Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

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Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes that taste just like pumpkin pie! The pumpkin cupcake is deliciously moist with hints of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla. It’s topped with homemade whipped cream and pie crust cutouts for a decorated holiday treat.

pumpkin pie cupcakes on a white cake stand

These pumpkin cupcakes are exactly what your Thanksgiving table needs! Replace the traditional pie with them and you won’t even miss it.

Growing up, Thanksgiving dessert was all about the pie. Pumpkin pie. There were usually two or three of them on the dessert table. Sometimes we’d even have pumpkin cheesecake.

The pumpkin pie filling is aromatic with warm, cozy spices. It sits on a buttery, flaky crust. And it’s usually topped with sweetened whipped cream. This is everything we love about pumpkin pie!

I’ve taken all those components and transformed this classic pie into a cupcake. And it tastes exactly like my favorite pie!

I’ve made pumpkin cupcakes before in mini form. I used that recipe and tweaked it a tad to get the ultimate pumpkin spice cupcakes. They smell so good, you guys!!

Why this recipe works

  • I used 1 cup of pumpkin puree which is just enough to give the cupcakes tons of flavor without making them too soggy.
  • All the same spices from my pumpkin pie recipe are incorporated into the cupcakes. This is one flavorful cupcake!
  • Baking powder and baking soda are used to make the cupcakes rise tall and fluffy.
High angled view of pumpkin pie cupcakes on a white tabletop

Can I use cream cheese frosting?

While this recipe uses whipped cream, you can use my best cream cheese frosting recipe in its place.

I prefer the whipped cream so the cupcakes taste more like pumpkin pie but it’s totally up to you which frosting you wish to use.


There are quite a few staple ingredients in this recipe. Except for pumpkin puree and spices, you most likely have the ingredients on hand. There are a few spices that pair wonderfully with the pumpkin flavor and enhance the Fall feel of this sweet holiday dessert.

  • Butter: Unsalted sweet cream butter that is at room temperature will give you the best results.
  • Light brown sugar: Brown sugar is enhanced with sweet molasses flavor and it works beautifully with the pumpkin.
  • Pumpkin puree: You only need 1 cup of puree which is a little more than half of a 15-ounce can. Save the leftover puree for pumpkin bread.
  • Eggs: Whole eggs that are at room temperature will be easiest to incorporate into the batter.
  • Vanilla: Use high-quality pure vanilla extract. Or you can make large batches of homemade vanilla extract. It’s divine!
  • Flour: All-purpose flour works best for these cupcakes but take extra care to not overmix the batter. You don’t want to end up with tough cupcakes.
  • Spices: A mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt are used to flavor the cupcakes.
  • Milk: I added milk for more moisture. The cupcakes come out soft and fluffy without being gummy in the middle.

To bake these cupcakes you’ll need:

  • Mixer: I always use my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer (affiliate link)*. It just makes the mixing process so much easier.
  • Muffin Pan: Bake the cupcakes in a regular muffin pan (affiliate link)* lined with paper liners.
  • Spatula: A silicone spatula (affiliate link)* is great for scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl while you are mixing the ingredients together.

How to make pumpkin cupcakes

Pumpkin spice cupcakes are incredibly easy to make. The recipe follows the creaming method for mixing. This means you cream the butter and sugar together before adding the puree and eggs. The dry ingredients are combined in a separate bowl then added alternately with the milk.

The Cupcakes – The batter comes together easily and is thick. Make sure to only mix the ingredients until they are just incorporated. Over mixing will give you a tough, dense cupcake.

The Frosting – Stabilized whipped cream holds up well. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator before separating. I prefer this as a frosting so the cupcakes taste more like pumpkin pie.

The Topping: Pie crust cutouts make wonderful garnishes for the cupcakes. They add to the pumpkin pie element and taste great!

Pumpkin cupcakes with whipped cream frosting and pie crust cutouts on a white cake stand

Mix the wet ingredients

It is essential to use room temperature ingredients. This makes it easier to incorporate them into the batter.

Set the butter, eggs, and milk out on the counter 1 hour before you plan to make the cupcakes.

Cream the butter and sugar and sugar together until it’s lighter in color. This can take 5-7 minutes. This will be the longest amount of time you’ll mix anything for this recipe. All the other mixing should be just until the ingredients are incorporated.

Add the pumpkin puree and mix just until incorporated. The puree has a lot of moisture content so the mixture may start to look curdled. This is normal.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla just until they are incorporated. Take extra care not to over-mix once you’ve added the eggs.

process shots for mixing wet ingredients for pumpkin pie cupcakes

Mix the dry ingredients

Use a separate bowl to whisk the flour and spices together until well combined.

You can sift them together to ensure the spices are evenly mixed throughout the flour. This will also create more air in the flour and produce a lighter cupcake texture.

Add half the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until it’s almost fully incorporated. Add the milk and mix it the same way. It should be not quite fully incorporated but mostly mixed. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix it all together until just combined.

Just combined means as soon as there are no visible streaks of dry flour, stop mixing.

process shots for mixing dry ingredients for pumpkin cupcakes
pumpkin cupcake batter in a glass mixing bowl

Bake the cupcakes

Fill 14 paper-lined muffin cups ⅔ of the way full with batter. This is roughly 3 tablespoons of batter.

Bake the cupcakes just until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Take care not to overbake or the cupcakes could end up dry.

Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack before frosting.

baked pumpkin cupcakes

Make whipped cream frosting

I use my favorite stabilized whipped cream for frosting the cupcakes.

You need:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon clear piping gel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat all the ingredients together on medium-low speed until the sugar is fully dissolved. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until the medium to stiff peaks form.

Stabilized whipped cream pipes well. You can use a large round tip to pipe it on the cupcakes.

whipped cream frosting in a glass bowl

Make the pie crust cutouts

Use my homemade pie crust recipe or any storebought crust you prefer.

Roll the crust out and use a 1-inch pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Score the dough so it looks more like a pumpkin. I like to use the larger end of an Ateco 809 or 849 piping tip to create curved lines in the dough.

process shots for making pie crust cutouts

Brush the cutouts lightly with milk and sprinkle them with coarse sugar. Bake them for 15 minutes in a 350°F oven.

Let the cutouts cool completely before adding them to the top of the cupcakes.

pumpkin cupcakes with whipped cream and pie crust cutouts arranged neatly on a white tabletop

How to store

The unfrosted pumpkin cupcakes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Cupcakes frosted with stabilized whipped cream will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

You can also freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 3 months. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and frost them before serving.

If you like pumpkin, you’ll love these other tasty pumpkin recipes:

pumpkin pie cupcakes on a white cake stand

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Yield: 14
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes that taste just like pumpkin pie! The pumpkin cupcake is deliciously moist with hints of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla. It's topped with homemade whipped cream and pie crust cutouts for a decorated holiday treat.


For the cupcakes

  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (157 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (240 g) pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup (120 ml) milk

For the topping

  • ½ recipe homemade pie crust or storebought
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sugar

For the frosting


Make the cupcakes

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin puree until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Whisk to combine. Add half the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix just until barely incorporated. Add the milk and mix until incorporated. Add the remaining flour and mix just until moistened. 
  4. Fill the prepared muffin cups ⅔ full with batter. There will be enough batter leftover to make 2-3 more cupcakes. Bake those after the first batch.
  5. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the topping

  1. While the cupcakes are cooling, use a 1-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutter to cut shapes from the pie crust. Place them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the cutouts lightly with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 10-15 minuted, until lightly golden brown. Cool completely.

Make the frosting

  1. Make the stabilized whipped cream according to the recipe instructions. Top each cupcake with the frosting and garnish with 1 pie crust leaf.


  1. You can use cream cheese frosting in place of the whipped cream if desired.

Make ahead tip

  1. The frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Unfrosted cupcakes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Or 3 months in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and frost before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 259Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 282mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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This post was originally published in November 2016. It has been updated with more detailed copy and new photos.

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  1. Would like to use pumpkin pie spice , instead of separate spices, do you know how much I would use

    1. I haven’t tested the recipe with using pumpkin pie spice. I imagine 1-2 teaspoons would be good but can’t say for sure.

  2. No flavor. I’d add nutmeg next time to see if that helps. This recipe definitely needs some tweaking.

  3. Michelle Sweeney says:

    Thanks for a yummy recipe, however I needed much more time in the oven and my oven runs hot and has been recently calibrated.
    I really enjoyed learning how to stabilize whipped cream, and it worked like a charm! I could not find clear gel, so i bought a small tube of white gel, and it worked perfectly!
    So that brings me to storage. The pumpkin cupcake tasted delicious but got too firm when refrigerated due to the whipped cream topping. Sadly leftovers got ditched.

    1. Let the cupcakes come to room temperature after being in the fridge. They won’t be firm anymore!

  4. Oh my goodness! These are just too pretty! I feel festive just looking at them. And that pie crust leaf on top is the perfect touch.

  5. Ashley - the recipe rebel says:

    I will admit, I like cupcakes way better than pie! I’ll take these on Thanksgiving please!

  6. These cupcakes are beautiful, Jen! I would seriously MUCH rather see these for Thanksgiving dessert than a pie! Love the idea!

  7. Well if these aren’t just the cutest little things I’ve ever seen. Totally loving that frosting too– looks like perfection! need to try these!