupcakes. I have a full tutorial here showing you exactly how I frost cupcakes to make them look just like these.
Do these cupcakes need to be refrigerated?
If the cupcakes are not frosted, it’s okay to leave them at room temperature in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. If the cupcakes are frosted, you’ll want to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Can you use pumpkin pie filling in this recipe?
I don’t recommend using pumpkin pie filling because it’s sweetened and has spices added to it. I suggest sticking with pumpkin puree.
Can you use pumpkin pie spice in the batter?
I’ve tested this recipe using 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in place of all of the spices listed in the recipe. Both options taste great!
Can I freeze these cupcakes?
Yes, these cupcakes freeze great! You can freeze the cupcakes and frosting for up to three months. When you’re ready to prepare them, just thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. I recommend mixing the frosting well before you pipe it on the cupcakes.
- Avoid scooping your flour from the container. Instead, stir the flour around, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife.
- Use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. The only ingredient in pumpkin puree will be pumpkin.
- Use a block of cream cheese and not cream cheese spread in a tub. Cream cheese spread has ingredients added to it to thin it out and will create a runny frosting.
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes to Try!
- Soft & Chewy Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Roll
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Classic Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the pumpkin cupcakes:
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (250 grams) pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar , packed
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 (8-ounce) package brick-style cream cheese , softened
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter , softened
- 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make the pumpkin cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12 count muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fully combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Evenly divide the batter between all 12 cupcake liners and smooth out the tops of each one.
- Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
- Using a handheld mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.
Best. Cupcake. Recipe. Ever. Fast and easy — The only change I made was using half almond flour and half all-purpose; they came out perfectly. My whole family scarfed them up and I had to bake a second batch by request. Thank you for sharing!
So glad you liked the cupcakes, Jenna! Thanks for sharing about the almond flour too!
I am completely a beginner, but even I seemed like a pro when I served this for a group! Perfect pumpkin cupcakes simple enough for even me to make. BONUS: These cakes are DAIRY-FREE without the icing (or substituting with a different icing). Husband does not eat food cooked by anyone other than himself or me due to severe food allergies. Beyond grateful when I find recipes that: 1) are easy enough for me to make; 2) taste delicious; 3) are dairy-free. Thanks for making my day with this recipe that fulfilled all 3 requirements for us!
I’m so happy to hear that, Heather! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment 🙂
These cupcakes are now my go-to! I’ve made them a couple times, and I’m planning on making another batch for Friendsgiving dinner. I have one question though: why is it that we must use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling? I messed up at the store today and bought pumpkin pie filling as I couldn’t locate Libby’s pure pumpkin. I’m pretty broke, so I feel plenty of guilt over this.
So glad to hear this is your go-to cupcake recipe, Jack! As for the pumpkin, pumpkin purée is just pumpkin that’s been cooked and puréed. Pumpkin pie filling contains pumpkin purée, spices, and it’s already sweetened.
If you use pumpkin pie filling in this recipe, it will affect the overall taste and sweetness of the cupcakes. If you try to adjust the sugar/spices in the recipe and use the pumpkin pie filling it will probably affect the taste and texture as well. Pumpkin pie filling is best for making pumpkin pie though, you could always use it for that too. I hope that helps!
Can I use this recipe and bake or as a whole cake instead of cupcakes? If so how long should they bake in he oven?
I think that should be fine. I would use a 9 inch cake pan and bake at the same oven temperature. I’m unsure of the baking time though, maybe check it around 30 minutes? You’ll know it’s done when the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Excellent! Easy. Moist. Delicouis!
Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes, Mary!
It’s a great recipe and I like the fact you use pumpkin puree. I have lots leftover from halloween.
So glad you like the recipe, Wayne!
Can I use coconut oil as a vegetable oil sub?
I haven’t tried it yet, but I think it would work. I would measure 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil.
I work in a bakery and I’ve been itching to make a Halloween inspired dessert at home even though we’re not into October yet, I’ve also been itching to make buttercream icing (I’ve never made it from scratch before). I followed your recipe exactly, for both the cupcakes and the buttercream icing (I opted for chocolate, I would’ve tried the cream cheese icing but I had to work with what I had in the kitchen). The cupcakes turned out beautifully, as did the icing, I wish I could include a photo of the finished product. Absolutely scrumptious, I am so thankful for your tips and your perfect recipes & instructions, I think I see myseld trying many of your recipes in the future. Thank you!!
So glad to hear that the cupcakes and icing turned out great for you, Ariel! These pumpkin cupcakes are one of my favorite recipes that I make all of the time. I’d love to hear if you try out any other recipes on my site too 🙂
Just made these for a wedding tomorrow
Should they be more muffin like than light cupcake ? They seem
Somewhat dinse? Taste is good though
Glad you liked the taste of the cupcakes! They tend to be a little more dense than a chocolate/vanilla cupcake, but they shouldn’t be super dense. Did you make sure to spoon your flour into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife?
Loved this recipe!! Made them today and followed the recipe exactly as written. Everyone raved!! The cupcake was moist and excellent. A little hint I have always followed, if I am not using cake flour and using regular flour (King Arthur unbleached), I remove 2 tbs of the flour from each cup as per the recipe. They were light as can be not dense at all. Thank you for sharing!!
So glad to hear that everyone loved the cupcakes, Christina!
I made a mini version of this recipe for an event at my sons’ school. I was super-happy with the flavor and texture! I followed the recipe exactly, except the baking time was closer to 17min. for mini cupcakes in my oven. I took a cue from one comment above, adding a halved pumpkin candy corn to decorate. They were adorable and tasty! Thank you for the recipe!
So glad you liked the cupcakes, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing about the baking time for the mini cupcakes too, that will be helpful for others 🙂
I made these for a dinner party and became a bug hit. My friends husband who does not like pumpkin had three!
I also took some caramel soft chews and mealted them down with heavy cream. Once it was thin enough took it off the heat and added a splash or three of bourbon and drizzled over the top.
That’s wonderful to hear, Anthony! The caramel drizzle sounds like a wonderful idea too!
What if you don’t use purée what would be the difference?
It would affect the texture of the cupcakes. Are you looking for just a plain vanilla cupcake recipe? If so, I have one here: http://www.livewellbakeoften.com/vanilla-cupcakes/.
If I were to double all the ingredients to make 24 cupcakes will there be any issues? Should I just stick to 2 batches?
I think it should be fine to double it. I also have a pumpkin cake recipe here: https://www.livewellbakeoften.com/pumpkin-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/. It uses a little less flour and is just a bit lighter, I think it would make about 2 dozen cupcakes.
Ah-mazing. I’ve only made these once, but I think this will be my go-to pumpkin cupcake recipe from now on. HOWEVER, the top of my cupcakes cracked and split after baking for 22 minutes. What did I do wrong? Suggestions appreciated.
So glad you liked the cupcakes, Clarissa! If the top of the cupcakes cracked, it’s likely that your oven was too hot and the tops of the cupcakes set before they were finished rising (which causes them to crack). You may want to check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer to make sure it doesn’t run too hot or slightly lower your oven temperature and see if that helps.
I know this is an older thread, but I was wondering if I could replace the spices with Pumpkim Pie spice? I have all except the ginger. The ingredients in the Pumpkin pie spice are cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. If so, how much would I replace it with? If not, would it taste ok without the ginger?
Hi, Mary. I have a note in the recipe for using pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
When you say you used the pumpkin spice and cinnamon in lieu of the other spices does that include the salt?
That doesn’t include the salt.
Can I use cake flour instead of all purpose?
I think that would be fine. You’ll probably want to use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour though since it’s lighter than all-purpose flour.
Thank you so much for this recipe. I make them every fall and they are just delicious. The combination of sweet pumpkin taste with sour cream is heavenly.
So glad you liked the cupcakes!
These look great! I love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate. If I added some mini chocolate chips to this, do you think that would be good?
I think that would taste fine, Shelby! You could try a different frosting on the cupcakes if you like too.
Can I reduce the amount of sugar in this frosting?
You can reduce it by 1/2-1 cup, but keep in mind that it may not pipe as well with less powdered sugar.
Love the recipe. But it there anyway to make it more fluffy or light. I fell like when i made it it was think.
They shouldn’t be too dense. Did you make sure to spoon & level the flour?
Thesse cupcakes turned out amazing! I tripled the recipe and mase them for a church function with cream cheesec buttercream. Let’s just say that they almost started a riot! No one had ever tried pumpkin cupcakes and no one believed that I made them! I used 1 tsp. pumpkin spice and 1 tsp of cinnamon. They rose beautifully and everyone was suprised by how moist they eere. Definetly a keeper. Thanks for sharing.
I am definitely going to try this recipe. I would like to know what spice you used on top of the cupcake? I don’t want to take away from the cream cheese frosting. Thank you.
Hi, Sharon! I’m not quite sure what you mean by what spice I used on top of the cupcakes?
These are the most amazing cupcakes! So easy to whip up in a flash and definitely a crowd pleaser. I added a 1/4 cup of shredded carrot and (pre-soaked) raisins to half the batter give some additional dimension to the cake just for variety (and to appease my boyfriend who LOVES raisins). I swear these don’t last more than 24 hours in our house! Thank you so much for sharing this =)
Could I use butter instead of oil? 🙂
I think it would be okay, but I would recommend melting the butter first.
I’d never used pumpkin in baking before but these turned out so delicious, moist and fluffy. Had to make my own puree because it’s not sold here, and no brick style cream cheese either, but taste is amazing. Thank you for the recipe!
These look so delicious!
Since they don’t sell pumpkin purée in Norway, do you think it’s okay if I buy a pumpkin and make my own purée for this recipe? If so, do you have any suggestions on how to do it? 🙂 Can’t wait to try these!
That would be fine! I recommend doing a quick search online and following a tutorial for making pumpkin puree to ensure that it turns out right for you 🙂
There is no other than this recipe for pumpkin cupcakes.
Made the first batch and it was a hit! Now for the second, but I’m skeptical how they’ll come out since I added the oil + 1/4 of butter! Don’t ask me why, got so confused!
Such great taste and super easy to make 🙂
I just cut up the pumpkin, blended in a food processor until smooth. Should it be cooked first? We don’t get ready made pumpkin products here, so went from scratch. But I’m happy with the result!
You can find several recipes for homemade pumpkin puree online. I do believe it’s best to slice the pumpkin, bake it, let it cool, then puree it. Glad to hear that it still worked great for you!