Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

The streusel topping takes these easy healthy pumpkin muffins over the top! The pumpkin spiced inside plus sweet crunch is downright heavenly. Includes vegan variation!

Pumpkin muffins

These pumpkin muffins simply the best use of a muffin wrapper in fall…we think! They’re light and moist, made with pumpkin puree and infused with pumpkin pie spice. Then there’s the streusel topping of oats and glittery turbinado sugar that makes a sweet crunch in every bite. Even better? Each one is less than 200 calories, so we consider them healthy pumpkin muffins too. We served them to guests and they could not stop talking about them! It made us realize: it was time to share this recipe! (There’s a vegan variation below, too.)

Want another flavor? Our apple muffins and banana muffins have the same streusel topping!

Pumpkin muffins

Ingredients for healthy pumpkin muffins

These healthy pumpkin muffins are one of our favorites of this fall baking season: we can’t wait for the weather to get cool to pull out this trick! This vegan pumpkin bread is our other favorite.) As you go about making these muffins, here are a few notes on the main ingredients:

  • Pumpkin puree: Find canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling! Pumpkin puree is unsweetened and you can add your own spices (which are much tastier).
  • Pumpkin spice: Use our homemade pumpkin pie spice or a store-bought version.
  • Flour and rolled oats: Oats help make the muffins more filling and nutrient dense.
  • Applesauce: Cuts back on the oil and keeps the muffin moist.
  • Turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar is raw sugar. It has large, crunchy crystals and a caramel flavor. It’s available at mainstream grocery stores. If you can’t find it, substitute brown sugar.
  • Maple syrup. The muffin batter features maple syrup, brings a nuanced sweetness.
  • Butter or coconut oil: These muffins have less fat than most, and you can substitute coconut oil for vegan.
Easy pumpkin muffins

What makes these healthy pumpkin muffins?

So: healthy muffins is a bit of an oxymoron. Most muffins are just glorified cupcakes. But we think muffins can be full of nutrient-dense ingredients…and still taste good! Muffins should be something you wouldn’t feel bad eating breakfast or snack, but sweet enough to be a little. These healthy pumpkin muffins are a result of that balance. They’re light enough to be deemed nutritious, but not so virtuous that you only want one bite. Here’s what makes these healthy muffins:

  • Just sweet enough. These healthy pumpkin muffins have just enough sugar. The muffins are sweetened with maple syrup, which gives a gentler sweetness than refined sugar. Then the struesel topping adds that last bit of sweetness to satisfy.
  • Under 200 calories. We don’t count calories, but it’s a good quick test on whether something is overly rich. These weigh in at under 200 calories.
  • Nutrient-dense ingredients. These muffins are balance butter and sugar with with heart-healthy oats, applesauce and pumpkin puree.
  • Vegan variation. Vegan doesn’t mean healthy. But if you’re looking for a plant based recipe, this one is easily made into vegan pumpkin muffins.
Healthy pumpkin muffins

How to store pumpkin muffins

One last note on these healthy pumpkin muffins before we get to the recipe. What’s the best way to store muffins so that the topping stays crunchy? It’s a great question, because the texture of the streusel can become soggy depending on the storage method. Here are some tips:

  • 1 day: Leave the muffins on a cooling rack and cover with a clean, dry dish towel. This keeps the crunchy streusel topping intact.
  • Up to 4 days: To store for up to 4 days, place a paper towel in the bottom of a sealed container, then place the muffins in and place a paper towel on top. The paper towels absorb the moisture that rises to the top of the muffins, helping ot retain the crunchy topping.
  • Longer than 4 days: For any longer than 4 days, freeze these pumpkin muffins in a sealable container and store up to 3 months.
How to make pumpkin muffins

Make them vegan!

This recipe is easily made into vegan pumpkin muffins! All you have to do is substitute coconut oil for butter. Here are a few notes:

  • In the muffin batter, use melted coconut oil.
  • In the streusel topping, use room temperature coconut oil to make the crumbly crunch.

Another vegan muffin idea? Try these Vegan Apple Streusel Muffins, using the same concept but with apples!

This healthy pumpkin muffins recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, use coconut oil (see below).

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon
Healthy pumpkin muffins

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins (Struesel Top!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (44 votes, average: 4.30 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

The glittery streusel topping takes these healthy pumpkin muffins over the top! The pumpkin spiced inside plus sweet crunch is downright heavenly.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (for vegan, use melted coconut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar*
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, cold and cut into small pieces (for vegan, use room temperature coconut oil)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 12 muffin cups to a muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, and 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin pie spice with the baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, applesauce, unsalted butter (melted), and vanilla.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a smooth batter forms.
  5. In another medium bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup rolled oats, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice along with the turbinado sugar and salted butter (cut into small pieces). Cut the butter into the remaining ingredients using a pastry cutter or fork until a streusel topping forms.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups, then top with a thin layer of streusel.
  7. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins and place them on a cooling rack.

Notes

*Turbinado sugar has large granules that make a delightful crunch! If you can’t find it, you can substitute brown sugar.

  • Category: Muffin
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Pumpkin Muffins, Healthy Pumpkin Muffins, Easy Pumpkin Muffins, Best Pumpkin Muffins

More muffin recipes

If you’re a muffin person (and we assume you are!), here are a few more muffin recipes we think you’ll enjoy:

Last updated: October 2020

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

5 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan Oher
    October 6, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Ugh – when I doubled the recipe in the clickable box that indicated 2x, the direction amounts didn’t double. I totally winged it and the muffins were just so so.
    Maybe it’s a glitch you can fix?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 6, 2019 at 8:26 pm

      Oh no! We’ll talk to the developers about this!

  • Reply
    Robin A Brewer
    November 12, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    In step 2 , it states 1 1/2 cups flour which I followed. As the muffins were cooking I knew there was an issue! Looking back into the ingredients it was 3 cups.

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      November 13, 2019 at 11:26 am

      Can you tell me where you are seeing 3 cups? I’m not sure I understand your question!

  • Reply
    Nirupama Chintamani
    November 23, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Loved these muffins! They have just the right amount of sweetness and are not heavy. Perfect with a cup of coffee. Thank you for creating a healthy recipe!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.