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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. A sweet treat without loading up on white sugar.

Healthy pumpkin muffins

These One-Bowl Healthy Pumpkin Muffins became a huge hit during the fall a few years ago and it remains one of my most popular recipe posts. They deserve all those accolades and more. They are the easiest, most moist muffins you’ll ever find.

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 pumpkin muffins
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Pumpkin Muffins or Bread

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Bread

Ingredients

UnitsScale


ship kroger


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.

 
 
 
 

Baking muffins is a great opportunity to get your kids in the kitchen with you. Through the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse they can learn to follow a recipe, measure, pour and even use the oven! And you better believe these pumpkin muffins will taste even better if your kids make them (hint – that’s a great way to get kids to eat well…let them do the cooking/baking!).

 

The holidays are a tough time for healthy eating, especially when kids really just want to bake fun foods!

(If they want to get into the kitchen at all!) 

Maybe…just this once…we should do something I don’t normally recommend. 

What if we give them what they want?

If you’re ready for your kids to gain baking independence without sacrificing all the healthy standards you value, join the Holiday Baking Challenge! Now on sale for just $19, you get professionally filmed videos of me and my kids teaching you to make baking favorites with healthier ingredients.

Holiday Baking Challenge

This recipe started out as your average run of the mill pumpkin muffin recipe, and I was sure I could tweak it to be more healthy. Here’s the recipe I started with, before I transitioned to “real food:”

The Original (not-so-healthy!!!) Pumpkin Muffin Recipe:
  • 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.

That recipe yielded 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:

  • Level one: decrease the sugar by 1/4 or even 1/2 cup (1 c. sugar total)
  • Level two: use half whole wheat flour
  • Level three: make the “oil” melted butter
  • 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:

SOAKED Pumpkin Muffins Recipe

Does soaking make a difference? That’s the million dollar question. There is enough anecdotal evidence that soaking does something, something good, that I’m still a believer, even as I research further.

It took one batch of concave muffins, still moist but rather dense, for me to nail the soaked version, which really is within 95% as good as the original.

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Soaked Famous Pumpkin Muffins

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 24 hours 45 mins
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Bread

Ingredients

Scale


ship kroger


Instructions

  1. Soak white whole wheat flour, pureed pumpkin (optional), water, buttermilk/yogurt, and butter/coconut oil together overnight or for 12-24 hours on the countertop.
  2. When ready to bake, add the sweetener, eggs, baking soda, baking powder, salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase), and 3 spices. Mix well – be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl a few times and beat hard to get everything fully incorporated.
  3. Pour into muffin cups and bake 40-45 minutes at 325 degrees F (35-40 with honey). They’ll be a bit more moist than you’re used to with the “toothpick test”.
  4. Do not overbake!
  5. Allow to rest 5 minutes in the tins, then tip out to cool on racks.

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Sometimes soaked versions of recipes can leave something to be desired. The ultimate compliment on this one:  Husband said, “Yum!” and he didn’t notice anything different than normal. Yee-hah!

Adapt Your Own Recipes for Soaking Grains

Many recipes can be adapted for soaking, some easily, some take a little more work. Quickbreads aren’t the easiest, but biscuits, pancakes, breads, and tortillas are usually no problem.

1. How much liquid does your recipe call for? The cookbook Nourishing Traditions claims that 1 Tbs acidic medium per cup of liquid will satisfy the requirements for the proper soaking pH. Adjust your recipe likewise. For example, if your bread recipe contains 3 cups of water or milk, start with 3 Tbs of whey, vinegar, lemon juice (etc.) in your measuring cup and add liquid to complete the 3 cups.

2. Mix the liquid and flour (or oats or other grains) together 12-24 hours before baking. Overnight is usually a convenient time. You can include the fat and/or sweetener in the recipe at this point if you would like.

3. Leave the mixture covered to soak at room temperature, or better yet, somewhere even warmer. The oven with the pilot light (or just oven light) on is a great place for soaking.

4. In the morning or after the 12-24 hour soak, when you are ready to complete the recipe, simply add the remaining ingredients and bake as directed. 

  • If your recipe calls for yogurt or buttermilk anyway, that is sufficient to satisfy the acidic medium. You won’t have to add anything to the recipe; just mix the yogurt/buttermilk and flour or grains overnight, then proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Special instructions for yeast bread: Since the yeast cannot be added for the overnight soak, you’ll need to withhold 1/2 cup of water from your recipe with which to ‘proof’ the yeast. When you’re ready to finish the dough, mix the yeast with 1/2 cup water and sweetener, proof for 5 minutes at room temperature, then add to the dough that has been soaking overnight. Knead and allow to rise as directed in your recipe.
  • For biscuits, tortillas, or other bread products that call for cutting a solid fat into the flour, then adding a liquid, just make the dough as you normally would except add the acidic medium to your liquid and withhold the salt or baking powder/soda. (Salt inhibits the soaking process.) Leave the nearly-finished dough on the counter overnight, and gently (in the case of a pastry) add the salt before baking. If you find that your pastry is overhandled with this method, you can add the salt at the beginning and just do the best you can with the soaking.
  • If you adapt a recipe that uses baking powder to rise like muffins or cornbread, you may need to decrease the baking powder and add up to 1 tsp. baking soda to make up for the sour factor in the soaking medium. Try the recipe normally first, but if your result is more dense than you’re used to, adjust as needed.

I learned the trick of adding some baking soda (and sometimes reducing the baking powder) from the More-with-Less Cookbook’s cornbread option using sour milk. The acidity of sour milk, buttermilk, or yogurt necessitates a small change in the rising agent. Concave muffins aren’t that cute!

You can see the ever-so-simple directions for soaking oatmeal too, and if you’ve never soaked anything, that’s a great place to start!

Soaked Pumpkin Muffins

If you feel like soaking grains or other traditional foods preparation techniques are a bit foreign to you, do consider taking the GNOWFGLINS eCourse, where you’ll learn through video, audio, recipes, and textual information how to get comfortable with 14 different techniques. There’s also a sourdough eCourse that I’m teaching a few lessons in!

Food allergies? I also have a wonderful gluten-free pumpkin muffin recipe that is also egg-free and dairy-free!

Leftover Pumpkin?

Now the million dollar question: what do you do with the rest of the pumpkin in the can? Here’s my list of twenty ways to use up pumpkin!

Easy Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins longie
Healthy Snacks To Go eBook

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Join thousands of other happy owners of Healthy Snacks to Go, an eBook that is helping real foodies everywhere keep their families nourished (and kids happy) even when they need to pack a snack — without resorting to processed junk food or expensive health food store treats.

With over a dozen different “bar” recipes alone, including many that are grain-free and contain zero refined sugar, I guarantee you’ll find a new family favorite in Healthy Snacks to Go.

One Bowl Pumpkin Muffins
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

67 thoughts on “One-Bowl Healthy Pumpkin Muffins (or Bread) Recipe”

  1. 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!

  2. Pingback: What Do You Feed Your Real-Food Kid Panel | Modern Alternative Mama

  3. 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.

    1. 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!!

  7. 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!

  8. Pingback: This Month’s Healthy Bite: What is your favorite Halloween recipe? | FaveDietsBlog

  9. 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

    1. Kathy,
      Welcome! So glad you liked the muffins; they’re a favorite at our house for sure – 🙂 Katie

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  11. 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!

    1. Suzette,
      What a great addition! Glad they worked out so well for you, and welcome to KS — 🙂 Katie

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  14. 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!

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  16. 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.

  17. Pingback: Healthy Snacks + A Giveaway! | Frugal Granola

  18. 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.

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  20. Pingback: Easy Pumpkin Muffins « Team Willms

  21. 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.

  22. 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

    1. 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

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  24. Susie's Homemade

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

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  26. 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!! =-.

  27. 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!

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

  29. Pingback: Pumpkin Round-up « Newlyweds!

  30. Jenna @ Newlyweds

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

  31. Pingback: Pumpkin Recipes | The Finer Things in Life

    1. 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

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  33. 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 =-.

  34. 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 =-.

  35. 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

    1. 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

  36. 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!

  37. 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 =-.

  38. 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!

    1. 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

  39. 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 =-.

  40. 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 =-.

  41. 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 =-.

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

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

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

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

  44. 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!

    1. Connie Seymour

      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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

      2. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

        http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/10/05/food-for-thought-the-evils-of-saturated-fats/
        and
        http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/10/19/food-for-thought-are-polyunsaturated-oils-healthy/

        And what Elizabeth said above. 🙂 Katie

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