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close up of pumpkin cream cheese muffin with bite taken out of it. muffins in the back with baking tin. streusel on top
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5 from 11 votes

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins are so easy with step-by-step instructions and notes below. Tips for making sure the muffin tops rise, especially for high altitude baking. You can choose to leave out the cream cheese filling and they'll still be incredible.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Dessert
Keyword: cream cheese, muffins, pumpkin
Servings: 15 muffins
Calories: 253kcal
Author: Sally Humeniuk


  • Medium bowls
  • Large bowl
  • Muffin tin
  • Muffin Tin Liners


For the Cream Cheese Filling:

For the Walnut Streusel Topping:

For the Pumpkin Muffins:


Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling:

  • Mix together ½ cup cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon orange zest, 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Put in refrigerator until needed in the recipe.

Make the Walnut Streusel:

  • Mix together ¼ cup walnuts, ½ cup flour, ⅓ cup sugar, and 3 Tablespoons butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand with several pea size crumbs in it. Set aside.

Prepare the Pumpkin Muffin batter:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Place oven rack one place above center. Line a muffin pan with muffin tin liners. See notes below regarding oven temperatures needed for successful muffins.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg.
  • In a large bowl, add 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree, 3 large eggs, ⅓ cup canola oil, and 1 ½ teaspoons orange zest.
  • Mix in flour mixture until just incorporated. Make sure all the dry ingredients are absorbed and not showing, but don't mix more than that.
  • Add about 2 Tablespoons batter to the bottom of each muffin cup, just enough to cover the bottom. Place about 2 teaspoon-size balls of the cream cheese filling to the center of each muffin cup. Then add another generous 2 Tablespoons batter to cover the cream cheese.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon streusel on top of each muffin. You will have quite a bit of streusel left over.

To bake the muffins with high, bakery style tops, or for high altitudes:

  • Bake the muffins for 4 minutes at 400°F, during this time the muffins will rise quite a bit. After 4 minutes, turn the oven temperature down to 350°F for the remainder of the baking time, approximately 16-19 minutes or until a toothpick gently pricked into the top of a muffin comes out mostly clean. If the streusel topping starts to brown too much, carefully place a sheet of aluminum foil over the muffins for the remaining time. This may happen during the final 7-8 minutes.
  • Remove muffins to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes for the muffins to remain intact when opening, but to be able to serve slightly warm. They're incredible warm! If they're completely cool, you could heat in the microwave about 5-7 seconds.

If you don't live at altitude or don't care if your muffins rise super high:

  • Bake the muffins at 350°F for 21-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out mostly clean. The muffins will rise but may not get that bakery high peak. This method requires less muffin-sitting to watch them as they bake.
  • Remove muffins to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes for the muffins to remain intact when opening, but to be able to serve slightly warm. They're incredible warm! If they're completely cool, you could heat in the microwave about 5-7 minutes just enough for warm delights.

Storing leftover muffins:

  • Store any leftover muffins in airtight container in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese center. Muffins will keep an additional two days after baking.


  1. Regarding the above directions for how to bake your muffins- after much experimentation, living at over 8,000 ft altitude, in order for me to ensure that my muffin tops rose nicely rather than spreading, I had to start at the higher temperature and reduce once the muffin tops rose. If you don't want to bother with having to watch the muffins so much as they bake, start at 350 degrees and let them bake until golden. The tops may be more flat, but they're still lovely.
  2. You may use up all the cream cheese filling for the first 12 muffins and then the remainder of batter will make 3 regular muffins. If you prefer to make all the muffins without the cream cheese center, they're fantastic without, fill the cups to 3/4 full and bake at 350F degrees for 20-25 minutes. 
  3. I've made this recipe replacing the all-purpose flour with 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour. They're delicious and even more moist this way. The almond flour/whole wheat flour muffins are best eaten within a day of baking for optimal flavor.
  4. If your muffins fall in the center, the reasons are usually - A) Overfilling the muffin cups and baking at too low a temperature so the tops have no where to go after baking but down. B) Not baking the muffins long enough and the moist centers fall in. If this happens, an easy fix will make the muffins look nicely done- add leftover streusel to the centers to fill in the gap.


Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 211mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 3405IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg