Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These super moist pumpkin cupcakes are easy to make, perfectly pumpkin spiced, and finished with tangy cream cheese frosting. I adapted this recipe from my very favorite pumpkin cake. They’re a must-try during the fall season!

a bite taken out of a pumpkin cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin cupcakes deserve their own spotlight, right?

I received some questions about turning my pumpkin cake into cupcakes, so I figure a completely separate post for pumpkin cupcakes would be helpful. Compared to cake, cupcakes cook faster and are easier to decorate, transport, and serve. LOVE THAT!

pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

These are the BEST Pumpkin Cupcakes

And I have a list to prove it!

  • Easy to prepare
  • Simple, basic ingredients
  • Moist and soft
  • Heightened pumpkin spice flavor
  • Sweetened with brown sugar
  • Topped with tangy cream cheese frosting
  • Fun to decorate! 🙂

pumpkin cupcake batter in a glass bowl

Let’s Compare

Let’s compare these pumpkin cupcakes to the pumpkin cupcake recipe I shared a few years ago. There’s definitely a few differences!

  • Ease: Both pumpkin cupcake recipes are super low maintenance. You don’t need a mixer to make either batter (though you could certainly use one!) and both batters come together in minutes.
  • Actual Recipes: The recipes themselves are pretty similar. Here I cut out the milk and reduced the flour to make up for less liquid. You only need 1 cup of flour, so you are basically guaranteed mega moist cupcakes. There’s also more brown sugar for extra flavor.
  • Flavor: The flavors are pretty identical, though there’s a little more spice flavor here.
  • Texture: But here’s the real difference– these pumpkin cupcakes are a little less dense. They’re incredibly moist and soft, but have more of a cake and cupcake texture and less of a muffin texture.

My tip: As with most of my cupcake recipes, fill the liners only about 2/3 full. This is about 3 full Tablespoons of batter per cupcake. (See 9 more tips for baking the BEST cupcakes!)

2 images of pumpkin cupcake batter in a cupcake pan before baking and pumpkin cupcakes in a cupcake pan after baking

Ingredients in Pumpkin Cupcakes

Because this homemade pumpkin cupcake recipe is based off of my pumpkin cake, you’ll notice the ingredients are almost exactly the same. In a nutshell, we halve the cake recipe to yield about 12 cupcakes. The spices and vanilla extract aren’t completely halved. Rather, I kept both on the higher side for plenty of FLAVOR!

Here’s what you need:

  1. Flour: All-purpose flour serves as the base. It’s sturdy enough to support the thick batter.
  2. Baking Powder & Baking Soda: These help the cupcakes rise.
  3. Cinnamon & Pumpkin Pie Spice: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.
  4. Salt & Vanilla Extract: Both add flavor. Try making your own homemade vanilla extract sometime.
  5. Oil: Oil, as opposed to butter, guarantees a moist crumb.
  6. Eggs: Eggs provide structure and moisture.
  7. Sugar: I only use brown sugar to sweeten these cupcakes because it’s the best!
  8. Pumpkin: Use 1 cup of pumpkin puree in this recipe, then browse my pumpkin recipes to use up the rest of the can.

Cream cheese frosting with stand mixer

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is a pumpkin cupcake’s BFF.

Here’s what I love most about this duo: cream cheese frosting doesn’t take away from the pumpkin flavor. Rather, it lets the pumpkin cupcakes shine. Cream cheese frosting is not selfish. That’s a true friend, is it not?! 😉 We’d have a different story with, say, vanilla buttercream because it’s too sweet, too heavy, and too overpowering.

This cream cheese frosting will hold a little shape if you pipe it, though a simple swirl with a knife works too. I like to use a round tip for piping, like Ateco 808 large round because it resembles a big puffy cloud on top!

If you really want to go wild, try my brown butter cream cheese frosting, cinnamon cream cheese frosting, or pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting!

pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on a wood slice cake stand

Find cute pumpkin decorating toppers here. (Link to adorable decor is an affiliate link.) You can also decorate these cupcakes with festive fall sprinkles or mellowcreme pumpkins!

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pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This is my favorite recipe for super moist and easy pumpkin spice cupcakes topped with delicious cream cheese frosting.


  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) canola or vegetable oil*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (225g) canned pumpkin puree*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk the oil, eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a mixer or whisk until completely combined. Batter will be thick.
  3. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  4. 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, 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).
  5. Frost cooled cupcakes however you’d like. I used an Ateco 808 large round piping tip for these pictured cupcakes. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  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 Hand Mixer, Glass Mixing Bowls, Cupcake Liners, Cupcake Pan, Reusable Piping Bags or Disposable Piping Bags, Ateco #808 Frosting Tip, and Tree Slice Cake Stand
  3. Spices: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.
  4. Oil: Instead of 1/2 cup of oil, try 1/4 cup (45g) unsweetened applesauce and 1/4 (60ml) cup oil. The cupcakes are just as moist.
  5. Pumpkin: I strongly recommend using canned pumpkin puree over homemade in this recipe, though 1 cup of homemade would work just fine. I found the flavor better with canned. I prefer Libby’s brand.
  6. Mini Cupcakes: For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 12-13 minutes, same oven temperature.
  7. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: pumpkin cupcakes


  1. LOVED THESE. Ridiculously easy recipe and already had all the ingredients. Baked a batch of mini cupcakes for work (made about 36), plus cinnamon cream cheese and some orange/black sprinkles. Devoured! Number one compliment was how moist they are, and just the right amount of pumpkin flavor. This was great for my title as office baking queen! 😉 #tisTheSeason

  2. Sally, thank you – you never fail to provide delicious recipes and this is no exception. I’m making batch number two. Tomorrow, I’ll be delivering beautifully decorated Halloween cupcake boxes of four each to people in nursing homes or those at home who are unable to bake any longer. This is a monthly project for me and your sweets are always a big hit. I just wanted you to know that you’re a bright spot in the lives of many!

  3. Andrea from Door County Mom says:

    I made these and they turned out great. I had to use butter (mostly) and olive oil as I do not have vegetable oil in the house. I sometimes use coconut oil, but there is a nut allergy in my son’s classroom and I didn’t want to take a chance (coconut oil is a different allergy but some kids react to it if they have a nut allergy). The batter was super thick, and the tops did not turn out fluffy round, so I thinned it out with a small addition of milk for the remaining batter (baked 6 at a time to test). Overall, it really tuned out nice. I prefer to use coconut oil next time as butter made the bottoms a tad oily.

    Thanks for the recipe! (PS if you ever do a website update, it might be nice for us to upload our photos of your recipes! I took some cute pix!) 🙂

  4. Jennifer Heinzerling says:

    This is the most amazing recipe ever. I’ve made it several times and it’s always a huge hit. This year I needed to make a TON of cupcakes for my work potluck my daughters work potluck and a dinner I was hosting in the evening so I QUADRUPLED this recipe. I was super lazy about it and just multiplied everything by 4 and threw it all together and the cupcakes came out PERFECT! Do you even know how amazing that is?? That means the ratios for this recipe are absolute perfection so thank you Sally for doing all the hard work in testing these recipes so people like me can be lazy and still seem like a rockstar at the work potluck lol and seriously these cupcakes are amazing!

  5. I just made these! It was a great recipe I like that the cupcake wasn’t a sweet one considering the frosting (which was great btw). I might play with it a little and add a bit more pumpkin so it can come through more. But overall it was great! Thank you!

  6. Hi,
    I made your pumpkin cupcakes and they were a hit! I am not a big sweet person so I reduced the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. As well with the icing, I don’t measure, just add to my liking which ends being a lot less.

  7. These are super! I doubled the recipe because, 12 just won’t cut it for my fam.. And I halved the oil with butter.. easy to make, light & fluffy. A mouthful of fall <3

  8. Made these last night for my sister to take to a baby shower and they loved them! Would this recipe work well as pumpkin bread baked in a loaf pan?

    1. I’m so glad they were a hit! You can bake these in a loaf pan – or see my recipe for my favorite pumpkin bread: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-bread/

  9. Shocking how good these are…and I haven’t even frosted them yet but definitely have to hide them or they’ll be eaten before I get a chance to! Really light and not overly pumpkin or too sweet… a dessert not to be mistaken as a muffin

  10. This recipe looks great! I want to make mini spiced pumpkin cakes using a mini fluted pan. Can this recipe be used? If so, do I need to adjust the cooking time? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lauren! You can use this pumpkin batter for mini Bundt cakes in a mini fluted pan. The bake time depends on the dimensions of the cakes, but it will likely be around the same time. Keep a close eye on them and use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  11. Hello, I am looking to make this recipe into a layered cake. Will I need to adjust the oven temperature or bake time? I intend to bake the batter in two, 9″ x 2″ in round pans.

    1. Hi Katie! For a 2 layer pumpkin cake, I recommend using my pumpkin cake recipe: pour batter evenly into two 9-inch round cake pans. Same oven temperature, bake for 25 minutes or until baked through. This frosting is enough for a 2 layer cake.

  12. These cupcakes ate wonderful! Will be making them again. Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. I just made the cupcakes (not the frosting) for the first time. Since they’re so moist, they convert beautifully to gluten free! The cakes being dairy free is an added bonus. My boyfriend said they were one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever baked. They were so good that I’m bringing them to another event today! Thank you!!

  14. Deidra Rodriguez says:

    Absolutely delicious, moist and slightly crumbly, not too sweet. I will definitely be making these again and again

  15. Paulita Parrilla says:

    Made them for Thanksgiving. EVERYONE loved them.
    Thank you!!!

  16. The best!!!!

  17. Albert S. Johnston III says:

    I was looking for a pumpkin muffin recipe. I found this one by doing a Google voice search on my phone. I had already tried several that I was not happy with. I prefer a recipe that is somewhere between a rustic and a bakery style. I make jumbo muffins in a quarter sheet pan convection oven. Some recipes work well in this oven, some don’t. I like a recipe that has a good rise and produces a good ‘muffin top’. (best part of a muffin??) This recipe hit all the marks. A great rise and muffin top, great texture and just the right moisture level and sweetness. These are so good they really don’t need frosting or a glaze although I’m sure that would only make them even better. This will be my ‘go to’ pumpkin muffin recipe from now on.

  18. I’ve made this a few time and can’t believe I’ve never made a review. I love this recipe it’s a great way to get rid of some of the extra pumpkin puree I have. The cupcakes are moist and balanced. And cream cheese frosting is always a win. Thank you for this recipe it’s one of my favorites.

  19. Can you substitute almond flour for all purpose flour?

    1. No, I don’t recommend almond flour here. For the best texture stick to all purpose.

  20. Teagan Mehaffey says:

    They are really fun to make. They smell good. They also taste super yummy.

  21. If you love pumpkin, this is for you. I know it is meant for the fall, but I make it all year round!

  22. This recipe is super moist and delicious. I also added some pumpkin pie spice on top before I chilled it the frosting made it great! This will be my favorite.:(^…^)

  23. So easy, so delicious and smells amazing while baking. Literally ate them all in one sitting, I couldn’t help myself. Will definitely be making these again

  24. Omg I made these and they are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made! Thanks for the recipe, my fam and I had a great time eating them 🙂

  25. I made this recipe for the first time over the weekend but I switched up the frosting to your cinnamon cream cheese frosting and added the salted caramel sauce as a drizzle, oh my goodness they were spectacular and definitely a huge hit. Everybody loved them, I can’t wait to try some more things. Thank’s so much for the great tips on your site

  26. I can’t wait to make these! Silly question… do you recommend keeping these refrigerated since there is cream cheese in the frosting? Thank you! 🙂

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Madison, After decorating anything with buttercream or cream cheese frosting, it’s fine for 1 day at room temperature. After that, I would definitely refrigerate it. But, use your best judgment and whatever you are comfortable with- We’ve never had any problems leaving frosted desserts at room temperature for a day

  27. Can’t wait to make these for a coworker’s bday as she loves anything pumpkin. Really wanted to double the recipe but my can of Libbys pumpkin is 25g short (425 instead of the full 450 from the recipe). Will this be okay or should I make further adjustments?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stacey, You can make up for the extra 25g of pumpkin by using another wet ingredient such as mashed banana.

  28. These cupcakes are so delicious! I ended up making two batches! But was wondering if I could use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and if so, would the measurements change? Thank you for this oh so yummy recipe!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Faith, I’m so happy you enjoy these cupcakes! You can definitely use melted (and slightly cooled) coconut oil in place of vegetable oil. Same amount, no other changes needed!

  29. When I google for any recipe I always choose the one that comes up from Sally’s Baking Addiction, every single one has been perfect and this one is no different!

  30. I love this recipe but the frosting is too sweet , and theres no other taste other than the tooth hurting sweetness. Is there any changes i can make to improve the frosting

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