Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Muffin Recipe to Make at Home for Less

Autumn is the time to indulge in pumpkin flavored everything, right? If you’re a fan of the seasonal favorites that Starbucks serves up in the fall, this knock-off recipe for pumpkin cheesecake muffins is going to make you happy.

Publishes October 2017; this post has been updated.

pumpkin muffins with a swirl of cream cheese, served on a blue platter.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

I wouldn’t go so far as to say these are good for you, but the ingredients list doesn’t include some of the questionable ingredients that the Starbucks pumpkin muffin recipe does, and it will cost a lot less to make these muffins at home.


Flour When I bake with all-purpose flour I opt for the unbleached version. Bleached flour is very white, but it’s also treated with bleaching agents that I don’t really need in my food.

Sugar — The cream cheese mixture calls for granulated sugar; the muffins, brown sugar. The rich molasses flavor of brown sugar is delicious in these muffins. Use light or brown sugar, as you like. Conventional sugar is often made with genetically modified sugar beets. If this is something you’d like to avoid, opt for organic or pure cane sugar. (Cane sugar is not genetically modified.)

Butter — Allow the butter to come to room temperature for easy mixing. I used salted butter; if you prefer unsalted, that will work fine.

Pumpkin While you can use canned pumpkin for these muffins, it’s easy enough to make pumpkin puree at home. And here’s a little secret: You can use a variety of pumpkins or even winter squash. Use what’s readily available to you or tucked away in the root cellar!

Buttermilk — The addition of buttermilk makes the muffins extra moist and fluffy.

Eggs — Fresh eggs, store bought, use what you have readily available. 

ingredients for pumpkin cheesecake muffins

Making Them

Make the cream cheese filling mixture first. Set aside while you make the muffin batter. 

If you’re using a stand mixer, there’s no need to wash the bowl in between the two stages. Simply use a spatula to transfer the filling to another bowl, then proceed to mix the remaining ingredients. Nobody will know, and you’ll have fewer dishes to wash.

Mixing pumpkin cheesecake muffins in mixer - process photos

Portion the batter for these copycat Starbucks pumpkin muffins into muffin tins, filling each just halfway.

This allows space for the addition of the cream cheese topping. Sprinkle with hulled green pumpkin seeds for a garnish if you like, before popping them into the oven to bake.

pumpkin cheesecake muffins on cooling rack

★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Better Than Starbucks Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffin Recipe

Pumpkin spice in a muffin! Mix up a batch for an indulgent breakfast or call it dessert.
4.50 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: Claudie Evert


For cream cheese topping:

  • 6 oz cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup granulated organic cane sugar

For muffins:

  • 2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • ¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup green pumpkin seeds optional; for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Thoroughly butter muffin tins for 24 muffins.

Make the topping

  • Beat cream cheese and sugar together in a bowl by hand or with your stand mixer until fully combined. (About a minute in a mixer.) Set aside.
    6 oz cream cheese, ¼ cup granulated organic cane sugar

Make the pumpkin batter

  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a mixing bowl.
    2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Beat pumpkin, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla by hand or in the bowl of your mixer until fully combined.
    1 stick butter, ¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 2 large eggs, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Alternately add buttermilk and dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture just until all ingredients are combined. (Some small lumps are okay.)
    ¾ cup buttermilk
  • Divide batter into muffin cups, filling each cup just over ½ way. Use a spoon to top each muffin with about one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Push cream cheese into the batter slightly. Sprinkle muffins with pumpkin seeds and place in oven.
    ¼ cup green pumpkin seeds
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes. A toothpick inserted in muffin (not cream cheese center) should come out clean.
  • Remove pumpkin muffins from tins and cool on a rack for 10 – 15 minutes.


  • If you're using a stand mixer, there's no need to wash the bowl in between the two stages. Simply use a spatula to transfer the filling to another bowl, then proceed to mix the remaining ingredients. Nobody will know, and you'll have fewer dishes to wash.


Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 329mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 3675IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @attainablesustainable or tag #attainablesustainable!

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About the author: Claudie Evert is passionate about living lightly on the earth. She digs in the garden, cooks food from scratch, and will — someday — master the art of picking out a ripe watermelon.

4 comments… add one
  • Renee Oct 15, 2018 @ 10:44

    I wonder if I can sub maple syrup or honey for the sugar in the cream cheese

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 17, 2018 @ 9:27

      Certainly, though it might make the cream cheese a bit more soft.

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018 @ 17:14

    Awesome recipe. Will make again!

  • Sheila Jan 18, 2018 @ 13:48

    Planning to make this but use a different type flour.
    They look wonderful!

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