Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

We caught our first cool fall breeze this week. Do you know what that means? It’s pumpkin muffin time.

I snapped some new photos of my favorite pumpkin muffin recipe as I satisfied my pumpkin craving. These pumpkin muffins are perfect for chilly fall mornings and afternoon snacks.

They’re healthier than most, since they’re made with whole wheat flour and oats, sweetened with real maple syrup or honey, and call for coconut oil or olive oil instead of butter. Believe it or not, this healthy pumpkin muffin recipe yields light and fluffy muffins.

These pumpkin muffins wouldn’t be complete without plenty of warming spices, including cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Most “pumpkin spice” flavor comes from the spice, not the pumpkin!

I love these muffins with a spread of almond butter, peanut butter or pecan butter on top. Nut butter adds some extra protein, which means that I’m not hungry before lunchtime. If you’re going pumpkin-crazy this time of year, enjoy your muffin with a homemade pumpkin chai latte.

These pumpkin treats have the magical power to convert “healthy muffin” skeptics into fans. Let’s make some!

The Best Pumpkin Muffins

Five reasons to love this pumpkin muffin recipe:

  1. These muffins are easy to make with basic ingredients. Only one bowl required!
  2. They’re made with 100% whole grains, yet they’re fluffy and delicious. No one will know the difference.
  3. They’re also naturally sweetened with maple syrup or honey, rather than loaded with refined sugar. The maple syrup (or honey) offers a touch of extra flavor, which I love.
  4. These muffins feature a few of your favorite warming spices so they taste like your favorite pumpkin latte.
  5. They freeze well for later, too. Just defrost individual muffins in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, or until gently warmed through. You don’t want to overdo it.

Healthy Pumpkin Muffin Notes & Tips

Change it up. Add nuts, chocolate chips or chopped fruit cranberries or crystallized ginger. See recipe notes for details.

Simplify the recipe. Substitute 2 teaspoons store-bought pumpkin spice blend for the individual spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice). Or, if your spice drawer is empty, simply use 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and call it good.

Craving a sweet topping? Liz topped these muffins with my maple glaze from my pumpkin scones recipe, which sounds marvelous.

This muffin recipe is special diet-friendly. You can easily adjust this recipe to make it vegan, dairy free, egg free and/or gluten free. See the recipe notes for details.

Baking Tips for Success

How to Measure Flour

How you measure your flour is important. Why? If you measure incorrectly, you could end up with up to 50 percent extra flour, which will make your muffins dense, dry and flavorless. Use the spoon and swoop method:

  1. Gently stir your flour to loosen any clumps.
  2. Spoon your flour into the measuring cup with a big spoon or a flour scoop. Do not scoop up the flour directly into the measuring cup.
  3. Level off the top of the cup with a knife. Repeat as necessary.

Use Baking Soda, Not Baking Powder

They are not the same thing. Both are leaveners that help your baked goods rise (baking powder contains some baking soda, but that’s a long story). For ideal results, always follow the recipe and measure carefully.

How to Stir Your Batter

This muffin batter is super simple to stir together by hand, and that’s how I recommend making these muffins. Why? Whipping your batter will make the flour’s gluten protein too strong, yielding tough muffins.

I know it can be tempting to use a stand mixer or hand mixer when it’s within reach. Please don’t! Follow the instructions below and you’ll end up with light, fluffy muffins.