Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes

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.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

When celebrating holidays and autumn 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.

(We love these as muffins, too, so feel free to make them without the frosting!)

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:

  • All-purpose flour: This helps them to stay light and fluffy.
  • Sugar: I used just enough sugar to add sweetness. Sugar helps the cupcakes be very moist.
  • Baking powder and baking soda to help the cupcakes rise.
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Pumpkin puree: Look for unsweetened pumpkin puree, not pie filling. You can use canned or homemade pumpkin puree.
  • Vegetable oil: Or you can use melted butter.
  • Egg
  • Vanilla extract

Ingredient Substitutions

  • 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 in place of the vegetable oil.

Step-by-Step Instructions

To make these cupcakes, here’s a look at the basic steps Scroll down for the full information.

  1. Stir together the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir in the dry ingredients.
  2. Add to a mini muffin pan lined with paper liners.
  3. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. 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:

  • cream cheese (I like full fat)
  • maple syrup
  • vanilla extract

TIP: You’ll need to let the cream cheese soften at room temperature, but after that it comes together with a whisk! Sprinkles are a fun topping, too.

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 unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature and they’ll be pretty much the same as right after baking. I prefer to frost soon 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 – the plain kind that’s just pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling (which is sweetened) – is what I use.

How to Store

The cupcakes can be made 24 hours before you plan to frost them. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then store unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature.

Store frosted leftovers in the fridge once frosted for up to 3 days in an airtight container. They taste remarkably the same even after being stored.

Best Tips for Success

  • Gluten-free: Use cup-for-cup gluten-free flour.
  • Egg-free: Omit the egg and add ¼ cup milk.
  • 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.)
  • Add sprinkles if desired.

Related Recipes

Healthy Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chips

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