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Vegan pumpkin muffins are tender, satisfying, and brimming with the flavors of the season. Don’t miss this easy recipe.

vegan pumpkin muffins on a cooling rack
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Why this recipe works

Pumpkin muffins are a relatively easy recipe to make vegan, since the pumpkin puree itself does a lot of the heavy lifting. Our version:

  • Is tender and flavorful and substantial enough to be really satisfying
  • Has the perfect blend of pumpkin spice
  • Incorporates some whole wheat flour if you like, for a bit of extra nutrition
  • Is sweet but not overly so
  • Can be made with or without walnuts

I first published a version of this recipe here way back in 2011. I’ve since updated the post for clarity and made a few changes to the recipe.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • You can use 100% all-purpose flour or a blend of AP and whole wheat pastry flour, whichever you prefer
  • Use plain canned pumpkin without seasonings
  • A balanced mix of cinnamongingernutmegallspice and cloves — in just the right proportions — makes the perfect pumpkin spice
  • Safflower oil is my high-smoke-point, neutral-tasting vegetable oil of choice. You can substitute another oil that has similar properties, such as canola, sunflower, peanut, corn, or vegetable oil blend.
  • A little bit of good-quality real maple syrup adds a gentle layer of complexity to the flavor of the muffins

How to make them

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a great batch of vegan pumpkin muffins. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Sift together the dry ingredients.
  2. Stir together the wet ingredients.
  3. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Fold in the walnuts.
  4. Scoop into muffin cups and bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I substitute fresh pumpkin puree for the canned?

Yes, you can. If you substitute fresh pumpkin purée for canned in this (or really any) recipe, make sure that it’s from a sugar pumpkin and that it’s very thick.

What is pastry flour?

Pastry flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose (and higher than cake flour). It makes baked goods lighter, and when incorporating whole wheat flour in baking, I like to use this version. Learn more here if you like.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Muffins are best on baking day.

Leftovers will keep, covered, at room temperature, for 2 to 3 days. Or freeze them for up to 6 months.

More favorite cozy vegan recipes for fall

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vegan pumpkin muffins on a cooling rack
5 from 4 votes

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Vegan pumpkin muffins are tender, satisfying, and brimming with the flavors of the season. Don't miss this easy recipe.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (90 grams) whole wheat pastry flour (see note 1)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (200 grams) gently packed light brown sugar
  • 7 ½ ounces (212 grams) pumpkin puree (see note 2)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) safflower oil
  • cup (80 ml) maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
  • 1 cup (120 grams) chopped walnuts

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F with a rack in the center. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, safflower oil, maple syrup, and water.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold the ingredients together. Fold just until there are no pockets of flour that haven’t been incorporated into the batter, and then stop.
  • Fold in the chopped walnuts.
  • Use a large cookie scoop to divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins in tin on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then remove muffins from tins and cool completely.

Notes

  1. Pastry flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose (and higher than cake flour). It makes baked goods lighter. When incorporating whole wheat flour in baking, I like to use this version.
  2. 7.5 ounces is half of a 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree, or 7/8 cup. (You can measure out one cup and remove 2 tablespoons if measuring by volume rather than weight.) If you substitute fresh pumpkin purée for canned in this (or really any) recipe, make sure that it’s from a sugar pumpkin and that it’s very thick.
  3. Muffins are best on baking day. Leftovers will keep, covered, at room temperature, for 2 to 3 days. Or freeze them for up to 6 months.
Adapted from Joy the Baker’s excellent recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 189kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 242mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Muffins and Quickbreads
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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9 Comments

  1. These turned out great! Cut the recipe in half, eliminated the white sugar and oil. Reduced amt of brown sugar and only used whole grain flour. Tasted great made them three times already! Pecans are a lovely addition! Used agave syrup in place of maple. Bravo!

  2. “But when one of the vendors asked which of his handmade cheeses I wanted to sample on the way out, I said “all three, darling!” and I kissed him on the mouth. Ninety percent of that story is true.”

    You only asked for 2 samples? Ditto Cheryl’s comment above :).

    I wanted to make pumpkin cupcakes for Halloween. I had even bought cupcake toppers and liners only to realize over the weekend that my muffin tins are in storage. Owell … Hope you enjoyed your cheater’s vegan muffins!

  3. mmmmmm….
    Sounds DEEEE-lish. Since Pumpkin muffins are such a big hit around here, maybe I need to give these a try!
    And as always, I {love} reading our posts… and most importantly “hearing” you as I do!

  4. “But when one of the vendors asked which of his handmade cheeses I wanted to sample on the way out, I said “all three, darling!” and I kissed him on the mouth. Ninety percent of that story is true.”

    I have not read anything this funny in at least 3 weeks, or possibly 3 years.

    The muffins look great. I can see that the oil takes on the role of butter, but I wonder what plays the part of the eggs? Or maybe they’re just totally unnecessary in this?

    1. Oh, good! I like to make you smile.

      As for the eggs, my best guess is that the fairly large quantity of baking soda and baking powder is sufficient for leavening, and the pumpkin and maple syrup are acidic enough to produce a nice crumb and moist enough to override any weirdness you sometimes get from adding too much of those leaveners.

      I don’t really understand why the batter emulsifies properly, but when you stir the wet ingredients together, you only panic for a few seconds before realizing it’s going to happen.

      Magic, maybe. Though I would appreciate any more scientific hypotheses, now that we’re on the subject.