With a simple stir-together method, these easy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are a perfect fall dessert to share with the kids! They have less sugar than similar cupcakes, yet deliver big time on both texture and flavor.
When trying to celebrate holidays and seasons with kids, I naturally turn to fall flavors—and it seemed like a good time to share this super simple recipe.
With classic Cream Cheese frosting and pumpkin spice flavor, these little beauties are fun to make with the kids (or on your own) and are perfectly pint-sized.
(Honestly, we love these as muffins too, so feel free to make them without the frosting too!)
We love to have these around Thanksgiving, but they are also a really yummy kids birthday cupcake or school party addition.
The small size makes them perfect for sharing since one easy batch makes a full 24 cupcakes.
Ingredients You Need
To make this dessert you’ll need basic pantry staples including:
- You can make these with purchased canned pumpkin puree or homemade pumpkin puree—totally up to you!
- Gluten-free: Use a 1:1 style of gluten-free flour mix.
- Egg-free: Omit the egg and add ¼ cup milk. Continue with the recipe.
- You can also use melted and slightly cooled butter if you prefer in place of the vegetable oil.
To make these cupcakes, here’s a look at the basic steps Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full information.
- Stir together the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir in the dry ingredients.
- Add to a mini muffin pan lined with paper liners.
- Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
- Let cool, then make and top with frosting.
TIP: Always start any baking recipe by preheating the oven so it’s at the right temp when you’re ready to put the cupcakes into the oven.
Easy Cream Cheese Frosting
I love pumpkin baked goods with cream cheese frosting and the one here is so easy. All you need is:
TIP: You’ll need to let the cream cheese soften at room temperature, but after that it comes together with a whisk! Sprinkles are fun too, of course.
Can I make these cupcakes ahead of time?
Yes! These work great to make the day before you want to serve them if that’s easier for you. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature and they’ll be pretty much the same as right after baking. I prefer to frost sooner before serving.
Can I make them with less sugar?
You can take the sugar down to ⅓ cup, but I wouldn’t go lower than that since the texture and flavor will be impacted.
What kind of pumpkin is best in this recipe?
Traditional canned pumpkin puree is what I like here, so the plain kind that’s just pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling (which is sweetened).
Best Tips for Success
I’d love to hear from you if you try these cupcakes with your kids, so please comment below and rate the recipe to share what you thought!
This post was first published October 2020.
Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
I like to frost these soon before serving. You can make the frosting ahead, transfer it to a zip top bag, and store in the fridge until ready to add to the cupcakes.
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese (soften at room temperature for at least an hour—it should be soft when you poke it with your finger)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 24-cup nonstick muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with paper mini cupcake liners.
Stir together the pumpkin puree, oil, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Stir in the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Portion into the prepared muffin tin using about 1 tablespoon per cup. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and serve.
To make the frosting:
Add cream cheese to a medium bowl with the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix together with a whisk until fluffy. (If this is hard to do due to the temperature of your cream cheese, you can use an electric hand held mixer.)
Spread onto the cupcakes or add to a zip top plastic bag. Seal and cut one corner off. Pipe onto the cupcakes.
Add sprinkles if desired.
- The cupcakes can be made 24 hours before you plan to frost them. Let cool completely on a wire rack then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in the fridge once frosted for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- Gluten-free: Use cup for cup gluten free flour.
- Egg-free: Increase the baking soda to 1 teaspoon, omit the egg, and add 2 tablespoons milk.
- Full-size cupcakes: Make 12 muffins, with each cup about ½ full, and bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Skip the frosting and serve these as muffins!
- Use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose if you prefer. (They will be a little denser.)
- Use mini cupcake liners or coat the muffin pan with nonstick spray.
Serving: 2cupcakesCalories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 3gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 197mgPotassium: 95mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 3452IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 1mg