Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

4 from 2 votes

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

Stack of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with graphic title

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.

Stack of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with graphic title

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!

Stack of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins on parchment paper

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!

Sliced in half Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins on parchment paper with title

 And you can have them all year long!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

4 from 2 votes
Yield 18 muffins
Serving Size


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


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with liners.
  • 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.
  • Stir together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Drop 1 tablespoon onto the top of each muffin. Sprinkle with 4-5 pumpkin seeds, optional.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the muffin part comes out with just a few crumbs stuck too it.
  • Cool at least 5 minutes before serving. Store in refrigerator. Muffins can be frozen for quick breakfasts!

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Spiced Cinnamon Chip Scones

Spiced Cinnamon Chip Scones resting on the edge of a coffee cup

Starbucks Petite Vanilla Scones

Starbucks petite vanilla scones next to a cup of coffee and books with title

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

pumpkin-coffee-cake square on a white plate with title

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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147 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. 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!

  2. 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

    1. 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. 🙂

  3. 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!

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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