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!
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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
The glittery streusel topping takes these healthy pumpkin muffins over the top! The pumpkin spiced inside plus sweet crunch is downright heavenly.
- 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)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 12 muffin cups to a muffin tin.
- 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.
- In another bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, applesauce, unsalted butter (melted), and vanilla.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a smooth batter forms.
- 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.
- Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups, then top with a thin layer of streusel.
- 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.
*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:
- Healthy Blueberry Muffins Want a muffin recipe that’s actually healthy? These are full of oats, berries, and bananas; and they’re totally tasty, too.
- Applesauce Muffins Here’s how to make the best applesauce muffins! The batter is whizzed in a blender and they come out fluffy and perfectly cozy spiced.
- Healthy Banana Bread Muffins or Best Blender Muffins Lightly sweet and made mostly of oats and bananas! So easy to make with a blender.
- Easy Zucchini Muffins or Healthy Zucchini Muffins Delightful! The first recipe uses Greek yogurt to make them ultra moist, the second is a blender muffin made with oats.
Last updated: October 2020
About the Authors
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 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.