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Crazy for Crust

Nov 19

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins {copycat recipe}


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins…just like Starbucks…but at home!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins - a Starbucks copycat! |

Have you ever done TRX at the gym? It’s a system of these rope/cable things that are attached high up on the wall and you hold the handles and do exercises using your own body weight. My trainer has been having me do it a lot, and I love it, especially for arm work. It’s killer!

A few weeks ago he had me do plank with my feet in the TRX handles. So, pretty much I’m in a normal plank with hands on the floor, but my feet are suspended in the air about a foot off the ground. It’s a great core workout and I’m kind of addicted to it. But then he had me moving my feet in and out (still balancing on the plank), forward, and side to side, and my dirty mind reared its ugly head.

Now every time I look at the TRX cables I think of the red room of pain. (Remember? From the 50 Shades of Grey?) And I blush a little. Luckily, he just thinks I’m working hard and doesn’t realize I’m actually, you know, blushing.

But I really can’t look at it normally anymore. Nope.

Something I can look at normally? {With a little lust?} Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins - a Starbucks copycat! |

Every October (sometimes in September) I am SO excited when Starbucks gets their Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. Hands down, those are my favorite Starbucks treats. It’s never the same when I have to get boring old banana bread or coffee cake. I want my pumpkin muffin!

Last week we went to Starbucks and I was so excited because I was finally going to allow myself to get one.

And they were OUT OF THEM. #epicfail #epicletdown

So I made my own. It was easy. And just as good…if not better! Because I ate one and have 17 more in the freezer waiting for me!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins - a Starbucks copycat! |

I adapted this recipe from my mom’s banana bread recipe. That recipe is a true workhorse recipe – I’ve adapted it about a gazillion times.

A few things about the recipe:

I use oil in my muffins, not butter. I find that it makes them airier and fluffier. I also stir them by hand, not with a mixer. One, because I’m lazy, and wooden spoons go in the dishwasher. Also, because Sally told me I should.

These muffins are full of pumpkin flavor and pumpkin spice. I used 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, and I found that to be the perfect amount of spiciness for me. If you’re like certain friends I have and want a punch-you-in-the-face spice flavor, up it to 1 tablespoon.

The cream cheese mixture, simply cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla, is added on top before baking. The muffin grows up around it and the cream cheese stays soft and sweet, just like at the coffee house. I added some pumpkin seeds to be true to the original…but that ‘s not necessary!

If you crave pumpkin cream cheese muffins like I do, you’ll love these. And you’ll save the $$ every time you pull one from the freezer!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins - a Starbucks copycat! |

 And you can have them all year long!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Yield: 18 muffins


For the Muffin

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

For the Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pumpkin Seeds, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with liners.
  2. Stir pumpkin, oil, and sugar together in a large bowl. Do this by hand - don’t use a mixer. Stir in eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda. Stir in 1 cup flour, then stir in milk, then stir in remaining 1 cup flour. Divide evenly among muffin pans, filling each liner 1/2 full.
  3. Stir together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Drop 1 tablespoon onto the top of each muffin. Sprinkle with 4-5 pumpkin seeds, optional.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the muffin part comes out with just a few crumbs stuck too it.
  5. Cool at least 5 minutes before serving. Store in refrigerator. Muffins can be frozen for quick breakfasts!

Spiced Cinnamon Chip Scones

Spiced Cinnamon Chip Scones (7 of 10)w

Starbucks Petite Vanilla Scones

copycat-petite-vanilla-scones (3 of 5)w

Pumpkin Coffee Cake


pumpkin-coffee-cake (3 of 5)w

Sweets from friends:
Cinnamon Crunch Pumpkin Waffles by A Kitchen Addiction
Pumpkin Pudding Muffins by Something Swanky
Caramel Spice Waffles by Bless This Mess Please

135 comments on “Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins {copycat recipe}

  1. Followed the super simple directions, but my cream cheese melted everywhere. Oops!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 12th, 2014 at 7:38 am

      Oh no Rach! Possibly it touched the edges of the muffin? I think that if it’s completely enclosed in the muffin, it “should” stay put!


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  3. I made these and had to blog about it! Yummmm! Better than Starbucks for sure. 🙂


  4. For the pumpkin puree, do you buy it or make it yourself? Thanks.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 15th, 2014 at 8:05 am

      I always buy it (Libby’s is the brand I find most readily). You can make it (I never have, so much work) but beware that fresh puree might have more/less water content than canned so it may affect the outcome.


  5. I made these today! My cream cheese seemed to want to slide off of the muffins LOL. Did I do something wrong? Either way they are still so yummy!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 16th, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      Try and make sure that the cream cheese is only in the center of the muffin before baking. I’ve found that if there is a nest of sorts for the cream cheese, it’ll stay put!


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  9. For the pumpkin cream cheese muffins…if you make the cream cheese mixture first then put it in the refrigerator to chill first the spreading issues should go away…it is what I did, and the cream cheese stayed where I placed it….happy baking


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 3rd, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      That’s a great tip Kim!


    • Chelsea replied on November 10th, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Based on my experience with similar recipes, I actually put mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes – so not completely frozen, but firm enough to push it down in the center, so it’s more of a “filling” than a topping. 🙂


  10. I intended to make this recipe as written, but I used a CAN of pumpkin instead of a CUP (that’s about 1.75 cups). Guess what? It was amazing!! Very moist but still baked perfectly. I’ll continue using the recipe with a whole can of pumpkin. Delicious!


  11. I just made these and they turned out amazing! I chilled the cream cheese mixture and then made it into little tubes so I could insert it into the batter. Kind of the cheater version of filling haha. Tops didn’t melt and they go most of the way through the muffin. So yummy! Thanks for the recipe!!


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  15. If you add an egg to the filling, and cut the sugar in half it should sink ala black bottom cupcakes, chilling should also help. If followed, the original recipe above produces frosting that slides off the muffins…


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 11th, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      I’ve made the recipe with success, but thank you for the tips! For these muffins, the point was not for the filling to sink, but for the cheesecake to be on the top.


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  20. Thank you for the fabulous recipe!  I’ve made it several times, and it is always a hit.  I was short on time once, so I decided to turn it into a loaf (8″ x 4″), and it came out wonderfully.  I kept the temp, but I don’t recall the baking time.  I know I started at 30 mins and checked every 5 after that.


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  23. Hi. I made these last night and they were delicious but a little dry. Should I add more milk or oil in the future? If so, how much?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 31st, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Hm, with all that pumpkin they should be moist! It’s possible you baked them a little too long. If you’re worried next time, you can add another tablespoon or two of oil.


  24. Has anyone tried these by greasing the muffin tins instead of using liners? Does it work? Thanks! 


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 21st, 2015 at 7:13 am

      That should work no problem Laura. I recommend using shortening or butter, or the cooking spray with flour for easy release.


      • Laura Thompson replied on November 21st, 2015 at 3:21 pm

        Thank you! I made them with the liners this time just in case, and while they did stick to the liners (maybe I’m buying the wrong kind) the muffins were awesome. GREAT recipe! Thanks for posting!

        • Dorothy Kern replied on November 21st, 2015 at 4:37 pm

          Liners are finicky like that! Sometimes I spray them with cooking spray…if I remember in time!

  25. I just made these muffins tonight and they were amazing, thank you! I’ve never frozen muffins before. How do you do it? Do you package them individually? What do you do to thaw them to eat?

    Thanks again!!!


  26. Dorothy, I’ve made them over here in Germany, making my own pumpkin spice and using a silicon muffin tray for 12 muffins without liners. They don’t stick, and the 15 min. baking time is ideal.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 14th, 2015 at 6:30 am

      I am SO glad you like them!! Yay!! Thank you!


  27. I’ve made these muffins a few times now and every time they guarantee moist, delicious, popular muffins! They’re so easy to make I baked 50+ in less than three hours :] excellent recipe! Thank you


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 23rd, 2015 at 7:10 am

      Yay! I’m so glad you enjoy them! 🙂


  28. I found that they were too moist.. Cooked them for over 30 minutes and they still seemed raw in the middle 🙁


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 5th, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      That may have been from the cream cheese? Did you make any substitutions?


  29. I just found this recipe on Pinterest and made them today. Love the recipe! It is so easy and the muffins turned out great. I will definitely be making them again. Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 15th, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Glad you enjoyed them!


  30. This is a very good recipe but I found there wasn’t as much pumpkin flavour as I was expecting. Next time I’d want to try doubling the pumpkin. And I used more pumpkin spice as the write up suggested and it still wasn’t as spiced as I would like! These are a little more bland than the Starbucks version. Still quite good if you aren’t trying for a close copy, but they are not the same. The cream cheese topping is awesome though, that is exactly on point!


  31. How long would I need to bake these if I make them as mini muffins?
    These look great and I can’t wait to try them! 🙂


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 30th, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Probably 8-12 minutes


  32. thank you so much these came out delicious. they are cooling right now, i hope the bigger muffins turn out ok. thanks again!


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