(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

I recently read an article that mentioned most people are satisfied with one pumpkin spice latte every fall. Just one. The same cannot be said for soft, lightly spiced pumpkin muffins. These breakfast treats are especially wonderful right now, as we settle into autumn, but are also perfectly acceptable to eat year-round.

The Spice in Pumpkin Spice

A big part of what makes pumpkin muffins so amazing is the spice blend that gives them their warm, autumn-y flavor. The blend of spices used in this recipe are also the primary components of pumpkin pie spice: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ground cloves. Rather than using a store-bought spice blend, I really prefer to use the individual spices so I can adjust the amount of spices to my taste.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Pumpkin Purée, Not Pumpkin Pie Filling

When picking up the ingredients for these muffins, be sure to grab plain pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling — they're not quite the same thing. Canned pumpkin purée is simply that, cooked and puréed pumpkin; it has very little flavor and isn't sweetened. Canned pumpkin pie filling, on the other hand, is sweetened and flavored with spices; it's essentially a shortcut to making pumpkin pie. Check the label on the can before you buy as it's super easy to grab the wrong one off the shelf.

Adding Nuts, Raisins, and Other Good Things

This version of pumpkin muffins is a standard classic. They're simple, yet pillowy-soft, fluffy, and ultra-comforting. If you prefer your muffin chock full of add-ins, this recipe makes a great base. Go ahead and add anything from chocolate chips to walnuts to raisins to shredded coconut.

How To Make Pumpkin Muffins

Makes 12 standard-size muffins

What You Need

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment
Standard-size 12-cup muffin pan (or 2 6-cup pans)
Muffin liners (optional)
Mixing bowl
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Stand or electric mixer (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prep and preheat: Heat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan (or two 6-cup muffins pans) with liners, or skip the liners and just grease the cups.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs: Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until combined.
  5. Add the pumpkin purée: Mix in the pumpkin purée and vanilla extract.
  6. Add the dry ingredients: Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix.
  7. Divide the batter: Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups so they are 3/4 of the way full.
  8. Bake the muffins: Place the muffin tin in the oven. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a tester comes out with few crumbs.
  9. Cool the muffins: Let the muffins cool enough to handle, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Recipe Notes

  • Leftover muffins can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. (Reheat frozen muffins in an oven or toaster oven at 300°F, or for a few minutes in the microwave).