These healthier pumpkin cream cheese muffins are the perfect Starbucks dupe, but made from real food ingredients. They have the same yummy pumpkin flavor, warm spices, and sweet cream cheese filling as the traditional recipe, but with half the calories and fat. Plus they are gluten free and can be made dairy free, too.
If you are a long time reader here, you know I love a good muffin recipe. Whether it’s my Banana Blender Muffins, my Blueberry Muffins, or my fave Cranberry Orange Muffins, I love a muffin with my morning coffee or as an afternoon snack.
And when a longtime reader requested a healthier option to satisfy her Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins cravings, I couldn’t wait to get started. I used my super popular Apple Muffins recipe and switched out the apple sauce for pumpkin purée. And I used the cream cheese frosting from my Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins as the inspiration for the sweet cream cheese filling.
Why I love these muffins
- The perfect Fall breakfast paired with some Turkey Bacon or Homemade Chicken Sausage Patties.
- Gluten free and can be made dairy free if you use vegan cream cheese
- No additives, carrageen or seed oils like Starbucks muffins and around half the calories and fat, and a third of the sugar, too!
- Easy and quick to make for even novice bakers!
These classic pumpkin muffins come together with simple ingredients that you likely have on hand already!
For the Muffins:
- Melted coconut oil or avocado oil
- Pure maple syrup
- Room temperature eggs
- Pure pumpkin puree – be sure not to use pumpkin pie filling
- Vanilla Extract
- Gluten free baking flour
- Cinnamon + extra for top of muffins
- Pumpkin pie spice – you can use store bought or a homemade pumpkin pie spice blend
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
For the Cream Cheese Swirl:
- Reduced fat cream cheese or laughing cow cheese triangles
- Raw sugar
- Vanilla Extract
For full ingredient list and quantities, be sure to see the recipe card below.
Substitutions and Variations
- If you don’t need a gluten free muffin, you can use a whole wheat flour or all purpose flour.
- Instead of a cream cheese filling, you can do a cream cheese frosting.
- Add some chocolate chips for a different flavor profile.
- For a more authentic Starbucks feel, add some pumpkin seeds to the top!
Step By Step Instructions
- In a medium bowl, mix wet ingredients for muffins.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Don’t overmix.
4. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip cream cheese or laughing cow cheese in a small bowl with sugar and vanilla.
5. Divide muffin batter into prepared cupcake tins using a small cookie scoop or ice cream scoop. Using the back of a spoon, make a little divot in muffin batter for cream cheese filling.
6. Place 2 teaspoons of the cream cheese in the divot, then try to cover the cream cheese back up with the muffing batter. You can do this with a spoon, or place the cream cheese frosting in a ziplock bag or pastry bag and pipe the cheesecake filling into the center of each muffin. For a swirl effect, take a toothpick and swirl the top.
7. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until muffins are set and a toothpick comes out clean (poke in the muffin park, not the cream cheese part).
8. Let muffins cool before enjoying.
Store Muffins in an airtight container or ziplock baggie in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Muffins can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or warm in the microwave for intervals of 30 seconds.
Technically, cream cheese is not on the 21 Day Fix food list. But Autumn has used it in several recipes and the macros are similar to other cheese products. You can also swap in Laughing Cow Cheese Triangles, but I prefer this recipe with reduced fat cream cheese.
These muffins are made with 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour and subbing almond flour will not work. You can sub all purpose flour if you are not gluten free. You can also sub in oat flour.
A few members of my Supporters group tried it this recipe with dairy free cream cheese and they did have success. The vegan cream cheese is a bit more oily, so it spreads more when cooking, but it tastes delicious.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes to Try
- Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites
- Healthy Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
- Pumpkin Pie Hummus
- Pumpkin Pasta with Spicy Sausage
Healthy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
For the Muffins
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil avocado oil, or extra virgin olive oil (I used avocado oil)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs room temp
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 ¾ cup 1-1 gluten free baking flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon + extra for top of muffins
- 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Optional pumpkin seeds and pinch of cinnamon for garnish like Starbucks
For The Cream Cheese Swirl
- 4 oz of low fat cream cheese or 6 triangles of laughing cow cheese
- 2 tablespoon raw sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 425 and prep your muffin tin with liners – I LOVE the parchment kind because you know nothing is gonna stick.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix up those wet ingredients for muffins.
- In a larger mixing bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated. Don’t overmix.
- Divide muffin batter into prepared cupcake tins.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, whip cream cheese or laughing cow cheese with sugar, vanilla, and a tiny dash of cinnamon.
- Using the back of a spoon, make a little divot in muffin batter for cream cheese filling. Place 2ish teaspoons of the cream cheese in the divot, then try to cover the cream cheese back up with the muffing batter. For a swirl effect, take a toothpick and swirl the top.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes or until muffins are set and a toothpick comes out clean (poke in the muffin park, not the cream cheese part). These were done for me right at the 14 minute mark, so watch closely!