Easy to make pumpkin muffins loaded with bold spices! Using pumpkin puree and sour cream ensures that each cakey bite is moist and tender, while a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon creates a delightful crunchy top.
Usually, muffin tops are the star of the show, but this recipe will have you devouring the entire thing down to the last crumb. After thorough testing, I found a recipe that yields perfectly domed and slightly crunchy tops, in addition to super tender and moist centers. Win-win!
To create an interior crumb that’s delicate but sturdy, a combination of all-purpose flour, sugar, pumpkin puree, and sour cream provides balance to the base. Whipping up a batch of these festive breakfast muffins will satisfy any pumpkin spice craving in a snap!
How to make pumpkin muffins
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
- Line muffin pan with paper liners or grease with cooking spray or oil.
- In a large bowl whisk purpose flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
- In a medium bowl whisk eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
- Whisk in vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, milk, sour cream, and vanilla.
- Fold the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.
- Fill the muffin cups with ⅓ cup batter.
- Bake muffins until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean.
- Cool muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Picking the right pumpkin ingredient
Canned pumpkin puree such as Libby’s makes for an easy and convenient way to add the characteristic copper-colored muffins and sweet squash flavor. Their product has already been processed into a smooth pulp and should have no other added sweeteners or spices.
Alternatively, if you’ve never tried making homemade pumpkin puree, it’s really easy to do! Give it a try with smaller pie pumpkins. Seasonally, they usually appear in the markets between September to December.
Nailing the perfect domed top
Getting the batter to properly rise and set in a glorious domed shape is all about science, and patience. Baking powder, baking soda, and eggs are a trifecta of leavening agents in the recipe. I use double-acting baking powder as extra insurance that there would be carbon dioxide produced gradually as the muffins bake in the oven.
Don’t be worried that the tops don’t rise right away. After about 15 minutes you’ll see the batter climb and set in a little peak. For a little crunch to the pumpkin muffin tops, sprinkle a bit of sugar to create a crust. The subtle contrast in texture is lovely.
How to make pumpkin muffins tender
Pumpkin puree is loaded with natural moisture and fiber, which means it also helps the muffins stay moist. A combination of granulated and dark brown sugar adds texture and tenderness to each bite.
I also use sour cream to balance the sweetness as the extra fat adds a level of richness without being too heavy. These muffins are based on my classic pumpkin bread recipe. I love the flexibility to make larger slices or smaller individually-sized portions. These muffins are perfect for meal prep or bring to a party because they stay super moist.
The combination of spices
The pumpkin-flavored batter would be boring and bland without nice kick spices. I use a generous amount of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. I make sure to keep these ingredients stocked in my pantry during the holidays. You can even make a homemade blend of pumpkin pie spice to use in other recipes.
Storing the muffins
These pumpkin muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature. Each muffin can also be individually wrapped in plastic, stored in a resealable bag in the freezer for up to 1 month. When ready to eat simply reheat in the microwave on medium power for 60 to 90 seconds.
More pumpkin favorites
Why you should use room temperature eggs
Using eggs that have not been brought to room temperature can affect the batter mixture. It may require longer cooking times and in doing so can also negatively impact the texture. The eggs are a big part of the leavening system, so when they are warmer they can set quicker during baking for a better muffin top.
- 1 ⅔ cup (235 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons (4 g) ground cinnamon, plus more for topping
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar, plus more for topping
- ¼ cup (49 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (229 g) canned pumpkin
- ¼ cup (60 ml) whole milk
- ¼ cup (52 g) sour cream
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 350ºF (177ºC).
- Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil, or add paper liners.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice together. Thoroughly mix with a whisk until combined.
- In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color, 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in the vegetable oil into the egg mixture until completely mixed, about 30 seconds.
- Whisk in pumpkin, whole milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract into the egg mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Gently fold the flour mixture until just moistened, making sure to scrape the bottom with some lumps and flour spots remaining. Do not over mix the batter.
- Evenly divide the muffin batter amongst the cups, about ⅓ cup per muffin.
- Sprinkle some granulated sugar and cinnamon on top of each muffin.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 205 to 210°F (96 to 99ºC) with a thermometer, about 20 to 24 minutes.
- Cool the pumpkin muffins in a pan for 5 minutes.
- Carefully run a knife or spatula along the sides of each muffin tin to remove.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool down.
- Spices in the recipe can be substituted for 2 ½ teaspoons of store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice.
- Storing: The pumpkin muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
- Freezing: Each muffin can also be individually wrapped in plastic, stored in a resealable bag in the freezer for up to 1 month. Simply wrap the muffin in a paper towel and reheat in the microwave on medium power for 60 to 90 seconds.
- Make it Dairy-Free: Use unsweetened cashew or almond milk instead of cow's milk. Use dairy-free sour cream or dairy-free yogurt.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour. I recommend Bob's Red Mill 1:1 baking flour.