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Chocolate pumpkin Thanksgiving cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting on a decorated Friendsgiving dessert table with milk.

Thanksgiving Cupcakes


Chocolate-pumpkin Thanksgiving cupcakes are tender and delicious. They’re crowned with a decadent chocolate buttercream frosting. They deserve a place on your Thanksgiving dessert table!




  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (like Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt, to taste

DECORATIONS: Find pumpkin cupcake toppers at your local craft store. Check the baking aisle and/or the fall decor aisle. 



RECIPE PREP: Adjust oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-well cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Whisk together the milk, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix, or the cupcakes will be flat and dense rather than light and fluffy!
  3. Evenly divide the batter between the wells of the pan, filling each 3/4 of the way full. 
  4. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of 2 cupcakes comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. We don’t want to over-bake the cupcakes. 


  1. Add softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  2. With mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar the bowl. Once it’s been fully incorporated, add melted chocolate that’s been fully cooled, and vanilla. Mix until just combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as needed.
  3. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M metal tip. Pipe on frosting in swirls. Decorate with fall-themed cupcake toppers. 


HOW TO EVENLY PORTION CUPCAKE BATTER: Use a metal scoop or a metal 1/4 measuring cup.

HOW TO STORE CUPCAKES: Store at room temperature inside an air-tight container. They’ll stay fresh up to 2 days.

  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Thanksgiving Cupcakes, Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes