Pumpkin Cupcakes (or Muffins)

Super-moist spiced pumpkin cupcakes that double as muffins. You can make this recipe with a variety of frosting choices or leave them plain and serve as pumpkin muffins. We make them all the time in endless ways – this is a versatile recipe to hold onto!

pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon swirl frosting

Meet my favorite pumpkin cupcake recipe. And guess what? This basic pumpkin cupcake recipe doubles as a pumpkin muffin recipe. Because what’s really the difference between cupcakes and muffins? Sky-high frosting? Streusel? Soft texture? This pumpkin cupcake/muffin recipe can do it all. I call it my “master pumpkin batter.”

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty here. What makes this pumpkin cupcake/muffin recipe my favorite?

  • There is little sugar in the batter. Only 2/3 cup of brown sugar, which leaves enough room for sweet frosting, chocolate chips, streusel, filling, etc.
  • There’s cinnamon – a lot of it!
  • Oil makes them incredibly moist, without tasting greasy.
  • The batter is so easy to make. No mixer required!
  • There are endless possibilities to get creative.

pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on a white plate

pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting

Pile it with cream cheese frosting, like I do above. ↑

Or you can enjoy these pumpkin cupcakes with marshmallow frosting! ↓

pumpkin cupcakes with marshmallow frosting on an orange plate

And they’re amazing with chocolate buttercream! In this photo, I folded 1/2 cup (80g) mini chocolate chips into the pumpkin batter before spooning into the liners.

pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake topped with dark chocolate frosting

You could also turn this recipe into pumpkin cheesecake muffins.

stack of pumpkin cheesecake muffins

And, finally, try them with the same cinnamon swirl frosting used on these snickerdoodle cupcakes and garnish with festive sprinkles.

pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon swirl frosting

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pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon swirl frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes & Pumpkin Muffins

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Super-moist spiced pumpkin cupcakes that double as muffins. We make them all the time – this is a recipe to hold onto!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 2/3 cup (133g) packed dark brown sugar*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (227g) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick spray. This recipe makes 14 cupcakes, so you will have a couple cupcakes to bake in a 2nd batch.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do NOT overmix the batter.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into 14 cups; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping. Bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cupcakes 1 day in advance. Keep covered tightly at room temperature. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.
  2. Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can find pumpkin pie spice in the baking aisle. Or you can make your own. For this particular recipe, blend 1/8 teaspoon each of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground allspice. Do not leave out the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon that is also called for in this recipe.
  3. Brown Sugar: I usually only use 1/2 cup brown sugar, but I find the pumpkin and spice flavor really excels with just a little more brown sugar. So, I prefer 2/3 cup.
  4. Frosting: See the post above for some frosting ideas and a wonderful pumpkin cheesecake muffin!
  5. Mini Cupcakes/Muffins: For around 30 minis, line mini muffin pans with liners or spray with nonstick spray. Prepare cupcakes as directed. Bake mini cupcakes for 12-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin muffins

62 Comments

  1. Hi Sally! I’m going to try these cupcakes tonight for thanksgiving and I was wondering whether I use pumpkin pie filling (from a can) will it change radically the recipe ? I cannot find anywhere any pumpkin puree and am running out of time! Love all your recipes – always a success and can’t wait to try this one! Thanks! 🙂  

    1. Hi Claudia! You’ll need pumpkin puree– NOT canned pumpkin pie filling.

  2. Made the muffin version tonight, easy and excellent!!

  3. Simonne Bloor says:

    I love love love these cupcakes. I made some for a friend of mine and he came back to me a few days later and said they were hands down the best cupcakes he had ever eaten, so good he stopped what he was doing to eat them. So delish!

  4. I want to try this recipe but is it possible to make a cake with this cupcake batter ? Thanks for answer !

    1. Hi Emilie! I recommend making my pumpkin cake recipe instead. 🙂

      https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2017/10/11/best-pumpkin-cake/

  5. Hello Sally ! I made these beauties this week and I’m absolutely F.A.N ! My whole family was agree. (My grandmother also asked me the recipe !!!) So I wanted to thank you to share so AMaziNG recipes with us. <3 !

  6. Hi, I’m trying to avoid sugar. Do you think I could replace it without maple syrup? And how much should I use?

    1. Hi Justyna! If you’re avoiding refined sugar, pure maple syrup is a wonderful alternative. However, I’m unsure of the results using it in this recipe. Coconut sugar would be ideal as it’s dry. Let me know if you try anything!

  7. These look so yummy! Did you make the little pumpkin toppers too?

    1. Hi Brittani! I didn’t. They are the little mellowcreme pumpkins often sold with candy corn.

  8. Absolutely love this recipe, I have already made them three times already and worked perfect every time.

  9. Moist, delicious, and simple to make. I never get to bake with pumpkin – it’s just not a thing where I live! These turned out awesome.

  10. I baked these today, and topped them with your cream cheese frosting, following your recipes to the letter. The cupcakes are just divine. Thank you Sally (& thank you for also giving the measurements in grams, it helps)

  11. I made these for a Thanksgiving dessert a couple years ago. With exception to pumpkin pie, I am not a pumpkin dessert pan – usually. These were surprisingly really good! I highly recommend!

  12. Do these work with a buttercream icing, too?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lauren, absolutely! Try our vanilla buttercream or even chocolate buttercream.

  13. Hi can I add whole rolled oats to these if I cook them prior or add enough water that would equal for cooking the oats? I think I did this before and I think it worked just adding more water but now I’m worried as im on vacation and I dont have much supplies

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, adding oats to these cupcakes would take a bit of recipe testing. If you’re looking for more of an oat-based recipe, you might enjoy our Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal Cups.

  14. Hi! Can I overfill the cups and make 12 instead of 14?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Monica, we don’t recommend overfilling the cupcakes for fear they will spill over and not rise as well.

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