Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

We dare you to resist these pumpkin cream cheese muffins! They’re moist, cozy spiced and the creamy topping is to die for.

Pumpkin cream cheese muffins

Um, WOW, is what I mumbled at first bite of these pumpkin cheese cake muffins. Because wow, will that beautiful bite will have you meditating on it for hours. The moist cake is cozy-scented and just sweet enough, since after all it really is a muffin. Top that with a generous gooey mound of maple cream cheese, and each bite is like eating cheesecake and a muffin all at once. It’s really a bit of heaven in a muffin wrapper. (Insert contented sigh here.)

Ingredients in pumpkin cream cheese muffins

What I love most about these pumpkin cream cheese muffins is they really are a muffin, even though they sound decadent. The flavor is gorgeous and just sweet enough, but not so sweet you feel like you’re eating a cupcake. There’s even some healthy ingredients like oatmeal and applesauce! We modeled these treats after our Healthy Pumpkin Muffins, but swapped a streusel topping for a lump of maple cream cheese. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • All purpose flour
  • Rolled oats: Rolled oats help to make them more filling and add fiber
  • Light brown sugar
  • Pumpkin pie spice: Use purchased or make your own
  • Baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Pumpkin puree: steer away from pumpkin pie filling
  • Applesauce: using applesauce makes them moist and lets you use less oil
  • Oil: any neutral oil works, like grapeseed, organic canola, vegetable or sunflower
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cream cheese
  • Maple syrup
Pumpkin cream cheese muffins

How to add the cream cheese topping / filling

These pumpkin cream cheese muffins are pretty simple to put together. It’s a typical muffin where you mix the wet ingredients, mix the dry ingredients, and then put them together. The only part with a little technique involved is the cream cheese topping! Read this before you attempt the muffins:

  • The cream cheese functions as both a topping and a filling. You’ll see most of it on top, but a bit of gooey cream cheese will remain inside the muffin too.
  • Place dollops of maple cream cheese on top of the batter. Use a heaping 1 tablespoon.
  • Use a spoon to push the cheese into the batter. Push it down until it sinks and batter slightly rises over edges of the cheese. You’ll still have an exposed circle of cheese at the top of the muffin.

When the muffins bake, the cream cheese portion will get larger. But you’ll still have a bit of creamy cheese on the inside. It’s delicious! These muffins are a lovely fall recipe idea, and they’re ideal for Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin cream cheese muffins
Here’s what the muffins should look like before baking

Storage info for pumpkin cream cheese muffins

Because there’s cream cheese on top, the storage info for pumpkin cream cheese muffins is a little different than most. Here are a few pointers:

  • The muffins are the best the day of making. Wait after baking until they’re about room temperature, then devour. They taste incredible the day of.
  • Refrigerate for 5 days. Because of the cream cheese topping, avoid storing these muffins at room temperature. Pop them into the fridge and let them warm back to room temp for a minute or two before you enjoy them.
  • Do not freeze. The cream cheese topping doesn’t hold up well in the freezer, so we don’t’ recommend freezing them.

Variations: more cream cheese muffins to try!

If you’re anything like me, after you take one bite of these pumpkin cream cheese muffins you’ll think: What other cream cheese muffins can I try? The sky is really the limit: you can put the maple cream cheese topping from this recipe on just about any muffin. Here are a few we’d recommend:

Pumpkin cream cheese muffins

This pumpkin cream cheese muffins recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Pumpkin cream cheese muffins

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

We dare you to resist these pumpkin cream cheese muffins! They’re moist, cozy spiced and the creamy topping is to die for.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (purchased or homemade)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 12 muffin cups to a standard muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice with the baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, applesauce, neutral oil, and vanilla.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a smooth batter forms.
  5. Use a mixer or electric hand mixer to combine cream cheese and maple syrup: beat it on high until fluffy. 
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. Dollop a mounded tablespoon of maple cream cheese onto the center of each muffin. Using a clean spoon, press down the cream cheese until it sinks and batter slightly rises over edges of the cream cheese, but there’s still an exposed circle of cheese at the top. 
  7. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the muffin portion. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins and place them on a cooling rack. Cool 1 hour until room temperature. Enjoy or refrigerate up to 1 week (these muffins do not freeze well).
  • Category: Muffin
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Pumpkin cream cheese muffins

More pumpkin recipes

There are so many great ways to enjoy the squash of the season! Here are some favorite pumpkin recipes to try:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Maddie
    November 13, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Any recommendations for modifying to be GF? These look AMAZING.

  • Reply
    Kim
    November 15, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Just made them they are delicious, not sweet at all which is what I like. I subbed almond flour, batter was very thick so added some more pumpkin purée and oil. Baked about 10 min longer.

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