During my first fall of full-time food blogging, my mom and I decided to meet in San Francisco for dinner one Saturday evening. I suggested my favorite sushi restaurant in Japantown, the one my best friend had introduced me to in high school, and although Mom typically avoids raw fish, she still agreed when I mentioned there were plenty of vegetarian sushi rolls, along with lots of other fully cooked dishes on the menu.
Ever since my friend taught me how to eat sushi and sashimi — with chopsticks and wasabi and just enough soy sauce — I’ve jumped at any chance I could get… Especially when it involves a trip to the city!
That particular afternoon, I checked on traffic before hopping into my car for the drive. It normally took at least an hour, if not closer to two, from where I lived in the Sacramento suburbs, yet Mom only needed 45 minutes to get there from my hometown. I really didn’t want to be late or keep her waiting, so I left with plenty of time to spare.
Before leaving my house, I poured myself a mug of coffee and grabbed a big spiced pumpkin muffin, just in case there was a long line at the restaurant when we arrived. I didn’t want to be grumpy or hangry when I met my mom, so I ate my snack in the car on my way to San Francisco.
Yet after exchanging hugs in the parking lot and walking to the sushi place, the hostess immediately led us to a vacant table and handed us menus. Completely startled, I glanced down at the sheet of paper in front of me and then back at my mom.
I had totally mistimed my pumpkin muffin snack… But at least my mom and I still had an amazing time laughing, talking, and catching up that night!
Memories of that fun dinner in San Francisco recently resurfaced, which left me craving both sushi and pumpkin muffins… But this time, I decided to bake these Healthy One-Bowl Pumpkin Mini Muffins instead so I’d have enough room to fully enjoy both!
These healthy pumpkin mini muffins have the same supremely moist and soft texture as bakery-style ones, even with no butter, eggs, dairy, refined flour or sugar. They’re also easy to make (you just need 1 bowl and a fork!) and have the same sweet and irresistible flavors as pumpkin pie!
Those are definitely my kind of muffins!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HEALTHY PUMPKIN MUFFINS
Let’s go over how to make the best healthy pumpkin mini muffins! And before I forget… I’ve already included how to make this recipe as regular, full-sized healthy pumpkin muffins in the Notes section underneath the Instructions! I know some people don’t own mini muffin pans — or just prefer standard sized ones! — so I wanted to give you that option too.
To make this healthy pumpkin muffin recipe as easy as possible, you just need one bowl and a fork. That’s it! No mixer, no special equipment… And fewer dishes to wash too!
Tip: You can find more of my easy and healthy one-bowl recipes here!
However, there’s one very important thing to note about one-bowl recipes…
Please follow the directions exactly as written! Certain ingredients can clump if they’re added at the wrong time, and others can react too soon (which then ruins the texture of your baked goods!). So for the best ever healthy pumpkin muffins, add the ingredients exactly when they’re supposed to be added and stir them in exactly when they’re supposed to be stirred in. I promise these muffins are worth paying attention and following the instructions precisely!
Now with that out of the way, let’s go over some of the ingredients you’ll need to make these healthy pumpkin mini muffins!
First, you’ll need a small amount of butter or oil. Unlike traditional muffin recipes that call for ¼ to ½ cup or more, you merely need ½ tablespoon. That really helps keep your healthy pumpkin muffins low calorie and low fat! Almost all butters and oils will work. Regular unsalted butter, stick-style vegan butter, coconut oil, olive oil, just about any other oil… So use whatever you normally keep on hand!
Next comes the pumpkin. It’d be impossible to make healthy pumpkin mini muffins without that star vegetable! I used canned pumpkin purée (also called “100% pumpkin”) because it’s so readily available where I live… and cracking open a can is much easier than making my own pumpkin purée from scratch!
Tip: Make sure you buy cans of regular pumpkin purée, like this — not pumpkin pie mix! The cans look very similar, but pumpkin pie mix contains added sugar, spices, and other ingredients, so it doesn’t behave the same in baking recipes.
Pumpkin is one of my all-time favorite ingredients for so many reasons. When paired with spices (we’ll get to those in a moment!), it creates such a rich, warm, and cozy flavor. I think it tastes like a big ol’ bear hug! It also adds tons of moisture to your baked goods, including these healthy pumpkin muffins. They’re SO soft and super moist — quite possibly the moistest muffins I’ve ever tasted!
And finally… The pumpkin actually replaces the eggs in this recipe too! That means your healthy pumpkin muffins are naturally eggless, dairy-free, and vegan!
Such a versatile ingredient, isn’t it?? 😉
Now about those spices… Some people buy jars of pumpkin spice, but I prefer to make my own! I’ve found that many store-bought pumpkin spice blends contain a lot of cinnamon and very little of the other spices, which makes for a somewhat bland taste. By making your own homemade pumpkin spice, you get a much richer flavor!
For the homemade pumpkin spice blend in these healthy pumpkin mini muffins, you’ll need cinnamon (← that’s my favorite because it tastes stronger, richer, and sweeter than regular cinnamon!), allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Some people skip the allspice and nutmeg, but I love the coziness and depth they add!
Hint: Pumpkin spice is short for “pumpkin pie spice,” aka the spices used to make pumpkin pie. Pumpkin spice doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin!
To sweeten your healthy pumpkin muffins, you’ll skip the refined sugar and use another two of my favorite healthy baking ingredients: liquid stevia and erythritol. Both of these are plant-based, no-calorie sweeteners that contain nothing artificial or refined (aka they’re clean eating friendly!).
I know, I know… You’re going to ask me if you have to use both of them, right? 😉 The answer is yes — and here’s why!
When I used pure liquid stevia, I thought these muffins tasted really good… but not quite sweet enough, even when I kept adding more. Something about the chemistry of the stevia reacting with the pumpkin prevented the extra liquid stevia from boosting the muffins’ sweetness levels.
However, when I added just a small amount of erythritol, it added a big sweetness boost. It made these healthy pumpkin muffins tasted just as sweet as bakery-style ones!
So for the best flavor, I highly recommend using both to make your healthy pumpkin mini muffins!
Tip: I actually buy both of these sweeteners online! Here for the liquid stevia and here for the erythritol. You’ll use this liquid stevia in all of these recipes of mine and the erythritol in all of these recipes of mine. I promise neither one is a one-time-use ingredient!
Next comes a semi-secret and somewhat surprising ingredient…
Distilled white vinegar! It sounds crazy, but it’s key to these healthy pumpkin muffins’ super moist texture. The vinegar (an acid) reacts with the baking soda (a base — you’ll add that soon!). When they react, it creates air bubbles. Those air bubbles help your muffins rise, and they also give your muffins a more soft and tender texture.
I love nerdy baking chemistry like that! Possibly because I was an organic chemist before I became a baking blogger…
Then you’ll stir in milk. Any type of milk will work, but I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk because that’s the kind that my family usually keeps on hand. If you use the same, then your healthy pumpkin muffins are naturally dairy-free!
Time for the dry ingredients! Those are white whole wheat flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Yes, white whole wheat flour actually exists… And it’s not just a combination of regular and whole wheat flour!
Instead, white whole wheat flour is made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture… Which lets the sweet flavor and moist texture of your healthy pumpkin mini muffins really shine!
As for the baking powder and baking soda, do NOT simply dump them into your mixing bowl! Instead, sprinkle them over the top of the flour, and stir all three ingredients in together. Sprinkling helps prevent clumps, which means you’ll end up with the best texture in your healthy pumpkin muffins!
One last tip for you! Regardless of whether you’re adding the batter straight into your muffin pan or if you’re using cupcake liners (like I did in these photos!), you must generously coat them with cooking spray. Yes, including the liners! Low fat batters like this one tend to stick to liners and muffin pans like superglue, but if you generously coat them with cooking spray first, they’ll slide out much more easily.
Tip: If you don’t quite coat your paper liners well enough, seal your muffins inside of an airtight container, and refrigerate them for 24+ hours. That’ll help loosen the liners a bit more!
Time to enjoy your healthy and delicious pumpkin breakfast muffins! I dropped off a batch with my neighbors as a gift, and they immediately tried them before I had even left their doorstep… And they exclaimed, “These literally taste like bites of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie!” I think that’s the best kind of compliment, don’t you?? 😉
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 muffins!
Healthy One-Bowl Pumpkin Mini Muffins
- 1 ¼ cups (300g) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix!)
- ½ tbsp (7g) coconut oil or stick-style vegan butter, melted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp liquid stevia
- 2 tbsp (18g) confectioners’ style erythritol
- 4 ½ tsp homemade pumpkin spice (see Notes!)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp (45mL) plain white distilled vinegar
- 1 cup (240mL) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 ¼ cups (270g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat 36 mini muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. If using liners, then line 36 mini muffin cups with paper liners, and coat the liners with cooking spray. (See Notes below if you’d prefer to make 12 standard-sized muffins!)
- In a medium bowl, stir together the pumpkin, coconut oil or butter, vanilla, and stevia. Stir in the erythritol, pumpkin spice, and salt until completely combined. Stir in the vinegar. Stir in the milk. Add the flour. Sprinkle the baking powder and baking soda on top of the flour (to avoid clumps and make sure the muffins bake evenly!). Gently stir all three ingredients in until just incorporated. (The batter should be very thick!)
- Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until the centers feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. 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 One-Bowl Banana Mini Muffins
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Blueberry Muffins
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Peach Muffins
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Gingerbread Muffins
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy pumpkin recipes!