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 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 come up with a super simple Pumpkin Cupcakes 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!
Ingredients in Healthy Pumpkin Cupcakes
To make this dessert you’ll need:
- baking powder
- baking soda
- pumpkin pie spice
- pumpkin puree
- vegetable oil
- vanilla extract
How to Make Healthy Pumpkin Cupcakes Step-by-Step
To make these cupcakes, you’ll need to:
- Gather your ingredients and preheat the oven.
- Stir together the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir in the dry ingredients.
- Let cool and top with frosting.
TIP: Scroll down to the bottom of this post to find the full recipe.
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, and vanilla extract. You’ll need to let the cream cheese soften at room temperature, but after that it comes together with a whisk!
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 1/3 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).
Tips for Making the Best Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes
- 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. They taste remarkably the same even after being stored.
- 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.
- 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.
I’d love to hear from you if you try these cupcakes with your kids, so please comment below to share what you thought. I appreciate all comments so much!Print
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.
- 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.
Cream Cheese Frosting: Let 8 ounces cream cheese soften at room temperature for at least an hour. (It should be soft when you poke it with your finger.) Add to a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix together with a whisk. (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 muffins: Make 12 muffins, with each cup about 1/2 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.