The Pumpkin Cupcakes are fluffy, moist eggless cupcakes loaded with pure pumpkin and cinnamon! Topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting with a mild tang, this pumpkin cupcakes recipe is the perfect blend of spice and sweetness! If that wasn't enough, these beauties are also gluten free, nut free and can easily be vegan!
These easy Pumpkin Cupcakes are so simple to whip up and are so incredibly light and delicious! The pumpkin flavor is smooth and delicious and pairs perfectly with the tang from the cream cheese. Not a fan of cream cheese frosting? No worries! Try them with my vanilla vegan frosting!
Reasons to Love these Cupcakes
- Allergy Friendly- These cupcakes are gluten free, nut free, egg free and can easily be dairy free (vegan)!
- Soft & Fluffy- The cupcakes are super soft and delicious.
- Easy to Make- The batter mixes up in less than 20 minutes like my Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes!
- Topped in Cinnamon Sugar- The sugar coating gives a nice woodsy sweetness like with my Apple Cinnamon Cookies!
- Autumn Flavors- The cinnamon mixed with the pumpkin remind us of fall like with my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars!
- Gluten Free Flour- If you also have nut allergies, make sure to use a brand that’s made in a nut free facility. I really love to use this gluten free flour because it’s nut safe but it does contain dairy. It also contains xanthan gum which really helps give baked goods their bounce.
- Cornstarch- We use this in the dry form to be mixed with the gluten free flour to create a lighter crumb. More like a cake flour.
- Milk- If there are no dairy allergies or if you’re not vegan, you can use regular whole milk. For non dairy, use a non dairy milk of your choosing.
- Unsalted Butter or Vegan Baking Stick- Don’t use melted or softened; we want to cream it together with the sugar. Only use room temperature.
- Vegetable Oil- Adds a little extra moisture into these cupcakes.
- Sour Cream- This ingredient is key! It really helps to make the crumb of these cupcakes super light! For vegan, use a dairy free sour cream.
- Granulated Sugar- I would not use light brown sugar; the granulated sugar helps the cookies keep that orange hue. Also, there is enough moisture due to the pumpkin.
- Cinnamon- This woodsy flavor helps bring out all the fall flavors!
- Pure Pumpkin- Make sure to use only canned pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. I like Libby's brand and also use it in my Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins.
See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
How to Make this Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe Vegan
- Use a gluten free flour that’s free from dairy.
- Make sure the brand of sugar you use is vegan.
- Use vegan baking sticks instead of butter.
- Only use a non dairy milk of choice.
- Use a vegan sour cream.
- Make sure to use vegan cream cheese in the frosting.
How to Make this Recipe with All Purpose Flour
- Use 1 ¼ packed cups of regular flour (210 grams).
- Only use ½ cup of milk.
This recipe has not been tested with all of these substitutions and/or variations due to celiac disease and food allergies. If you change any of the ingredients, please let us know how the recipe turned out in the comments below!
How to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes
Here are the step by step instructions to make these pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!
Step 1: Whisk Together the Dry Ingredients
In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
Once combined, whisk in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
Step 2: Cream the Sugar
In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter or vegan baking stick and the sugar until it is soft and creamy. About 2-3 minutes.
Step 3: Add in Wet Ingredients Minus the Milk
Slowly beat the pumpkin into the creamed butter and sugar.
With the mixer still on low speed, mix in the sour cream, vanilla and oil. The mixture will look chunky. That's normal.
Step 4: Add in the Dry Ingredients
Slowly mix in the gluten free flour mixture a little at a time until all combined.
Step 5: Add in the Milk
Slowly pour the milk into the batter while the mixture is on low speed. Mix until just combined.
Once it is combined, turn off the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. You don’t want to over mix this. Just make sure everything is fully combined. The batter will be thinner but still sticky.
Step 6: Fill the Cupcake Tins
Use an ice cream scoop or a large cookie scoop to fill the cupcake tins ¾ way to the top. There should be enough batter for 16 cupcakes.
You do not want to overfill the cupcakes. This will result in them spilling out of the top and not baking evenly inside.
Step 7: Bake the Cupcakes and Cool
Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back at you when carefully touched or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool almost completely in the pan before trying to remove them.
Step 8: Make the Cinnamon Sugar
In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
Make The Cream Cheese Frosting
Step 1: Beat the Butter and Cream Cheese
In the large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the butter or vegan baking stick and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. About 2 minutes.
Step 2: Add the Confectioners' Sugar and Vanilla
With the mixer on very low speed, slowly add in the confectioners' sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until combined, creamy and smooth.
Decorate the Cupcakes
Step 1: Pipe the Frosting
If you have piping bags, pipe the cream cheese frosting on top of each cooled cupcake.
If you don’t have piping bags, put a thin layer of frosting on top of each cupcake.
Step 2: Chill the Cupcakes If You Don't Have a Piping Bag
If you frosted the cupcakes by hand, pop the cupcakes in the fridge for 15 minutes to let that thin layer harden.
This is your crumb layer so that when you frost the tops of the cupcakes, the crumbs don't get all over the frosting.
If you have a piping bag, you don’t need the crumb layer or this step.
Step 3: Sprinkle the Cinnamon Sugar
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar onto the frosted cupcakes before the frosting hardens.
Expert Baking Tips
For the Cupcakes
- Use Packed Cups of Flour- Normally in baking we do not use packed cups however, when working with gluten free, I've found using packed cups works best to help the baked goods keep their shape. Or read the gram measurement.
- Use Room Temperature Ingredients- Make sure to use ingredients that are all room temperature or the batter might split and not stay together.
- Use Paper Muffin Liners- It will ensure you're able to get the cupcakes out of the tins. If you don't have any paper liners, grease each cupcake tin with vegetable oil prior to adding the batter.
- Cool the Cupcakes- Make sure the cupcakes have cooled completely prior to frosting them. If the cupcakes are even slightly warm, the frosting will become liquid.
For the Frosting
- Making The Frosting- If the frosting is too liquidy, add more confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. It should be thick enough to stay put on the cupcakes and not run off. If the frosting appears too thick, add a little water ¼ teaspoon at a time. Make sure your butter isn't too soft. It should be room temperature, not softened.
You can, but they are freshest the first day. If making them ahead of time, make them the night before and store them, already frosted, in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you refrigerate them without frosting them, the cupcakes can form a sticky layer on the top.
Yes! Store the frosting in a bowl covered with plastic wrap in the fridge.
When ready to use, bring the frosting to room temperature and rewhip it to regain that creaminess.
If you want these cupcakes to be super light and fluffy then you must use the sour cream. You can try yogurt instead but I have not tested it and the crumb will not be as light as with the sour cream.
Yes, of course! You can use my recipe for my Vegan Vanilla Frosting! Just divide the recipe in half. You'll still have some frosting left over.
Cupcakes are like little cakes and muffins like quick breads. Cupcakes are usually made with creaming together butter and sugar then adding wet ingredients and then dry to create a super light fluffy texture.
They also bake at a lower temp so they don't get the dome top. In addition they usually contain more sugar. Muffins have a much thicker batter created by mixing dry and wet ingredients separately and then slowly combining them. They many times use oil instead of butter and are typically more dense.
Storing: Store cupcakes in an airtight container or individually wrap each cupcake in aluminum foil for up to 2 days at room temperature or in the fridge. Try to create a teepee with the top of the foil so it isn't touching the top of the frosting as much.
When ready to eat, let the cupcake sit on the counter, in the foil for about an hour or until it is room temperature and soft.
Freezing: Once the frosting on the cupcakes has hardened a little (you may need to pop them in the fridge), individually wrap each cupcake in aluminum foil.
Pop them in a zip top bag and freeze the cupcakes for up to 30 days.
To defrost, put the cupcakes in the fridge the night before or leave them out on the counter for 2 hours prior to eating or until the cupcakes are room temperature and soft.
Other Pumpkin Recipes You'll Love
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For the Cupcakes
- 1 ¼ cups gluten free flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter or vegan baking stick, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup pure pumpkin (I use Libby's brand)
- ¼ cup sour cream , full fat
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
For the Frosting
- 5 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter or vegan baking stick, room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 pinches kosher salt
For the Cinnamon Sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Make the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 12 cup regular size cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 ¼ cups gluten free flour and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.Once combined, whisk in the 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the ½ cup butter or vegan baking stick and the 1 cup granulated sugar until it is soft and creamy. About 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly beat the ¾ cup pure pumpkin into the creamed butter and sugar. With the mixer still on low speed, mix in the ¼ cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. The mixture will look chunky. That's normal.
- Slowly mix in the gluten free flour mixture a little at a time until all combined.
- Slowly pour the ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk into the batter while the mixture is on low speed. Mix until just combined.Once it is combined, turn off the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. You don’t want to over mix this. Just make sure everything is fully combined. The batter will be thinner but still sticky.
- Use an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake tins ¾ way to the top. There should be enough batter for 16 cupcakes.You do not want to overfill the cupcakes. This will result in them spilling out of the tops and not baking evenly inside.
- Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back at you when carefully touched or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.Let the cupcakes cool almost completely in the pan before trying to remove them. Bake the rest of the cupcakes. There should be 4 more.
- In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the 1 cup butter or vegan baking stick and 8 ounces cream cheese until smooth and creamy. About 2 minutes.
- With the mixer on very low speed, slowly add in the 5 cups confectioners' sugar, 2 pinches of kosher salt and 4 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until combined.
Decorate the Cupcakes
- If you have piping bags, pipe the cream cheese frosting on top of each cooled cupcake.If you don’t have piping bags, put a thin layer of frosting on top of each cupcake.
- If you frosted the cupcakes by hand, pop the cupcakes in the fridge for 15 minutes to let that thin layer harden. This is your crumb layer so that when you frost the tops of the cupcakes, the crumbs don't get all over the frosting.If you have a piping bag, you don’t need the crumb layer or this step.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar onto the frosted cupcakes before the frosting hardens.