Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with a Nutella Swirl

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!

Easy Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese and Nutella Swirl sit on a cooling rack with bottles of milk

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.

join our party!

get our latest recipes delivered to your inbox every week — plus all my entertaining tips and tricks!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    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 BreadCranberry 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!

    Ingredients for muffins are laid out on a marble background

    What do I need to make this recipe?

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    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.
    Wet ingredients are combined in a bowl before mixing

    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.

    Dry ingredients are mixed with wet to make the muffins

    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.

    Collage of cream cheese swirl layer being made in a food processor

    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.

    Collage of six images showing how to put together the muffins before baking

    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.

    Dollops of batter are placed on top of the muffins before they bake

    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.

    Easy Pumpkin Muffins, shown in the muffin tin, cool before they are enjoyed

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why do you use applesauce instead of oil or butter in this recipe?

    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.

    Should I use muffin liners?

    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.

    Are pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie mix the same thing?

    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.)

    Several Easy Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese and Nutella Swirl cool on a wire cooling rack

    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.
    Pumpkin Muffins are stacked on top of each other, shown with glasses of milk

    What are some other brunch recipes that I could serve with these muffins?

    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.)

    Several Easy Pumpkin Muffins cool on a wire cooling rack, with Pinterest text

    More pumpkin muffin recipes to try:

    Now let’s talk about these beauties…

    Easy Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese and Nutella Swirl sit on a cooling rack with bottles of milk

    Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese and Nutella Swirl

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    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!
    4.67 from 6 votes
    Servings 12 muffins
    Calories 189 kcal
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Cooling Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 45 minutes



    • 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

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


    • 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.


    Serving: 1gCalories: 189kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 4gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 285mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16g
    Keyword baking recipe, Breakfast, Brunch, muffin recipe, pumpkin muffins
    Course Breakfast & Brunch
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

    Similar Posts

    Before leaving a comment or rating, ask yourself:

    • Did you make the recipe as directed? If you didn’t or made an ingredient swap, please do not leave a rating. Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.
    • Is your comment helpful to others? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Please remember that this website is run by a real person.
    • Are you complaining about ads? I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising allows me to continue to do so at not cost to you. It is also unavoidable on the internet and in everyday life. If you want recipes without ads, please purchase a cookbook or borrow one from your local library.


    1. It was nice to come in from a nice morning walk, to be greeted by THIS post (after a little exploring). Fall is definitely in the air, here in Pennsylvania–I’m pretty sure it is actually the FIRST day of fall, but let me check on that…. Yesterday, it was almost 85 degrees…but, somehow magically the temperature dropped a good 20-25 degrees today. There was a cool fall-like breeze this morning. You can’t beat it.

      These pumpkin muffins look great! I bet they were delicious…Thanks for sharing!

      1. That morning walk sounds delightful, Julie! I hope that fall hurries down to Texas and that it hangs around your neck of the woods, too!

        Thanks! These muffins are quite delicious, and these will be something I make throughout this season… too good to only have once!

    2. These are like three of the very best things in the world: pumpkin, cream cheese, Nutella.. and muffins?! Four of the very best things in the world, combine to make one seriously epic recipe. Awesome job – very creative! I bet the nuttiness of the Nutella is divine with the pumpkin

      1. FOUR best things in the world?! Thanks, Cheryl! They’re pretty divine, not gonna lie, and when I started thinking about pumpkin muffins, I kept one-upping it until I came up with this recipe. Because that’s how my brain works. 😉

    3. My jaw is on the ground right now. You just combined so many of my favorite recipes into one! I can’t wait to make these for my hubby!

    4. It doesn’t feel like fall in Austin yet either, congrats to you for baking anyway! I guess that’s what air conditioning is for…

      1. Yeah, I baked these relatively early, so it didn’t get too hot in the house. Hopefully, the fall weather will hurry up for both of our cities!

      1. Haha, thanks? These just sounded SO GOOD, and it was actually my husband who convinced me to go with the Nutella after I waffled over it for a few moments.

        And applesauce in muffins is my favorite, too! Glad I’m not the only one with this trick up my sleeve!

    5. Haha, I know exactly what you mean about trying to get all of the goodness into a title!! I think you did the right thing Erin, how on earth could you leave out the… Nutella. Or the cream cheese? YUM! I cannot wait to make these when I get home (which will be in approximately one month. I miss my kitchen ridiculously!). Sorry for being so absent, our internet has been sporadic at the cheap-ass places where we have been staying!! Your site looks ah-mazing you beautiful thing! xxx

      1. This is why we’re friends, Laura. How COULD I leave anything out of the title, right? 😉

        I can’t believe you’re still out traveling the world, friend, and I hope you’re enjoying every moment of it. I’m sure your kitchen will be thrilled to have you back in it next month, and I cannot wait to hear what you think of these. Thanks for stopping by AND the compliment, lovely!

    6. These muffins look absolutely perfect to bite right into! Love how pretty the layers look when they are cut in half! Pinned onto my pumpkin board!

      1. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment, Ceara! They really are quite delicious, and I loved biting into them to find the layers of ingredients. 🙂

    7. Gonna make mini muffins for Thanksgiving. Is it ok not to use paperliners? Any suggestions? Like spraying oil on the tins or must have liners since oilfree muffins?? Please!

    8. Gonna make mini muffins for Thanksgiving. Is it ok not to use paperliners? Any suggestions? Like spraying oil on the tins or must have liners since oilfree muffins?? Please!

      1. Hi Young! You most certainly could spray down the tins with a nonstick cooking spray if you don’t use paper liners. (I’ve never used paper liners in my mini muffin tin, and spraying the pan well always works for me. Having a nonstick pan helps, too!) The mini muffins might be hard to fill with the cream cheese and the Nutella, but I don’t doubt where there is a will, there is a way! Also, they’ll bake for less time since they’ll be smaller. ENJOY!

    9. My jaw is on the ground right now. You just combined so many of my favorite recipes into one! I can’t wait to make these for my hubby!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating