One fall, I spent a few days at an inn in Vermont. My room’s main window looked out onto a large wooden deck, soft grassy meadow, and rolling hills completely covered with a carpet of tall coniferous trees.
Although a little too soon for the bright autumn colors, a chill still crept into the air that September weekend, and I bundled up in a plaid flannel shirt and peacoat to explore the grounds. I waited until the morning mist evaporated and the sun shone high in the sky before following the dirt trail that skirted around the field and disappeared into the forest.
I wandered through the bushes and followed the path as it wove around the largest tree trunks and along a rocky stream. Completely shaded, the four-mile loop finished with a steep incline that broke out of the foliage right next to the inn’s wraparound deck.
Despite a flush on my cheeks and elevated heart rate from my hike, I still looked forward to slipping indoors, sinking down into the plush armchair in my room, and warming up my fingers and toes. After pulling the chair directly in front of the window, I poured myself a mug of coffee and wrapped my hands around it.
The steam curled up from its hot surface as I slowly sipped and admired the view, and I smiled as rain clouds rolled in, obscuring the tips of the trees. Only one thing was missing…
A little pastry to pair with my afternoon coffee.
These healthy pumpkin oatmeal scones would’ve been absolutely perfect! Whether served with coffee or tea — or just nibbled on plain — they’re a wonderful breakfast or snack. I especially love them during the fall, but with their irresistible cozy flavors…
I’d happily bake and eat them any time of year!
QUICK OVERVIEW – HEALTHY PUMPKIN OATMEAL SCONES
Difficulty: Fairly easy, including for many beginner bakers.
Taste: Very lightly sweetened with rich, cozy spices against a backdrop of comforting pumpkin.
Texture: Really moist inside with plenty of soft oats, along with a hint of a crust on the outside.
KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HEALTHY PUMPKIN OATMEAL SCONES
Let’s talk about what you’ll need to make these healthy pumpkin scones! I’m assuming you already have pantry staples like baking powder, salt, and vanilla, so we’ll focus on the more interesting and important ingredients. First on that list is…
Oats. It’d be really hard to make pumpkin oatmeal scones without them! For this recipe, you’ll use instant oats. They’re also called “quick cooking” and “one-minute” oats. I know it’s confusing, but they’re not the ones sold in individual packets with flavors like maple brown sugar and apple cinnamon.
Instead, instant oats only contain one ingredient (oats!), and they’re simply smaller and thinner than old-fashioned rolled oats. This size difference means they soften faster, which gives your pumpkin scones the best moist and tender texture.
Hint: You can usually find instant oats right next to the old-fashioned rolled oats at the grocery store.
Tip: Certified gluten-free instant oats work perfectly too, if you’d like to make these healthy pumpkin oatmeal scones gluten-free!
Pumpkin. Another super important ingredient in pumpkin scones… As I’m sure you’ve already guessed! You’ll need plain pumpkin purée to make these scones. It’s also called “pure pumpkin,” “100% pure pumpkin,” and “canned pumpkin.”
Pumpkin adds more than flavor to these scones… It also lends a lot of moisture to the dough! This helps make your healthy scones incredibly moist and soft, even with no eggs or heavy cream.
Tip: I don’t recommend substituting pumpkin pie mix. It contains added sugar and other ingredients, which changes the way it behaves in baking recipes. For the best results, the only ingredient on the label should be “pumpkin.”
Because someone always asks… I haven’t tried using homemade pumpkin purée to make these scones. Where I live, canned pumpkin is available in grocery stores all year round, and it’s much faster and easier to simply crack open a can! If you’d like to experiment and try using homemade pumpkin purée, would you leave me a comment and let me know? I’d love to hear how that works!
Sweetener. I opted for pure maple syrup. There’s something really cozy about both pumpkin and maple flavors, especially during the fall. They taste so festive and comforting!
Remember, pure maple syrup is the kind that comes directly from maple trees. It’s often sold in thin glass bottles or squat plastic jugs (like this!), and the only ingredient on the label should be “maple syrup.”
Tip: I don’t recommend substituting pancake syrup or sugar-free syrup. They contain other ingredients, which means they behave differently in baking recipes. This is especially true of sugar-free syrup! It’s generally water-based, and that will make your scones collapse while cooling and turn out dense.
Flour. To make these healthy pumpkin scones, I chose white whole wheat flour. I know, I know… It sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But it’s not actually a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and regular whole wheat flour!
Here in the US, regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. In comparison, white whole wheat flour is made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat. This white wheat has a much milder flavor and lighter texture, giving it a taste closer to all-purpose flour, but it still has the same health benefits as regular whole wheat flour.
Basically… It’s the best of both worlds! Added nutrients and a lighter taste and texture. I call that a win-win!
Hint: It’s similar to the difference between red and green grapes. They have different flavors but the same health benefits!
Pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin and spices go together like peanut butter and jelly, don’t you think? Or milk and cookies… Or frosting and cake?
Although you could reach for a jar of store-bought pumpkin pie spice… I prefer to make my own — and highly recommend it! I’ve found that many brands are pretty cinnamon-heavy and only include minimal amounts of the other spices, which gives them a flatter, more one-dimensional taste.
For my homemade blend, I used cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Allspice is actually a single spice (not a combination!), and it earned its name because it tastes like a mixture of multiple spices. For the cinnamon, I highly recommend using Saigon cinnamon! It has a slightly stronger, sweeter, and richer flavor than regular ol’ cinnamon. Many stores have started stocking it, but I generally buy it online here. It’s really affordable and basically the only kind I now use in my baking!
Butter. Unlike many classical scone recipes that call for a full stick or two of butter (anywhere from ½ to 1 full cup!), you only need 1 ½ tablespoons to make these. That really helps keep your healthy pumpkin scones low calorie and low fat!
Remember the pumpkin purée from earlier? And how it adds lots of moisture to the dough? That’s how these healthy scones end up just as soft and tender as traditional ones, even with so little butter!
Milk. You’ll add a splash of milk to the dough to bring everything together, and you’ll also use a touch more right before baking. But I’m getting ahead of myself! Before I go too far and spoil everything…
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST PUMPKIN OATMEAL SCONES
Let’s talk about how to make the best pumpkin scones! In the correct order. Not bouncing around all over the place, like I was just trying to do. As I promised earlier, this recipe is simple and straightforward, so I mainly want to share some tips and tricks with you to ensure your healthy pumpkin oatmeal scones turn out beautifully, just like bakery-style ones!
Measure correctly. I know… I sound like a broken record — or a little kid in the backseat asking “are we there yet?” — but it’s extremely important to measure the ingredients correctly. The oats and flour are at the top of the list! Use this method or a kitchen scale (← that’s the one I own!) to measure them. Too much of either one will prevent the dough from coming together and make your scones bready or dry. This is especially true of the oats; they act like little sponges and soak up lots of moisture from batters and doughs.
No warm ingredients. With many other baked goods, like cookies and cakes or even muffins and quick breads, recipes often insist on things like softened butter and room temperature milk. Not scones… They’re the exact opposite! It’s fine for your pantry staples to be at room temperature, but any ingredient that you normally store in the fridge should be cold, especially the butter.
It must be cold.
I’m going to be a stickler about this. Don’t leave it out on the counter, don’t soften it, and definitely do not melt it. When it’s time to add the butter, grab it straight from the refrigerator. (Freezing isn’t necessary!)
There’s a nerdy baking chemistry reason for this!
When you slide the scones into the oven, the cold butter begins to melt. That creates tender little pockets in the dough. If your butter starts to soften or melt ahead of time, like while it’s sitting on the counter waiting to be added to the bowl, it won’t be cold when you put the scones in the oven… Which means that you miss out on that really soft and tender texture.
Tip: This is why I don’t recommend substituting coconut oil! It has a much lower melting point, right around 76°F (compared to butter’s melting point of 95°F!), so it’s already soft at room temperature… If not completely melted. You’ll miss out on that beautifully soft, bakery-style texture! Instead, use stick-style vegan butter. I love this one and this one!
Soak the oats. I’ve already built this into the recipe in Step 2, but I’m mentioning it to you now so you know why you’re doing it first. 😉 You’ll “soak” the oats by stirring them together with the pumpkin purée and maple syrup. Similar to the way overnight oats recipes work, this lets them start soaking up moisture ahead of time — and that yields the best soft and tender texture in your pumpkin oatmeal scones!
Mix by hand. Put away your stand mixers and hand-held mixers… You just need a pastry cutter and fork to make these healthy pumpkin scones! The pastry cutter comes in really handy for working the cold butter into the flour. As for the fork? The open space between its tines lets the ingredients pass through and mix together more efficiently, which helps guard against over-mixing.
Hint: Yup… A fork works even better than a spoon or spatula!
Tip: Mixers tend to, well, over-mix the dough. That leads to a tough, gummy, or dense texture. You have more control over the dough when you make it by hand — and this recipe requires very little hands-on prep time anyway!
Shape, brush + slice. After making the dough, transfer it to your baking sheet, and shape it into a disc using a spatula. If it’s made correctly, the dough should be too sticky to touch, so don’t try using your hands!
Next, you’ll brush the tops and sides with milk. (Whew — finally!! I told you I jumped way too far ahead…) This seals moisture into the dough, and it also creates a hint of a crust on the outside. I love that textural contrast!
Finally, you’ll slice the disc into 8 triangular wedges. Don’t separate them — leave the wedges touching! This keeps more moisture locked into the dough, so your scones will be beautifully soft and tender inside.
Bake. Like many traditional recipes, you’ll bake these healthy pumpkin scones at a higher temperature, 425°F. When paired with the milk brushed onto the dough, this also helps create that lovely crust outside.
Keep an eye on them! The orange pumpkin color makes it a little harder to tell when they’re golden brown and done, but if you gently press your finger in the center where the triangle points all meet, it should feel fairly firm with only a little give. Then wait (impatiently, in my case!) for the scones to cool long enough to avoid burning your tongue… And eat as many as you’d like!
FAQS ABOUT HEALTHY PUMPKIN OATMEAL SCONES
Are these healthy pumpkin oatmeal scones vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, clean eating, or low calorie?
Yes — to everything! These pumpkin scones are naturally clean eating, egg-free, low fat, and low calorie (compared to more traditional recipes!). I also included my top recommendations for how to make them gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free in the Notes section of the recipe.
Can I substitute old-fashioned rolled oats?
Kind of! Measure out the same amount, but to make them closer in size to instant oats, pulse them in a food processor or blender first. Aim to make them about ¼ to ⅛ of their original size. Then they’ll be good to go!
What about a different flour?
You sure can! Whole wheat pastry flour, regular whole wheat flour, and all-purpose flour are the best alternatives.
You used homemade pumpkin pie spice. Can I substitute store-bought instead?
I suppose… 😉 I’m kidding; store-bought pumpkin pie spice is fine! I just prefer homemade and think it tastes better. That’s all! (See the “pumpkin pie spice” header in the “Key Ingredients to Make Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Scones” section above for more info!)
Is there something I can substitute for the butter?
Stick-style vegan butter is the best alternative. I really like this one and this one! I don’t recommend additional pumpkin purée because it’ll make your scones bready or tough. I also don’t recommend coconut oil since it has a much lower melting point. (See the “no warm ingredients” header in the “How to Make the Best Pumpkin Oatmeal Scones” section above for more information!)
Can I use another type of milk?
Absolutely! Just about any kind will work. I regularly use unsweetened almond milk and unsweetened cashew milk too. (They’re my favorite dairy-free options!)
Can I make my scones sweeter?
Definitely! Substitute additional pure maple syrup (or honey or agave!) for an equal amount of milk. (For example, add an extra 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and reduce the milk by 1 tablespoon.)
My scones turned out dry. Why is that?
The three most common culprits are (a) too many oats, (b) too much flour, and (c) baking them for too long. See the “measure correctly” header in the “How to Make the Best Pumpkin Oatmeal Scones” section above for more info about the first two (and promise me you will not scoop either one with your measuring cups!).
For the latter, it’s sometimes easier to go based off of feel, rather than color, because of pumpkin’s natural golden orange color. (See the “bake” header in the “How to Make the Best Pumpkin Oatmeal Scones” section above for more info about that!)
How should I store any leftover pumpkin oatmeal scones? And how long will they last?
Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They should keep for at least four days, if not longer! (Because of pumpkin’s high moisture content, they tend to spoil quickly if left out for too long at room temperature.)
Also… I highly recommend reheating refrigerated scones before serving! They tend to turn stiff and almost taste a little dry if eaten straight from the refrigerator, but popping them in the microwave for a bit turns their insides soft and tender all over again. I think that makes them almost taste freshly baked!
Can I freeze them?
Yes! Once baked and fully cooled, these pumpkin oatmeal scones freeze really well.
And now that we have these scones… All that’s missing is a hot cup of coffee or tea to go with them! 😉 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 oatmeal scones!
Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Scones
- ½ cup (50g) instant oats (gluten-free if necessary and measured like this)
- ½ cup (120g) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix!)
- 3 tbsp (45mL) pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 2 tsp homemade pumpkin pie spice (see Notes!)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tbsp (21g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 3 tbsp + 2 tsp (55mL) nonfat milk, divided
- In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, pumpkin purée, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (highly recommended!) or the back of a fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Make a well in the center. Pour in the oat mixture and 3 tablespoons of milk. Stir them together, then gradually stir in the surrounding flour mixture until just incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula, shape the dough into a ¾” tall circle, and brush with the remaining milk. Slice the dough into 8 triangular segments with a sharp knife (but don't separate them!). Bake at 425°F for 22-26 minutes, or until the tops golden and the center feels firm to the touch. Cool on the pan for 10 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 Carrot Oatmeal Scones
♡ Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones
♡ Healthy Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Scones
♡ Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Scones
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy pumpkin recipes and healthy scone recipes!