Crazy for Crust

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!

4.1 from 22 votes
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Servings: 18 muffins

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

    • 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!

    • I know this is a pretty old comment but if you use a pipe bag and insert it into the middle of the muffin before cooking it stays and you have more cream cheese per muffin and it doesn’t explode over the top.

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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.

    • 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!

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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

  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…

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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?

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

  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.

  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

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

  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 🙂

  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! 🙂

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

  33. Do you think it would work to plop the cream cheese mixture in the middle of the muffin? So the cream cheese is in the center? Sorry if this question has been asked, I tried to preview the other comments quickly. Thank you!

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  35. I want to make these for my daughter and the other kids on her dorm floor (46 students).  I have a muffin tray for 12 muffins.  The count of 18 seems awkward (1 1/2 muffin tins?). I am not much of a baker.  Should I look for a muffin tray for 6 and put that in the oven with the tray for 12?  How would you go about the most efficient way to bake 3 dozen of these?  Thanks!

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  37. Delicious
    Only I over filled my muffins =2/3 full
    1/2 would have been perfect. (
    So I had quite the muffin top!
    Thank you 😊 

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