Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

September 28, 2020
Loaded with fabulous fall pumpkin, crowned with sweetened cream cheese topping, and sprinkled with pecan streusel, these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins are out-of-this-world delicious. Whip up a batch for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon snacking for a truly tasty fall treat. They're guaranteed to please, for sure!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Image

Delicious is not a strong enough word for these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

Seriously, these muffins may just be the best muffins I've ever had.  Now don't get me wrong -- our family-favorite applesauce muffins and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are still totally and completely amazing.  But these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins? -- They're just beyond-words good and seriously playing in a league of their own.

Our family enjoys these pumpkin muffins so much, I've made three batches this month alone.  And with each and every batch, it has come down to a battle between my husband and daughter as to who gets to eat the last one.

With each and every batch, it has come down to a battle between my husband and daughter as to who gets to eat the last one.

That's high praise, my friends. High praise, indeed.


What Makes Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins So Good?

So what makes these pumpkin muffins with cream cheese so good? What puts them leaps and bounds beyond all the other great muffins out there in terms of their deliciousness? 

It comes down to three things:

1. Fabulous pumpkin flavor - The muffin itself is loaded with wonderful pumpkin flavor, accented with just a bit of cinnamon.

2. Crunchy pecan streusel - A sprinkling of pecan-studded streusel bakes up nice and crunchy on the top of each muffin. While baking, the pecans get a nice toasted flavor to them -- which adds a really flavorful touch to the finished muffins. 

3. A crown of sweetened cream cheese topping - The BEST part of all! A layer of brown sugar-sweetened cream cheese spreads over the entire tops of the muffins as they bake, coating them in a crown of frosting-like cream cheese.  

And let me just tell you, these three things come together beautifully to create one absolutely amazingly tasty muffin.

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Image

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin Ingredients

There are three components to making these muffins.  Yes, that does mean mixing up three separate bowls of stuff to make a batch. -- But it's worth it, I promise.

Here are the highlights of what you'll need for each component:

  • Cream cheese topping - This is a simple cheesecake-type mixture of softened cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and an egg.  I recommend sticking with regular cream cheese for the best flavor and texture result, however, 1/3-less-fat Neufchatel cream cheese will work if you prefer. 

  • Pecan streusel - Mix up a basic streusel mixture of all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, and chopped pecans cut in with softened unsalted butter to form coarse crumbs.

  • Pumpkin muffin batter - Canned 100% pure pumpkin forms the flavorful base of the pumpkin muffin batter. Be sure to grab 100% pure pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling that's already pre-spiced and ready to go for a full-on pie.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Ingredients Image

How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

To whip up a batch of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, start by mixing up each of the three components of the muffins -- 1. cream cheese topping, 2. pecan streusel, and 3. pumpkin muffin batter, -- in their own individual bowls.

Prepare the cream cheese topping and streusel first. You want them done before mixing up the pumpkin muffin batter so they're both ready to go once the muffin batter is mixed. 

Why? -- Because once the pumpkin batter is mixed, you want to get the muffins in the oven pretty quickly. 

Prepare the cream cheese topping and streusel first. You want them done before mixing up the pumpkin muffin batter.

That's because once combined with the batter's wet ingredients the baking powder starts acting right away, which creates the muffins' rise. If the batter (and hence, the "active" baking powder) sits around while you prepare the cream cheese topping and streusel, the muffins won't rise as nicely in the oven.

A note about the pumpkin when mixing up the pumpkin muffin batter:

The amount of canned pumpkin called for in this recipe is almost all of a 15-ounce can of 100% pure pumpkin. It's tempting to want to just scoop the remaining bit of pumpkin into the muffin batter -- but don't do it. Including that little extra bit of pumpkin weighs the batter down and keeps the muffins from rising as nicely and fully.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Mixing Batter Image

Once everything's mixed, fill 18 greased muffin cups with pumpkin batter until they're about 2/3 full, dividing the pumpkin batter evenly between all the muffin cups.

Then carefully place 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the pumpkin batter in each muffin cup, keeping it away from the edges.

How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Image

I use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cups with pumpkin batter, and a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop to place the cream cheese mixture on top. 

This makes scooping and portioning super easy!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Scoop of Cream Cheese Topping Image

Sprinkle the top of each muffin with some of the pecan streusel mixture.

Sprinkling of Streusel to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Image

Then bake the muffins up until they're set, beautifully risen, and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

As the muffins bake, the pumpkin batter will rise and spread the cream cheese mixture out over the tops like a coating of cream cheese frosting. 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins in Muffin Pan Image

Allow the baked muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. 

Don't let them sit in the pan for much more than the 10 minutes, though.  

That's because any streusel topping that runs over onto the pan while baking will stick pretty firmly after its cooled, making it more difficult to get the muffins out of the cups without damaging the tops. -- You want to get those muffins out of the pan before the streusel has cooled too much.

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Topping Image

Once cooled, you're ready to dive into the deliciousness!  And believe me, delicious is indeed a total understatement when referring to these super tasty muffins.

So if you're looking for a truly tasty fall treat, give these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins a try.  Loaded with fabulous fall pumpkin, crowned with sweetened cream cheese topping, and sprinkled with pecan streusel, they're are out-of-this-world delicious. 

Whip up a tasty batch for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon snacking.  And hopefully in your family? -- It won't come down to a battle for who eats the last one like it does in ours!

Check out these other perfect-for-fall muffins & quick breads:
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins on Cooling Rack Image
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pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, pumpkin muffins with cream cheese, pumpkin muffins with streusel
Muffins
American
Yield: 18 muffins
Author: Tracey | The Kitchen is My Playground
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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Loaded with fabulous fall pumpkin, crowned with sweetened cream cheese topping, and sprinkled with pecan streusel, these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins are out-of-this-world delicious. Whip up a batch for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon snacking for a truly tasty fall treat. They're guaranteed to please, for sure!
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 55 Min

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Topping:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 T. brown sugar
Streusel:
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 5 T. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 3 T. unsalted butter, softened
Pumpkin Muffin Batter:
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 c. canned 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1/3 c. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

Prepare Cream Cheese Topping:
  1. Place softened cream cheese in a small mixing bowl.  With an electric mixer, beat at medium speed until soft and smooth.
  2. Add egg, vanilla, and brown sugar. Beat until well combined and smooth.
  3. Set aside.
Prepare Streusel:
  1. Place flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and pecans in a small bowl.
  2. Cut softened butter into small cubes. Add to pecan mixture and cut in with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Set aside.
Prepare Pumpkin Muffin Batter:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, place flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir together until well combined.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Place eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla in the well. Stir together to gradually incorporate wet ingredients into the dry, mixing until just combined.
Assemble & Bake Muffins:
  1. Grease 18 muffins cups.
  2. Fill greased muffin cups with pumpkin batter until about 2/3 full, dividing the pumpkin batter evenly between the 18 muffin cups.
  3. Carefully place 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the pumpkin batter in each muffin cup, keeping it away from the edges. (You may not use all of the cream cheese mixture.)
  4. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with streusel. (You may not use all of the streusel mixture.)
  5. Bake at 375℉ for 20-25 minutes, until muffins are set and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, carefully run a knife around the edges of the muffin cups to loosen any streusel bits. Gently lift the muffins out of the muffin tin and onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
TRACEY'S NOTES:
  1. 1 & 1/3 cup canned pumpkin is almost all of a 15-ounce can of 100% pure pumpkin. It's tempting to want to just scoop the remaining bit of pumpkin into the muffin batter -- but don't do it. Including that little extra bit of pumpkin weighs the batter down and keeps the muffins from rising as nicely and fully.
  2. Prepare the cream cheese topping and streusel before mixing up the pumpkin muffin batter so they're both ready to go. Once the pumpkin batter is mixed, you want to get the muffins in the oven pretty quickly. Why? -- Because once combined with the batter's wet ingredients the baking powder starts acting right away, which creates the muffins' rise. If the batter (and hence, the "active" baking powder) sits around while you prepare the other muffin components, the muffins won't rise as nicely in the oven.
  3. I use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cups with pumpkin batter, and a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop to place the cream cheese mixture on top. This makes scooping and portioning super easy!
  4. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, but not much more before removing. Any streusel topping that runs over onto the pan when baking will stick pretty firmly after its cooled, making it more difficult to get the muffins out of the cups without damaging the tops. -- You want to get those muffins out of the pan before the streusel has cooled too much.
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2 comments

  1. Oooo yum! I am so obsessed with pumpkin spice everything and I can't wait to try making these muffins. My son and I have started making treats for Halloween. As part of our tradition, we make a treat once a week, I am so excited to add this on our menu this weekend!

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party. Have a great week.

    ReplyDelete

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