One-Bowl Healthy Pumpkin Muffins (or Bread) Recipe

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 - You'll never make pumpkin muffins from a box again! Whole wheat, less sweetener, and unbelievable taste.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!

HSTG Kindle Cover with double Outline_200pxIf 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
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.
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Instructions
  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
Notes
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 Bites of Conversation So Far

    • Connie Seymour says

      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?

      • says

        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 says

          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!

  1. says

    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!

  2. says

    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 =-.

  3. Melissa says

    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 says

      Melissa,
      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!!
      Katie

  4. Jen says

    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!

  5. Jim Porter says

    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.

    Jim

    • Katie says

      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!!
      Katie

  6. says

    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 =-.

  7. says

    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 =-.

    • Katie says

      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

  8. ROZ says

    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!
    Roz

    • Katie says

      Roz,
      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!
      Katie

  9. monica says

    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.

  10. says

    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.

  11. dana says

    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.

  12. Stacy says

    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!

  13. says

    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!

  14. Kathy Rambousek says

    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

  15. JKross says

    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!

  16. Tina says

    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!

  17. Sheri says

    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!

    • Katie says

      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

  18. Julie says

    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.

  19. Megan says

    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!

    • Carey says

      I made the healthy version yesterday for my son’s preschool class. I used brown rice flour that said it was gluten free. As long as I used gluten free flour they would be GF right? (Sorry I don’t know much about gluten) anyway, they turned out amazing! The kids loved them and I took the extras to work and I had to keep telling my coworkers exactly what I put in them because they wouldn’t believe they were “healthy”.

      • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

        Carey,
        You used just brown rice flour, 1 for 1 for the whole wheat? That’s amazing and awesome if they worked out! Most GF flours need to be mixed together with other flours. Cool that they went over so well!!!
        :) Katie

  20. says

    Barbara, the only GF pumpkin muffins w/coconut flour I ever made were someone else’s recipe and not so great. I should have used these spices, at least! If you try it, I’d LOVE to hear if it works. I always like providing options for readers with any recipe…

  21. Ambra says

    For some reason, when I made these muffins this afternoon, the inside didn’t cook AT ALL but the outside burnt… I don’t know what went wrong because I followed all the directions…

    • Katie says

      Ambra,
      Did you use honey? Honey does brown faster, but I’ve never heard anyone have quite this reaction. No ingredients were inadvertently missed? Sorry ’bout that! :( Katie

      • Ambra says

        I actually used sugar.. However, the other day I decided to give the recipe another try and they turned out fabulous! I wonder what I did wrong… Thank you anyways!

  22. susan says

    Hi Katie. I am so loving your blog and all your wonderful recipes. Was hoping you could give me your thoughts on ww pastry flour…. may I directly substitute or do you think it’s best to do half regular and half ww pastry? Also, thoughts on ww pastry flour vs. reg. ww flour? I would like to try to move away from reg. flour completely but I do love to bake and taste/texture is super important…. many thanks!

    • Katie says

      Susan,
      Whole wheat pastry flour is equally as nutritious as other whole wheats, so don’t worry about that. It’s great in pancakes, muffins, biscuits, cakes…

      Subbing depends on what recipe you’re starting with – if the recipe starts with white flour, I’d start by replacing half, then move up. If it’s all whole wheat and it’s the right kind of recipe (like, don’t use pastry flour for bread) then you are probably safe with a 100% substitution. Hope that helps!
      :) Katie

  23. Barb says

    It was cold & rainy in Michigan today, which can only mean one thing…bake something! I did a search and found your recipe. I loved the one-bowl approach and picked the healthy version. They were delicious, as well as beautifully shaped. I used part of the batter for plain muffins, then added some frozen blueberries to what was left. I can see lots of other healthy additions I can try with this great recipe. Really looking forward to checking out the rest of your site. Thanks for making a rainy day a bit more tastier!

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