These pumpkin cream cheese muffins are perfectly spiced and filled with a sweet and tangy cheesecake like filling. Topped off with a brown sugar cinnamon streusel topping, these muffins are the ultimate pumpkin spice breakfast or snack.
When Fall hits, I don’t really get too excited about the pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin cold foam, it’s all about the pumpkin baked goods for me. A big Starbucks pumpkin muffin to go with my regular coffee tempts me every time! These muffins are so much better than Starbucks with all of the pumpkin spice vibes and more. They are over the top and absolutely delicious!
Every layer works together to create what I believe to be the best pumpkin experience of the season. The muffin is moist and tender with lots of spice. The cream cheese filling is creamy and slightly sweet with a little bit of tang. The cinnamon brown sugar coffee cake like streusel topping is sweet, buttery and adds just a little bit of crunchy texture to the muffin top. These pumpkin muffins are spicy, crunchy, creamy, sweet and just to die for.
If you love baking muffins as much as I do, you’ll also want to check out my Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins Recipe.
*This post contains affiliate links — please see my disclosure for details*
Ingredients and Substitutions
Making pumpkin cream cheese muffins is very easy. Some of the ingredients are used in multiple steps throughout the recipe.
- All Purpose Flour – I’ve only tried this recipe with all purpose flour. I imagine it would work with a 1:1 gluten free substitution.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder – This recipe uses both. Make sure that your baking powder is no more than six months old. If your baked goods have ever come out flat or dense, it’s because your baking powder was probably old and inactive.
- Cinnamon and Pumpkin Spice – These muffins are cinnamony and have a healthy amount of spice! You can find pumpkin spice blend in the spice aisle of most grocery stores. I actually like to make my own and you probably have most of the ingredients already in your cabinet. Check out my recipe for Homemade Pumpkin Spice Blend. If you go with store bought pumpkin spice, add a pinch of black pepper. It’s the secret ingredient that really makes it pop in my homemade blend.
- Brown Sugar and Granulated Sugar – This recipe calls for more brown sugar than granulated sugar. Brown sugar has a molasses, caramel like flavor that really brings out the warm spices in this recipe.
- Butter – I like the flavor of baking with butter. You could definitely swap in oil but the result will be a bit denser. Butter makes a lighter, fluffier muffin that plays well with the cream cheese swirl and streusel topping.
- Pumpkin Puree – Not pumpkin pie filling! Make sure you read the can carefully.
- Eggs – For the muffin batter and for the cream cheese filling.
- Buttermilk – Baking with buttermilk is the best thing ever! It adds flavor, tenderness and helps to activate the baking soda, making these muffins tall and fluffy! There’s cream cheese and streusel topping going on here so the light and fluffy muffin is key.
- Vanilla – use the good vanilla.
- Cream Cheese – the creamy, tangy and slightly sweet filling plays so well with the spicy pumpkin muffins.
- Salt – All baked goods need a pinch!
This muffin recipe has a few levels to it and every single one is worth it. There’s the spiced pumpkin buttermilk muffin batter, the subtly sweet cream cheese filling and the cinnamon streusel.
Is there anything better than a cream cheese filled pumpkin muffin? I think not. Maybe a pumpkin cream cheese filled muffin with a crunchy streusel topping? Yes.
Before you start baking, let all of your cold ingredients come to room temperature. Room temperature ingredients ensures that everything incorporates easily.
How to make easy cinnamon streusel topping
To make the delicious coffee cake like streusel topping, mash together flour, melted butter, brown sugar, a little bit of cinnamon and pumpkin spice and a pinch of salt together with a fork. Mash together just until the mixture looks like large, coarse crumbs. Be careful not to overdo it and turn it into a paste!
Make the spiced pumpkin muffin batter
This muffin batter comes together easily with a whisk and a spatula. First whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Remember to add that pinch of black pepper if you’re using store bought pumpkin spice blend!
Next, whisk together the wet ingredients – sugars, pumpkin puree, eggs, melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a spatula just until the batter comes together. A few lumps are ok in muffin batters. You don’t want to over mix and activate the gluten in the flour. That will make your muffins come out tough and chewy.
Make the cream cheese swirl filling
Make sure that the cream cheese is room temperature. This will help everything come together evenly to make the filling smooth and creamy. I recommend using a hand mixer or a stand mixer for this step.
Add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and an egg to a medium sized bowl and beat until smooth.
Layer the pumpkin muffin batter and cream cheese filling together
Prepare your muffin tin either by greasing it or use liners. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of muffin batter into each well. Top each muffin with a tablespoon of cream cheese filling, then add another tablespoon of muffin batter on top of the cream cheese.
Some cream cheese filling may poke out of the top and that is perfectly fine. I highly recommend using a cookie scoop to do this. It makes filling the muffin tins a lot less messy!
Top with cinnamon streusel topping
Spoon about a tablespoon of streusel topping onto each muffin and gently press the crumbs into the batter. This will help the streusel stick to the muffin tops and not fall off as they puff up while baking.
I wipe a little bit of oil around each muffin well with a paper towel before these go into the oven. This helps ensure that the muffin tops do not stick to the edges of the muffin tin and release easily.
Bake and let the muffins cool completely before enjoying. Your kitchen will be smelling amazing.
How to get perfect bakery style muffin tops
Can we all agree that the best part of a muffin is the top? The trick to getting bakery style tall muffin tops every time is starting them in a hotter oven for the first few minutes and then reducing the temperature for the remaining cook time. This trick makes the muffin tops pop, resulting in perfect muffin tops that look just like your favorite bakery.
Muffin Storage Tips
These muffins will keep well tightly wrapped on the counter for about two days. If you keep them in the fridge, they will stay fresh for about 5 days. You can also freeze the baked muffins for up to 3 months. To defrost, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
These are the exact tools I use in my kitchen.
More fall pumpkin recipes to try
Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping
Cinnamon Streusel Topping
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup butter melted
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
Spiced Pumpkin Muffin Batter
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Optional: pinch of black pepper see recipe notes
- ½ cup butter melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 oz softened cream cheese
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the streusel topping
- In a small bowl, mash together streusel topping ingredients until it’s crumbly. Be careful not to mash into a paste. Set aside.
- Make the spiced pumpkin muffin batter
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, just until batter comes together. Do not over mix. Set aside.
- Make the cream cheese filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer, mix cream cheese, egg, granulated sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
- Assemble and bake
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Line a muffin tin with liners or grease well.
- Spoon about a tablespoon of muffin batter into each well. Top each well with a tablespoon of cream cheese filling. Add another tablespoon of muffin batter on top of cream cheese filling in each well.
- Gently press a tablespoon of cinnamon streusel topping on each filled muffin well.
- With an oiled paper towel, wipe away any muffin batter or crumbs around the edges of each well. The oil will help the muffin tops not stick to the pan.
- Bake at 425 degrees for exactly 5 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 12-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool muffins in the tin for about 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.