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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

Scale


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!).

 

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

  1. I made this today and accidentally put in the whole can of pumpkin-OMG-delish! I will do that every time now! Also, added some chocolate chips and a light glaze for the hubs…wow incredible!
    Thanks!!

  2. Do you have any nutrition info for the healthy version? I was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes but still want to eat these. 🙂 Specifically carbs would be helpful!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Stephanie,
      You can input any recipe here:
      http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php
      and get what you need.
      BUT for you and baby, I’d recommend buying a bag of coconut flour and trying the grain-free muffins from my eBook, Healthy Snacks to Go. There’s a pumpkin version that’s almost as good as this one, and I think the regular grain-free muffins are awesome! We make a few dozen every 2 weeks and have them in the freezer for snacks anytime.

      Coconut flour will give you sticker shock, but you use it by the TBs. and 1/4 cup in recipes, not 2-3 cups at a time like wheat flour. You’ll just use a lot of eggs – good for baby’s brain!

      Sorry I took so long to notice your note – your pumpkin craving has probably already passed. 😉 Katie

  3. AWESOME, thanks for the healthy conversion
    and the amazing mufins, I used Gluten Free Baking mix, was literally perfect also, replaced honey with agave nectar..just sweet enough

  4. I used your recipe and made about 36 mini muffins. They are AWESOME! My parents and I absolutely love them. I used 1 T cinnamon instead and added some allspice; they came out yummy and spicy, until most recipes I come across that mostly taste like pumpkin and lack spice. Thank you 🙂

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  6. We loved these muffins, so delicious!
    These were my changes: 1 cup of whole wheat and 2/3 of white flour, 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 cup of sugar & 1/4 honey. Also made a cream cheese frosting. Thanks for the recipe!!

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  9. I LOVE this recipe!!! Just made it last night, and it came out BEAUTIFULLY!!! Unfortunately, I only had about half a cup of raw honey, so I subbed with 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar. It still came out great.
    Also, for a little extra sweetness, I highly recommend topping a slice or two with a teaspoon of vanilla yogurt.
    I’m definitely going to use this recipe again, and I’ll share it.

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  11. This recipe is fabulous! Just made these muffins with my kids. Any idea how many calories per muffin? I am trying to keep track of my calories. Thanks!!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Abby,
      You can copy and paste the recipe into here for the full stats: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php
      🙂 Katie

  12. This was great! My DH and DD enjoyed..and they are always suspicious of my “reduced sugar” recipes. I only used Chinese 5 spice powder and Cinnamon, for spices, too. Just because I didn’t feel like grinding my cloves or grating the nutmeg. So, lazy spicing works too. Thank you for this recipe:-)

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  18. I love this recipe and make it once every couple of weeks. I make the healthy version, which is delicious made following the recipe exactly, but sometimes I jazz it up even more. I use Egg Beaters for the eggs and Smart Balance Buttery Sticks for the melted butter, replace the water with orange juice, and stir in 1/2 c of golden raisins soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and then drained. I’ve also sprinkled pepitas on the top. Yum!

  19. Made these with zucchini instead of pumpkin and they were delicious! Also used already sprouted flour in equals amounts and turned out just as good.

  20. Do you think I could sub zucchini for the pumpkin? Any ideas on the amount I would need? I just love all of your recipes!

    1. Kristy,
      Totally worth a try! I would sub 1:1, MAYBE a little more zucchini just because it would be slightly less liquidy. Enjoy! 🙂 Katie

  21. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made these muffins; and to rave reviews each time! This is a go-to recipe September through December in my kitchen. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Mandi via Facebook

    Heather – I roasted my pumpkin in the oven and just scooped it out, bagged it and froze it. I use this pumpkin every time I make this recipe. After I thaw it, I toss it in a strainer and set it over a bowl to let some of the excess water drain off.

  23. Heather via Facebook

    Silly question, but how do I make these using fresh pumpkin? Bake the pumpkin first and then puree?

  24. Emily via Facebook

    I can’t tell you how many times I have made them, and the many notes I have on my first print out of the recipe. It works great doubled, as it’s our go-to for brunch for a bunch!

  25. 5. Add cream cheese… oh wait, that’s just to make them even more decadent. YUMMY! I love pumpkin muffins. Thanks for the tips. Going to try coconut oil in mine. Think that will turn out?

  26. julie in memphis

    Just bought, cooked, and mashed a pie pumpkin over the weekend! Your “original” recipe is very similar to a recipe I already have, but I’m definitely going to try your healthier version. I already have everything on hand anyway! Thanks!

  27. I just tried this recipe on Saturday. It was easy, and the muffins tasted great! But I did have to bake the muffins more than 40 minutes–I think I must have made them a little larger than yours since I only got 10.

    1. Becca,
      How funny – I made them Saturday and it took 35-ish minutes – different sizes and ovens, I guess! 🙂 Katie

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  30. You are right…these are super moist and soft. I added 2 ripe mashed bananas and raisins. I didn’t have nutmeg or groung clove, so just added more cinnamon. Doubled the recipe, took some to a friend who’s daughter just got out of the hospital along with chicken and noodle soup. Total comfort food for her family! Thanks for your great blog and yummy recipes!

  31. 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!

  32. 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!

    1. 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

  33. 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…

    1. 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

      1. 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!

  34. 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…

    1. 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”.

      1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

        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

  35. Amanda via Facebook

    Made them yesterday morning….yummy!! I even made an almond flour crumble topping for the top.

  36. Kelly via Facebook

    This is one of my all time fave recipes. I probably make them weekly in the fall, plus it’s how it found KS 🙂

  37. Hollea via Facebook

    I am so making these all fall long. Most people love summer for the grill, I love fall for the baking and soups. The warmth of this season. Thanks for this recipe!

  38. sarah {The Student Knitter}

    oh my goodness I just baked the healthy recipe and it is SO GOOD! I used pumpkin pie filling since it’ what I had, and still super YUM!

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