Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins

5 stars based on 17 votes

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Of all the recipes I’ve posted on this site, my mom’s Pumpkin Bread is one of the most popular. So many of you have emailed to tell me you love it, and it even made its way to Germany, where one of my readers (hi, Tamyla!) baked it for her kids’ teachers, who all raved and asked for the recipe. That’s what I love about sharing on this blog: a half-century old clipping from my mother’s recipe box made it all the way across the ocean, and is now being made in kitchens all over the world.

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Anyway, since pumpkin bread is also my all-time most requested at home, I thought I’d reinvent the recipe as muffins this year.

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Just like the loaves, the muffins are tender and cakey with bold pumpkin flavor. As they bake in the oven, they fill your home with the inviting aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

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The crunchy nut topping is a simple mix of butter, flour, pecans, cinnamon and demerara sugar (which is just raw cane sugar — the stuff in the brown packets at Starbucks). Raw sugar doesn’t dissolve like regular sugar, so the large crystals retain their crunch when baked. Most supermarkets carry it but if not, you can always find it at Whole Foods (or just grab a handful the next time you get coffee).

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Finally, a few tips on making muffins: Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins so you get an even amount in each cup; and, be sure to fill any unfilled muffin cups halfway with water to ensure they bake evenly.

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For what it’s worth, my family voted these muffins even better than plain pumpkin bread, and that’s saying a lot. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins

Servings: 18 muffins
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Topping

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup demerara sugar (raw cane sugar, also called turbinado)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two standard muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Begin with the topping: Combine the flour, butter, demerara sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Move on to the muffins: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at low speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; continue beating at medium speed until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary. Turn the speed down to low and mix in the flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to transfer batter to muffin pans, filling each muffin tin about ¾ full. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let the muffins cool on rack for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely (use a butter knife to lift them out of pan).
  6. Notes: When making muffins, always fill any empty muffin tins halfway with water; this ensures that your muffins will bake evenly. If you want to make these muffins without the nut topping, increase the sugar in the muffins to 1¾ cup. Reheat muffins by giving them a quick blast in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: 1 muffin
  • Calories: 254
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 34g
  • Sugar: 20g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Sodium: 156g
  • Cholesterol: 46g

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Just made these this morning, used chia seed eggs instead of eggs (I ran out) and used coconut oil instead of butter, used 1 cup sugar added coconut and raisins, increased the cinnamon to 1.5tsp instead of cloves and just topped with a little sprinkle of sugar instead of the topping and OMG these are amazing. So moist and flavorful. My new go to pumpkin muffin, will be looking at some of your other recipes now! Thank you for sharing

    - Tigra on August 14, 2015 Reply
  • Hi jenn,
    Just thought I’d report on how it went with using sweet potatoes. The muffins definitely tasted great, however they were still rather heavy and dense in the center, even with a little extra baking time. I prefer them to have a much lighter crumb and be more cake like. I’ve found this to be the problem with every sweet potato muffin I’ve ever tried though. I would love to see you create a recipe that didn’t have this issue! All in all though, we all still enjoyed the muffins.

    - Katie on June 9, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and am absolutely loving it. Thanks for all the awesome recipes! I was wondering if I could substitute sweet potato for the pumpkin in this recipe?

    - Katie on June 8, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Katie, Glad you are enjoying the recipes! Yes, sweet potato should work. Please let me know how it turns out :)

      - Jenn on June 9, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made for Easter Brunch and they are fantastic. Everyone thought they were the best muffins ever!

    - Helen on April 6, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I really dislike butter, can I use some type of oil for these muffins on the top, that wouldn’t ruin the taste?

    I found your blog last week when looking for a recipe for Shrimp Tacos, yours was unbelievably delicious. I made your Vietnamese Carmelized Shrimp on Thursday, fabulous. Your Spinach & Gruyere Quiche last night, there is only one slice left and there were only two of us eating! Tonight I am making your Thai Minced Chicken Lettuce Cups. Tomorrow I am bringing your Crab Cakes and Coconut Dream Pie to an Easter dinner. I have many cookbooks and websites I use to find recipes, but yours is truly the best!! Thank you!

    - Mary on April 4, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Mary, Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback…so glad you are enjoying the recipes! For the topping, I would use shortening instead of oil. Good luck, and hope you enjoy them :)

      - Jenn on April 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just made these muffins and they are awesome. At Christmas I was given a mason jar of homemade chunky pumpkin pie filling. Since the spices were already in the pumpkin I simply folowed the recipe minus the spices and made the topping a little drier by adding a couple TBS of extra flour. My husband ,who is not a pumpkin anything fan ,loves them and I know I will be using this recipe over and over again. Tomorrow I am going to take a couple of the muffins to the person who gave me the filling. That’s how wonderful they turned out! Thanks for the recipe.

    - Bobbi on March 8, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just made these and they are fantastic. Moist, light crumb. I added 2 additional tablespoons of flour to the topping as a reviewer suggested and it was perfect. The family absolutely loved them!

    - Allegs on January 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are very good. I had all the ingredients except the sugar for the topping so I used a brown sugar streusel topping and it was a winner. I can tell these will be a family favorite so next time I will have to double batch.

    - Maria on January 20, 2015 Reply
  • I was looking for recipes I could adapt for using coconut oil instead of other types of fats. My mother has Alzheimer’s and coconut oil has been shown to significantly lessen symptoms for some people when used in dosages of roughly one tablespoon three times a day. So I substituted organic, non-refined coconut oil for butter in the topping and the batter. I also added a tablespoon of butter buds to the topping mixture. Then, after baking, I brushed the tops lightly with real butter and put a very light dusting of real sugar. Love the demerara but added this too for a tiny bit more sweetness when biting in. The only other thing I changed is I grated almost a whole nutmeg nut into the batter instead of using pre-ground nutmeg. It’s amazing how much better it tastes when freshly grated. These muffins turned out to be absolutely delicious! Thanks so much.

    - Jackie Goss on January 16, 2015 Reply
    • 5 stars

      I should add that where I said “real sugar” I meant white cane sugar. I also toasted the tops of the muffins (barely) after brushing on the butter and sprinkle of sugar. I had to be careful because they will burn in an instant. Toasting gave the pecans a great flavor as well.

      - Jackie Goss on January 16, 2015 Reply
  • Can I use this cupcake recipe as a bread? and put the topping on top of the bread?

    - Janice on December 20, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Janice, Yes, it will work well.

      - Jenn on December 21, 2014 Reply
    • 5 stars

      I am a pastry chef who creates desserts for an upscale restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. We opened for brunch each Sunday this December and I looked around the web for some good muffin and scone recipes. These were some of the best muffins I’ve ever tasted ~ fine textured, deeply moist, delicate, tender, and full of flavor. They were a huge hit with our guests and I have found my Pumpkin Muffin recipe for life !!! I noticed that the topping looked as if it melted/baked into the muffin a bit and I preferred that mine not spread like that- so by adding a few more tablespoons of flour to the topping – I got just what I wanted…a sandy, light, and crunchy topping that sat upon the muffins in a nutty crunchy canopy. Couldn’t recommend these more !!! I made larger muffins than the ones depicted- and they baked just fine in the giant muffin tins- losing no moistness in the longer baking time. I assume they would be delightful as mini’s as well. Thank you !!!

      - JuliaBoyd on December 21, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Very nice texture and flavor but much too sweet. Made them with the topping but next time I”ll decrease the sugar in the batter to 1 cup.

    - Jackie on December 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I had to substitute the flour and butter in this recipe to accommodate for gluten & lactose allergies. Ended up using Krusteaz gluten free flour and Earth Balance buttery sticks. Exchanged them with the same quantities. What a treat! No one knew that they were even GF!

    - Jana on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a fantastic recipe and a new favorite of mine. It also works well with fresh pumpkin -no canned options available in Switzerland.

    Can’t wait to try your pumpkin cornbread muffins!

    Love you site Jenn – it’s become my “go to” for new ideas.

    - Jenny on December 2, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These muffins are absolutely delicious they are the best I have ever made!

    - Barbara on November 22, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So good!! I am gluten and dairy free, so I made these with the Namaste gluten free flour blend, and raw coconut oil instead of butter. I also only used 1/2 cup evaporated organic cane sugar and 1/2 cup agave in lieu of all the sugar, and threw in some dried unsweetened coconut I had on hand. They turned out amazing, with the perfect sweetness. Will definitely be making them again. Thank you for the recipe!!

    - Stephania on November 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are wonderful!
    I made them last week and I don’t know that I’ve ever had so many requests for a recipe.

    - PattiOlney on November 10, 2014 Reply
  • These muffins are amazing!! Love the recipe. Question, how long do they keep (covered) at room temperature? Or should they be refrigerated? Thank you!!

    - Stephanie on November 9, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Stephanie, So glad you like the muffins! They keep well covered at room temp for several days.

      - Jenn on November 9, 2014 Reply
  • Can I substitute hachiya persimmons for pumpkins?

    - Din on November 9, 2014 Reply
    • Sorry, Din, I don’t think that will work.

      - Jenn on November 9, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these on faith for a group of customers staying in cabins on a friend’s ranch. I made a double batch and thought I’d have some left to take home, but they were gone! These muffins are moist, pumpkiny and spicy-delicious. The pecan crunch on top enhances the taste and texture of the muffins. Definitely will be my go-to recipe.

    - Sandy on October 20, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Why don’r you bclude nutrition info for your recipes?

    - lesa on October 16, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Lesa, I just recently started including nutritional information. All of my new recipes have it underneath the recipe on the “Recipe” tab. I am still going back through my archives and adding it to older recipes. Just added to this one for you. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on October 18, 2014 Reply
  • Great recipe! I used half brown sugar and half stevia (1 cup total). The original recipe was way too sweet for my liking. I also used half a cup of olive oil (didn’t have the butter), added wheat germ to the dry ingredients and some almond milk. Yum! Next time I’m going to put the nuts in the muffins instead of as a topping.

    - Cynthia on September 20, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These muffins are beyond delicious! A wonderful blend of sugar to savory, and perfectly moist. I woke up one morning to the realization that I had forgotten to bake for my daughters Preschool class, and these were so easy, quick, and the recipe was easy to follow, even before my morning coffee. Her teachers said they were a hit, with “mmm’s” and “yummy’s!” all around the table. The addition of the crunchy sugary top gives the muffins an extra level of deliciousness, and was so simple. I only had walnuts on hand, and they were very good as well. This recipe will be in permanent rotation from now on in our household, in fact I’m making them again today because I only got one the other day, and I want more!! Thanks for the great recipe!

    - Bonny on August 14, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great and simple recipe! Moistest pumpkin muffin I’ve ever had. YUM!

    - Michelle on August 4, 2014 Reply
  • I just finished making these and they are marvelous! There’s a rich pumpkin taste that I’ve been looking for in many recipes and I have finally found it in this one. Also, my husband isn’t a huge fan of pecans and he just loved them :) thank you for sharing this great recipe!

    - Bianca Campos on March 2, 2014 Reply
  • Yum! Pumpkin and nuts, my 2 favorite ingredients. :)

    - Betsy on December 13, 2013 Reply
  • Confused about the toppings ingredients. The recipe says to use “3 tablespoons of butter” in the toppings ingredients list, but then the recipe description doesn’t say anything about adding the butter, and says to “sprinkle” to topping on, which makes it sound like the butter was a mistake. Can someone tell me if I’m supposed to add butter to the topping or keep it dry? If dry, hopefully they can update the recipe. Thanks.

    - ell on December 3, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Ell, For the topping, combine the flour, butter, demerara sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl. It will be a dry mixture, even with the butter, so you will be able to sprinkle it on.

      - Jenn on December 3, 2013 Reply
  • I made these yesterday and the smell while baking was intoxicating. I am giving most of them away to the PO workers, where I have a PO box. They are always so friendly and love my baking. I will let you know, but am thinking they will love them. We sampled them and they are delicious! Thank you.

    - Karen T on November 18, 2013 Reply
  • These are amazing. I have made them twice. The second time I used walnuts instead of pecans and they were just as delicious. Thanks for the awesome recipe!!

    - Karen on November 14, 2013 Reply
  • These are the BEST. I make them without the topping and my kids love them and I have topped them with a cream cheese frosting. Delish!!!!!

    - Linda on November 8, 2013 Reply
  • Love, love , love yet another amazing recipe .
    I look forward to new emails and recipes all the time.
    I’ve printed and used so many of your recipes that I’ve had to start a OUAC binder
    Keep them coming!

    - Sharyn on November 5, 2013 Reply
  • Yum! Made these without the topping (no nuts in our house) and didn’t see the additional sugar note at bottom of recipe – muffins were perfectly sweet without the additional sugar. Because we live at 7,000 ft I added a splash of spiced apple cider. This recipe is going in the recipe box!

    - Chancie on October 29, 2013 Reply
  • These muffins are absolutely fabulous. Totally threatening my weight watchers points but worth it!

    - Debbie on October 20, 2013 Reply
  • These are soooo good! i used Macadamia Nuts in stead of Pecans since I live in HI. My co workers couldn’t stop eating them!

    - nayda on October 13, 2013 Reply
  • These were AMAZING!!!!!

    - Andrea on September 26, 2013 Reply
  • These are scrumptious! When the leaves start to fall and you feel a chill in the air, my family must have these muffins. Thank you for this recipe!

    - Rose on September 17, 2013 Reply
  • My honey says they are really good!

    - Eleanor on February 11, 2013 Reply
  • The best! I baked it at work. We don’t have pecans because of nut allergy. Instead I used the coconut crunch toppings they use for ” Lazy Daisy Cake”.

    Thank you very much for sharing this awesome very moist muffin :-)

    - Littlefoot on October 26, 2012 Reply
  • Okay, autum is here, and I have made these pumpkin muffins three times in the last two weeks…i used any excuse to make them for someone!! They are perfect, I added a little vanilla and only had brown sugar for the topping and they turned out great! Thanks again Jennifer! Can’t wait to try another recipe. I try at least one new recipe a week!

    - Katzzz on October 9, 2012 Reply
  • Just made these, and half way into the process realized I didn’t have any ground cloves and no way to grind my whole cloves – 5 minutes into a mortar & pestle attempt I realized there weren’t going to be any cloves in my muffins… so I took it a little different direction at that point, using cinnamon and nutmeg per recipe and just added about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Delicious! But I probably wouldn’t add choc chips if I’d have had the ground cloves, but I’d totally do it again this way, too!

    - ames on October 5, 2012 Reply
  • These muffins are a great addition to an autumn breakfast or brunch. When I made them, I reduced the cloves to 1/2 teaspoon since the flavor is a little over powering for my taste. Increasing the cinnamon by 1/2 teaspoon helped balance the loss of the cloves. Haven’t tried this yet but, I thought I might substitute pumpkin pie spice next time. Added 1/4 cup of finely chopped pecans to the batter for a little extra texture and flavor. Additionally, I used salted butter and eliminated the added salt. The raw sugar is a perfect addition to the topping for that sugary crunch.

    - Tina W on October 1, 2012 Reply
  • I commented on the pumpkin bread version of this recipe, but seeing as I’ve made these muffins…oh, about 8 or 9 times now, I thought I’d comment on them, too. Simply put, these muffins are TO DIE FOR. I’m a bit of a pumpkin bread/muffin connoisseur, and I would always try a new recipe each time I made pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins, hoping to find the perfect one. Well, my search is over—there isn’t a recipe out there that tops these! I think the key is the amount of spice in the batter: a whole teaspoon of cloves and nutmeg is what really sets them apart. Most other recipes use only 1/4 tsp. or so, but the full teaspoon (especially of the cloves) gives them a spicy kick. And thanks to all the butter, the muffins are just so moist and tender. I’ve delivered batches of these to new neighbors, brought them to meetings, and served them to family, and people go nuts over them. I’ve actually become famous among my husband’s co-workers for these muffins. They’re that good! Thank you once again, Jenn, for sharing this recipe and making people think I’m a talented baker! (I’ve directed so many people to your website as a result of these muffins…they’re a great advertisement!)

    - Allie on September 29, 2012 Reply
    • So nice to hear, Allie. Thank you!

      - Jenn on September 30, 2012 Reply
  • so good, going to try adding cranberries next time

    - Mary Thompson on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • These are so delicious and I love the crunchy topping.

    - Tracy on March 7, 2012 Reply
  • These muffins are a perfect addition to a weekend brunch menu. Easy and very tasty. They are requested by my family all the time.

    - carmen on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • I had some pumpkin puree in the freezer and wanted to make room for some other things, so this was perfect. Very nice taste and texture and so quick and easy.

    - Janet on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • these pumpkin muffins look scrumptious, I will definitely be trying these. I also love pumpkin anything.

    - PJ on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Sounds really really yummy! Already planning on making these for the next get together!

    - Amy Bridgford on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I am new to your blog and these look delish! I cannot wait to try them — pumpkin anything is my favorite!

    - Lee Smith on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • These are the best! Everyone I have given them to has asked for the recipe!!

    - Carly Blair on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • These are truly amazing…..my favorite pumpkin muffins ever!

    - Eva on January 8, 2012 Reply
  • How did I pass this recipe the first time around?! Well, autumn has finally hit the region, so I’ll be making these shortly. Thanks!

    - Cynthia on November 17, 2011 Reply
  • Made these this week and they are FABULOUS! Moist and tender insides with that wonderful sweet pecan topping! I used freshly grated nutmeg and they were to die for! Will be making lots of these! Your recipes never disappoint! Thanks! Carol

    - Carol Herndon on November 12, 2010 Reply
  • Delish! We loved these!

    - Mike on November 8, 2010 Reply
  • Sounds delicious….I plan on baking tomorrow. Let u know how it turns out …

    - Meryl on November 8, 2010 Reply
  • Made these for a party the other day and they were a huge hit. They were gone in a flash. Thanks!

    - Suzanne on November 4, 2010 Reply
  • What a perfect flavor combination!!!!

    - leslie on November 2, 2010 Reply
  • Just made these and they are the best muffins I have ever tasted. Thank you for the recipe it is fantastic!

    - Stefanie on November 2, 2010 Reply
  • I have to make these! I made your recipe for pumpkin bread a few weeks ago and it disappeared. Absolutely fantastic!
    I have to try these, although it’s very difficult to get canned (or fresh for that matter) pumpkin here in Norway. I will find it… these muffins are definitely happening!

    - S on October 29, 2010 Reply
  • I just baked these and they are quite good. I think I need to replace my spices though as they are not real spices. I will definitely bake these again.
    Thanks much for sharing.

    - Aprilm on October 29, 2010 Reply
  • Gosh, these look amazing. I have two cans of pumpkin, very hard to come by in the UK, I might use mine for these :D
    *kisses* HH

    - Heavenly Housewife on October 27, 2010 Reply
  • I love pumpkin bars and bread recipes, and muffins are no exception. The topping is awesome. I am a total sweet nut and I melted when I read the sugar topping described. Brilliant.

    - Miranda on October 26, 2010 Reply
  • Oooh these look delicious! That topping sounds just delicious…hopefully we don’t look too suspicious as we pile packets of sugar in the raw into our pockets…!

    - The Blue-Eyed Bakers on October 26, 2010 Reply

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