Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins

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Of all the recipes I’ve posted on this site, my mom’s Pumpkin Bread is probably 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. How cool is that?

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

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Of course, I couldn’t resist adding a crunchy nut topping. It’s 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. I was able to find it at my regular supermarket but if not, you can always get 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; that way, you’ll get an even amount in each cup. Also, 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.

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins

Print Recipe
Servings: 18 muffins
Total Time: 45 Minutes


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)


  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.
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  • 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…!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • S

    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!

  • Stefanie

    Just made these and they are the best muffins I have ever tasted. Thank you for the recipe it is fantastic!

  • What a perfect flavor combination!!!!

  • Suzanne

    Made these for a party the other day and they were a huge hit. They were gone in a flash. Thanks!

  • Meryl

    Sounds delicious….I plan on baking tomorrow. Let u know how it turns out …

  • Mike

    Delish! We loved these!

  • Carol Herndon

    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

  • Cynthia

    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!

  • Eva

    These are truly amazing…..my favorite pumpkin muffins ever!

  • Carly Blair

    These are the best! Everyone I have given them to has asked for the recipe!!

  • Lee Smith

    I am new to your blog and these look delish! I cannot wait to try them — pumpkin anything is my favorite!

  • Amy Bridgford

    Sounds really really yummy! Already planning on making these for the next get together!

  • PJ

    these pumpkin muffins look scrumptious, I will definitely be trying these. I also love pumpkin anything.

  • Janet

    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.

  • carmen

    These muffins are a perfect addition to a weekend brunch menu. Easy and very tasty. They are requested by my family all the time.

  • Tracy

    These are so delicious and I love the crunchy topping.

  • Mary Thompson

    so good, going to try adding cranberries next time

  • Allie

    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!)

    • Jenn

      So nice to hear, Allie. Thank you!

  • Tina W

    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.

  • ames

    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!

  • Katzzz

    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!

  • Littlefoot

    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 :-)

  • Eleanor

    My honey says they are really good!

  • Rose

    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!

  • Andrea

    These were AMAZING!!!!!

  • nayda

    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!

  • Debbie

    These muffins are absolutely fabulous. Totally threatening my weight watchers points but worth it!

  • Chancie

    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!

  • Sharyn

    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!

  • Linda

    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!!!!!

  • Karen

    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 T

    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.

  • ell

    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.

    • Jenn

      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.

  • Yum! Pumpkin and nuts, my 2 favorite ingredients. :)

  • Bianca Campos

    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!

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