These Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with streusel topping are sugar and spice and everything nice and then some. They are soft and rich and filled with a delightful cream cheese center - perfect for a Fall morning!
Streusel topping makes everything more delicious, right? If you agree, we think you'll also enjoy these Raspberry Streusel Muffins, German Apple Cake with Streusel Topping, and Dutch Pear & Nutmeg Pie with Streusel Topping.
Fall is here and I'm ready for these pumpkin cream cheese muffins to find their way onto our breakfast menu again. They are so soft and moist and perfectly spiced with a cream cheese center that is sweet and tangy and perfect. And then there is that gorgeous streusel topping that I just can't get enough of.
These would be perfect for Thanksgiving and All Hallows Eve. And incidentally, I love that name and think we should start referring to Halloween by its older name more because it's spookier. But I digress...
These are wonderful warm or cold, especially with a nice glass of cold milk. We love them for an afternoon snack when the girls get home from school. And these cream cheese filled pumpkin muffins would be just right to start off your Halloween morning! Or any fall morning!
Why this recipe works
- Freezing the cream cheese filling is key to help it not melt into the muffin too much. I also tried swirling it into the pumpkin batter after just dolloping it on top, which works, but you don't get the same intensely cheesecake factor of biting into a pumpkin muffin with a cream cheese center.
- This recipe uses up almost an entire can of pumpkin puree. There is just enough leftover to make a pumpkin pie smoothie!
- The streusel topping takes only a minute to throw together but really takes the muffins over the top.
There are three parts to this recipe - the muffin batter, the cream cheese filling, and the streusel topping - but they all come together quickly and use staple ingredients that you most likely already have on hand.
- Pumpkin: Be sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Or better yet, get your hands on some sugar pumpkins and learn how to make pumpkin puree at home!
- Cream cheese: I have used both full-fat and reduced fat cream cheese and either works in this recipe.
- Spices: Pumpkin pie spice is just a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice and they give that classic warm, spiced flavor to these muffins without being overpowering.
How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
- Start with the cream cheese filling. Beat softened cream cheese, egg, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Then scoop it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper into tablespoon-sized mounds and stick them in the freezer while proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a large bowl. This helps everything disperse evenly so you don't end up with a clump of spices or baking powder in a muffin. It also means less mixing later on when you add the wet ingredients, which results in lighter muffins.
- Combine sugar, oil, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Whisk or beat well to combine until smooth.
- Add the flour and spice mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring together just until combined. Try not to overwork the batter by stirring too long or too hard.
- Make the streusel topping. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, spices, and cold butter. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the other ingredients until the butter is in small chunks the size of peas or crumbs.
- Fill paper liners in a muffin pan partly full with some of the pumpkin batter. Then add one of the partially-frozen balls of cream cheese to the center of each muffin. They might be sticky so using a spoon and knife or two spoons will help get the cream cheese off the parchment paper and into the muffin pans.
- Top with the remaining muffin batter until each muffin cup is pretty much filled. Sprinkle a generous amount of streusel topping over each muffin.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees F until done. The muffins should have a nice dome on top and be golden brown. Let them cool for at least 10-15 minutes before enjoying.
Because there are cream cheese centers in these muffins, you will want to keep them in the fridge to store any leftovers. They will last for about 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes, they freeze well, like most muffins. Just pull them out to thaw on the counter for an hour or two before serving or pop one or two of them in the microwave for 30 seconds for a quick breakfast or snack.
Did you know? Libby's is based in Illinois, which produces more canned pumpkin puree than the other top five pumpkin-producing states combined! According to the USDA Economic Research Service, almost 80% of the Illinois pumpkin crop is devoted to pie filling and Illinois produces more than 3x the amount of pumpkins as the next leading state.
- I recommend using cupcake liners for these muffins as they are very soft and seem to do better with liners versus being baked directly in the pan.
- I have found that the easiest way to handle the soft, sticky cream cheese mixture is to drop it by spoonfuls onto parchment paper or a lightly sprayed piece of plastic wrap on a cookie sheet and then sliding them into the freezer for 30-60 minutes. This helps the cream cheese firm up before adding it to the muffins.
- You want the cream cheese to be colder than the pumpkin muffin batter so it doesn't completely melt into the muffin while they bake, but it doesn't have to be frozen solid.
- Don't fill each liner too full with pumpkin batter before adding the cream cheese because it is going to want to rise to the top as the muffins bake. I would aim to have just a little batter in the bottom of each cup before adding the cream cheese, then using a larger amount of batter to cover the cream cheese completely before adding the streusel.
- Try adding oats or chopped walnuts to the streusel topping for a deliciously toasty and crunchy variation. Another idea would be to stir in some mini chocolate chips to the muffin batter if you love pumpkin and chocolate together.
More Pumpkin Recipes You'll Love
- Easy Homemade Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
- Light & Creamy Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
- Pumpkin Chocolate Babka
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
For the filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 egg
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the muffins:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
For the streusel topping:
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons flour
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, egg, powdered sugar, and vanilla, just until combined. It should still be thick and overbeating makes it really soft. Drop tablespoonfuls of the cheesecake mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stick them in the freezer for 20 minutes or so while working on the rest of the recipe.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the cups in a muffin pan with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt, then whisk together. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil and whisk together. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.
- For the streusel topping, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut the cold butter into the sugar & flour until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Set aside.
- Fill each muffin cup about half full with batter. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on top of the muffin batter. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, covering the cream cheese completely. Top each muffin with the streusel mixture.
- Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, then cool completely before serving.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you don't have pumpkin pie spice on hand, just use ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon cloves, ½ teaspoon ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon allspice instead.
- Try keeping the filling in the center of each muffin so it doesn't touch the sides if you can help it. Freezing the cream cheese mixture isn't 100% necessary, but it does help it not melt into the muffin quite as much when baking.
- Storage: These muffins can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to about 5 days.
- Freezing: Transfer the cooled muffins to a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to about 3 months for best results. Thaw overnight in the fridge, on the counter for about an hour, or pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so before eating.
This post was originally published in October, 2016. The photos and content were updated in September, 2021.
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