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Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Surprise

Pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting are an annual favorite. But these have a sweet surprise—cream cheese frosting inside!

Pumpkin muffins with cream cheese surprise.

If you’re planning to host a big fall or winter family gathering and want to add a special twist to a classic recipe, these pumpkin muffins with cream cheese filling are sure to give your guests a scrumptious surprise!

Often, pumpkin cupcakes are the ones served with cream cheese frosting on top, which makes a creamy filling more sensible for muffins. Unbeknownst to many, there are some distinct differences between muffins and cupcakes even if they seem to be quite similar in many ways. One of those differences is their texture. Cupcakes are softer and lighter, making them easy to bite into. Because of their soft texture, they don’t usually have fillings and are instead topped with frosting.

Muffins, on the other hand, are denser and have a fuller texture than cupcakes. Since they’re denser than cupcakes, muffins can work well with fillings. They also tend to have lower sugar content than cupcakes, which makes it easy to explore a range of recipes and flavors with muffins.

When making your batch of pumpkin muffins with cream cheese, it’s important to remember not to over-blend the flour mixture and the pumpkin mixture. This is what helps keep the muffins’ dense texture when baking.

What makes this recipe an easy all-time favorite is that it can appeal to those who only want some subtle sweetness in their muffin. Moist pumpkin combined with a kick of spices is complimented nicely by the delicate sweetness of the cream cheese. It’s definitely going to be a surprise in every bite, just make sure there’s plenty of pumpkin muffins with cream cheese to go around!

Pumpkin muffins with cream cheese surprise.

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Surprise

Pumpkin muffins topped with cream cheese frosting are an annual favorite. But these muffins bring a sweet surprise—the cream cheese frosting is on the inside! The only specialized tool you need is a piping bag—or at least a plain piping tip to attach to a plastic food storage bag. Imagine the surprise of finding that delicious, creamy filling inside a homemade muffin!

  • Author: Norann Oleson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 12 1x
  • Category: Bakery


  • Muffin Batter
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
    • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
    • 4 tablespoons melted butter
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Cream Cheese Filling
    • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Grease 12 standard muffin pan cups, or line the muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, use a whisk to mix the milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and eggs.
  5. Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and stir just until the ingredients are blended. Don’t over-blend.
  6. Spoon the batter into your muffin pan cups. An ice cream scoop with a thumb release is especially helpful here.
  7. Sprinkle the top of your muffins with the chopped pecans.
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
  9. Remove baked muffins from the pan and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. While your muffins are cooling, prepare your cream cheese filling.
  11. Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese and butter.
  12. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until your filling is light and fluffy.
  13. Fit your piping bag or a heavyweight food storage bag with a plain piping tip.
  14. When the muffins are cool, use a paring knife to make a small slit in the bottom of the muffin. Insert the pastry tip about a half inch into the muffin and squeeze in about a tablespoon of filling. Don’t worry—it won’t come out!


Have you tried this recipe? It’s so easy, delicious, and decadent—please tell us how it turned out for you.


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