Cook on a Whim: Cinnamon Sugar Cream Cheese Muffins

Keeping this post short and sweet, just like these muffins …

My birthday month is almost here, and along with it: the always premature “Happy Fall, Y’all,” pumpkin-spice-everything craze. Stop. Just please wait until it’s actually fall and it’s actually pumpkin season, people!

September is the beautiful in-between month, when we say goodbye to summer, but we still have a few delicious tomatoes and peaches lingering at the markets. Apples start to come into season. Mornings get cool and crisp. The light changes. Slower cooking dishes find their way into our kitchens. Warm spices find their way into our baked goods (like these cinnamon sugar cream cheese muffins). I love it. I love late summer/early fall.

Pumpkins will get their chance come October. Let’s just enjoy what we have right now and not rush anything, okay?

I don’t mean I’m not excited about fall; It’s my favorite season and I’ve always identified as a fall baby even though technically I’m a summer baby. I just love to experience all the little changes as they come rather than jumping ahead. One way I satisfy my autumnal cravings without going pumpkin crazy is with these sugared and spiced beauties. I started making them a few years ago, but this was the first year I shoved cream cheese into their soft little middles. It was a good idea.

Of course, if cream cheese isn’t your thing, feel free to leave it out. They will still be delicious!

Grab the recipe for these cinnamon sugar cream cheese muffins below. I hope you love them.


Cinnamon Sugar Cream Cheese Muffins

Sugar, spice and everything nice. These muffins are soft, moist and stuffed with tangy cream cheese. After baking, they are brushed with vanilla butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. They are the perfect way to ease into the fall season.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 24 regular muffins or 48 mini muffins



4.5 cups all-purpose flour

1.5 cups sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1.5 cups milk (I use whole)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and slightly cooled

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste


For the filling:

1 8-oz. block of cream cheese, cut into 24 cubes for regular muffins or 48 cubes for mini muffins


For the topping:

2 cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 stick of butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste



Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare muffin tins with paper or foil liners, or a generous spray of nonstick baking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup, mix together milk, eggs, butter and vanilla. Give it a really good whisk to break up all the eggs.

Pour wet mixture into dry and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Don’t overmix. The secret to the best muffins is to have a really ugly, shaggy, barely mixed batter.

The other secret and the next step: let your batter sit on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes while you straighten up, preheat the oven, prepare your pans, whatever your heart desires.

After 15 minutes, scoop batter into muffin pans. You can fill these almost to the top, a little higher than the 3/4 mark. I get either 48 mini muffins or 24 regular muffins. Sometimes I do a combo and leave the cream cheese out of the mini muffins because my daughter doesn’t like it.

Once you have your batter all scooped, shove a piece of cream cheese down into the center of each one and cover the indentation. Wet fingers help with this.

Bake in preheated oven: 25 minutes for large muffins, 20 for mini. I’ve found these times to be reliable, but if you want to check with a toothpick, make sure you avoid the cream cheese. You want to see a few moist crumbs, not any wet batter. Another way to check is to just press the muffin top lightly with your finger. It should feel firm and not leave an indentation.

Once baked, remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to cooling racks.

Melt one stick of butter. Once melted, remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.

Stir together topping ingredients in a large, shallow bowl. Set aside.

Brush each muffin with melted butter-and-vanilla mixture and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture.

That’s it. Enjoy!


A cinnamon sugar cream cheese muffin. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.


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