My Favorite Pumpkin Cupcakes

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with fluffy marshmallow frosting!

Or even as pumpkin muffins with brown sugar cinnamon streusel and a tempting cheesecake filling. (These are definitely a fall favorite!)

Pumpkin muffins filled with cream cheese filling and topped with sweet cinnamon brown sugar streusel!

And they’re amazing with dark chocolate frosting and extra chocolate chips!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

And, finally, try them with cinnamon swirl frosting and extra festive sprinkles.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Swirl Frosting

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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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 (220g) 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 make your own 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice by blending 1/8 teaspoon each of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground allspice. Don’t leave out the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon too!
  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

We had our engagement photos this week! Here’s a sneak peek from our wedding photographer, Megan Beth.

Engagement Photos

These are my favorite pumpkin cupcakes! Add cream cheese frosting or my recipe for cinnamon swirl frosting!

196 Comments

  1. Wonderful! You’ve got be hooked to your blog!
    I hope you’re doing some Christmas post in the future! I was assigned to bake for the Christmas party, and I haven’t got a clue on what to make!

  2. 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

    1. Thanks Angie, you are so sweet to say that about our photo. We are anxiously awaiting the rest of the photos from that day which should be ready from our photographer soon. Ok, I’m more anxious than Kevin. Anyway, I’m so happy you made these! I hope they become your new favorite. Hiding them is a great idea.

  3. 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.

    1. Thanks Diane! I’m happy you enjoy my blog. Yes, these aren’t overly sweet. But adding frosting or streusel definitely help in that area. Happy you like them as is, though.

  4. What a gorgeous picture!! You are so pretty!

    I love pumpkin cupcakes, since they tend to be more spicy than sweet.

    1. Thank you Jolene! That’s so nice. These have a great spice flavor to them. I prefer spice over sweet too. Surprisingly enough!

  5. Hee, the pumpkin candies strike back in this photoshoot! Love and love them. I am still recovering from the excitement of seeing your cheesecake streusel pumpkin muffins but things have been mucho crazy here, so I haven’t had a chance to try very much these days. But these little babies will make it in–soon!! Cheerios Sally, and gorgeous engagement pic 🙂

  6. I chuckled when I saw your line about there being very little difference between cupcakes and muffins – I said the same thing just recently. It’s true!! By the way, your engagement picture is adorable.

  7. 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 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. I made these yesterday! They are FABULOUS!
    I made mini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and I sprinkled gingerbread man sprinkles on top. (if you want to see a picture of them- http://instagram.com/p/hHc9NwHc52/ )
    Everyone loves them!
    I found the baking time to be 11 or so minutes.

    1. Just took a peek of them on Instagram and they are adorable! I love the sprinkles. I’m so happy you loved these, Megan. Thanks for reporting back and sharing your photo with me. Makes my night.

  11. Um, I think another great pumpkin muffin incarnation would be similar to your banana bread recipe where there’s a cinnamon sugar swirl throughout….that’s what I plan on doing. 🙂 thanks for the recipe!

    Also I have a question– some muffin recipes use oil, and some use butter, and then some use melted butter. What’s the difference in the end result? I am constantly wanting to replace oil/butter in dessert recipes with browned butter because its amazeballs, but I’m not sure if I’ll ruin the recipe by doing so.

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Ashley! I prefer oil in some recipes because of all the moisture it brings, especially when paired with other very flavorful ingredients like pumpkin. I like to use butter when I want the flavor. You could try brown butter in these cupcake/muffins if you’d like. Report back if you try it!

  12. Hi there! I am new to your blog and I must say Wow! I was searching around for a pumpkin recipe for Thanksgiving when I found this one. I don’t usually do much baking, but I wanted something special for the occasion and thought why not? Besides, I don’t care much for pie.
    Anyways, I made these with your cream cheese frosting recipe and OH MY GOD! They were amaaaaaazing!! I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin, until now. Seriously really moist and delicious. Everyone loved them! And that frosting! I could just eat that by the spoonful. Way, way better than any other cream cheese frosting I have ever had. Hands down perfect recipe. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Raina! What a sweet compliment to my cupcakes. I love, love, love (!!) these cupcakes. And they’re so simple to make. And the cream cheese frosting paired with them – it’s perfect, I agree. So glad you love them. Thanks so much for reporting back! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  13. 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

    1. So glad you love these pumpkin cupcake/muffins. They are so versatile! I love making them with coconut oil too. I’ll have to try your banana version Karen! Thanks for reporting back.

  14. 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!

    1. Thanks Kelly – you are so sweet! Your two favorite flavors are two of mine as well. I always love baking with pumpkin and/or sprinkles! So happy you tried these cupcakes. And thank you for reporting back!

  15. Sally your pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon frosting were very popular, great recipe! I made the puree from scratch – just roasted half a Kent pumpkin (really common at markets in Melbourne) for 45 minutes and voila. Thanks alot

  16. Sally- The difference between cupcakes and muffins are that:

    Muffins= Bread-ish texture; no frosting; bit chewier; usually has a fruity flavor like blueberry, blackberry, pumpkin, apple cinnamon, etc; usually cooked more;

    Cupcakes=fluffy texture, FROSTING; SPRINKLES; variety of flavors: chocolate, vanilla, carrot, lemon, strawberry, cinnamon, mint, etc.; less cooked than muffins

  17. These were absolutely wonderful!!! 🙂 I used salted butter instead of the oil and used 1 1/4 cup of flour. One of the moistest, softest and most delicious muffins I’ve made. Thanks for the great recipe! 🙂

  18. Great recipe! I have been making Disney-inspired cupcakes for my blog, and adapted your recipe for my Cinderella cupcakes. I made sure to link to you at the bottom of my post!

  19. It’s hard to choose just one cupcake recipe since they all look scrumptious, but since fall is fast approaching, your pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting is calling my name! I regularly make your 3 ingredient smoothie, and using the cute paper straws w/it would definitely enhance my mornings even more. 🙂 Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  20. These cupcakes are so cute Sally! The photo with the one topped with cinnamon-swirl frosting is one of my favorites ever!

    1. I am unsure without testing it myself. Pumpkin pie filling is a little thinner than pumpkin puree, so you’ll likely have to test a bit if you decide to try. I do suggest reducing the amount of spices since filling is already spiced.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!!!

  23. I love that you showed the many ways to adapt one cupcake recipe 🙂 I made pumpkin spice latte copycat cupcakes the other day and they were so good! Pumpkin & spices are just the epitome of Fall, aren’t they?

    Check out my version here!

    🙂 Sydney Sun

    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.

      1. I doubled up the recipe and it fit perfectly into a 9 x 13 pan. I baked for 30 mins and it turned out great.

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