These Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes are perfectly spiced and incredibly moist. Delicious with or without the frosting, these soft, fluffy treats are perfect for fall!
While these vegan pumpkin cupcakes would make a great fall dessert for Halloween or Thanksgiving, they are quick and easy enough to enjoy anytime!
My kids loves them with frosting, of course, but I enjoy them without while sipping on a cup of coffee (with a little dairy-free pumpkin spice creamer for all the fall vibes!).
Packed with pumpkin and warming spices, these are sure to be a hit with your family and friends, too!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Flour ~ All-purpose flour makes baked goods light and fluffy.
I haven’t yet tried making these cupcakes gluten-free, but you could try using an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend meant to replace wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio.
Sugar ~ Cane sugar gives these cupcakes sweetness.
Pumpkin ~ 100% pumpkin purée is what you’re looking for. Not pumpkin pie filling, which contains many other ingredients that we don’t want or need.
Spices ~ Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of several warm, fragrant spices. It’s flavorful and delicious and smells wonderful when baking.
You can make your own pumpkin spice by combining ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Or you can just use cinnamon by itself.
Milk ~ I use almond milk, but any unsweetened non-dairy milk should work.
Oil ~ A little oil keeps these pumpkin cupcakes super moist and fluffy. I used canola oil, but grapeseed oil will also work. Melted coconut oil could also be used.
For an oil-free version, replace the oil with more pumpkin purée. They will be slightly heavier without the oil, but still tasty!
Vinegar ~ Vinegar helps the cupcakes rise. I use apple cider vinegar because it’s a pantry staple I always have on hand. Distilled white vinegar will also work.
You only need one tablespoon and I promise you won’t taste it in the final product. Don’t leave it out.
Extras ~ You could add some chocolate chips or chopped nuts, like pecans or walnuts, if you like.
How to make the recipe
Please scroll down to the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements and instructions.
Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl (1) and whisk to combine (2).
In a separate large mixing bowl, add all the wet ingredients (3) and whisk until smooth (4).
Add the dry ingredients to the wet (5) and whisk until just combined (6).
Pour ¼ cup batter into each cavity of a prepared cupcake pan (7).
Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (8).
Allow the cupcakes to rest in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before removing them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
How to serve
I love these cupcakes by themselves without any frosting. They are just sweet enough and really moist.
Of course, my kids prefer them with frosting. I used a simple cinnamon vanilla vegan buttercream for these. A cupcake artist I am definitely not!
If you don’t want to make frosting, you can dust them with some powdered sugar instead.
More vegan cupcakes you’ll love:
Storage and freezing
Counter: Store the cupcakes in an air-tight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 days.
Fridge: Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer: You can even freeze these vegan pumpkin cupcakes. I suggest freezing them They should keep well for up to 3 months.
Pro tips and tricks
~ Use the spoon-and-level method of measuring flour. Fluff up the flour with a spoon, lightly spoon into the measuring cup, then level it off with the back of a knife.
~ You will have just enough batter for 12 cupcakes. ¼ cup batter for each cupcake is all you need. They will rise, I promise. If you decide to taste test some of the batter, and I don’t blame you – it’s darn good, that’s on you. Ha!
~ Bake until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. A few tiny crumbs are okay, but it shouldn’t be wet.
~ Allow the cupcakes to rest in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before removing them a wire cooling rack to cool completely. These pumpkin cupcakes are very moist and this will allow them to set a bit more so they don’t fall apart.
~ If you are using the frosting, make sure the cupcakes are completely cool first.
~ To make these vegan pumpkin cupcakes oil-free, omit the oil and use more pumpkin purée instead. They will be a bit more dense, but still delicious.
No, vegan cupcakes do not contain eggs. No animal products are consumed on a vegan diet, including meat, dairy, and eggs. Eggs are used in baking for moisture, stability, and leavening. In this vegan pumpkin cupcake recipe, the pumpkin purée and oil provide moisture and the baking powder, baking soda, and vinegar allow the cupcakes to rise.
Muffins and cupcakes are similar and are made with many of the same ingredients, just in different amounts. Cupcakes are typically sweeter than muffins. They are also generally more soft, moist, and fluffy. Try my Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins and these Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes to test the difference for yourself!
You can make your own pumpkin spice by combining 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon allspice, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon cloves.
If you don’t have all those spices, you could use just cinnamon.
Yes! Freeze these cupcakes without frosting for up to 3 months.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes
For the Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup pure pumpkin purée
- ¼ cup canola oil or other neutral oil
- 1 cup cane sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 12-cavity cupcake pan with cooking spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, oil, sugar, almond milk, vinegar, and vanilla until smooth.
- Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.
- Fill each cavity of the cupcake pan with ¼ cup of the batter. If there is any batter left, you can top them off, but don't fill more than ¾ths of the way full.
- Bake for 16 to 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let the cupcakes rest in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before removing them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost as desired.
For the Cinnamon Frosting, if using
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and beat to incorporate. Add more powdered sugar as needed for your desired sweetness. If needed, add the non-dairy milk 1 teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If it gets too loose, add more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
- When the cupcakes are completely cooled, add the frosting to a piping bag fit with the tip of your choice. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Alternately, you can frost the cupcakes using an offset spatula.
Nutrition facts are calculated per cupcake, assuming ¼ cup batter per cupcake, with no frosting.
Nutrition values are calculated using online calculators and are estimates only. Please verify using your own data.