Crazy for Crust

Nov 19

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins {copycat recipe}

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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

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112 Responses to “Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins {copycat recipe}”

  1. Meghan @ The Tasty Fork posted on November 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm (#)

    Starbucks was out of the same muffin at my location yesterday! Are we even sure they’re selling them this year?? I think SB is messing with us and making us buy up their other bakery items. :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      I know they had them at one point, but maybe they stopped early? Thanks Meghan!


  2. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen posted on November 19, 2013 at 4:13 pm (#)

    Fabulous, Dorothy! These look incredibly scrumptious. Thanks for sharing, girl. Pinning everywhere!


  3. Averie @ Averie Cooks posted on November 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm (#)

    The fact that you made it way too easy to make these knockoffs is way too dangerous. Pumpkin and cream cheese is an amazing combo and these are soooo moist and soft looking. Yeah, oh boy!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      It IS too dangerous! Thanks Averie!


  4. Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen posted on November 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm (#)

    Yum!!! That’s the worst when you’re craving something, go to get it and then its out!! SOOOOOO upsetting!! LOL Cream cheese is theeeeeeeeee best!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      I know! Thanks Elizabeth!


  5. Trish - Mom On Timeout posted on November 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm (#)

    These muffins look stellar Dorothy! I love that cream cheese filling poking out the top – yum! Pinned!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Thanks for the pin Trish!


  6. Kim posted on November 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm (#)

    Perfect! My husband loves the SB pumpkin cream cheese muffins – I can’t wait to try these. Thank you! :)


  7. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet posted on November 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm (#)

    Stir with a spoon and not a mixer! I am definitely going to need to do that because I crave muffins for breakfast!


  8. Tieghan posted on November 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm (#)

    Such a great combo and I love that they are so easy! Especially since my mixer broke yesterday. :(
    These are my perfect solution!


  9. Laurie F. posted on November 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm (#)

    Dorothy, I am so glad you posted this recipe! It looks exactly like a muffin I love at My Favorite Muffin, a popular place at the edge of downtown, here in Reno. Yea, I’ll try it tomorrow!


  10. marcie posted on November 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm (#)

    Dorothy, I’ve had these muffins on my bucket list for a while, and I’m glad you did it — now I can just make yours! :) As for TRX, I’ve been doing it for the past 3 years and love it! The planks are the hardest part for sure. I’ve never thought about the red room of pain, so now I will probably have that image, too. lol


  11. Amy posted on November 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm (#)

    That had to be the biggest disappointment ever Dorothy, to finally go to Starbucks and hear they were out of pumpkin cream cheese muffins!! They totally should have set one aside just for you. But good for you for making an even better copycat! They probably taste much moister and fresher too. Next May, I’ll definitely be knocking on your door for pumpkin muffins! ;)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      I was crushed!! LOL thanks Amy!


  12. Mandy's Recipe Box posted on November 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm (#)

    I have never had these, but I’m about to rectify that! Gorgeous!


  13. Jenn posted on November 20, 2013 at 12:00 am (#)

    Ha – I still haven’t read that book. Are you going to watch the movie if it ever comes out? These muffins look so dang good.


  14. Erin | The Emerging Foodie posted on November 20, 2013 at 5:40 am (#)

    Deeeeelicious. They look awesome. I would imagine that yours are healthier than Starbucks’ as well. Win!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      I would think so too! Thanks Erin!


  15. Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie posted on November 20, 2013 at 6:28 am (#)

    Haha – I would probably have dirty thoughts too and laugh to myself ;) These muffins look awesome!


  16. Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector) posted on November 20, 2013 at 7:24 am (#)

    You had me at Starbucks Copy-cat! These look so good!


  17. SuperCutePetContest posted on November 20, 2013 at 7:36 am (#)

    Ha! How could you NOT have dirty thoughts about 50 Shades when your feet are suspended ;)

    Those muffins look perfect! I love having something in the freezer to satisfy a sweet craving or to save a couple of bucks when I know I’m going to be somewhere that will tempt me (like Starbucks!). Just knowing that I have something at home in the freezer will often keep me from spending extra cash.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Right??? Glad it’s not just me! :)


  18. Melissa Vanni posted on November 20, 2013 at 8:32 am (#)

    We love Starbucks pumpkin muffins! Thank you for the recipe, I’m sure they are better homemade!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      They kind of are! :) Thanks Melissa!


  19. Melissa @ Bless this Mess posted on November 20, 2013 at 8:50 am (#)

    Mmmmm. And can I say how cute those two little pumpkin seeds on that muffin are?! Adorbs. Great little styling technique I might have to steal :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      LOL, they didn’t quite land where I wanted! :) Thanks Melissa!


  20. Brenda @ SweetSimpleStuff posted on November 20, 2013 at 10:14 am (#)

    Pumpkin, cream cheese and muffins … can’t go wrong with that! The two seeds turned it into a cute muffin ;)


  21. Karissa @ Sweet As A Cookie posted on November 20, 2013 at 10:34 am (#)

    Oooh! These look amazing! I’ve never been to a Starbucks but with all these Copycat Starbucks recipes floating around I may have to go check it out.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Never been to starbucks? *gasp* :)


  22. Mary Frances posted on November 20, 2013 at 10:48 am (#)

    I’ve never had Starbuck’s pumpkin muffins but now I’m glad I don’t have to go to Starbuck’s to try them! (besides, I’d throw 5 bucks out the window on a salted caramel frap … :) I’ve also never baked muffins with a cream cheese filling. These are so pretty, how could anyone not like them?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      So much cheaper to make it at home!!


  23. Rebecca posted on November 20, 2013 at 10:48 am (#)

    they look so amazingly yummie, I have pinned them, have to try them!!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks for the pin Rebecca!


  24. Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats posted on November 20, 2013 at 11:00 am (#)

    I’m dying over here as I read you work out story! I’ll never look at those straps at the gym the same! I better think about these amazing muffins to keep my mind off of other stuff ;)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 20th, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      LOL, at least it’s not just me! :)


  25. Michelle @ Life on the Horizon posted on November 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm (#)

    All the recipes look delicious, but I think I am going to try the cream cheese muffins FIRST!


  26. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking posted on November 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm (#)

    Though I’ve never had these at Starbucks, I’ve heard a heck of a lot about ’em, so they MUST be good! So glad I can try them in my own kitchen – they look amazing!


  27. Ala posted on November 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm (#)

    Girl, I need to try on your brand of ambition. Last time a place failed me with my sought-for goods (it was Corner Bakery, and they have this signature chilled Swiss oatmeal that I LOVE), I kind of stood at the cashier with a stunned look on my face for about five minutes, and the girl working there looked like she was scared I was gonna cry. Which I might’ve been. Should’ve just gone home and made it myself. Can’t wait to try these though, I’ve never had the pumpkin muffins at Starbucks before!


  28. Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen posted on November 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm (#)

    Yes please!! Next time I will also try oil instead of butter, haven’t tried that before!


  29. jennifer posted on November 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm (#)

    OMG just made these with the fresh pumpkin I steamed! these are wonderful. I will be providing these for our son and daughters soccer teams for breakfast. thought it would be healthy and yummy! thanks so much for the great recipe. My only question is how do you get them to look so good. the cream cheese on my muffins created holes in the muffin tops, tried putting the cream cheese inside but same thing happened. should I stop baking at 15 min? I baked for 20? thanks for the input. jennifer


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 21st, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Hm, that’s strange. I placed my cream cheese on top of the muffin before baking, and the muffin grew up around it. Possibly from using the fresh pumpkin? The texture could have been different from my batter due to the difference of the fresh vs. canned. I’m glad you liked them! :)


      • Lisa replied on October 5th, 2014 at 1:23 am

        I made them with canned pumpkin just now and the same thing happened to me. First, the cream cheese spread all over the top, and as they’re cooling, the tops are sinking, creating pockets. 

  30. Dina posted on November 22, 2013 at 6:38 am (#)

    they look yummy!


  31. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent posted on November 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm (#)

    These look absolutely delicious! Wish I had one right now for dessert :)


  32. Wendy posted on November 22, 2013 at 6:43 pm (#)

    What does Starbucks put in their baked goods that turns us all into addicts? Then they have the nerve to make the addicting item seasonal!! Thank goodness you nailed this one, Dorothy! Now Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffins can occur year round. :)


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  34. MichelleB posted on December 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm (#)

    Thank you for this! I’m making my second batch since Thursday – DH is addicted. :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 1st, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad. Thanks Michelle!


  35. Delta posted on January 2, 2014 at 11:16 am (#)

    I made these for my boyfriend, my family, and my office and everyone went nuts for them. They are fantastic and the recipe is PERFECT.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 2nd, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      I’m so glad!! We love them too. :)


  36. N posted on January 6, 2014 at 6:38 pm (#)

    I made these tonight and the flavor is great, but the cream cheese sat on top in the same dollop shape they landed there in. I followed the recipe to a t. Any idea what might have gone wrong?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 6th, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      That’s kind of what they did on mine too. The muffin grew up around it. Did the muffins rise? If not, then possibly your leavening is old? The cream cheese just sort of bakes into the top, but stays in a dollop. :)


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  38. Sarah posted on February 19, 2014 at 7:10 am (#)

    I made these with what I had on hand so I used organic light brown sugar instead of regular sugar, organic coconut oil subbed for the vegetable, unsweetened almond milk and organic sprouted whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. For the filling I used organic powdered sugar subbed for the sugar and along with the pumpkin seeds I sprinkled cinnamon on top too. They were so easy to make and the taste is something you truly could not buy from a cafe! ;) Thank you for posting your wonderful recipe!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on February 19th, 2014 at 10:23 am

      I’m glad you liked them Sarah!! Thanks for letting me know what substitutions you used, and that they worked!


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  40. Laura posted on March 1, 2014 at 6:57 pm (#)

    Just made these – AMAZING!! I couldn’t resist eating one right out of the oven they looked and smelt so good and I was NOT disappointed – thanks for sharing! =)


  41. Lisa posted on March 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm (#)

    I just made these and they didn’t come out like cupcakes :( the batter didn’t rise up, what did I do wrong??


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 24th, 2014 at 10:16 am

      I’m sorry! Did you follow the steps exactly? Did you use canned pumpkin puree or fresh? Canned is what I used and fresh could have more water which would affect the finished product. But the likely culprit is your baking soda. How old is it?


  42. Jackie posted on September 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm (#)

    These look absolutely delicious!!!!!


  43. Shawna posted on September 19, 2014 at 9:04 am (#)

    Did you she’ll the pumpkin seeds or just leave them. Whole


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 19th, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      I bought shelled pumpkin seeds, so be sure to take the shells off!


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  45. sherri v queen posted on October 4, 2014 at 12:56 pm (#)

    I would like to make these but in mini form. How long should i bake them? Around 8 minutes maybe?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 4th, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      I would start with about half the time and then check them every few minutes! Let me know how they work!


      • sherri+v+queen replied on October 4th, 2014 at 7:30 pm

        took about 9 minutes and they turned out AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

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  47. Samantha posted on October 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm (#)

    I just tried the cheesecake pumpkin recipe and they turned out great. If you do want to skip the cheesecake filling like I did (since I didn’t have cream cheese on hand), just fill the muffin tins up to 3/4s full. My muffins ended up taking 17 minutes to bake. Candying the pumpkin seeds either to mix into the muffins or just to top makes the muffins even better. Thanks for the recipe


  48. Greentrees posted on October 8, 2014 at 9:29 pm (#)

    Great recipe thank you! Great taste and they look pretty!

    I used less sugar in the filling, and made extra filling because that’s my favorite part. Next time I will also fill the muffin liners 2/3rds full instead of half full. (I did half full this time, and mine rose above the liners but they would have been prettier with more of a muffin top.)

    Thanks again :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 9th, 2014 at 6:50 am

      I’m glad you liked them!!


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  50. Allie posted on October 11, 2014 at 3:25 am (#)

    Wow. I never had the original at Starbucks, just stumbled across your recipe. I used half a Hokkaido Squash cut into cubes, put in the microwave for a minute and then pureed with a hand blender. Your recipe is awesome!


  51. Rach posted on October 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm (#)

    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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  53. Jessica @ BikiniBaker posted on October 13, 2014 at 9:43 am (#)

    I made these and had to blog about it! Yummmm! Better than Starbucks for sure. :-)


  54. Michael posted on October 14, 2014 at 8:30 pm (#)

    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.


  55. Melanie posted on October 16, 2014 at 10:41 am (#)

    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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  59. Kim posted on November 3, 2014 at 9:19 am (#)

    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. :-)


  60. Chelsea posted on November 10, 2014 at 11:21 am (#)

    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!


  61. holli posted on November 11, 2014 at 5:57 pm (#)

    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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  65. Lisa posted on January 11, 2015 at 7:43 am (#)

    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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