These easy vegan pumpkin muffins are ready in just 30 minutes! They are perfectly moist and so delicious with just the right amount of pumpkin spice and topped sweet crunchy maple pepitas. Enjoy them in the morning with cream cheese or pack them in school/work lunches for the perfect fall treat.
The Best Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
I’ve got a yummy pumpkin season treat just in time for Halloween for you today! I made these fluffy vegan pumpkin muffins a few weeks ago and then made them again -and again- because they have a deliciously moist, tender and squishy texture, perfect muffin tops and just the right amount of pumpkin pie spice. They’re topped with raw pumpkin seeds coated in maple syrup and a pinch of salt which turn into a sweet and salty crunchy maple pepitas when baked. Each bite of these muffins is like a cozy warm hug. I love filling them with vegan cream cheese or homemade vegan labneh for breakfast or an afternoon snack with tea or coffee.
The best part about this vegan pumpkin muffin recipe is that there is no need to puree cooked fresh pumpkin for homemade pumpkin puree. If you roast pumpkins or winter squashes from scratch just measure out the cooked pumpkin meat for the recipe and then whisk it into the rest of the wet ingredients. This is a great way to use up any leftover roasted pumpkin you have. I tested the recipe both ways and pureeing the pumpkin made no difference. Hey, one less step and way less dirty dishes is fine by me! You can also used canned pumpkin purée too.
I like to make a double batch of these egg-free pumpkin muffins to pack into lunches for the week. They are great grab-and-go treats filled with real pumpkin flavor and all the best fall spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice and vanilla. Mmmmm. Ok I’m making myself hungry now. Luckily this recipe is ready in just 30 minutes!
Table of contents
Pumpkin: The star of this recipe is pumpkin. I like to use roasted pumpkin, but canned pumpkin works great in this recipe. There is no need to puree the roasted pumpkin for this recipe, just add the cooked pumpkin meat and whisk it into the wet ingredients to break it down. Use dry sweet pumpkins or winter squashes like buttercup squash, ambercup squash, sugar pumpkin, etc. If you’re using canned pumpkin just be sure not to use pumpkin pie filling, which is already sweetened and spiced.
Flour: Plain all purpose flour works well in this recipe and creates a fluffy tender crumb. To make healthy pumpkin muffins swap the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour to add in whole grains.
Sugar: While regular granulated white sugar works well in this recipe, I prefer to use dark unrefined sugars like whole cane sugar, coconut sugar or maple sugar for more flavor. You can also use light or dark brown sugar. These darker sugars add notes of caramel, molasses or maple that pair so well with fall flavors.
Maple Syrup: A small amount of maple syrup adds flavor and moisture, and helps create a sticky batter. Use honey, golden syrup or agave nectar as alternatives.
Pumpkin Pie Spice: A mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger creates that classic pumpkin spice flavor that vegan pumpkin bread is known for. The recipe card lists the individual amounts for each spice but feel free to use a pre-made pumpkin spice blend if you prefer.
Vanilla: Vanilla rounds out the flavor of all the spices and pumpkin. Use vanilla extract, vanilla paste or the seeds scraped from a vanilla bean as you prefer.
Non-dairy Milk: Use any unsweetened plant milk such as soy milk, almond milk or oat milk.
Oil: Neutral tasting oil adds fat that will help keep the vegan pumpkin cupcakes moist and tender. Extra-light olive oil, avocado oil, grape-seed oil, sunflower seed oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil are all good options.
Vinegar: A splash of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar will react with the baking soda to ensure the loaf rises.
Leavening agents: Baking soda and baking powder will make the pumpkin bread rise and create those perfect muffin tops.
Kosher salt: A touch of salt brings out the flavors in baked goods and really makes all of the spices, sweeteners and pure pumpkin flavors pop.
How To Make Vegan Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Step 1: Make the muffin batter
First preheat the oven and line a muffin pan with muffin liners. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir them together in the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula until everything is just combined into a sticky wet batter. Be carful not to over-mix the batter for the best results. Fold in any mix-ins like vegan chocolate chips, toasted nuts or pumpkin seeds at this point.
Step 2: Bake the muffins
Scoop the muffin batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups to 3/4 full. Mix raw pumpkin seeds with maple syrup and a pinch of salt in a small bowl then spoon them over the batter.
Bake the muffins until they are golden brown with domed muffin tops with toasted and crispy pumpkin seeds and a cake tester inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
One of my favorite things about pumpkin muffins is that they are even better the next day. The flavors come together and improve. To store leftover pumpkin muffins, keep them in an airtight container or in a sealed bag and they should stay fresh for up to 4 days at room temperature.
To freeze pumpkin muffins, store them in a sealed freezer bag for up to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw or warm them to serve.
How to Roast Pumpkin
Roasting fresh pumpkins is simple and easy to do. Technically, pumpkins and winter squashes are the same, but there are a few types that are especially good for using in baked goods. Opt for dry sweet pumpkins for the best flavor. I usually use buttercup squash (not to be confused with butternut squash), but ambercup squash, honeynut squash, and koginut squash are also great options. Sugar pie pumpkins are the classic pumpkins used to make pumpkin puree, but I much prefer these other varieties.
First preheat the oven to 425˚F and line a half sheet pan with piece of parchment paper. Then cut your chosen winter squash in half and leave the seeds in it. Place the squash cut side down onto the parchment paper and roast it until you can stick a fork through it, approximately 30-40 minutes. Let it cool slightly then turn the pumpkin halves over and scoop out the pumpkin seeds, which will come out easily now that the flesh is tender. Scoop out the roasted pumpkin meat, leaving the skins behind. At this point you can add the roasted pumpkin flesh straight to the recipe or you can make pumpkin puree by pureeing the roasted pumpkin meat in a food processor.
Store the roasted winter squash in a sealed container and refrigerate it for up to 4 days or measure it out into freezer safe bags or containers, label and freeze them for up to 6 months to use at another time. Use homemade roasted pumpkin to make my gluten free vegan pumpkin bread or my easy vegan pumpkin pie recipe!
Many of the ingredients in this recipe already have binding properties. Flour and pumpkin are both naturally binding ingredients and maple syrup helps create a sticky batter. I did test this recipe with flax eggs and the muffins were gummy.
Yes, this recipe works great for mini muffins. Use a mini muffin pan and mini muffin liners and fill the cups 3/4 full. Reduce the baking time to 15 minutes.
Yes, add a cup of chocolate chips to make vegan pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Or add toasted nuts or pumpkin seeds. You can also swirl in peanut butter or almond butter into the batter or add a spoonful of vegan cream cheese to the tops of the muffins to make copycat Starbucks pumpkin spice muffins.
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Easy Vegan Pumpkin Muffins Recipe
- 210 g all-purpose flour 1-1/2 cups, or whole wheat pastry flour
- 133 g unrefined sugar 2/3 cup, such as whole cane sugar, maple sugar or coconut sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground all-spice
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 235 g roasted sweet pumpkin or winter squash (does not need to be pureed ), or canned sweet pumpkin puree
- 100 g extra-light olive oil 1/2 cup, or another neutral tasting oil
- 80 g unsweetened non-dairy milk 1/3 cup, such as soy milk
- 90 g maple syrup 1/4 cup
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 3 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400˚F and line a standard muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice and ginger in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl or large measuring cup whisk together cooked pumpkin, oil, milk, 1/4 cup maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract.
- Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Scoop batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup to 3/4 full.
- In a small bowl or cup, coat pumpkin seeds with maple syrup and a pinch of salt.
- Spoon the pumpkin seeds onto the top of muffin batter in each cup.
- Bake the muffins at 400˚F for 20 minutes on the center oven rack until they are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean.
- Store muffins in an airtight container or bag for 3-4 days at room temperature.
- Freeze muffins in a freezer bag for up to 6 months. Thaw before serving.
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