Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Recipe Connection: One-Bowl Healthy Pumpkin Muffins (or Bread)

October 13th, 2009 · 150 Comments · Recipes, Upgraded Nutrition

Pumpkin has got to be one of my favorite fall flavors, especially in healthy pumpkin muffins or whole wheat pumpkin bread.  Add a generous dose of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and I’m in love. You can’t find an easier pumpkin muffin recipe than this one, and it can be made super healthy, too.

Easy Healthy Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

Here are the perks of this little recipe gem:

  • One bowl
  • No fancy order of ingredients – just dump together and mix
  • Super moist!  Everyone LOVES the taste!
  • Healthy Upgrades to basic recipe:
    • Option for healthy fats; lower in fat than some recipes
    • Recipe works great with whole wheat flour
  • Pumpkin is a super food!
Healthy Snacks to Go book coverIf you always wonder how to bring healthy snacks when you’re on the go, wonder no more. This pumpkin muffin recipe is a KS favorite, but there are over 30 more in “Healthy Snacks to Go,” our popular eBook. If 14 variations on a homemade Larabar don’t tempt you, the granola bars just might! Click here to learn more about Healthy Snacks to Go, now in its second edition with more grain-free recipes and less sweetener than ever!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Healthy Pumpkin Muffins or Bread
Note: Ingredients often use affiliate links to Amazon and Tropical Traditions, but obviously you should shop for the best price and try to keep your dollars local when you can.
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 12
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Put in greased loaf pan or muffin tin.
  3. Bake at 325 degrees.
  4. Bread (one loaf) = 65-80 minutes
  5. Muffins = 35-40 minutes
  6. Mini muffins = 25 minutes
Watch timing carefully as honey browns faster!
*I often use part or all "white whole wheat flour" for muffins.
**Find out why I use butter and coconut oil.

UPDATE: I have a new and improved gluten-free pumpkin muffin recipe posted that is also egg-free and dairy-free!

Easy Gluten-free Pumpkin Muffins

Here’s the recipe I started with, before I transitioned to “real food:”

The Original (not-so-healthy!!!) Recipe: Easy Pumpkin Muffins or Bread

1 ½ c. sugar                                        ½ t. cinnamon
2 eggs                                                   ½ t. nutmeg
¼ t. baking powder                          1 2/3 c. flour
1 t. baking soda                                  ½ c. oil
¾ t. salt                                               ½ c. cold water
½ t. cloves                                          1 c. pumpkin (about half a 15 oz can)Mix all ingredients together.  Put in greased loaf pan or muffin tin.  Bake at 325 degrees.

An awesome and sort of healthy muffin that tasted amazing – but I knew I could do better. I tweaked the recipe bit by bit until, in my humble opinion, it became totally healthy. Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Level one: decrease the sugar by 1/4 or even 1/2 cup (1 c. sugar total)
  2. Level two:  use half whole wheat flour
  3. Level three:  make the “oil” melted butter
  4. Level four: get rid of the refined sugar and white flour altogether

Once I had made the first few changes, moving to level four (the top recipe) wasn’t that huge of a leap, but if I had tried to start there, I don’t think it would have been possible. May your “baby steps” become possible with your “not-so-healthy” favorite recipes as well!

Eventually I even fiddled with another Healthy-EST upgrade: check out the  SOAKED pumpkin muffins recipe.

Leftover Pumpkin?

20 Ways to use that Random Half Cup of Pumpkin
Now the million dollar question:  what do you do with the rest of the pumpkin in the can? Here’s my simple system for leftover pumpkin including six ways to use it up. Update: I now have a list of twenty ways to use up pumpkin!

Other Pumpkin Recipes:

Other Fall Recipes:


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150 Comments so far ↓

  • The Neuff

    Delish, and I love all the healthy upgrade options. Tooooo cute! I will follow for sure

    Katie Reply:

    Welcome! So glad you like what you see! :) Katie

    Connie Seymour Reply:

    In your suggestions for a healthier pumpkin bread you switched the oil to melted butter. I was wondering why you choose to use melted butter when canola oil is much better for the human body. Butter is a saturated (bad) fat whereas canola is a polyunsaturate (good) fat?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Among many other things, canola, or genetically modified rapeseed oil which is what it truly is, depletes vitamin e stores and interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize foods. It’s an industrial product, not food. Butter has been used for centuries, is chock full of nutrients including CLA, and helps to minimize inflammation, something else caused by canola and other vegetable oils. When’s the last time you squeezed oil out of a vegetable in your kitchen? I personally believe that if I can’t recreate it, I shouldn’t be eating it.

    Christine Reply:

    As a note, I make ghee aka clarified butter. I have a lot of trouble with my gut and in reading learned that ghee has an acid that helps heal the gut. Another great thing is it doesn’t burn like whole butter when you use it to saute! Bonus!:) It is easy to make, just put a pound of UNsalted butter in a small sauce pan and melt. As it heats, the milk solids separate from the oil and you skim them off. Voila! drain the oil into a jar and you have amazing healing oil. If your house is cold like mine it will re-solidify, but it stays fresh on my counter. If your house is warmer, keep it in the fridge or a cool pantry. Cook on!

    Wanda Reply:

    Check the origins of Canola Oil
    I stopped using it long ago and also use coconut oil and butter..

  • Paula

    I was just talking to a new farmer at our mid-week market and I asked him if he was going to have pumpkins since he was selling other winter squashes. He said there’s a virus that did a lot of damage, so you’re right about the upcoming shortage. I was pretty bummed because I love pumpkin too!

  • Lisa

    This sound wonderful! I love the healthy version recipe…Great idea!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Ham and Greens Pot Pie =-.

  • Sherrie

    Sounds really easy and yummy! Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

    .-= Sherrie´s last blog ..TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAY =-.

  • SnoWhite

    delicious! You can easily substitute sweet potato for the pumpkin, if you can’t find pumpkin in your area. We do this all the time since my hubby is allergic to pumpkin.
    .-= SnoWhite´s last blog ..Chicken and Noodles Skillet =-.

    Katie Reply:

    I had forgotten about that option – GREAT thing to remember for this year especially!
    Thanks, SnoWhite!

  • emily

    yum! i like how you broke down the different options for how healthily these could be made.
    .-= emily´s last blog ..Luscious Fall Dessert: Baked Apples with Cream and Almonds =-.

  • Greta

    Wow! You have so much great information here on your blog! I’m very interested in nutrition and so many of the things you post about are exactly up my alley. Also, the pumpkin bread recipe looks great and I like that you include healthy upgrades. I read in the newspaper though that stores are currently out of canned pumpkin due a decreased harvest last year. I keep looking at my grocery store and still no pumpkin…boo!

    Thanks for your great work on this blog!
    .-= Greta´s last blog ..Fresh Tomato Soup =-.

  • Geri@heartnsoulcooking

    I love EASY!!! and HEALTHILY!!! recipes. THANKS!!! Geri
    .-= Geri@heartnsoulcooking´s last blog .." BLUE CORNMEAL MUFFINS " =-.

  • Melissa

    It’s funny because I came online to find a pumpkin bread/muffin recipe, and here one was on one of my favorite blogs! I made the healthy version, but instead of using pumpkin used butternut squash puree and added a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips. It was delicious! I think next time, however, I would eliminate the cloves or add less. It was pretty strong. Thanks for the recipe!

    Katie Reply:

    One of your fav blogs? *blush* That’s not good for my humility, you know. ;) You’re right about the spices – that’s one of the things I love about the recipe, but it’s not for everyone I guess. Glad it worked out!!

  • Brenda

    I love one bowl recipes!
    .-= Brenda´s last blog ..Chipotle Pork Tacos, Slow Cooker/TMTT =-.

  • Cole

    I love the different levels of healthy options! Great recipe. :-)

    Thanks for sharing with TATT!
    .-= Cole´s last blog ..Tuesdays At The Table – Apple Cake & Apple Chips =-.

  • Jen

    We just bought my son a fall pumpkin. He’s not quite 2, so instead of carving, we’re going to draw a face. I’m sure it’s not especially grown for cooking, but that’s just what I’m going to do anyway. :) I will try these muffins for sure!

  • Jim Porter

    I’m smitten with your blog. I’m the Dad in the house w/ 3 little ones — I do all the cooking — and I too like to keep it simple and healthy and frugal. My little boy, 7, just gobbled down one of these fantastic muffins — a good little eater makes me happy.


    Katie Reply:

    Jim, I misplaced your comment for a while, but I think it’s just fantastic that you are cooking for your kids and involved enough to research stuff online. I’m tickled that your son liked the muffins! I’ve found them to be definite crowd-pleasers as well.

    I hope to see you again – welcome aboard!!

  • darnold23

    Pumpkin bread is such a tradition at our house. I usually bake somewhere around 60-70 loaves that my husband distributes around town during Christmas. I may have to switch to sweet potatoes because of the shortage, but I have been stocking up a few cans of pumpkin at a time. He will be so disappointed if he doesn’t get to play Santa. I have your blog carnival button posted on my blog. I think you have a great idea going. Come share a slow cooker favorite for Crock Pot Wednesday whenever you get a chance.
    .-= darnold23´s last blog ..CROCK POT WEDNESDAY – Louisiana Red Bean Gumbo =-.

  • Rachel R.

    Last year, I bought Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins in early November on clearance for $1. They are not the “ideal” pumpkins for baking, but they do work, and that is pretty cheap for pumpkin. I pressure-cooked a pumpkin and froze the cooked pumpkin in 2-cup increments. There seem to be plenty of fresh pumpkins in the store this year, so that might be a good option.
    .-= Rachel R.´s last blog ..Giveaway – Progresso =-.

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  • Sarah W

    Will this be OK without molasses? i don’t have any in my pantry.

    Katie Reply:

    For sure…I just try to sneak it into things in place of other sweeteners, just a smidge, b/c I don’t know what else to do with it! I would sub it out for more honey if you’re doing the “sugar-less” version. :) Katie

  • Jenna @ Newlyweds

    Great recipe and one bowl awesome!! Thanks for linking up to my pumpkin roundup!
    .-= Jenna @ Newlyweds´s last blog ..Pumpkin Round-up =-.

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  • Cassie

    Those look soooo good! I’ll definitely have to try them!
    .-= Cassie´s last blog ..What makes you happy? =-.

  • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

    I love pumpkin, too. My favorite way to use leftover pumpkin – eat it with cottage cheese, cinnamon, nuts, and a little stevia. Yum!

    I bookmarked these…might have to try them GF/SF.

    Thanks so much for linking to Slightly Indulgent Mondays!

  • Lisa Sargese

    Do you have any idea what a HUGE HIT these muffins were at a pumpkin carving event on my campus tonight?? Such a hit. And they washed the muffins down with real milk. It was bliss :-)
    .-= Lisa Sargese´s last blog ..Need Pumpkin Recipe!! =-.

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  • Liz@HoosierHomemade

    Love anything pumpkin! Thanks for joining in the fun at Cupcake Tuesday!
    .-= Liz@HoosierHomemade´s last blog ..Cupcakes and A Giveaway =-.

  • Susie's Homemade

    Those are great healthy alterations:-)
    .-= Susie’s Homemade´s last blog ..Tackling Werewolf Cupcakes =-.

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  • ROZ

    Thank You for a very easy Pumpkin Bread Receipe
    I have one question, Can you use Pumpkin Spice for the 1/2 tsp of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg?
    Also would it change the results if I use 1/2 water & 1/2 pumpkin syrup that I use to flavor my coffee with? Instead of using a regular size loaf pan, can I use 2 mini loaf pans?
    One last question, on your healthy add ins, can you add nuts or dried cranberries or even chocolate chips?
    I apologize for all the questions, but my family loves pumpkin & If I can add some of their favorite add In’s would it change the texture of this recipe?
    Thank You in advance!

    Katie Reply:

    Here are my best guesses:
    1. Pumpkin pie spice would change it a bit, but probably not for the worse!
    2. I have no idea on the syrup – just make sure to still use the pumpkin puree if you try it.
    3. mini loaf pans = definitely, just reduce the time
    4. Add ins – chocolate and nuts are always awesome! :)

    Hope these work great for you!

  • monica

    Hello, I am happy to say that Ive just made your recipe. The muffins are moist, beautiful and delicious. I am encouraged to have found this great recipe and hope to try more from your stash.

    Katie Reply:

    Welcome! :) Katie

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  • Tina

    These muffins were delicious- I made them this morning after finding your recipe through a Google search. I also added some organic raisins and walnuts to the mix. Perfect flavor and moistness! Excited to check out the rest of your site.

    Katie Reply:

    Wonderful! I always love to hear recipe successes, and welcome to KS! :) Katie

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  • dana

    Oh my goodness these were delicious! My 1 year old thought they were co cakes (cupcakes). How great is that! I used 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup white. And I used pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon for the spices. I will be making this A LOT!!!!!!!! And I got about 36 mini muffins and cooked them for 20 minutes. I guess my pan was smaller than yours.

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  • Stacy

    Thanks for the great pumpkin recipe. I found it at the link-up at Life as Mom. I was disappointed scanning all the different recipes looking for something that had healthy ingredients. I should’ve just started at your blog! I knew that you wouldn’t disappoint! Thanks so much!

  • Suzette

    Made these today! I was looking for a simple yet yummy recipe and found it! They came out great, not too sweet like a lot of online recipes are. I added a minor touch though.. mixed a tad bit of the batter with cocoa and dotted the centers of each muffin with the chocolate cocoa colored mix and swirled it around. For the final touch, I added homegrown crumbled pecans to the tops and sprinkled with cinnamon and they are super! The pecans really give the muffins a wonderful flavor. Thanks for the recipe again, and Happy Halloween all!

    Katie Reply:

    What a great addition! Glad they worked out so well for you, and welcome to KS — :) Katie

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  • Kathy Rambousek

    Wow – I made these muffins this afternoon using the halthy remake plus a few more of my own. They were FABULOUS! Thanks for the recipe. My changes were that I decreased the sugar by 3/4 cup, decreased the oil by half and added unsweetened applesauce and flax meal in substitution. Thanks again! I’ll be back

    Katie Reply:

    Welcome! So glad you liked the muffins; they’re a favorite at our house for sure – :) Katie

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  • JKross

    I have made these muffins three times in the last week! My husband gobbles them up for breakfast. :) I also added applesauce instead of oil or butter and it worked very well! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Lisa Sargese

    I use the recipe to introduce people to the joys of traditional fats (raw butter from the farm!!!) Warm muffin with cold homemade vanilla raw ice cream? To die for!!

  • Tina

    Hello, I just came across your blog today and made the ‘healthy’ version of these muffins. They turned out wonderful and VERY moist! And I look forward to making your whole wheat tortillas next weekend. Thanks!

  • Sheri

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I just made your healthy version & for my son with an egg allergy I made another batch substituting 1/4 c of homemade applesauce & 1/2 teasp. of baking soda for each egg. Both turned out delicious!

  • robert

    looking for a recipe for pumpkin chocolate bread any ideas?

    Katie Reply:

    Robert, I betcha you could add cocoa powder to this one, start with 1/4 cup and go until it looks almost as dark as a brownie (?) but no more than 1/2 cup. I don’t really do box mixes anymore, but you can simply add 2 cups pumpkin to a box of chocolate cake mix (and nothing else) and bake. Good luck! :) Katie

  • Julie

    Wow! Finally tried these and all 4 kids AND the husband loved them. Got to be a first for anything other than a dessert. :) Didn’t have molasses so substituted maple syrup which apparently didn’t hurt anything.

    Katie Reply:

    Great results! :) Katie

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  • Megan

    I love this recipe!!! Also, I made it with flaxseed by deleting 2/3c. of the flour and using 2/3c. ground flaxseed instead – very yummy and even healthier!

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.