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Fall is quickly approaching and I can't think of a better way to welcome the season than with a pair of open arms and a super easy recipe for pumpkin muffins.
And when I say these pumpkin muffins are easy, I mean it, because we're making them with a cake mix!
No foolin! All you need is a box of spice cake mix, a can of pumpkin puree, and a touch of pumpkin pie spice. It's that simple!
When the muffins are done baking, drizzle the tops with a little pumpkin spice glaze for extra pizazz, and you've got yourself the perfect fall breakfast treat!
How does this recipe work?
This recipe is so easy it almost seems too good to be true! The pumpkin puree takes care of all the wet ingredients necessary for this recipe, meaning, no egg, no oil, and no water required. Pretty cool right?
The pumpkin puree will act as the binder--just like an egg would in a traditional muffin recipe--and will also add the necessary moisture content to hydrate the cake mix. One 15oz can of pumpkin puree (I love Libby’s brand) is enough to do all that!
It's important to note that the pumpkin won't add any lift or leavening to the batter, as a traditional egg or acidic liquid would. The muffins will instead get their rise from the leavening agents found in the cake mix.
How to make cake mix Pumpkin Muffins
Ingredients you'll need
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 box (15.25 oz) spice cake mix
- 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° and place the oven rack in the middle position.
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and give the liners a quick mist of cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the spice cake mix, pumpkin puree, and the pumpkin pie spice.
Using a rubber spatula or an electric mixer, mix all the ingredients together until the cake mix is evenly moistened and well combined with the pumpkin puree. It will be a thick batter.
Divide the muffin batter between the 12 muffin liners. These muffins don't rise super high, so be sure to fill the muffin cups pretty full.
Bake in a 350° oven for 23 minutes until the muffins have risen slightly and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
If adding icing to the muffins, allow them to cool about 5-10 minutes on a wire rack before drizzling the icing, see recipes below for toppings suggestions.
Allow your muffins to cool completely and enjoy!
Optional toppings for your muffins:
In my experience, the muffin top is the most important part of the whole muffin--not to mention it's a great way to add on more fun ingredients! Here are some highly recommended suggestions that I know you'll love!
Pumpkin Spice Icing (my favorite):
In a bowl combine ½ cup of powdered sugar, ⅛ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ⅛ teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Stir until smooth and drizzle over the top of the muffins, 5-10 minutes after they've come out of the oven.
Cinnamon Sugar topping:
Mix together 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Sprinkle over each muffin before baking.
Coarse sugar topping:
Sprinkle coarse white sugar or turbinado sugar over the top of each muffin before baking. 1 tablespoon of sugar will be enough to sprinkle over 12 muffins, but of course use less or more to taste.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
If you want to make these pumpkin cake mix muffins extra special, try smearing on a little cream cheese frosting. You can make homemade frosting or pick up a can of the premade stuff!
This is the same topping that I use for my "Easy pumpkin Muffins Recipe" and it would be delightful on these simple cake mix muffins too! Here's what you need:
- ¾ cup of all purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt, in a medium sized bowl. Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and mix until the butter has been absorbed and large crumbs have formed. Generously sprinkle the streusel over the top of each muffin and bake as directed.
Storing your muffins
You can store leftover muffins in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to three days.
If you live in a particularly humid climate or have iced these with cream cheese frosting, I recommend storing leftover muffins in the fridge to keep them fresher longer.
These pumpkin muffins freeze beautifully! After baking, allow your muffins to cool completely and transfer them to a freezer safe container (you don't need to remove the paper liners). Store muffins in the freezer for up to a month.
When you're ready to eat, remove the muffins from the freezer and let them thaw completely at room temperature. Keep them covered to prevent the muffins from drying out as they thaw.
Are These muffins healthy?
I would say no. We are using a box of cake mix in this recipe, which is a processed food, with a fair amount of added sugar and preservatives. The pumpkin puree will definitely add some wholesome nutrients to these muffins--especially if you're using homemade pumpkin puree-- but I would still consider these muffins a breakfast "treat".
This is already a super tasty and easy pumpkin muffin recipe, but there's always room for a little embellishment! Here are some ideas for variations to make these muffins extra special:
- Stir a handful (or two) of semisweet chocolate chips into the batter. Add some to the top of the muffins too before baking!
- Add in some toasted chopped pecans or walnuts
- Stir cinnamon chips into the muffin batter
- Omit the pumpkin pie spice and just use cinnamon if that's all you have on hand
- Switch up your cake mixes by using a box of yellow cake mix, carrot cake mix, or chocolate cake mix! You'll just need a 15 or 15.25 oz box of mix for the recipe. If using chocolate or yellow cake mixes, add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to the batter to get that spicy fall flavor.
Other Recipes to get you excited for Pumpkin Season:
- 1 box (15.25 oz) of spice cake mix
- 1 can (15oz) of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat the oven to 350° and place the oven rack in the middle position.
- Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and give the liners a quick mist of cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the box of spice cake mix, the can of pumpkin puree, and the pumpkin pie spice.
- Using a rubber spatula or a hand mixer, mix all the ingredients together until the cake mix is evenly moistened and well combined with the pumpkin puree. The batter will be thick.
- Divide the muffin batter between the 12 muffin cups. These muffins don't rise super high, so be sure to fill the muffin cups pretty full.
- Bake in a 350° oven for 23 minutes until the muffins have risen slightly and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow the muffins to sit 5-10 minutes before drizzling with a glaze or icing. *See notes for icing recipe.
* For a pumpkin spice glaze: In a bowl combine ½ cup of powdered sugar, ⅛ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ⅛ teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Stir until smooth and drizzle over the top of the muffins, 5-10 minutes after they've come out of the oven.
**You can also top your muffins with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, coarse turbinado sugar, chopped nuts, or chocolate chips before baking.