In celebration of the arrival of fall, bake Easy Pumpkin Muffins with a Cream Cheese and Nutella Swirl. Fluffy and decadent, these oil-free pumpkin muffins are a brilliant autumnal breakfast that won’t last long. Makes 12 muffins.
Love pumpkin for breakfast? You’ve got to check out The BEST Pumpkin Muffins for Pumpkin Season!
2019 Update: This recipe was originally shared in September 2014. I have updated and republished the recipe and post with new images, as well as more tips and tricks. I hope you love these muffins!
I’m supposed to share an ice cream birthday cake recipe with y’all today.
But inspiration came in the form of autumnal pins on Pinterest.
While it still doesn’t feel like fall in Dallas, these muffins transported me to cooler days.
If nothing else, I will continue chowing down on them until they give me hope our seasonal change isn’t too far off.
Why I love this recipe:
I knew I had to make pumpkin muffins yesterday morning, so I made up these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with a Nutella Swirl…
They’re my new favorite thing because easy Pumpkin Muffins are some of the best things about fall.
These muffins are quite simple to pull together, and the payoff is divine.
Fluffy pumpkin muffins have a giant dollop of cream cheese in the middle that is covered with Nutella and then more pumpkin batter.
Each bite has little bit of each flavor, and they work so well together.
Other pumpkin recipes we love for a fall breakfast: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread | Cranberry Pumpkin Cold Brew Coffee Drink | Vegan Pumpkin Biscuits with Maple Butter | Pumpkin Overnight French Toast Casserole | Easy Pumpkin Spice Bread
Love fall flavors? Check out my Fall Recipe Index for more ideas!
What do I need to make this recipe?
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- Muffin tin
- Parchment paper cupcake liners
- Hand mixer or a food processor
- Glass bowls
- 1 tablespoon cookie scoop
Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pumpkin puree—please read the label on your can and ensure that you’re using this, not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling already has spices and sweeteners added to it.
- Granulated sugar—also known as white sugar, this is going to be what sweetens our muffin batter.
- Unsweetened applesauce—I love using applesauce in muffins instead of vegetable oil because it adds great moisture. Most applesauces are sweetened, so read the label.
- Eggs—these give our muffin batter structure and will help them rise in the oven. We’ll need it for the muffin batter, as well as the cream cheese swirl.
- All-purpose flour—we keep unbleached AP flour in our house, but the regular kind works here, too. I have not tried to make this recipe with a gluten free blend and do not recommend it.
- Leaveners—this pumpkin muffin recipe calls for both baking soda and baking powder.
- Ground cinnamon—cinnamon and pumpkin work beautifully together. If you want to use the same amount of pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon, you may do that!
- Kosher salt—I like to use a fine grain kosher salt for baked goods. You can use the same amount of a fine grain sea salt.
- Cream cheese—I recommend using a fall-fat cream cheese for these muffins for their flavor to shine.
- Honey—this will sweeten the cream cheese mixture.
- Nutella—we use just a little bit of this. Any chocolate hazelnut spread will do if you don’t have Nutella.
How to Make Easy Pumpkin Muffins
Preheat the oven, and place cupcake liners in your cupcake/muffin tin.
I really like to use the parchment paper ones* (affiliate link) because the muffins come free so easily and without mess.
Make the Pumpkin Muffin Batter
Combine the pumpkin, sugar, applesauce and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into another bowl. Whisk until combined.
Combine the ingredients. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together until just combined.
Make the Cream Cheese Filling
Combine the cream cheese, honey and egg in a medium bowl or in the base of a food processor.
Use a hand mixer or a food processor to combine the filling. The mixture should be super smooth.
In the past, I’ve used a hand mixer, but the food processor really got the filling to the right consistency more easily.
Set it aside.
Put the muffins together
Dollop pumpkin batter halfway up the liners. Add a dollop of cream cheese filling. Top with a teaspoon of the chocolate hazelnut spread.
Swirl the fillings together with a toothpick.
The swirling step with the toothpick isn’t necessary, but it makes for extra pretty muffins.
Pro tip: How to swirl the Nutella and cream cheese without making a mess
A steady and careful hand will help prevent a mess.
However, if you have little helpers in the kitchen, expect a mess.
Blending the cream cheese mixture in a food processor and using a spoon or tablespoon to dollop it in isn’t messy.
Measure out the Nutella as a whole before dividing it between the muffins. Also, spritz your teaspoon in a nonstick baking spray, like this avocado oil cooking spray* (affiliate link), because it’ll help the Nutella slide off the measuring spoon instead of sticking.
Please note that you will probably still need to use a finger or a small spatula to assist with the Nutella.
Add another layer of the pumpkin mixture on top of the filling.
Continue to do this until all the muffins have been put together.
Transfer to the oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool for 10-15 minutes, and then enjoy them warm.
How do I know when the muffins are done?
I understand that the cream cheese and Nutella mixtures can throw off the toothpick test, but the key to the toothpick test here is getting beneath the filling to confirm that it’s baked through.
I also use an eyeball test on these muffins, meaning I assess them visually before removing them from the oven to do the toothpick test.
I look to see if the tops of the muffins look baked through. If the batter still appears to be wet or the tops aren’t cooked through, the inside will not be, either.
I also give the muffin tin a jiggle to see if the muffins appear to be baked through. If they wiggle like they’re wet, they need more time. If they don’t move when you do this, they might be done.
If the muffins appear to be baked through, I’ll remove them from the oven and do the toothpick test. Since you fill the muffin tins halfway up with the batter before adding the fillings, you’ll need to push the toothpick in deep. You can also look for a spot that doesn’t have the filling oozing out of it, too, as you might get a cleaner shot.
If the toothpick comes out with batter on it, it needs to bake a little more.
If the toothpick comes out with crumbs, you’re good to go.
And if the toothpick comes out with filling on it and you can’t make an assessment, cut one muffin in half and see how it looks from the inside… and go from there.
Frequently Asked Questions
I went through a phase where I cut out a lot of oil in my baking recipes by using unsweetened applesauce instead.
Applesauce, like oil, adds tons of moisture to a baked good, and while it’s not a low fat food, it adds extra nutrients to the dish.
Yes. These parchment paper ones* (affiliate link) are my favorites because I have never, ever, ever had anything stick to them.
You can use regular liners, though. Please spritz them with a nonstick cooking spray before filling because the muffin batter is super moist.
No, they are not. Pumpkin puree is 100% pumpkin while pumpkin pie mix is pumpkin mixed with spices, and in some cases, sweetener.
While I know pumpkin pie mix brings a ton of pumpkin flavor to fall baking, I urge you not to use it in this recipe because we add plenty sweetness with the sugars (and a little extra with the honey in the cream cheese swirl.)
Quick tips and tricks to the best Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
- Double the recipe for an at-home brunch or for sharing at a playdate!
- Use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Store leftover muffins in an airtight food storage container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
What are some other brunch recipes that I could serve with these muffins?
- Pumpkin Spice Kombucha Cocktail (like a mimosa!)
- Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
- Brunch Salad
- Oven Baked Bacon
If you’re struggling with how to host breakfast, I’ve written you a handy guide of how to host brunch at home. (It’s easier than you think, I promise.)
More pumpkin muffin recipes to try:
- Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
- Mini Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Chips
- Pumpkin Brown Butter Streusel Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze
Now let’s talk about these beauties…
In celebration of the arrival of fall, let's bake Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese and Nutella Swirl. An oil-free pumpkin muffin base is filled with a cream cheese mixture and a dollop of Nutella before baking. Fluffy and decadent, these Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese and Nutella Swirl are a brilliant autumnal breakfast or brunch item that won't last long in any household!
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup Nutella
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Place parchment paper liners in a cupcake/muffin pan. Set aside. (If not using liners, spray liberally with nonstick baking spray.)
Make the Pumpkin Muffin Batter
- Whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, applesauce and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir until smooth.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, folding the ingredients together until just combined.
Make the Cream Cheese Filling
- Combine the cream cheese, honey and egg in the base of a food processor (or in a bowl, if using a hand mixer.)
- Blend until smooth, and set aside.
Prepare the Muffins
- In your prepared pan, dollop the pumpkin batter halfway up the cupcake tins. (About 2 tablespoons.)
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin batter.
- Measure out a teaspoon of Nutella on top of the cream cheese mixture in each muffin liner.
- Swirl the cream cheese and Nutella together using a toothpick. (Gently, insert it into the mixture and twirl until the ingredients have combined slightly.)
- Top the fillings with another scoop of the pumpkin batter on top.
- Repeat until all the muffins are put together.
- Transfer the pan to the preheated oven, and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then enjoy warm!
Depending on how hot your oven runs (and how old it is), the baking time could change. I've baked these in our new ovens for 22 minutes, and they're perfect while it took 25-27 minutes in our older oven.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 285mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 4g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.