While at the Connecticut airport in September, I headed straight for the nearest coffee shop in the terminal once I passed through security. I had woken up at 3 am that morning when I heard people walking past my door at the hotel, and I never fully fell back asleep… So caffeine was a big necessity!
With limited options, I ended up at the Dunkin’ Donuts stand right next to my plane’s gate, and I scanned the menu boards to check out my options. I settled on a plain cup of hot coffee, but then…
I made a huge mistake. I glanced down at their glass display case full of fresh hot donuts. Rows and rows of dozens of perfectly shaped, beautiful round donuts… Everything from plain and glazed to cinnamon sugar and double chocolate… Plus seasonal flavors like apple crisp and pumpkin!
Although extremely tempted to snag a few pumpkin donut holes to go with my coffee, I realized that the sugar crash probably wouldn’t be worth it… So I walked away with just a single mug in hand.
Yet just last week, I spotted more pumpkin donuts at my local grocery store, which meant I started craving pumpkin breakfast treats all over again! But instead of caving and buying those oh-so-tempting extra sugary donuts…
I baked these Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins, and they totally satisfied my cravings! Soft and tender, just like the insides of my favorite cake-style donuts, with lots of cozy pumpkin and warm spice flavors… But no refined flour or sugar and just 128 calories!
And seeing as just one of Dunkin’ Donut’s pumpkin donut holes is 70 calories and about ¼ of the size… I definitely felt like I won the pumpkin breakfast lottery!
Well. If such a thing existed. 😉
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY PUMPKIN OATMEAL MUFFINS
So let’s go over how to make these healthy pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal muffins!
You’ll actually start with instant oats (like these—or these for gluten-free!). Instant oats are also called “quick cooking” or “one minute” oats. They’re smaller and thinner than traditional old-fashioned rolled oats, so they soften faster—and that makes your healthy pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal muffins really moist and tender!
Tip: Instant oats are not the same thing as those individual serving brown paper packets! You can find them at the grocery store in regular containers right next to the old-fashioned oats.
To jumpstart softening your oats, you’ll mix them with pumpkin purée (like this—not pumpkin pie mix!), Greek yogurt, and a touch of vanilla. When you mix the instant oats with these other ingredients first, before measuring out and stirring together the rest of the ingredients, the oats can start soaking up the moisture in the pumpkin and Greek yogurt ahead of time. That makes for extremely soft and tender healthy oatmeal muffins!
Just remember… It’s extremely important to measure the oats (and flour!) correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. (← That’s the one I own and love!) Too much of either ingredient will make your muffins taste dry or crumbly. This is especially true of the oats. They act like little sponges and soak up lots of moisture from your muffin batter!
And speaking of flour, you’ll need white whole wheat flour (like this!) to make these healthy pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal muffins! White whole wheat flour is made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat, whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They both have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture. This lets the pumpkin flavor and moist texture of these muffins truly shine!
You’ll also whisk a slew of spices into the flour: cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. These are the most common spices that you’ll find in pumpkin spice! However, I prefer making my own homemade pumpkin spice, rather than purchasing store-bought, for a couple reasons: (a) I can control the ratios of the spices and (b) I keep jars of the individual spices in my pantry already!
These healthy pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal muffins only require 1 teaspoon of butter or oil, unlike traditional recipes that use ¼ to ½ cup or more… And that definitely helps keep them low calorie! They get the rest of their moisture from the pumpkin and Greek yogurt, which you mixed into your oats already.
You’ll sweeten your healthy pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal muffins with liquid stevia instead of refined granulated sugar. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing refined or artificial (aka it’s clean eating friendly!). It’s also highly concentrated, so you just need 2 teaspoons to sweeten a dozen muffins! This is the kind I buy, and although you can find it at many health-oriented grocery stores, I buy mine online here because that’s the best price I’ve found. (And you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine, too!)
Time for the chocolate chips! I use mini chocolate chips to ensure every bite contains a morsel of chocolate. These are my current favorite because they taste so rich and turn perfectly melty in the oven!
One last tip! These low-fat pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal muffins stick to muffin liners like superglue, so you must coat your liners with cooking spray first before adding in the muffin batter. This trick makes the liners peel away from your muffins much more easily!
There’s a reason these are my favorite pumpkin muffins! ♡ And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal muffins!
Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
- ¾ cup (75g) instant oats (gluten-free if necessary and measured like this)
- 1 cup (244g) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix!)
- ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups (240g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 tbsp (8g) ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 tsp liquid stevia
- 6 tbsp (90mL) water, room temperature
- ½ cup (120mL) nonfat milk, room temperature
- 3 tbsp (42g) miniature chocolate chips (divided)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. (If using liners, then line 12 muffins cups with liners and coat them with cooking spray.)
- In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, pumpkin, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a third bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, and liquid stevia. Stir in the water. Stir in the oat mixture, mixing until no large lumps remain. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 3 equal parts.) Gently fold in 2 ½ tablespoons of miniature chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Gently press the remaining chocolate chips into the tops. Bake at 350°F for 26-29 minutes or until the top feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (Starbucks copycat!)
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins
♡ Healthy Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Muffins
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy pumpkin recipes!
Hi Amy….yet another recipe of yours that I’m excited to try 🙂
Out of interest do you think that oat bran could work as a replacement for the instant oats?
I’m honored that you’d like to try another one of my recipes, Jane! I’ve been able to substitute instant oats in my oat bran muffin recipes, so I’m guessing the opposite would work as well. Just be really careful measuring it since oat bran can be extremely absorbent! 😉 I’d love to hear what you think of these muffins if you try making them, whether as written or with oat bran instead!
Amber Biddle says...
what do you think about another grain other than oats… maybe couscous? Just thinking of trying other grains lately.
I haven’t tried other grains, so I’m not personally sure and don’t want to lead you astray. I’m so sorry I’m just now responding too. I had some family things I needed to take care of, but if you decide to try making these muffins, I’d love to hear what you think of them Amber!
Can this be made into a loaf?
Yes, you should be able to bake it in a 9×5” loaf pan! Use the same oven temperature, and I’d recommend starting to check on it after about 45 minutes. It may take closer to 60-65 minutes, but it’ll be done when the center feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
I’d love to hear what you think if you end up trying that, Rita!
Love your recipes however you use way too many ingredients that don’t agree with me and to make adjustments it increases the nutritional facts!!! Defeats the purpose!!
I really appreciate your interest in my recipes Lisa! I’m happy to help figure out how to make them suitable for your diet, if you’d like. What ingredient substitutions would you like to make to these muffins? 🙂
I remember telling you on Instagram that I’d comment on your website when I had tried out this recipe. Well I saved it for Halloween. The texture is really good, it’s soft and is quite similar to a cupcake. You can never go wrong with chocolate and pumpkin so this is going on my favorite recipes list. Though I wish that the muffins were 𝘴𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘭𝘺 sweeter, I’m still a fan of this recipe. I think its the addition of the chocolate chips that’s won me over hahaha!
I wanted to ask this- what’s the purpose of alternating between the flour mixture and the milk mixture? I was worried that Id be mixing too much and the muffins would get tough. I usually find this step in your muffin recipes and I’m really curious as to why the muffins are supposed to be prepared this way.
I’m so glad you liked these cupcakes, Mel! It means a lot that you’d take the time to leave a comment and let me know. That’s a huge compliment, if this recipe is going on your favorite recipes list — I’m honored! 🙂
If you’d like, we can try to make these muffins sweeter for you! Did you use the same exact liquid stevia that I did, or did you use one of the other sweetener alternatives in the Notes section of the recipe?
The alternating additions actually help prevent over-mixing! To ensure you don’t over-mix, make sure you’re doing these additions by hand and gently stirring only until the ingredients are just incorporated. I use a fork to do these alternating additions, rather than a wooden spoon or a spatula. This is because the tines of the fork allow for the ingredients to pass through them (rather than the flat side of a spatula or spoon!), which also helps guard against over-mixing.
If you watch my video for this other muffin recipe starting at minute 2:47, I cover more about why I use alternating additions and stir by hand for the best texture. I hope that helps!
I substituted the stevia with 2 tsp of maple syrup but i didn’t really taste it. I wanted to ramp it up to 2-4 tablespoons more but I didn’t want to ruin the recipe.
Thanks for the explanation on the alternating mixtures. I’ll check out the video.
Oh my goodness — no wonder your muffins weren’t sweet!! Two teaspoons of the liquid stevia that I use is the sweetness equivalent of nearly 1 cup of sugar — not just 2 teaspoons! If you’d like to use pure maple syrup, then see the “STEVIA NOTES” section in the Notes section of the recipe (located directly underneath the Instructions!) for how to adapt the recipe to use pure maple syrup instead. That will make a huge difference in the taste of your muffins! 🙂
Wow. Reading truly is key, I can’t believe I missed that 😞 I’ll try it again at some point. Thank you Amy!
You’re welcome, Mel! I’m happy to help! 🙂
I just tried these muffins and am wondering if there is a typo in the amount of cinnomum, it is really over powering: also in your notes under spices you said you can use 4 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice instead of the seperate spices.
It means a lot that you tried my recipe, Karen! The Notes section is correct. When added together, the measurements for cinnamon (1 tablespoon, aka 3 teaspoons!), allspice (¾ teaspoon), ginger (¼ teaspoon), nutmeg (¼ teaspoon), and cloves (¼ teaspoon) equal 4 ½ teaspoons. Some people prefer buying premade pumpkin pie spice, but I prefer to make my own from the individual spices. 🙂
However, that sounds disappointing and not like how these muffins are supposed to taste. I’m happy to help fix that, if you’d like! In order to do so, I have some questions for you. 🙂
Did you make any substitutions or modifications to the recipe, including those listed in the Notes section?
Did you use a kitchen scale or measuring cups/spoons to measure all of the ingredients – especially the flour, oats, cinnamon, and pumpkin?
Did you use one level tablespoon, where the tablespoon was dragged underneath the “level” side of the cinnamon’s lid to flatten the top before adding it to the bowl? (As opposed to a rounded or eyeballed tablespoon! 😉 )
What’s the exact cinnamon (brand and product name!) that you used? Some cinnamon varieties are stronger in taste than others, so I’m wondering if that might have factored into the overpowering flavor.
Did you use the same exact liquid stevia that I did?
How was the sweetness level and the texture of the muffins? Were both of those okay, and it was just the overpowering cinnamon?
I know I just asked a LOT of questions, but I’ll have a much better idea of the best thing for you to do (should you consider making these muffins again in the future) once I know your answers to all of them!
I’m going to try these today! I want to up the protein content so I’m going to substitute half a cup of flour for a half cup of unflavored protein powder. Wish me luck!
The store was out of protein powder, which is probably for the best Because it may have thrown this delicate seeming recipe off. I did substitute for the Less healthy versions of everything. Granulated sugar, whole eggs, all purpose flour, full fact milk. I measured everything with my scale I’ll, so I’m excited to see how they turn out! Thank you Amy!
Okay last comment! These are delicious. Not too sweet. Moist. All the good things.
I’m thrilled you enjoyed these muffins, Kim! Thank you for all of your comments. I always love hearing what recipe tweaks work out, and it means so much that you’d rate this recipe 5 stars! That’s the best kind of compliment there is! 😉
Just about all protein powders behave differently in baking recipes, so I can’t guarantee the results of adding or substituting protein powder in recipes that don’t call for it as an ingredient. I have a Protein Powder FAQ Page, if you’d like more information!
I have a flourless pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe made with protein powder, if you’re mainly interested in something pumpkin-flavored with a higher protein content. If you’d prefer high protein muffins, I have some protein muffin recipes made with protein powder too!
Then you can find all of my recipes that call for protein powder here, if that’s helpful at all! 🙂
Thank you so much for the thorough reply. I’ll definitely give those other recipes you linked a try. I absolutely loved this recipe.
It’s my pleasure, Kim! I’m happy to help. 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this recipe — and I’m really looking forward to hearing which one you pick to try next too!
I haven’t tried this recipe yet because I’m wondering about the liquid stevia. I use Truvia in for my iced unsweetened drinks because there is no aftertaste. Does this stevia leave an aftertaste? I would prefer using it rather than substituting but I don’t want to purchase the bottle if you get that ‘fake’ sugar taste. Thank you!