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These Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins are soft, moist and perfectly spiced! They come together in one bowl in under 35 minutes. A easy vanilla cream cheese filling is baked right into the middle and tastes even better than Starbucks!
This is a super soft, moist pumpkin cream cheese muffin like Starbucks but without the artificial flavorings and preservatives. Cream cheese has an absolutely exquisite tanginess to it which adds a lovely balance, just like it does in my soft batch cream cheese chocolate chip cookies!
This is an easy muffin recipe that comes together in one bowl with a whisk! You could swirl the cream cheese into the batter like I did with this Nutella banana bread or bake it in a loaf like this moist pumpkin bread. You could also try my healthy pumpkin muffins to mix it up.
Table of Contents
- Why You Will Love these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
- Professional Tips for Making Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins like Starbucks
- Ingredients Needed
- Possible Variations
- Possible Substitutions
- How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
- Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Recipe
- Before You Go
Why You Will Love these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
- The cream cheese filling is creamy, smooth and tastes like cheesecake! Many cream cheese fillings in other blogs use an egg but I found that, no matter the ratio, those fillings had an unappealing consistency when baked on top of the muffin. I tested and retest until I found the perfect baked consistency.
- Developed by a professional chef in a commercial bakery. We developed this recipe in my professional bakery, which means that not only are the flavor and texture perfect, the recipe works in large batches too!
- A simple muffin recipe made in under 35 minutes. Combine the ingredients for the filling, then whisk the muffin batter together in one bowl.
Professional Tips for Making Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins like Starbucks
- Mix just right. The biggest mistake people make is over-mixing their muffin batter. Just because you can mix it all with a whisk, doesn’t mean you should. Over mixing leads to too much gluten development, which can make muffins tough. I always fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula.
- Use a cookie scoop to portion. In this recipe I use a large cookie scoop to fill the muffin tins with batter and a small scoop to dollop on the cream cheese filling. This ensures a nice even shape and distribution!
- Uses oil for an extra moist muffin. The recipe calls for vegetable oil but you could also use melted coconut oil. The oil and pumpkin combined with brown sugar make for an incredibly moist muffin.
- Don’t overfilling the muffin tins. Only fill the tins or liner ¾ full or they will overflow. The weight of the filling will press the batter out and over the edges. It isn’t catastrophic but they will be less pretty than those properly filled.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour has just the right amount of gluten to hold all the sugar, oil and peaches without making a chewy, tough muffin.
- Baking Soda: Do check the freshness of your baking soda! It does lose potency over time. If it’s not fresh, send it to the back of the refrigerator to absorb some odors, or clean your marble countertops with it!
- Baking Powder: Double acting baking powder will react instantly when it is mixed with an acid and then again when it is heated. Because it is double acting, it has a slower, more stable rise than baking soda alone.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is lass salty than table salt and a teaspoon weighs less than other finer ground varieties. It heightens the flavor here and will keep your pastries for tasting dull or flat.
- Spices: The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of my pumpkin spice recipe, but I have also included individual spice measurements in the Notes of the Recipe Card below.
- Vegetable Oil: Vegetable Oil makes these muffins exceptionally moist. I emulsify them into the sugar and eggs to make the batter extra moist. You can also use melted coconut oil.
- Eggs: Whole eggs allow you to emulsify all that oil into the batter, resulting in moist, not greasy, pumpkin bread.
- Light Brown Sugar: Using light brown sugar adds sweetness along with a little moisture. This will keep the pumpkin quick bread softer while adding a nice, rich molasses flavor. Coconut sugar or dark brown sugar can be substituted if desired.
- Sugar: There is a significant amount of granulated sugar in this recipe. It is part of what makes the crumb so tender and light and makes these muffins taste like Starbucks.
- Pumpkin Puree: I use Libby’s pumpkin puree because it is what I use to develop all my recipes. Use whichever brand you prefer. Just be sure to grab pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie mix! It is not my preference to use homemade pumpkin puree due to the varying moisture content. Too much moisture will make the pumpkin bread gummy.
- Cream Cheese: I use Philadelphia’s cream cheese in this recipe. For the best texture use full fat cream cheese and not low fat or whipped.
- Vanilla Extract: The vanilla extract in the cream cheese filling makes it taste like cheesecake!
- Add a crumble. Add the crumble topping from this pumpkin coffee cake for a sweet, spiced topping, or make this easy brown sugar streusel topping recipe!
- Bake into loaf pans. This same recipe will yield two loaves of pumpkin bread. Perhaps consider making 1.5 x the cream cheese filling recipe for a more substantial swirl.
- Swirl the cream cheese filling. Swirl the cheese cake filling into the batter for a different effect.
- Use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil: These muffins are also phenomenal with melted coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil. It will still be moist, flavorful and you won’t taste the coconut.
- Full- fat cream cheese is best. For the best texture use full fat cream cheese and not low fat or whipped. The fat helps the cream cheese stand up to baking and the filling made with full-fat will be thicker and smoother.
- You can use homemade pumpkin puree. You can substitute homemade pumpkin puree, just be sure to let it drain overnight to remove any excess moisture. It should be paste-like without standing water.
How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Use these instructions to make pumpkin cream cheese muffins like Starbucks! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 standard muffin tins with liners.
Step 2: In a medium bowl beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth and then add vanilla. This can also be done easily by hand if the cream cheese is slightly softened.
Step 3: Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin spice in a medium bowl. Whisk to incorporate, set aside.
Step 4: In a large bowl whisk together light brown sugar, sugar, oil, and eggs. Whisk in puree.
Step 5: Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.
The biggest mistake people make when mixing muffins is over mixing. Over mixing leads to too much gluten development, which can make muffins tough. I always fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula.
Step 6: Scoop or spoon muffin batter between the prepared liners. Using a small cookie scoop (about an inch wide), scoop cream cheese mixture into the center of each and press down slightly.
Step 7: Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few clinging crumbs or they spring back lightly to the touch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store pumpkin cream cheese muffins at room temperature for until 3 days or frozen for longer storage. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature. The refrigerator will dry out the muffins faster.
You absolutely may use a toothpick, bamboo skewer or paring knife to swirl the cream cheese filling. For easier swirling, be sure the cream cheese is at room temperature.
The most common reason muffins are dry is over-baking, but using melted butter rather than oil can also be the cause of dry muffins.
You absolutely can bake this batter in a loaf pan and it will yield two loaves. It is similar to my pumpkin bread recipe but the batter is slightly thicker. I find the thick batter makes lighter, more cake-like muffins.
If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
For the Pumpkin Muffins
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 whole eggs
- 15 oz pumpkin puree this is one 15 oz can
- 3 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin spice mix
For the Cream Cheese Filling
- 6 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
- 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 standard muffin tins with liners.
- In a medium bowl beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth and then add vanilla. This can also be done easily by hand if the cream cheese is slightly softened.
Mix the Batter:
- Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin spice in a medium bowl. Whisk to incorporate, set aside.
- Whisk together light brown sugar, sugar, oil, and eggs. Whisk in puree.
- Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Scoop or spoon muffin batter between the prepared liners. Using a small cookie scoop (about an inch wide), scoop cream cheese mixture into the center of each and press down slightly.
- Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few clinging crumbs or they spring back lightly to the touch.
- 1 ½ T Cinnamon
- 1 T Ginger
- ½ t Cloves
- ½ t Nutmeg
- ½ t Allspice