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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

Print
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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 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I saw these cupcake/muffins and just had to bake them last night. I used the cream cheese frosting. They taste GREAT! I will be fixing them again. I sort of hid them in the kitchen in a container that you would have to open to see what’s in it! I hope nobody finds them, LOL!
    Also, you two look great together in your photo. I wish you a happy, long lasting marriage!

    Thanks for the great recipe!

    Angie

  2. Made these as muffins (no icing) Saturday and used skim milk. They turned out great and not too sweet. Perfect to go with breakfast. My husband hates all things pumpkin and wouldn’t even touch them, but hey, more for me. Anyone who loves super sweet desserts, though, skip these. For me, they were exactly what I wanted. BTW Sally, have really come to love your blog. Photos are fab and the fact that it’s just over two years old blows my mind. Keep up the kick ass work.

  3. Hey Sally!
    I was craving a pumpkin dessert and googled “pumpkin cupcakes”. Your blog/recipe was the first one on the page, so I decided to try it. I only had ingredients availale to make the “master batter” and no toppings. The recipe made exactly 24 mini “cupcakes”! They were wonderful and satisfied my sweet craving without being too sweet. I did use only 1/4 cup of oil and substitute 1/4 of 100 % apple juice, but they were still very moist. I’m glad I found your blog. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to trying your other recipes 🙂

  4. These look delicious! Though I was wondering if you could use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose to make it healthier? Or would that make them too dense? P.S. your engagement photo is beautiful!!

    1. Hi Julianna, the cupcakes are already a little dense so I wouldn’t suggest using WW flour. Unless you wouldn’t mind the texture.

  5. hey sally! do you think I can substitute heavy cream for the milk in this recipe? I’m making a caramel to go along with the cupcakes and that recipe calls for heavy cream and I know milk won’t work with that. I’m in college so I’m always trying to avoid buying double things especially if I won’t finish them otherwise. 🙂

    1. That should be fine, however the cupcakes are quite dense as is and I fear the cream will make them even more dense. Let me know if you try it.

  6. I made these for a potluck at my son’s school, with cream cheese frosting – a HUGE hit! Made them as muffins for breakfasts last week – my daughter LOVED them. I have used scented coconut oil (melted) and subbed in 1/2 c of WW flour for part of the flour both times. Very yummy! Today, I am going to use your recipe as a basis for banana muffins, equal amount of banan for pumpkin and cut out the spices. 🙂 thanks for a great recipe

  7. Hi Sally! I made theses awesome cupcakes and boy are they good i love that you posted so many different frosting recipes! I picked the cream cheese frosting…. It was sooooo perfect! I love pumpkin recipes and never made pumpkin cupcakes before but now they are a must! I love pretty much everything you make, Esp. when its cake batter w/ sprinkles or pumpkin recipes! Every time I make a recipe I’m not sure if its going to be good but if i make one from your site i know it will be! 🙂 Great job once again Sally!

  8. These were wonderful. I tried making pumpkin puree this year, and finding new ways to use it. The cookies were a bust – still can’t find one that works. But these muffins were ideal. We added ‘white’ chips (whatever flavor that is) and they were so yummy. We will be making these again.

  9. I gotta tell you that I just finished baking these and they have to be the lightest, fluffiest pumpkin anything I’ve ever made! DELISH!!!

  10. Hi. Can I use this recipe to make a pumpkin cake? In that case, what kind of pan should I use?
    Thank you very much!

    1. Definitely! This recipe would fit into a 9 inch cake pan – but only fill it about halfway. Then, use the leftover batter for a few cupcakes (using all the batter in the 1 9-inch pan will be too much – and this recipe isn’t quite enough to make a larger 9×13 cake). I am unsure of the bake time.

  11. Delicious! I just made these, and they’re perfect. I made them into mini-cupcakes and baked them for 14 mins. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Just made the pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. My daughter had a request for pumpkin cupcakes. I can’t wait for school to be over so the kids can try them. I taste tested and they were delicious!!!!!

  13. I made these as muffins, (sans frosting), I put 9 butterscotch chips in each muffin after they wee in the pan and pushed them down into the batter. I do it this way so there are no “chipless” muffins! So very good!

  14. Made these tonight. I did the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and then I made the cream cheese frosting on the side for whoever wanted it. Oh My Lord, these were moist and incredible! My family thanks you!! 🙂

  15. Great recipe! I substituted with coconut oil, Bourbon Barrel Foods Bourbon Vanilla and added an once of KY Bourbon! It was amazing!

    Cream Cheese icing recipe is the best icing recipe that I’ve came across…much appreciated!

  16. What a great recipe for the fall season! I added chocolate chips for sweetness and baked them in a silicone tray for bite sized muffins. They turned out amazing and super moist! Thanks 🙂

  17. Hi Sally! I love anything that involves pumpkin and I will be making these cupcakes tomorrow 🙂 Can I use white sugar instead of brown? Or will that make a difference in taste and texture? Thank you!

    1. I really recommend the brown sugar– more moisture and a little more flavor. In a pinch, white would be OK. Thanks Elle!

  18. Just made these using carrot and pumpkin puree. Yummy!! Can’t wait until my kids get home from school to try. Thanks from the Bahamas!

  19. These were great! I used a combination of cake flour and wholewheat flour and added chocolate chips. Definitely making these again in the future.

    1. You’d lose some key flavor and moisture in the cupcakes using granulated. Keeping that in mind, you can try it.

  20. Excellent cupcakes! They’re fluffy and moist with lots of flavor. I added the marshmallow frosting. Great choice! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your pumpkin cream cheese bars now!

    1. You really lose some great texture without the fat from oil. I find the cupcakes taste quite rubbery without it. I don’t recommend leaving it out.

  21. Did this recipe change? I believe there were exact measurements for cloves and ginger in addition to the cinnamon instead of “pumpkin pie spice”? I have made these several times and they’re fantastic–just want to make sure I keep using the same recipe! Maybe I’m mistaken! 🙂 

    1. Lindsey, I added pumpkin pie spice as the ingredient instead of listing out the spices to make it easier. If you look at my recipe notes (right below) I list out each of the spices for you!

  22. How can I find those pumpkin decorations? Are they of a specific brand? (I live in Greece, but I may be able to buy them from an international e-shop, or make a special order from a domestic one).

    1. Vicky, they are mellowcreme pumpkins usually coming in a package with candy corn (or sold separately). I love the Brach’s brand.

  23. I can’t wait to make these this weekend! I have a question though, would the recipe still work if sweet potato purée was used in place of the pumpkin purée? 

    Thanks!

    1. Amanda, I’ve never tried it before. I can’t imagine why not. Let me know how it goes.

      1. They turned out amazing! Super easy substitution. I also used your marshmallow filling from the s’mores cupcakes to fill them. 

        Thanks for the recipe! Love all of your cupcakes!

  24. Made the pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for the dessert table on Thanksgiving.. Everyone loved them, they are not too sweet and the frosting is delicious!! Definitely making again!

  25. Making these today during the snowstorm!  Even though my husband is out of town… Oh well trapped in the house (of course I could be shoveling snow!) – might as well bake – I added dark chocolate chips to the recipe.  I’ll use these to reward my neighbors who usually show up to help shovel!

  26. Sally,
    I have been making these every fall for about 4 years now. (This is the recipe that actually brought me to your blog. And yes, I have been baking with you for 4 years…not stalker status though. Hehe.) My 7 year old actually requested them this year! I have made them as muffins with streusel, as a pumpkin loaf, with and without chocolate chips in many different forms, and with both the cream cheese icing and the marshmallow icing. My favorite by far are just like the ones here, the cupcakes with the cream cheese icing (with a hint of cinnamon). One oh-so-important thing that I have learned about this recipe is that there is a huge difference between canned and fresh pumpkin. I totally agree with you on your other recipes when you suggest canned v. fresh, but here I think that having fresh makes or breaks the recipe. Every time I’ve made them with canned, I find that they are dry. I boil my pumpkin and then let it drain in a strainer for 30 minutes. When I use the fresh pumpkin, they turn out to be the moistest cupcakes I’ve EVER had! (Which is surprising because pumpkin can be very difficult to work with.)
    Thank you for your fantastic recipes! I think I’ve written this before, but your blog taught me how to bake. I’m looking forward to trying some of your new fall recipes after I finish this family favorite! Happy Fall!

    1. This is so interesting, Amanda! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on using fresh/canned pumpkin for these cupcakes. This will be so helpful to other readers. Grateful you took the time to write in. LOLing at “not stalker status” 😉 You’re too funny.

  27. I made these last year for our Harvest Festival. We do a farmers market for our pickles and everyone who wanted to compete needed to provide a pumpkin item. I did these in a mini version with your cream cheese frosting. I did 700+ (I was a production line, my 2 yr old put the liners, I put the batter and frosting and my mom topped with the candy corn).
    This was a hit. I was competing against a cookie company and a baking company (selling bread that day) and I came in 2nd (giving it away btw). Many people asked where I sold this at lol. I was requested to do it again this year but I just don’t have the time. I lost the recipe and went to find it again, thanks btw. My son (now 3.5 )has been asking for them and we are going to make them tonight.

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