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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes are easy to make with a cake mix but taste like you spent hours making them! These easy pumpkin cupcakes are perfect for any fall gathering.

Pumpkin spice cupcake on a white plate, with more cupcakes in the background

I am all about keeping things simple at this time of year.

Instead of cooking at home, we’re ordering pizza and wings for pre-trick-or-treat dinner and I’m whipping up these super simple semi-homemade Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes for dessert. I just plan on topping them with one of those little pumpkin candies you can find near the candy corn to make them a little more festive.

You all know I love my doctored cake mix recipes, and I couldn’t resist giving it a seasonal twist.

The result is these pumpkin spice cupcakes that are so irresistibly moist you can’t stop at just one!

If you love pumpkin bundt cake, you’ll definitely fall for the combo of spice cake mix and pumpkin. The lightly spiced cream cheese frosting makes the cupcakes so special.

Pumpkin spice cupcake ingredients arranged on a countertop


This recipe starts out with a box of spice cake mix. Spice cake mix is already going to be soft and tender, but we are going to make it even better!

Gather up your ingredients:

  • Spice cake mix
  • Instant vanilla pudding mix (not ready to cook!)
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Sour cream
  • Vegetable oil
  • Eggs
  • Pure vanilla extract (not vanilla essence)

For the frosting, you’ll also need cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar.

This recipe makes 24 cupcakes, so you’ll also need either two 12-cup muffin pans, a 24-cup muffin pan, or you can bake the cupcakes in batches. 

Pumpkin spice cupcake batter in a white bowl


In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, and pumpkin pie spice. 

Beat in the pumpkin, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. You can do this using a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. The batter should be smooth and creamy with no dry bits.

Pour the batter into the muffin cups. I use a large cookie scoop to help make my cupcakes all the same size, but you can use a measuring cup or spoon.

Baked pumpkin spice cupcakes in a muffin tin

Bake the cupcakes until they have risen and the tops spring back when gently touched. A toothpick inserted in the center will also come out clean.

Be sure to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Cool in the tins for about 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Cream cheese frosting ingredients on a countertop


For the frosting, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the butter and beat again. This helps ensure a perfectly creamy result!

If you forgot to set your cream cheese out to soften ahead of time, don’t worry. I have some great tips for how to soften cream cheese quickly.

Spatula stirring cream cheese frosting in a white mixing bowl

Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating until it is all mixed in and smooth. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, then taste and adjust flavorings if needed.

Keep beating until the frosting is very fluffy, then frost the cupcakes using an offset spatula or piping bag.

Frosted pumpkin spice cupcakes on a wire cooling rack


Since this recipe only uses 1 cup of pumpkin, you’ll likely have some left over for another dish!

Try a batch of my pumpkin molasses sandwich cookies. If you have leftover frosting, it’s perfect for these cookies.

My soft and tender pumpkin cookies with vanilla glaze are also a great option.

You can even have pumpkin for breakfast if you make pumpkin baked oatmeal!

Three pumpkin spice cupcakes set on a piece of parchment paper


Store these cupcakes in an airtight container within the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze them for longer storage.

To freeze cupcakes, wait until they are completely cooled. You can either frost them or leave them plain.

Three pumpkin spice cupcakes, one with a bite taken out of it

Transfer to a freezer-safe container, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months. 

To thaw, let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before enjoying.

Of course, these pumpkin spice cupcakes are so good, you won’t need to worry about freezing any leftovers — you won’t have any!

Plated pumpkin spice cupcake with a cup of coffee in the background
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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

By: Jamie
4.62 from 18 ratings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 22 minutes
Total: 37 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes are easy to make with a cake mix but taste like you spent hours making them! These easy pumpkin cupcakes are perfect for any fall gathering.


  • 1 box spice cake mix 15.25 ounces
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix 3.4 ounces
  • 1 ½ teaspoons homemade pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¾ pound confectioners’ sugar about 2 ½ to 3 cups
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


For the Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, pudding mix, and pumpkin pie spice, then beat in pumpkin, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.
  • Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the butter and continue beating for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add in vanilla and mix until incorporated. Turn off the mixer and check the frosting for taste and texture. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat the mixture for about 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  • Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and if desired, garnish with festive Fall sprinkles.



I used Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist cake mix


Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 222kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Sodium: 207mg, Potassium: 123mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 1835IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Jan says:

    5 stars
    Thanks so much I made these cupcakes and they were delicious. In the recipe you said us a large cookie scoop could you say what size it was there are many types of large cookie scoops. Also how and how long can the cream cheese frosting keep I had so.e left over. Thanks for all your great recipes.

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Jan-
      My large cookie scoop is OXO and holds 3 tablespoons of batter. I hope this helps.

  2. Linda says:

    5 stars
    I was looking for an easy fall recipe for a bake sale. Think I found it! I haven’t tasted one yet but they smell amazing in the oven. I always used doctored up recipes and why not? All the dry ingredients are ready for you in the box. Next time, which I know will be soon, I want to try adding chocolate chips. Thank you for this!

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your feedback, Linda! Happy baking!

  3. Nick says:

    Anything that requires a “box mix” is not a recipe. I’ll block any recipes on my feed based on this alone. Try making recipes from scratch, its a better recipe everytime.

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks for the very helpful tip, Nick. So sorry to hear you’ll be blocking my free recipes. I will definitely keep this feedback in mind the next time I dare think of publishing a doctored up box mix recipe on my very own blog. Happy from scratch baking.

    2. Lynette Sabol Taylor says:

      @Nick, Don’t knock it till you try it! I just made a pumpkin bundt cake from scratch and thought it was just so-so. Then I tried these cupcakes. They are outstanding! So light and moist! I will definitely make them again–and I’m also going to try pouring the batter into a bundt cake pan!

    3. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Lynette. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your feedback.

  4. marie johson says:

    These spiced pumpkin cupcakes are my new favorite fall dessert recipe! thanks for sharing <3

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Marie! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!

  5. Ashli Smith says:

    Made these and added 1.5 cups of chocolate chips! Amazing!

    1. Jamie says:

      Yum! I love pumpkin and chocolate, too, Ashli!

  6. Wade Lam says:

    Quick question for ya…I plan on using this recipe to bake some cupcakes for a 90th birthday tomorrow.  Of course, I’ll use an extender due to the smaller cake mix sizes these days.  But I’m wondering how a butterscotch pudding mix would taste, instead of vanilla…  Any idea if it would make the flavor too strong?  Maybe if I went with butterscotch pudding, I should scale back the spice?  Any recommendations or ideas would be MUCH appreciated.  Thanks – I’m a huge fan, BTW!!!  :)

  7. Kayla says:

    I’ve been using this recipe for the last two years and it’s always a hit! My coworkers ask for it every season! 

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear that you enjoy the recipe, Kayla!

  8. Emily says:

    I made these for a bake sale last week and have already had requests for more! If fact, there are 2 dozen in the oven right now :-) Thanks for a fabulous recipe!

    1. Jamie says:


      Wow, that’s great news! I’m so happy they are in such high demand :). Have a great day!


  9. Judy says:


    I just made these cupcakes and they are delicious! I gave some to my neighbor and she said they were the best cupcakes she has ever tasted! My husband cannot get enough! Great job!

    1. Jamie says:

      Yay! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks so much for reporting back – have a delicious day!

  10. Selina says:

    Loved these! Made them for my mans birthday bc he LOVES pumpkin! I made them in the mini muffin pans and cooked them about 14 min. they came out perfect. I halved the icing and it made the perfect amount for these little mini muffins :) Thanks!

    1. Jamie says:


      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for stopping back to share and have a wonderful day!