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These Healthy Pumpkin Muffins are moist, filling and made in under 35 minutes! Each muffin only has 200 calories and is packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats. The pumpkin flavor is a perfect change to Banana Bran Muffins for Fall and Winter!
You know I love a healthy muffin moment. I always have a plastic freezer bag of muffins in my freezer at all times. Right now I have these healthy pumpkin muffins but before that I had my Peanut Butter Muffins and these Strawberry Whole Wheat Muffins.
Decadent treats are my weakness but I am just as obsessed with healthy, filling snacks. Mix up the snack pack with apple spice energy bites, pumpkin spice energy bars or tropical energy bars. They are perfect as a healthy breakfast on the go or tucked inside a lunchbox for a dessert or afternoon snack (with apple butter!) that is just sweet enough!
Table of Contents
Why you will love these healthy pumpkin muffins
- They are actually healthy and delicious. Packed with filling fiber, hidden fruits and vegetables, and protein. They don’t compromise on flavor.
- Incredibly moist! Pre-soaking the wheat bran, coconut oil, banana and pumpkin pure keep these muffins super moist.
- Make ahead. These muffins are perfect for making and freezing ahead! I keep them in a baggie in the freezer for easy breakfasts or snacks on the go!
Professional tips for keeping healthy pumpkin muffins moist
- Pre-soaking the wheat bran in buttermilk helps hydrate the bran before mixing, which keeps the whole muffin more moist.
- Buttermilk is the secret ingredient! Buttermilk has just enough fat to add richness and moisture even after baking. Plus bananas & pumpkin puree are always mission critical to adding moisture to quick breads.
- Melted coconut oil over butter or vegetable oil. I have found that coconut oil makes muffins more moist than the same amount of vegetable oil. Plus it is a healthy fat and that sounds like a win-win to me!
- Whole Wheat Flour: I prefer either King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour. Every brand has a slightly different flavor and texture depending on their grinding process. Both these companies take care to control the temperature of the flour during grinding, which preserves the natural flavors, antioxidants and vitamins that are destroyed at warmer temperatures.
- Wheat Bran: The bran is the outer layers of the wheat kernel. It is mostly fiber but also contains vitamins and antioxidants. I use wheat bran to increase the fiber and also bind together the wet ingredients without adding additional calories.
- Oat Bran: I use oat bran for the same reasons as wheat bran but with additional flavor.
- Flaxseed Meal: Flaxseed meal is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and it an excellent binder for healthy snacks. The meal absorbs moisture while adding nutrients and a laundry list of health benefits!
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix: My pumpkin spice recipe is fine-tuned to work in pumpkin pie as well as it does in these muffins, pumpkin spice dinner rolls, oatmeal, or chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is lass salty than table salt and a teaspoon weighs less than other finer ground varieties. It heightens the flavor here and will keep your muffins from tasting dull or flat.
- Baking Soda: Do check the freshness of your baking soda! It does lose potency over time. If it’s not fresh, send it to the back of the refrigerator to absorb some odors, or clean your marble countertops with it!
- Baking Powder: Double acting baking powder will react instantly when it is mixed with an acid and then again when it is heated. Because it is double acting, it has a slower, more stable rise than baking soda alone.
- Low Fat Buttermilk: I generally bake with low fat buttermilk rather than full fat. It provides just enough fat to keep quick breads moist and enough moisture to hydrate the bran. The acidity also reacts with the baking soda for a nice, tall muffin.
- Eggs: Whole eggs allow you to emulsify all that oil into the batter, resulting in moist, not greasy, muffins.
- Coconut Oil: I use organic extra virgin coconut oil in these Pumpkin Bran Muffins because it makes the moistest, most tender crumb! It keeps the muffins moist longer than vegetable oil and has all the added health benefits. Winning.
- Bananas: In an ideal world, I choose bananas that are ripe but only just beginning to spot. I find this to be the peak flavor for these muffins.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla Extract adds a beautiful flavor itself but it also boosts the flavor of other ingredients around it like pumpkin and banana!
- Dark Brown Sugar: Using dark brown sugar adds sweetness along with a little moisture. This will keep the muffins softer while adding a nice, rich molasses flavor. Coconut sugar or light brown sugar can be substituted if desired.
- Pumpkin Puree: I use Libby’s pumpkin puree because it is consistent and that is what I use to develop all my recipes. Use whichever brand you prefer. Just be sure to grab pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie mix!
- Raisins: Raisins add a little sweetness and a wonderful chewy texture to these muffins. They blend perfectly with the spices for the perfect balance of flavors.
Possible Variations & Substitutions
- Make your own pumpkin puree. I am always in favor of a no-harm shortcut, but if you want to use homemade pumpkin puree, go for it! Just know that canned pumpkin puree is tightly controlled within a certain moisture percentage and my recipes are tested with Libby’s. Always and forever.
- Add some mix-ins! I love the flavor combination of raisins, pumpkin and pumpkin spice, but feel free to add whichever dried fruit you prefer. Cherries, chocolate chips and nuts are all amazing options!
- Make them refined sugar free: You could substitute coconut palm sugar for the dark brown sugar in this recipe if you prefer.
- Make them gluten free. You can make these healthy pumpkin muffins gluten free by substituting almond flour or your favorite gluten free all-purpose flour. It will change the texture because gluten serves a purpose.
How to Make Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
Use these instructions to make the perfect healthy pumpkin muffins every time! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400° F and spray 12 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.
Use tulip liners like I do in these photos for tall, bakery-style muffins.
Step 2: Mix buttermilk, wheat bran and oat bran in a small bowl and set aside.
This step is crucial for keeping bran muffins moist. Allow it to sit long enough for the bran to absorb all the buttermilk. It will only take 10-15 minutes. I usually allow it to sit while I measure everything else.
Step 3: In a separate medium bowl combine whole wheat flour, flaxseed, pumpkin spice mix, salt, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
If you want just enough pumpkin spice mix for this recipe then add the following spices to the flour mixture: 1 ¼ tsp cinnamon; 1 tsp ground ginger; ¼ tsp cloves; 1/8 tsp nutmeg; pinch allspice
Step 4: In a large bowl whisk together sugar, melted coconut oil, egg, vanilla, banana and pumpkin. Whisk thoroughly.
Step 5: Add pumpkin mixture and buttermilk mixture to the dry mixture and stir gently until just combined and a few lumps remain. Fold in raisins.
Step 6: Pour or scoop into prepared tins. Fill the cups all the way to the top to ensure you get nice tall muffins.
Step 7: Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few clinging crumbs.
Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip
Soaking the wheat bran and oat bran in buttermilk before mixing into the batter keeps these muffins extra moist. Bran takes longer to hydrate than milled flours, so this gives it a chance to soften and doesn’t pull from the moisture of the muffins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store baked pumpkin muffins in an air-tight container at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. Zip-top plastic bags also work nicely.
These bran muffins will keep 3 days at room temperature, a week in the refrigerator or 2 months frozen. For optimal freshness freeze muffins after cooling and reheat as desired.
Absolutely! These muffins freeze beautifully. I keep mind in a zip-top freezer bag in the freezer so that I can eat them as desired.
If you have the time, you can thaw them at room temperature in a sealed container or in the refrigerator. If you don’t then you can easily reheat them in the microwave or toaster oven. I reheat them in the muffin liners to retain moisture.
If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!
Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup wheat bran
- ½ cup oat bran
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon Pumpkin spice mix see notes for individual measurements
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- 1 banana mashed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ⅔ cup dark brown sugar packed
- 10 tablespoons pumpkin puree canned is fine
- ¾ cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 400° F and spray 12 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.
- Mix buttermilk, wheat bran and oat bran in a small bowl and set aside. This step is crucial for keeping bran muffins moist. Allow it to sit long enough for the bran to absorb all the buttermilk. It will only take 10-15 minutes. I usually allow it to sit while I measure everything else.
- In a separate medium bowl combine whole wheat flour, flaxseed, pumpkin spice mix, salt, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together sugar, melted coconut oil, egg, vanilla, banana and pumpkin. Whisk thoroughly.
- Add pumpkin mixture and buttermilk mixture to the dry mixture and stir gently until just combined and a few lumps remain. Fold in raisins.
- Pour or scoop into prepared tins. Fill the cups all the way to the top to ensure you get nice tall muffins. A large cookie scoop makes this easy!
- Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few clinging crumbs.
Before You Go!
Check out our other delicious, chef-developed Muffin Recipes!