Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These pumpkin cornbread muffins have less fat than regular cornbread muffins, yet they’re equally delicious.

 

How to make muffins

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski

I have to admit: I went through a phase of substituting butter with applesauce in all my baked goods back in the eighties and nineties when low-fat diets were all the rage. I don’t cook that way anymore — thankfully, fat is now deemed acceptable in moderation — but, occasionally, I’ll stumble upon a baked good that is low-fat by happenstance. Made with canned pumpkin purée, these pumpkin cornbread muffins are lower in fat than regular cornbread muffins, yet they’re equally delicious.

What you’ll need to make Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

How to make pumpkin cornbread muffins

Interestingly, if you make them without the spices, you really can’t taste the pumpkin; it’s the autumn spices that bring the pumpkin flavor out. (And yes, I’ve tested this!) So, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to your standard cornbread recipe, try this recipe and just omit the spices. And if you’re anything like me, this recipe will come in very handy around Thanksgiving. Because, really, what’s more annoying than a half-used can of pumpkin?

How to make Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

wet ingredients for pumpkin cornbread muffins

Begin by whisking together the pumpkin purée, milk honey, sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

How to make muffins

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, along with the melted butter, and mix well.

How to make muffins

Spoon the batter into muffin cups — they will be full.

How to make muffins

Bake for 20-23 minutes, until the tops are golden and set. Serve warm out of the oven with butter. Enjoy!

baked-muffins

Note: You can also bake the batter in a cast iron skillet or 8-inch square pan instead of a muffin tin if you prefer.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Grablewski

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Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

These pumpkin cornbread muffins have less fat than regular cornbread muffins, yet they’re equally delicious.

Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée (such as Libby's)
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray and 12-cup muffin tin generously with nonstick cooking spray or grease with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, milk, honey, sugar and eggs.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  4. Add the wet ingredients and melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup full, and bake for 20-23 minutes, or until the tops are a golden-orange color and set. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then serve warm with butter or transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  6. Note: These muffins taste best when served warm. To reheat leftovers, wrap muffins in aluminum foil and place them in a preheated 350°F oven until hot. Alternatively, heat individual muffins in the microwave at 50 percent power for 30-45 seconds, or until just hot; do not overheat or muffins will get tough.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The muffins can be frozen in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag for up to 3 months. Thaw for 3 to 4 hours on the countertop before serving. See note above for reheating instructions.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 muffin
  • Calories: 203
  • Fat: 5g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Sodium: 313mg
  • Cholesterol: 32mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I was looking for a recipe to use up a little extra canned pumpkin from Thanksgiving and found this gem. I have made these muffins at least 3 times since then. I followed your advice and I omitted the spices because I wanted a corn muffin to serve with chili. These are perfect!

    • — Michele B on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These muffins are a hit with us! I had some buttermilk to use up so substituted that for the milk. Also, I bake…a lot…and this is first recipe I’ve seen that called for a whole tablespoon of baking powder. Nevertheless, these muffins are perfectly yummy!

    • — Kari P. on January 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Must try! Delicious! I did some adjustments: lower cinnamon 3/4 tsp and added 1cup and 1/2 of pumpkin! More pumpkin made it stand out more!

    • — Bri on September 26, 2020
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  • Turned out perfect👍

    • — Robin on May 29, 2020
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    • I tried this recipe…I Couldn’t taste the Pumpkin only the Honey..May try again with some adjustments. Beautiful in color though

      • — Demi on July 1, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made these muffins yesterday. Everyone loves them. A definite keeper recipe. And they looked just like yours!

    • — Gail Tobias on May 7, 2020
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  • This recipe looks wonderful! Should I use coarse or fine cornmeal, or does it matter? Thanks!

    • — Kathy L Parker on April 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, The cornmeal my grocery store carries doesn’t specify the texture, but if you have a few options available to you, I’d go with the fine grain. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 28, 2020
      • Reply
    • These are my new favorites! I made them with coconut oil instead of butter. It adds a different kind of sweetness. I also used coarse cornmeal, because I had it on hand, and liked the texture!

      • — Janet Akers on May 1, 2020
      • Reply
  • Oops! I used the whole can of pumpkin. The good news is, they are amazing!!!

    • — Yvonne on April 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made these a few days ago and they are amazing. The texture is moist and crunchy. I reduced the sugar and honey a bit, but I don’t think they would have been too sweet with the suggested amount. We ate two with the yummy short rib in red wine recipe, kept two out and froze the rest. The next day we sliced the pumpkin muffins in half and grilled them in some butter on the stove top for breakfast… so good!!

    • — Randi B on April 20, 2020
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  • This became an instant favorite at my family’s Christmas party. 🙂 Thank you so much! I doubled the recipe, added 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and baked it in a 9×13 pan. It is now my go-to dish to bring to parties!

    • — Jan on December 24, 2019
    • Reply
  • Do I have to heat the cast iron in the oven before pouring the mixture?

    • — Iliana on December 2, 2019
    • Reply
    • No Iliana, that’s not necessary. Hope you enjoy the muffins!

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2019
      • Reply
  • I was reluctant to try these because I have a cornbread/muffin recipe we love, but I had some butternut squash purée to use up. So glad I did. Will def make again.
    The squash sub worked perfectly and ended up an extra veg the kids didn’t mind eating up. I did have enough batter for 6 extra muffins, which we didn’t mind either!
    Thanks! I love this site and I use your recipes often!

    • — Dani on November 22, 2019
    • Reply
  • So perfect in every way. I halved the amount of cinnamon as I thought 1 t. would be overpowering. A keeper recipe for sure!

    • — Nancy on November 5, 2019
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  • Wonderful!

    • — Ruth on November 1, 2019
    • Reply
  • Jenn do you know if this recipe will bake properly and have the same taste and texture if the batter is frozen, then later thawed, poured into the pan or skillet and baked?

    • Hi Teresa, I’ve never frozen any kind of batter so I can’t say from experience but, in theory, it should work. I also poked around a bit online and it looks like it’s possible. Please LMK how the muffins turn out if you freeze the batter!

      • — Jenn on October 28, 2019
      • Reply
      • I have been making these muffins for years and they hold up well if you freeze once they are baked. I thaw and then wrap them loosely in foil and heat just enough to refresh! My recipe is the same except it only calls for nutmeg as the spice, very distinct. I put dried cranberries in them sometimes too.

        • — Pattie on April 24, 2020
        • Reply
  • I made these yesterday and they were delicious. I did use slightly less sugar and honey than the recipe called for because I was worried they would be too sweet to pair with chili but the would have been fine as written.

  • Jenn,
    These are yummy and so moist. I just took my batch out of the oven about fifteen minutes ago and after waiting ten minutes, I had to try one. They’re wonderful and the perfect combination of pumpkin and spices. With the honey, they’re perfect for tonight’s holiday meal. Shana Tovah!

    • So glad you were happy with how they came out! Shana Tovah!

  • Absolutely delicious! I made recipe in a 10″ square pan. Super moist. This will be a favorite for sure!!

  • What do you think of serving these muffins along corn chowder? I hestitate to make cornbread by itself as I think it might be too much corn but the pumpkin sounds yummy. Thanks.

    • I think that sounds like a good combination. And you could add some additional color to the meal with a fresh green salad. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

    • This looks delicious! What size can pumpkin do you use?

      • — Cinder Cinder on April 17, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Cinder, typically you’ll find canned pumpkin in 15 ounce cans, but you’ll only need to use a portion of the can. Hope that helps and that you enjoy the muffins!

        • — Jenn on April 19, 2020
        • Reply
  • Thank you so much for this wonderful muffin recipe! It did not disappoint. They are absolutely delicious! I did not change a thing. They are moist, and have just the perfect crumb. I serve these year round, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack with coffee or tea. They go very nicely and quickly I might add with a bowl of chili. Also, These muffins freeze great for 2 months.
    Shalom!
    Dr. B

  • These muffins are wonderful! They are moist but with a little crunch from the cornmeal. Rave reviews from my family!

  • I made these for a get together at my husband’s new job. The muffins were amazing! Very tender and fluffy and perfectly moist. The spices weren’t overwhelming and you could taste the cornbread and the pumpkin. Now everyone is asking my husband if I would share the recipe. I’ll definitely be making them again!
    NOTE: I substituted the spices in the recipe for 1 tbsp of Spice Islands pumpkin pie spice

  • Hi Jenn, what can I substitute instead of the sugar? Additional honey? Maple syrup? Thanks for making my life tasty 😋

    • Hi Nora, you could use a total of 1/2 cup of honey and just omit the sugar. Keep a close eye on them while they bake because they may brown faster. Hope you enjoy!

      • Thank you Jenn, I did omit the sugar and they were Great! Made them gluten free with Bobs 1 to 1 flour and they looked beautiful too.

  • Jen, I just made this & did it in square pan. Had to take a taste before freezing it for T-giving.yumm!!
    At least 1/2 of my t-giving recipes will be yours . ALWAYS top notch.

    Quick unrelated question. Just baked Linzer r tart cookies. Would like to freeze some for a few weeks. Do you think they will be good;worried about jelly. Will hold off with powdered sugar.
    Tks, Jenny

    • Hi Jenny, I think you could freeze them; just be sure to separate the cookies with a layer of parchment paper in the storage container. 🙂

  • Hi Jenn,
    These are delicious, have made them several times. Can the recipe be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan? Thanks!
    Vicki P.

    • Sure, Vicki – I think that would work. Please lmk how it turns out!

      • Will do, thanks JENN. Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  • These came out perfectly, weren’t too sweet (we were eating them as a side with mac and cheese), and had a great texture. All my friends really enjoyed them!

  • Made this morning, with almond/coconut milk blend, white whole wheat flour in lieu of white, and TJ pumpkin pie spice in lieu of the other spices. These are just about the best muffins I’ve ever had! Moist and light with a little crunch from the cornmeal.

  • I would like to use my home made pumpkin pure, plain, made out of cooked pumpkin. How much of that I would need instead of the canned one.
    Thanks, recipe looks delish.

    • Hi Marg, The amount would be the same. Just be sure to drain your homemade pumpkin purée so that the consistency is similar to canned.

  • These look amazing! I am curious if I am able to use masa harina instead of yellow cornmeal in this recipe? If yes, would I simply sub it at a 1:1 ratio? Thanks!

    • I think it will work, Amy (yes 1:1 ratio) – but the muffins won’t have the same cornbread-like texture. They will be cakier.

  • My family LOVED these. I made them alongside a yummy soup and fresh veggies. We loved the fall flavor and heartiness of the muffins.
    I almost forgot to add the butter at the end- but they turned out perfectly.

  • I switched the melted butter to canola oil and bake it for 30-35 minutes in an 8×8 pan and it’s delicious. Not too sweet but definitely a treat. If I bake it less, it’s under done.

  • I’m going to make a few batches of these and a few of your French Apple cakes for this year’s Salvation Army bake sale. Your scones sell very well there too. Thanks for the recipes! I’ll try to take some pictures of them on our bake sale table!

    • Please do, Debb — I’d love to see! 😊

  • I’ve just made it and they look and taste delicious, but after I read some reviews, I decided to use only one tsp of baking powder and they turned out great. I wish I could post a picture here, I am so proud of how good they look.

    • — Diomar Da Silva
    • Reply
  • Just made these! Unfortunately the whole tbsp of baking powder gave them a really unpleasant bitter flavor… but even with that, they’re sort of addictive. I just wish I had only put in a tsp of baking powder or something – not sure if it was my baking powder, or if there was a misprint and it actually meant to say tsp. They could have been so good! The texture is lovely and they’re so easy to whip up, so maybe I’ll try again with much less baking powder.

    • Question: Can I use a teaspoon of baking powder? Sandy was correct: these have a bitter aftertaste, despite the enormous amount of sweetness to them. I made this recipe exactly as written. Next time: will cut the sugar/honey and await your response on the baking powder. Otherwise, these were very good! Thanks. Nancy

      • So after doing some Googling, apparently having aluminum in your baking powder can make it taste bitter. In the pictures, you can see she’s using aluminum-free baking powder! I tried it again with aluminum-free and the bitter taste is gone. 😀

  • These muffins and your apple rum raisin bread pudding were a HUGE hit with friends at brunch today! As a novice baker I feel empowered to be able to make things I love to eat myself at *this* quality. Your recipes are just the BEST. <3

  • Made these for Thanksgiving dinner. Had them warm and later at room temperature-both times delicious. I’ll be making these again.

    • — Cyrille Velasco
    • Reply
  • Made these to bring to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. They were delicious and very easy to make. The spices really came through and elevated the flavor.

  • These were delicious! I subbed almond milk for regular, used half whole wheat flour, reduced honey by 2 tbsp, and halved cloves. These baked in exactly 20 minutes and were so good, and perfect amount of sweetness, as I don’t like very sweet cornbread. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • I cannot say enough FANTASTIC things about these muffins. I’m not even that great of a baker but I followed this recipe and made a home run! They were the most raved about item at our dinner table. Definitely a keeper.
    Thank you!!

  • Jenn- have you ever tried adding chopped walnuts or pecans to the muffins?

    • I haven’t Suzie but I think it’d work well. Please let me know how they turn out if you try it.

      • I didn’t add nuts and baked them exactly as written. They were a huge hit with thanksgiving dinner and leftovers for breakfast the next morning.
        I doubled the recipe but made 18 muffins. Baked for 20 minutes and that was perfect.

        • — Suzie DeAngelis
        • Reply
  • OMG! These are just perfect! Tripled the recipe (we’re having a Thanksgiving side dish potluck at work) with no problem whatsoever. My daughter and I sampled one and now she’s begging for me to make a batch got home. This is definitely one that will be repeated over and over again.

  • Hi Jenn –
    If using muffins liners, is it best to spray both the pan and the liners beforehand?
    Just like some of your other recipes? Or is it best to make as directed?

    • Hi Cindi, I prefer not using liners with this recipe so the outsides get crisp, but if you use them, I would grease the top of the pan in case the tops stick (you don’t need to spray the liners). Hope that helps!

      • thank you!

  • This looks like a great recipe, plan to try it tomorrow. If you use a cast iron skillet, should you adjust the oven temperature or amount of time in the oven?

    • Hi Carrie, the oven temp should remain the same. One reader commented that she baked this in a cast iron skillet, and it took 20 – 21 minutes. I’d suspect it may take a bit longer, but I’d start checking it at about that time. Just keep an eye on it. Enjoy!

  • The muffins look wonderful. Unlike most of my friends, I love everything pumpkin. I can’t wait to make them.

  • Would it be possible to substitute sweet potatoes for the pumpkin do you think? Also it would be awesome if you could post a recipe for sweet potato pie, which is really so much tastier than pumpkin pie IMHO! I love your site so much Jenn. You are my chef hero! 🙂

    • Hi Cat, So glad you’re enjoying the site — and I’ll add sweet potato pie to my list for sure! I think you could definitely use sweet potatoes in place of the pumpkin here. Please lmk how they turn out if you try them!

  • DO These freeze well afternoon baking ?

  • Great muffins! Just the right texture and mild sweetness that a muffin should have. I’m always pleased when “Once Upon a Chef” appears in the results for a recipe search, because I know it will be good, and I don’t have to look any further. I always follow your recipes and tips exactly as given, and the results are perfect every time.

  • Oh, wow — this is just SO good! (If the batter is any indication…YUM!) I made this in an 8″ square pan and tested until done. A bit over 25 min. I initially considered leaving the spices out since it was being served with chili. Glad I didn’t. Total keeper!

  • Excellent! I made these this morning for my son who has Celiac’s disease…with the following substitutions:

    Baked and mashed winter squash instead of canned pumpkin;

    King Arthur Measure-for-Measure gluten-free flour mixture instead of regular flour;

    Stoneyfield Low-fat Vanilla yogurt instead of milk;

    Allspice instead of nutmeg because I forgot I ran out 🙂

    The Bob’s cornmeal has lots of tiny pieces of cracked corn in it, which gives the muffins a delightful bit of crunch that my son loves. I also added a tsp of vanilla. The yogurt makes them wonderfully moist. They are SO good. I’m glad I took a chance and made a double batch!

  • These muffins are dangerous they’re so addictive YUM

  • Hi, I think these will be great. Would you be able to tell me the size (quantity) of that can of pumpkin puree in the recipe. The can I bought appears much bigger and your quantity in the recipe only says “one can”. Thanks.

    Like all of your recipes I know this will be great! You’ve made me a confident cook. And secondly, have you noticed how little space is made in a grocery store for ingredients versus pre-made food?

    • Hi James, The recipe actually only calls for 1 cup of canned pumpkin purée. So happy you’re having success with the recipes — and yes on the supermarket observation!

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