Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

You will love these moist, dense-yet-still-soft homemade banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. To guarantee the best results, use sour cream, buttermilk, and extra ripe bananas– these power ingredients make all the difference in this spiced cupcake recipe.

banana cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

This banana cupcake recipe is a mix of these banana cupcakes with chocolate peanut butter frosting and this banana cake, which are actually very similar recipes. Both have a super-moist texture, delicious cinnamon spice flavor, a soft yet dense crumb, and wonderful banana flavor. Today’s cupcake recipe is basically 2/3 of the banana cake, only with the same amount of banana. I really wanted to pack as much banana flavor into the cupcakes as I could without compromising the texture. Another change reflected in the recipe below is adding some sour cream, an addition that always promises a more tender crumb.


Tell Me About These Banana Cupcakes

  • Texture: These banana cupcakes aren’t as dense as banana muffins, but aren’t really as soft as vanilla cupcakes. Instead, they land somewhere in the middle. You’ll love how moist the crumb is too– we have the butter, buttermilk, sour cream, and all the banana to thank for that.
  • Flavor: Each bite includes banana, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and vanilla. (Some of the best flavors in baking!) It all pairs so nicely with the tangy cream cheese frosting on top.
  • Ease: Besides mashing the bananas, which is even easier if you use your mixer, the entire process is fairly simple. If you make your own buttermilk, there is one extra step. See recipe note below.
  • Time: Set aside over 2 hours to complete this recipe which includes prepping, baking, cooling, and decorating times.

banana cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and banana chips


Video Tutorial


Success Tips for Banana Cupcakes

  1. Easy Mash: My team and I make a lot of banana treats including banana bread, whole wheat banana pancakes, and banana muffins and here’s our best tip: mash the bananas using your mixer. Peel and break apart the bananas, then place inside your mixing bowl and turn the mixer on to medium-high speed. If using a stand mixer, either the paddle or whisk attachment work for this. A blender or food processor works as well. Mashing bananas by hand with a fork works too, but takes arm muscle and a little extra time. Transfer the mashed bananas to a separate bowl – don’t even wash the mixer bowl. Just place the butter/sugars inside and begin creaming as the recipe instructs. Super simple.
  2. Don’t overfill cupcakes: Fill cupcake liners only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides.
  3. Room temperature: All refrigerated items should be brought to room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. If you’re interested, feel free to read more about why room temperature ingredients are important in baking.

mashed bananas in a glass stand mixer bowl

Choosing the Right Ingredients for Banana Cupcakes

Here’s an overview of the ingredients you need and why each is important.

  • Flour: 2 cups of all-purpose flour serve as the base of these banana cupcakes. Don’t use cake flour because it’s too light.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda helps the cupcakes rise.
  • Salt + Cinnamon: Salt and cinnamon add flavor.
  • Bananas: You need 1 and 1/2 cups of mashed banana, which is about 3 large bananas. Make sure the bananas are very ripe because more brown spots = sweeter banana flavor.
  • Butter: When creamed with sugar, butter adds flavor, moisture, and structure.
  • Sugar: We love the mix of both brown sugar and granulated sugar in these cupcakes. Plus, the brown sugar adds more moisture.
  • Eggs: Eggs bind everything together.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream creates a moist and tender crumb.
  • Vanilla Extract: A splash of pure vanilla extract adds more flavor.
  • Buttermilk: For best taste and to ensure proper rising, use buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, see the recipe notes.

2 images of banana cupcake batter in a glass bowl and in a cupcake pan before baking

cinnamon cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

We’ll pair these banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Cinnamon and banana are a natural pairing and ½ teaspoon of the spice is the perfect amount in this frosting recipe. (Not too much, not too little!) It’s crazy how 1 tiny addition to regular cream cheese frosting makes such a flavorful difference. Bonus: this frosting pipes beautifully using a large round tip such as Ateco 808.

For the optional garnish, we love adding a drizzle of salted caramel and a banana slice (dried or fresh!).

banana cupcake topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, salted caramel, and a banana chip

They’re truly perfect banana cupcakes. And if you’re not into banana, you might enjoy these apple spice cupcakes instead.


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banana cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Top these moist, dense-yet-still-soft homemade banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. To guarantee the best results, use sour cream, buttermilk, and extra ripe bananas– these power ingredients make all the difference in this spiced cupcake recipe.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 large very ripe bananas)
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional: salted caramel and/or banana chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 6 liners as this recipe yields about 18 cupcakes.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla, then beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the mashed banana. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the buttermilk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no flour pockets at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it).
  6. Frost cooled cupcakes however you’d like. I used an Ateco 808 large round piping tip for these pictured cupcakes. Top with salted caramel and/or a banana chip, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Cupcake Pan, Cupcake Liners, Disposable Piping Bags or Reusable Piping Bags, and Ateco #808 Tip
  3. Room Temperature: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.
  4. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cupcakes won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.

Keywords: bananas, cream cheese frosting, cupcakes

64 Comments

  1. What an amazing recipe!! Absolutely delicious! The use of buttermilk, for whatever reason, didn’t register in my head. I thought I read to use heavy whipping cream. I also tried your caramel sauce recipe, which I drizzled over the top of your fabulous Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting. I piped the Caramel sauce inside of the cupcake just to see how it would turn out. Did some little decorative nuances. Initially tried your recipe to make my daughter cupcakes for her birthday. This recipe really knocked it out of the park! It’s a keeper!! Thank you, so much, for sharing!!!

  2. Made this recipe for my birthday (in 3- 6in rounds) and it was decadent and so yummy. I love cream cheese frosting and the addition of cinnamon was excellent.

  3. What’s the substitution of buttermilk?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Heba, buttermilk is required for this recipe, but you can make your own DIY version if needed. See recipe notes for details!

  4. Can I use this batter for a bundt cake? Also thought about using the banana cake recipe. Thanks so much ! I love all your recipes !!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Monica, you’re correct — we’d recommend using our Best Banana Cake recipe instead. See recipe notes there for how to make in a Bundt pan!

  5. Made this for my dad’s birthday! Turned out so delicious. Loved the moist banana cake with the cream cheese frosting!!

  6. Excellent, moist cupcake. I ended up with 21 using a level ice cream scoop to portion them. They were perfectly baked at 16 min. These are moist and a little dense (I like that in a banana cupcake). I used a tablespoon of vanilla for the frosting as well as browned (and cooled) butter. That gave a really nice flavor.

    For anyone who doesn’t know this trick: when your bananas are brown but you’re not ready to bake, peel them and smash them flat in a freezer bag. (They store nicely flat and thaw quickly that way). That way you can make banana bread/cupcakes/cake anytime you want. The bananas are runny when you defrost them but they bake up exactly the same.

  7. Hi Sally! Love all of your recipes! Could I simply half all of the ingredients to bake around 9 cupcakes instead? Also, do I need to fill the extra cupcake wells with water before I bake my tray?

    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jess! Yes, you can cut the recipe in half for fewer cupcakes. There’s conflicting advice out there about filling the extra cupcake wells with water, but we’ve always found it to be unnecessary. Either way is fine, though!

  8. Hi Sally, is it recommended to throw in chocolate chips in the recipe?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Pao, you certainly can! We’d recommend about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup depending on how much chocolate you’d like.

  9. Is there a substitution I can use instead of cinnamon in the frosting that would go well with carrot cake cupcakes? How about cardamom?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Beth, cardamom or even nutmeg would be delicious. Enjoy!

      1. Thanks so much!!

  10. My taste buds were singing with the first bite. 🙂 Made recipe exactly as written. So, So, Good! 5 Stars all day long. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Hi! I have my wet ingredients all measured out and to room temperature and realized I’m out of all purpose flour. Would it be possible to substitute cake flour in these? I also have bread flour.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary, cake flour should work in a pinch here.

      1. Thanks! That’s what I used and they just came out of the oven. So far they look beautiful.

  12. These are really delicious but they aren’t cupcakes. They are heavyweight muffins, quite dense and moist, something you want to eat for breakfast (minus the frosting, haha), not as a dessert.

  13. Karlene Eggleston says:

    Hey there, I made the banana cupcakes into mini cupcakes. You listed about 30 mini. I got over 60 mini cupcakes. Just fyi.
    Awesome recipe.

  14. Without any doubt The Best Banana Muffins. Very moist and excellent flavor. Very easy recipe with outstanding results.

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