These Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes stay soft and moist for days. All you need is two bowls (no stand mixer) and ten minutes to make this delicious, moist pumpkin cupcake recipe that is as easy as pie (actually, WAY easier).
Here’s What You Need to Make the Best Pumpkin Cupcakes
Gathering the right ingredients and tools is the first step to creating these delightful pumpkin cupcakes. Let’s break down what you’ll need.
Pumpkin Cupcakes Ingredients
With as much pumpkin puree as flour, we aren’t talking about pumpkin cupcakes with a whiff of pie spice and pale orange hue. They’re richly pumpkin-y, unbelievably soft, moist and crazy delicious. If you love pumpkin pie, you’re gonna love these.
- All-Purpose Flour: Use regular all purpose or all purpose gluten free flour for gluten free pumpkin cupcakes.
- Baking Powder: A leavening agent that helps the cupcakes rise. (No need for baking soda.)
- Fine Sea Salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Ground Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Ground Cloves: This pumpkin spice mix gives the cupcakes a warm, autumnal flavor. See notes section for how to swap in pumpkin pie spice if you prefer.
- Canned Pumpkin Puree: Adds moisture and a rich pumpkin flavor. Don’t buy “Pumpkin Pie Filling” by accident. (Here’s how to freeze canned pumpkin puree if you have any leftover)
- Brown Sugar: Sweetens the cupcakes and adds a hint of molasses flavor.
- Avocado or Canola Oil: A neutral oil that keeps the cupcakes moist.
- Eggs: Bind the ingredients together and add structure.
Variations and Substitutions
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Swap out individual spices for 2 ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice for a similar flavor profile.
- Gluten-Free Flour: For a gluten-free option, use a gluten-free flour blend.
- Vegetable Oil: Canola oil can be replaced with any neutral-tasting vegetable oil.
- Vegan pumpkin cupcakes: There’s already no dairy in this recipe, making it super easy to make vegan. Here are my best substitutes for eggs in baking. For this particular recipe, I’d go with aquafaba.
- Sweet Potato Puree: Want to try something similar but a bit different? My Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting are to die for.
Grab these Tools
Make sure you have these tools on hand for a smooth baking experience:
- Muffin Tins: A muffin pan (metal or silicone) is essential for baking the cupcakes.
- Paper Cupcake Liners or Cooking Spray: To prevent the cupcakes from sticking to the tins.
- Mixing Bowls: One large bowl for dry ingredients and a smaller one for wet.
- Whisk: For thoroughly mixing the dry ingredients.
- Rubber Spatula: Ideal for gently folding wet ingredients into dry.
- Oven: Preheated to the right temperature.
- Instant Thermometer, Toothpick or Cake Tester: To check the doneness of the cupcakes. Temperature is most accurate.
With these ingredients and tools, you’re all set to bake some amazing pumpkin cupcakes.
How to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes: Your Easy, Foolproof Guide
Indulge in the cozy flavors of fall with these pumpkin cupcakes. They’re simple to make and deliver big on taste, making them a hit for any autumn gathering.
Prepping for Baking
- Start by heating your oven to 375°F (190°C). Getting the temperature right is key for perfectly baked cupcakes.
- Prepare your muffin tins by greasing them or using paper liners. This step ensures your cupcakes will release easily after baking.
Mixing Dry Ingredients
- In one bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. This evenly distributes each ingredient for a consistent flavor in every bite.
Blending Wet Ingredients
- In a separate bowl, blend the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, canola oil, and eggs. This mixture will provide moisture and richness to the cupcakes.
Combining Wet with Dry
- Gently fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Be careful not to overmix; a few lumps are okay. This step creates a smooth batter without deflating the incorporated air.
Baking the Cupcakes
- Evenly distribute the batter among the muffin tins. Fill each cup about two-thirds full to allow space for the cupcakes to rise.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting an instant thermometer or toothpick into a cupcake. If it comes out 190ºF, or the tester is clean or with a few crumbs, they’re ready.
- Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. This allows them to set and makes handling easier.
Enjoy your homemade pumpkin cupcakes, ideally topped with whipped cream or your favorite frosting. They’re sure to bring a taste of autumn to your table!
Make Ahead and Storage Tips for Pumpkin Cupcakes
Plan ahead and keep your pumpkin cupcakes fresh with these storage tips.
- Freezing Unfrosted Cupcakes: Cool them completely, then wrap each cupcake individually in plastic wrap. Store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
- Storing Baked Cupcakes: Keep unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If frosted, store in the refrigerator.
- Freezing Frosted Cupcakes: Freeze frosted cupcakes on a baking sheet until solid, then wrap and store as you would unfrosted cupcakes. Thaw in the refrigerator. This works better with regular vanilla frosting than whipped cream.
With these tips, you can enjoy your pumpkin cupcakes whenever the craving strikes!
How to Serve This Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe
Pumpkin cupcakes are delightful treats that can be enjoyed in various delicious ways.
Yummy Toppings for Pumpkin Cupcakes:
- Cream Cheese Frosting: Use the cream cheese frosting from this carrot cake recipe. A classic choice, cream cheese frosting pairs wonderfully with the spice and sweetness of pumpkin.
- Whipped Cream: For a lighter topping, opt for a dollop of whipped cream, maybe with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg. I like to pipe it on using a large open tip on a piping bag.
- Salted Caramel: Drizzle a little homemade or salted caramel on top for a tasty twist. Use the easy caramel recipe from this Caramel Apple Cake recipe.
- Powdered Sugar: Keep it simple with a dusting of powdered sugar on top.
These serving suggestions can turn your pumpkin cupcakes into an even more memorable treat for any occasion.
5 Common Mistakes When Making Pumpkin Cupcakes
Here are the most frequent mix-ups to avoid when making pumpkin cupcakes:
- Overmixing the Batter: This can lead to dense, tough cupcakes. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
- Filling the Cups Too Full: Only fill the muffin cups about two-thirds full to avoid overflow and uneven baking.
- Inaccurate Ingredient Measurements: Accurate measurements, especially of flour and leavening agents, are crucial for the right texture. Use a kitchen scale (tap the “Metric” button on the recipe card) or measure flour by first fluffing it up, then spooning it into the measuring cup and then levelling it off.
- Not Testing for Doneness: Each oven is different. Use a thermometer to perfectly nail doneness without overbaking.
These tips and tricks will help ensure your pumpkin cupcakes turn out perfectly every time.
FAQs About Pumpkin Cupcakes
Just skimming through? Here are some quick answers to commonly-asked questions about pumpkin cupcakes.
Can I use homemade pumpkin puree instead of canned?
Yes, you can use homemade pumpkin puree. It often has more moisture, so you may need to adjust the wet ingredients slightly.
Can these cupcakes be made gluten-free?
To make gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes, substitute the all-purpose flour with your preferred gluten-free flour blend.
How long do pumpkin cupcakes stay fresh?
Pumpkin cupcakes generally stay fresh for up to 3 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Can I freeze these cupcakes?
Yes, you can freeze the cupcakes without frosting for up to 3 months. Thaw them at room temperature and frost before serving.
What frosting pairs well with pumpkin cupcakes?
Cream cheese frosting pairs beautifully with the spice and pumpkin flavors of these cupcakes. I love simple whipped cream, too (which is what is pictured).
How do I ensure my cupcakes are moist?
Accurate measurements, not overmixing, and using the right amount of pumpkin puree are key to moist cupcakes.
How do you make cupcakes look like pumpkins?
To make cupcakes look like pumpkins, use orange-tinted frosting piped in vertical lines and add a small piece of pretzel stick as the stem.
How long does it take to bake cupcakes at 350?
At 350°F, cupcakes usually take about 18-20 minutes to bake, but always check with a toothpick for doneness.
How do you make cupcakes rise high?
For high-rise cupcakes, fill your cupcake liners only two-thirds full and ensure your baking powder is fresh.
Is 325 or 350 better for cupcakes?
Baking cupcakes at 350°F is standard, but 325°F can work for a gentler rise, especially for delicate flavors.
How long to bake cupcakes with liners?
With liners, cupcakes typically bake for 18-20 minutes at 350°F, but start checking for doneness around 15 minutes.
How do you know when cupcakes are done?
Cupcakes are done when the internal temperature reaches 190ºF, a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or they spring back when lightly touched.
Try These Other Delicious Pumpkin Recipes Next:
- Moist Pumpkin Bread: Truly the softest pumpkin loaf ever.
- Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins: Breakfast or snack, your choice.
- Pumpkin Cookies: Impossibly Soft.
- Pumpkin and Rice Soup: Satisfying comfort food.
- Pumpkin Pasta Sauce: Fall-ify your pasta game.
- Pumpkin Enchiladas with Black Beans: Spicy and filling.
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Indulgent and moreish.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp cloves
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ⅔ cup canola oil or another neutral-tasting oil
- 2 large eggs
- Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). In one bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients until well combined. In a separate bowl, do the same for the wet ingredients.
- Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients using a large rubber spatula, mixing just enough to combine (it's fine if there are lumps).
- Divide the batter evenly across 12 greased or paper-lined muffin tins. Bake in the preheated oven until they're done, which should take about 18-20 minutes. They're done when they reach an internal temperature of 190°F or the cupcakes bounce back slightly when touched.
Last Updated on November 17, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD