Give fall brunch a festive touch! These sweet potato muffins with ginger cream cheese filling feature an ultra fluffy, tender crumb and a lively fall spice kick. Perfect for Thanksgiving breakfast or a casual autumn gathering with friends.
Where are my fellow Starbucks lovers? If you adore Starbucks as much as I do, these sweet potato muffins may remind you of the beloved pumpkin cream cheese muffin that hits the market every fall. And, yes, that’s the exact inspiration for these muffins.
But rather than sharing yet another pumpkin muffin recipe, I thought giving this fall favorite a sweet potato makeover would be a welcomed change. And you know what? That was a delicious call.
How to Make Mashed Sweet Potato
Before we start on the rest of our muffin components, I like to first make the mashed sweet potato to give it time to cool. For this step, we peel a couple sweet potatoes, cut them into 1-inch chunks, cover in water on the stove and bring to a boil. We let the sweet potatoes boil until a fork can easily pierce through the sweet potatoes, and then we drain.
Now we move our sweet potatoes to a bowl and mash until smooth. I like using a ricer or potato masher for this step. A fork can also take care of the job, but you may have to work the potatoes a bit more. For easier preparation, feel free to take care of this step the day before baking and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How to Make Filling
As our mashed sweet potatoes cool, I like to start on the ginger cream cheese filling before the muffin batter. Once the muffin batter's dry ingredients and wet ingredients mix, the baking powder and baking soda start reacting, so it’s best to get the batter into the oven ASAP. Taking care of this step first ensures we do just that.
To make the ginger cream cheese filling, we add softened cream cheese, freshly grated ginger and white sugar to a mixing bowl and beat the three until fluffy. Easy, huh?
And now a couple ingredient notes. Notice that I specified softened cream cheese. If you take the cream cheese straight out of the refrigerator, you won’t get that creamy texture.
I recommend setting the cream cheese in room temperature when you start peeling the sweet potatoes. For even more softening, you can cut the cream cheese into cubes to make a smaller surface area. The cream cheese should be ready to go by the time you mash the potatoes.
For the ginger, I love freshly grating it rather than using ground ginger. Can you use ground ginger? Sure, but I prefer the flavor of fresh ginger in the filling. The standard equivalence is ¼ teaspoon ground ginger for every 1 teaspoon fresh ginger.
With our filling ready, we can start on our sweet potato muffin batter. We first mix together our dry ingredients, which include all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and dark brown sugar. The brown sugar will clump a bit, so try to break up any big chunks but don’t worry if some remain.
In a separate bowl, we whisk together our wet ingredients. This includes eggs, sweet potato purée, milk, melted butter, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
Now we bring the two together by pouring the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently folding to combine. To ensure our muffins have that craveable tender texture, we don’t want to overmix the batter. Some lumps will remain, and that’s perfectly OK.
How to Assemble
With our batter ready, it’s time to assemble our cream cheese-filled muffins. For these muffins, we fill them so that the baking liner is mostly full, about ¾ to the top. In the middle of the batter, we then dollop our ginger cream cheese filling and sprinkle chopped pecans around it. I don’t measure the filling, but if I were to estimate, I’d say I dollop a couple teaspoons. Just like that, we’re ready to bake.
When we bake these spiced fall muffins, we use two different temperatures. The muffins first go into a 425-degree oven, and then we immediately turn the oven to 350 degrees. That initial blast of hot air gives our muffins a nice rise, but we don’t want to dry them out, which is why we turn down the heat right away.
When the muffins finish baking, I like to rely on the handy toothpick test. Of course, we have a dollop of cream cheese on top, so I recommend testing the baked muffin right outside of the filling to see if the toothpick comes out clean.
And now we’re ready to serve! Of course, you can never go wrong serving a warm baked good fresh out of the oven.
If that’s not an option, I like to give the muffins a quick microwave blast — just enough that it warms the crumb but doesn’t melt the cream cheese. Microwave time varies from unit to unit, but for me, 10 seconds works well. You can also serve these muffins at room temperature, but I always prefer a warm muffin.
Can You Make Ahead of Time?
While I love my baked goods as fresh as possible, these muffins are best consumed within two to three days and should be stored in an airtight container. After those initial two to three days, the muffins will still be tasty but start to lose a touch of moisture. That said, if you serve these muffins warm, it can mask moisture loss.
Can You Substitute Pumpkin Purée for Sweet Potatoes?
If you want to substitute pumpkin purée for the sweet potato in this recipe, you certainly can. Simply opening a can of pumpkin purée rather than boiling and mashing, does save some time if you’re in a hurry.
But pumpkin is already the undisputed fall star. I have a feeling you and your brunch mates will enjoy this tasty change of pace with the mashed sweet potatoes.
During the holidays, some breweries make a special cranberry sour that’s perfect. I just love how the spices contrast the tart cranberries, and the funky sour character matches nicely with the cream cheese filling. A winter warmer or Belgian-style dubbel are also tasty options if you can't get your hands on a cranberry sour.
For a wine, I love a gewurztraminer with these sweet potato muffins. This German wine brings a touch of sweetness along with some orchard fruit and spice, which is lovely with our brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. An off-dry riseling works nicely as well.
For festive fall brunch, I hope you try these sweet potato muffins with ginger cream cheese filling. Please let me know how you enjoyed this recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Looking for More Holiday Breakfast Recipes?
- Pumpkin crullers with caramelized maple glaze
- Gingerbread waffles
- Apple cinnamon rolls with maple cream cheese glaze
- Carrot cake muffins with cream cheese glaze
Sweet Potato Muffins With Ginger Cream Cheese Filling
For Ginger Cream Cheese Filling
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
For Sweet Potato Muffins
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (see note)
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- For Ginger Cream Cheese Filling
- Beat together the softened cream cheese, sugar and ginger until fluffy.
- Set aside.
- For Sweet Potato Muffins
- Heat oven to 425 degrees and place baking liners in a muffin tray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda and baking powder until well combined. Some lumps will be unavoidable, but try to break up any big brown sugar lumps.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, mashed sweet potatoes, whole milk, vegetable oil, melted butter and vanilla extract until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and fold just until combined. Do not overmix. Leaving some lumps is OK. The batter won't be perfectly smooth.
- Spoon the batter into baking liners so that it's ¾ full. Dollop some ginger cream cheese filling, about 2 teaspoons, on top of each muffin and sprinkle pecans on the batter on the side. Place in the 425-degree oven. Keeping the oven closed, immediately turn oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean on the muffin part, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. As soon as they're cool enough to handle, remove from the muffin pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!
- For altitude at 5,280 feet, I reduced the baking soda to ⅞ teaspoon and the baking powder to ⅞ teaspoon. I made no other adjustments.
- To make the mashed sweet potatoes, peel 2-3 sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a pot of cold water on the stove and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until a fork easily pierces the sweet potato, about 20 minutes. Drain and mash until smooth. You only need 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes, so discard any extra. You can take care of this step ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- While the ginger cream cheese filling is listed first, I separated the filling and muffin recipes to make them easier to read. When it comes to timing, I like to set out the cream cheese in room temperature to soften when I start peeling the potatoes. After mashing the potatoes, I then make the filling, set it aside and then proceed with the muffin batter.
- For full tips, please see blog post.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.