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. 


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


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


  • 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


  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.


  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!


Comments are closed.

  1. I am making these cupcakes today! I am planning on cream cheese frosting in think. Maybe adding cinnamon into the frosting :). Should these be refrigerated when completed? 

    1. Yep, they can– see step 4. Enjoy!

  2. Do you think you could sub the oil for coconut oil??

  3. Could I substitute the brown sugar for just regular sugar? 

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

  4. Was kinda disappointed with the lack of pumpkin flavor in these.

  5. 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!

  6. What is ur recipe for the pumpkin cupcakes with cheesecake filling? Would love to try them.

    1. Here you go, Cheryl:

  7. Could insubstitute applesauce or yogurt for the oil?

    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.

  8. Shelley Anderson says:

    We have an apple sensitivity in our family.  What should I use instead of the applesauce?

    1. Where are you coming up with apples? Am I miss g something? 

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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? 


    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!

  12. Does this recipe need to be tweaked in any way to make a 9×13 Sheet Cake with it??
    Your Recipes are awesome Sally!! I always go to your website first!

    1. Robin, I would make two batches of this batter for a 9×13 cake. I typically don’t like to double cupcake recipes– too much batter and easy to overmix! So, two batches. Pour together into a greased 9×13. Fill halfway. Any leftover batter can be used to make a couple cupcakes on the side. I am unsure of the bake time.

      1. Sounds good Sally. Thanks for promptly getting back with me.
        Appreciate you. Blessings!

  13. I just made the pumpkin cupcakes and cinnamon swirl frosting.  You made one huge mistake… should have said to double the recipe!! These are so delicious. I followed the recipe just as you had it and they were perfect! Thank you for sharing! 

  14. I have one more question Sally. I’m not a huge fan of Dark Brown Sugar. Could I use half of light and half of dark? Your thoughts on that??


    1. You can use light brown– or half light/half dark.

      1. Thanks Sally!!

  15. How do you think this would come out as a bundt cake? I want to use this recipe because it’s delicious but I don’t want it to mess up! 

  16. For the pumpkin puree: does it have to be cooked before adding it to the recipe or I can use a fresh carved pumpkin that I pureed (uncooked)?  My first time using fresh pumpkin…  Thanks!

  17. I have to admit that these cupcakes have no flavor!!  I followed the recipe, and they are blah!!
    I haven’t iced them yet, so hopefully that will make a difference!

    Don’t think I will make these again!

  18. I made these a while ago and they were the best pumpkin cupcakes/muffins I’ve ever had. The spices were perfect without being too much. I just noticed you replaced the individual spices with the pumpkin spice. I’m worried if I just do a pinch of each, as you noted, that they won’t be the perfect flavor I had before. Could u tell me the measurements you had before?..plz:). I love all of your recipes! Thank you!

    1. Rachel, in addition to the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon– there was 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice. I find that 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice tastes even better as a sub!

  19. In the cupcake batter ingredients, you listed 1/3 cup of milk. I’m lactose intolerant so I was wondering if I could substitute the cow’s milk for either almond milk or rice milk. I’m going to make these for my family’s Thanksgiving dessert!

    1. I’ve made these with almond milk– I suggest that as an alternative.

  20. Why is there additional ingredients in the directions??

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. Have you made this as a layer cake? Looking for a good layer cake recipe and this sounds delicious! 

  24. I cooked these cupcakes for a first time today. Just needed to make something from the pumpkin grown in my summer farm. Amazing result, cupcakes are so soft and spicy. Thank you for a good recipe. I will definetely cook many times:)

  25. 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.

  26. Greetings from Czech Republic 😉 I just discovered your blog and tried your pumpkin cupcakes – I made 15 of these puppies and we ate them all in two days… They’re amazing! Looking forward to try another recipe soon!

  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.

  28. 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.

  29. Sure can!

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

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