Spiced Chai Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins
The perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee! These spiced chai pumpkin cheesecake muffins are tender and loaded with warm chai spices. No dry crumbs here, just tender, delicious pumpkin muffins all around!
New fall favorite muffin recipe right there!
And I’ve got pumpkin fever. As in, give me all the pumpkin spice, savory pumpkin (or any squash, really) recipes, and all the pie, cupcakes and muffins you can find. I’ll take it all.
These pumpkin cheesecake muffins happen to be the newest addition to the party. They’re ridiculously perfect served with a warm mug of joe. Not too sweet, topped with cheesecake batter and tender on the inside. If there’s anything I love more than cake or muffins, it’s those same things topped with cheesecake!
A few weeks ago I ran a poll on Instagram asking if you guys would like to see a cheddar jalapeno bread on the blog or if you’d rather see chai spiced pumpkin cookies. And though these are indeed not the cookies I talked about, the flavors are the same — just in muffin form. And the fact that muffins are socially acceptable for dessert or even breakfast foods puts them just a hair above cookies in my book.
What can I say?! I like sweet stuff for breakfast sometimes!
Muffins in the fall are my favorite things to bake. Don’t get me wrong, I make plenty of casseroles too, but muffins like these healthy carrot cake ones not only make your house smell like fall but also allow you to pack in veggies or squashes into something compact and easy enough to grab and go for breakfast.
Today’s pumpkin cheesecake muffins have two main parts: the chai spiced pumpkin muffins and the cheesecake batter topping.
What is chai spice?
Chai spice is a blend of warm spices used in making masala chai. Usually, when you’re making chai tea/lattes, you use them in the whole form, but for today’s recipe, we’re using the ground version to flavor our pumpkin cheesecake muffins.
What spices are used in chai spice?
- ground cinnamon
- ground ginger
- ground cloves
- ground cardamom
- ground nutmeg (this one isn’t usually used in when making masala chai, but it’s something I like to add to muffins because the flavor pairs beautifully with cinnamon!)
What can I use in this pumpkin cheesecake muffins if I don’t like chai spice?
If you’re hesitant to try chai flavored muffins or don’t like chai spice, you can use pumpkin spice in these muffins as well. Swap the ground spices for a total of 1 tablespoon of prepared pumpkin spice.
What do I need to make the pumpkin cheesecake muffins?
The recipe for the muffins is pretty straightforward. Other than the spices, you’ll need:
- all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- sugar (both brown and granulated)
- pumpkin puree
- vanilla extract
Can I use pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin puree for these pumpkin cheesecake muffins?
Unfortunately, pumpkin pie filling and pumpkin puree are not the same thing. Pie filling usually contains sugar as well as spices so your muffins may end up being overly sweet or spiced and may not bake the same way as mine did with the pure pumpkin puree.
How do I make the muffin batter?
The method is pretty simple. We’ll combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set that aside. Then, we’ll whisk together the sugars, oil, eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract together in a big bowl. Finally, all you need to do is fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. The key to making super moist and tender pumpkin cheesecake muffins is to not overmix the batter.
Once you’ve made the muffin batter, you’ll need to prepare the cheesecake filling.
What’s in the cheesecake filling?
- softened cream cheese
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- lemon juice
How can you use the cheesecake batter?
Okay. So you’ve got a few different options.
- You can add a dollop of the cheesecake batter on top of the muffins as I did. I find this more visually appealing, and I love that the cheesecake batter is front and center.
- You can also add a tablespoon of batter to the center of the muffins.
- You can add a dollop to the top the way I did and then swirl it around to give it a more marble effect.
- You can fill it inside AND marble it on top.
There’s so much you can do with the filling. And what I love the most about it is that this recipe is super forgiving, all of these methods work!
How long will these last?
My experience with these muffins is that they hold up pretty well for 4-5 days. If it’s hot where you live, they may not hold up that long. Usually, I’ll bake a batch and send some to family or friends and keep a few for us. Or I’ll do option number two below.
Can you freeze spiced chai pumpkin cheesecake muffins?
YASS! You can bake these muffins off, allow them to cool to room temperature and then pop them into zip top bags and freeze them for up to 3 months. Just let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight, and they’ll be ready to enjoy just in time for breakfast!
My favorite thing(s) about these spiced chai pumpkins cheesecake muffins? I can’t pick just one. They make your house smell all warm and fuzzy. They’re not overly sweet. They’re great with a warm mug of tea or coffee for breakfast or a midmorning snack.
So good I’ll be making these again before pumpkin season is up for sure!
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons EACH: ground cinnamon AND vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon EACH: baking soda AND ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon EACH: salt, ground cloves, AND ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 (15-ounce) pure pumpkin puree
- ½ cup oil (coconut, olive, vegetable, canola)
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon EACH: vanilla extract AND lemon juice
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray two muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt; set aside.
- WET INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix using a rubber spatula until *just combined*
- CHEESECAKE BATTER: Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the cream for 30 seconds just to loosen it up, add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice and mix until *just combined*
- MUFFINS: Fill the muffin pans with the pumpkin batter about two-thirds full. Add a tablespoon worth of cheesecake filling to the center and you can press it in, leave it on top, or swirl it on top using a toothpick to make a design. You can also use the cheesecake batter and a filling rather than a topping, if you'd like, both methods work!
- BAKE: Bake the muffins for 16-19 minutes or until the muffins have risen and are golden brown on top. Let cool for a few minutes before trying to remove from the pan. Serve warm or room temperature!