Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes

If you’re a fan of all things pumpkin and crave the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, these vegan pumpkin cupcakes are for you! I’ll share with you the secrets to creating irresistible pumpkin cupcakes with a creamy cream cheese frosting that will leave you and your loved ones craving more. 

A bunch of vegan pumpkin cupcakes have white frosting on top and pumpkin candies on the side.

It’s pumpkin season and that means we’re ready for all the pumpkin recipes! From vegan pumpkin muffins to vegan pumpkin cake, we’ve got you covered.

But today? We’re talking all things pumpkin cupcakes! From choosing the best ingredients to mastering the art of fluffy frosting, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions and expert tips to ensure your pumpkin spice cupcakes are a delicious success.

So, grab your apron, and let’s embark on a mouthwatering adventure in vegan baking. Get your taste buds ready – these cupcakes will change your fall dessert game!

How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, from the flour to the spices.
  2. Combine and stir the wet ingredients, from the vegetable oil to the vanilla.
  3. Combine wet and dry mixtures and gently fold until just combined.
  4. Use a whisk to stir the batter until there are no large lumps of flour.
  5. Pour the batter into prepared cupcake papers or compartments.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

And there you have it—freshly baked, perfectly moist vegan pumpkin cupcakes waiting to be adorned with creamy frosting.

A pumpkin mixture is being poured into a bowl with flour.

Pumpkin Cupcake Ingredients

To create the perfect batch of easy vegan pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, you’ll need a few key ingredients. These will ensure that your cupcakes turn out mouthwateringly delicious and visually stunning. So, let’s dive into what you’ll need to bring these irresistible treats to life.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe, including substitution ideas:

  • Flour — I have used all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, and whole wheat flour to make these cupcakes and each turned out great. You can also substitute gluten-free flour.
  • Brown sugar — You can use either dark or light brown sugar.
  • Salt — Don’t forget the salt, as it will help enhance the flavors in your cupcakes. 
  • Baking powder + baking soda — These two ingredients create a chemical reaction in the batter as it bakes, creating soft, tender, and perfectly domed cupcakes.
  • Spices — I use a mixture of ground cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Fat — I prefer to use vegetable oil for this recipe.
  • Pumpkin — We’ll be using canned pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling which has added ingredients). You can find cans of pumpkin puree in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. 
  • Water — If your water has flavor, go ahead and use filtered water, otherwise, tap water is just fine.
  • Vinegar — I prefer to use apple cider vinegar but you can use white vinegar or even lemon juice.
  • Vanilla — We’ll add a little bit of vanilla extract to enhance the cupcake flavor.
  • Frosting — Let’s not forget about the pièce de résistance – the frosting. You can serve them either with tangy vegan cream cheese frosting or sweet vegan vanilla frosting.

I love how these ingredients work their magic to create fluffy and moist cupcakes while infusing each bite with warm spices and that unmistakable pumpkin flavor. So good!

Best Frosting for Pumpkin Cupcakes

Now that you’ve successfully baked a batch of irresistibly moist vegan pumpkin cupcakes, it’s time to elevate them to the next level with a decadent vegan frosting.

  • Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting — this is the frosting of choice for pumpkin cupcakes. This velvety smooth topping adds a luscious touch that perfectly complements the warm flavors of the pumpkin cupcakes. 
  • Vegan Buttercream Frosting — To create the creamy goodness, you can achieve a smooth consistency that makes every bite so delicious! Use a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, and beat the frosting until it’s light and creamy.
  • Store-bought Frosting — The truth is that many store-bought frostings are made without dairy or eggs. That means with a small adaptation (see the recipe card below) you can make it pipeable. Also, you can get vanilla or cream cheese frostings. Both are usually made without dairy or eggs so choose whichever one suits your flavor preferences.

How to Decorate Cupcakes

Let’s move on to the fun part: decorating these frostings. Here are my favorite ideas for pumpkin cupcake decorations!

  • Piping the Frosting — I used a round #1A Wilton tip. Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with this tip. Start in the center of each cupcake and hold and press the frosting out, gradually moving the bag up. Then end it with a small flip and pull away.
  • Other Piping Options — You can also use the star piping tip. Start from the outer edge of the cupcake and work your way towards the center, applying even pressure to the bag. Experiment with different tips to achieve various designs, from rosettes to stars.
  • No Piping Bag — f you don’t have a piping bag on hand, you can still achieve stunning results with a simple butter knife. Gently spread the frosting over the top of each cupcake, creating a smooth and even layer.
  • Sprinkles — Take your cupcakes to the next level with sprinkles. It’s a classic choice that comes in a wide range of colors and shapes. Simply sprinkle them over the frosted cupcakes before the frosting sets for a festive touch.
  • Vegan pumpkins — You can make the vegan pumpkins shown in these photos, it’s easy! I used the filling from orange-filled Oreos. If you can’t find orange-filled Oreos, just use regular white filling and add orange food coloring (gel works best). Then roll the filling into balls and add some green frosting to create the stems.

Have fun with decorating and let your imagination run wild! After all, the joy of cupcakes lies not only in their taste but also in their appearance. So go ahead, get creative, and transform these already irresistible vegan pumpkin cupcakes into works of art that will leave everyone impressed.

Cupcake Add-Ins

Here are some favorite add-ins for your pumpkin cupcakes:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chocolate chips
  • Dried fruit such as raisins or dried cranberries.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Are vegan pumpkin cupcakes as tasty as traditional ones with dairy and eggs?

Absolutely! Vegan pumpkin cupcakes are just as delicious, if not more so. They’re moist, flavorful, and have a delightful pumpkin spice taste. Plus, they’re cruelty-free and better for the environment.

What can I use as an egg substitute in vegan pumpkin cupcakes?

One of the best egg replacers for baking is pumpkin puree and because this recipe includes that ingredient, you don’t need additional egg replacers.

Storing Cupcakes

To maintain the freshness and quality of your cupcakes, proper storage is essential. Fortunately, with a few simple tips, you can ensure that these delectable treats stay as delicious as the day they were baked.

  • Allow your cupcakes to cool completely before storing them. This prevents excess moisture from building up and potentially causing the cupcakes to become soggy.
  • One option for storing your cupcakes is to place them in an airtight container. This will help to seal in their moisture and prevent any unwanted odors or flavors from infiltrating. If you don’t have an airtight container, you can also use a resealable plastic bag, ensuring that you squeeze out any excess air before sealing.
  • Another option for storing your vegan pumpkin cupcakes is to freeze them. This is particularly useful if you have made a large batch or want to save some for later enjoyment. To freeze your cupcakes, place them in a freezer-safe container or bag and ensure they are well-sealed. When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours.

Storage Tips

To maintain the freshness and quality of your irresistible cupcakes, proper storage is essential. I transfer them (frosted or unfrosted) to an airtight container where they will keep in the fridge for up to 5 to 7 days. You can use a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 2 months.

A hand holds a pumpkin cupcake with a bite taken out. It has white frosting on top and a candy pumpkin on the side.

Canned or Fresh Pumpkin

One important decision you’ll have to make is whether to use canned or fresh pumpkin.

Let me help make this decision easier. Here’s why I think you should use canned pumpkin puree:

  • Using canned pumpkin offers convenience and consistency. It’s readily available in most grocery stores, and you can count on its smooth texture and reliable flavor.
  • Canned pumpkin is made from a variety of squashes that deliver the best pumpkin flavor and consistency for your baked goods.
  • Cost benefits — A can of pumpkin puree is more cost (and time) effective.

Whether you choose canned or fresh pumpkin, make sure to select a high-quality product. If you opt for canned pumpkin, look for a pure pumpkin puree without any added sugars or spices. If you decide to use fresh pumpkin, choose a variety that is known for its sweet and flavorful flesh, such as sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins.

Ultimately, the decision between canned or fresh pumpkin comes down to personal preference and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to invest. Both options can result in scrumptious vegan pumpkin cupcakes that will surely impress your taste buds.

Vegan Pumpkin Favorites

If you love these vegan pumpkin cupcakes, here are more pumpkin favorites to try:

From selecting the perfect ingredients to mastering the art of frosting, you now have the essential steps and expert tips to ensure your cupcakes are a delicious success.

“The joy of vegan cupcakes is not merely in the eating, but in the process of creating a plant-based masterpiece.” Now, go forth and bake your way to pumpkin cupcake perfection!

A vegan pumpkin cupcake has white frosting on top and pumpkin candy on the side.

Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes

Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes iis a simple, delicious cupcake recipe that you can change up based on your taste preferences — add cocoa powder, red food coloring, or even sprinkles!
5 from 1 vote
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 161kcal


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (see notes)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • cup canned pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Add-ins: Halloween orange Oreos (see note)
  • Vanilla or Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting


  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line the muffin pans with cupcake papers or spray with vegetable spray.
  • Combine in a large mixing bowl the dry ingredients, from the flour to the spices. Stir to combine.
  • In a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients, from the vegetable oil to the vanilla. Stir to combine.
  • Pour the water mixture into the flour mixture and gently fold until just combined. Use a whisk to stir until there are no large lumps of flour. This creates a thick batter.
    A pumpkin mixture is being poured into a bowl with flour.
  • Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake papers or compartments. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    A hand pours pumpkin batter into muffin pan compartments.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Recommended Equipment

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)


Nutritional estimate is for the cupcakes without frosting. 
To make the cute pumpkin candies. I used the centers from Halloween Oreos and molded them into the shape of pumpkins. Then I added green frosting for the stem and leaves.
For tall, domed cupcakes, don’t fill cupcake liners more than 3/4 full.
Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 2384IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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