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. 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.
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 do I need to make the pumpkin cream cheese muffins?
- All-purpose flour: is the base of this recipe.
- Baking soda: is the leavening agent we use in this recipe.
- Salt: this one is pretty self explanatory.
- Sugar: you’ll need both brown sugar and granulated sugar.
- Chai spices: You can use pumpkin pie spice for this recipe or you can make the custom blend that I use for my homemade chai spice. If you want this to be a true, chai-flavored pumpkin muffin, I suggest using my unique blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom. Allspice is one of those ingredients that is heavily used in pumpkin pie spice but not in chai spice. I also like to add nutmeg, but this is also not a spice that is typically used for pie spice.
- Large eggs: add structure and stability to this recipe.
- Pumpkin puree: gives the recipe moisture and makes the muffins tender and moist. Be sure to use homemade or canned pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. The filling contains sugar and spices and since we’ll be adding these in ourselves, the pie filling won’t be a suitable substitute for good ol’ puree!
- Oil: adds moisture to the recipe and is the main source of fat.
- Pure vanilla extract: adds the most delicious scent and flavor. We’ll use this in both the filling and the muffin base.
- Softened cream cheese: we’ll use the cream cheese to create the filling or the topping/
- Powdered sugar: sweetens the create cheese mixture.
- Lemon juice: adds a bit of tang and makes the cream cheese mixture taste like cheesecake!
How to make pumpkin cheesecake muffins:
- Do the prep work. Start by preheating the oven. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray of add paper liners to the muffin tin. Set this aside for now.
- Whisk the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground spices and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set this aside for now.
- Whisk the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients. This is the sugar, eggs, pumpkin purée, oil, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Make the cheesecake batter. Add the cream cheese to the bowl of stand mixer or use a bowl annd ann electric mixer and whip it together to loosen it up. Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla and the lemon juice and mix until just combined.
- Load the muffin tins. Scoop the pumpkin batter into the lined tin. If you want to use the cream cheese filling in the center, add a tablespoon to each of the muffins once they are halfway filled and then add more pumpkin muffin batter on top to fill the liners about two-thirds of the way full. More ways to use the cheesecake filling below!
- Bake the muffins. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the muffins rise and are golden brown on top. Insert a toothpick in the center to see if they muffins are cooked all the way through. Allow the muffins to cool for a bit. I like to serve them at room temperature with a warm mug of coffee!
Ways to use the sweet cream cheese filling:
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 use a piping bag to insert the cheesecake filling into the center.
- 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!
FAQs about this recipe
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 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.
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.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
- Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf
- Homemade Pumpkin Bread Recipe
- Super Moist and Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins
- Buttermilk Pumpkin Waffles
Original recipe posted Oct. 2018, updated Sept 2023.
- 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!