Pumpkin Cupcakes are light, moist, and are full of warm spices and tons of fall flavor! They come together in one bowl and are topped with a swirl of brown butter cream cheese frosting. It’s the most perfect pumpkin dessert to enjoy during pumpkin season!
Why you’ll love these Pumpkin Cupcakes:
- Moist Pumpkin Cupcakes – These perfect cupcakes come together in one bowl with no mixer, and are ultra fluffy and moist!
- Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – This is the best frosting you’ll ever taste!
- Tons of Flavor – The cupcakes are full of warm pumpkin spices and the brown butter flavor in the frosting is incredible. It’s the best pumpkin treat!
- Canned Pumpkin – Be sure to use one 15 ounce can of pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling. There’s tons of real pumpkin flavor in these cupcakes.
- Vegetable Oil – This keeps the pumpkin cupcakes ultra moist!
- Cream Cheese – Use full fat block-style cream cheese for best results.
- Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
- Maple Syrup – Be sure to use real, pure maple syrup for best results.
- Eggs – Be sure to buy large eggs for baking, always.
- Dairy-free – The cupcakes are already dairy-free, but you can make the frosting dairy-free by using your favorite dairy-free cream cheese and butter.
- Brown Sugar – You can use dark brown sugar if you want a deeper flavor.
How to Make this Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Brown the Butter. Add your butter to a saucepan over medium high heat, and cook for about 5 minutes until it’s a deep golden brown color and has a caramely, nutty aroma. Allow this to chill in the fridge until it’s back to the solid consistency of room temperature butter. Brown Butter adds so much depth of flavor to anything you use it in!
Step 2: Make the Cupcake Batter. In a large bowl, whisk up your wet ingredients – real pumpkin, vegetable oil, eggs, and brown sugar. Then, add the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda and powder, and cozy fall spices.
Step 3: Bake the Cupcakes. Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake as directed in the recipe card below.
Step 4: Make the Frosting and Frost the Cupcakes. Cream together your softened brown butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl on high speed for 2 minutes, until nice and creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt. Frost cupcakes with an offset spatula, or use a piping tip.
Now, for the best part – dig in! This is truly the best pumpkin cupcakes recipe – they are bursting with fall flavor, and will fly off the plate anywhere you take them.
Expert Success Tips:
- Oven Thermometer – An oven thermometer will tell you if your oven is actually running at the temperature you set it to. Your oven may not be accurate. Accurate oven temperature is crucial for most bakes, so I leave an oven thermometer in at all times to keep an eye on my oven’s calibration.
- Kitchen Scale – A food scale is the best way to make sure your flour is at the proper weight, since amounts will vary SO widely based on how you measure it, as well as the measuring cup you use, as they are not standardized.
- Quickly Cooling the Brown Butter – I pour the brown butter into a container with a lid, and stick it in my ice tray in the freezer to quickly solidify – you can also set it in a bowl of ice in your freezer if your ice maker doesn’t have room.
- Cool Cupcakes – Always let your cake or cupcakes cool completely before frosting them, or the frosting will melt.
Yes! The cupcakes can be made up to a day ahead, stored in an airtight container at room temperature, and frosted the next day. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a day before serving. Let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes so the frosting softens back up.
Cream cheese only needs 15 to 30 minutes to come to room temperature because it’s softer than butter. Beat in the cream cheese last – this always helps avoid a runny frosting! If your frosting becomes to soft to work with at any point, pop it in the fridge to firm it up.
- Regular Cream Cheese Frosting – You can skip browning the butter if you’re super short on time.
- Cardamom – Don’t love cinnamon? Try a little cardamom instead, but go gradually if you haven’t had it before!
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Store frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
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- Piping Bag – I like to use a reusable piping bag like this one.
- Piping Tip – I used a Wilton 2A tip, but you can also try an Ateco Open Star #849 piping tip for swirls.
- Cupcake Pan – You’ll need a standard size cupcake or muffin tin for this recipe.
Just look at those little brown butter swirled hats atop your fluffy pumpkin cupcakes. So festive – and delicious. These Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes are perfect for gifting to neighbors who love all things pumpkin, or for a fun Halloween movie night!
More Pumpkin Recipes to Love:
- Pumpkin Streusel Muffins with Maple Glaze
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles with Rum Caramel
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Scones with Bourbon Vanilla Glaze
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Mom’s Best Ever Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Pasties with Maple Glaze
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Cupcakes:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 and 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp real maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- one 15 ounce can of pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie filling
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled 260 grams
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 and 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 and 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 cup salted buter, softened at room temperature 226 grams or 16 tbsp
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature Use the block type, and full fat
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon or a pinch more, to taste
- pinch of salt
- Make the Brown Butter: In a nonstick pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter – stirring constantly. The butter will get foamy, then bubbly, then start to turn turn golden brown and develop a nutty/caramely aroma. Once it reaches a deep golden color, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to chill in the fridge or freezer until it's room temperature. It doesn't have to come back to solid before using. See note below if you do bring it back to a solid/softened state.
- Prep: Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Make the Cupcakes: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients and whisk together, making sure no dry bits are hiding in the bottom of the bowl.
- Bake: Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them pretty close to the tops – about 3/4 full. (see photos above for reference). Bake for 18-19 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with some moist crumbs on it, but not wet batter. Let the cupcakes cool a few minutes in the cupcake pan, and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely while you make the frosting. Never frost warm cupcakes!
- Make the Frosting: Cream together your room temperature brown butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 full minutes. Add half the powdered sugar and mix until just incorporated. Add the remaining powdered sugar, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and a pinch of salt and mix until creamy.
- Serve + Store: Pipe frosting onto the top of the cupcakes and enjoy immediately! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- Make Ahead Tips: Cupcakes can be made ahead, cooled, and stored in a container at room temp for one day before frosting.