Fall in Love with Showstopping Pumpkin Muffins for Breakfast

I know it would be easy to think things are all happiness and cookies around here all the time. But just between you and me, I have a hard time with this time of year, when the days being to darken an hour before I leave work, and we gear up for the long (snowy! icy! bitter cold!) winter ahead.

There are those who would say, fairly maybe, that if you declare autumn your favorite set of months, you have to take it with all its flaws, as well as its gorgeous colors and crisp breezes, caramel apples and cider doughnuts, colorful gourds and adorable pumpkins.

Oblique shot of stacked and arranged pumpkin muffins on a rose and pink patterned cloth.

That you can’t be a fickle lover, using the season for what it gives you and wishing it away when the good things end.

When I walk to my car at the end of every workday in pitch-black darkness, when the weather reports threaten snow, when I eat dinner and then want nothing more than to curl up on the sofa immediately with a soft blanket, I tell myself these are the small sacrifices.

Top-down closely cropped image of homemade pumpkin muffins in white paper wrappers, with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top, on a white plate.

That, in exchange for dense golden forests and carved jack-o’-lanterns, I have to give up a little daylight, a little warmth. That, because fall is so wonderful, winter has to follow. It’s just the way of things.

You can’t have everything you want or you’d be terribly spoiled, right? You can’t have the beauty of fall year-round or you’d forget to appreciate it, yes?

A stack of three muffins in paper wrappers is in the foreground, with more of the homemade baked goods on a white ceramic cake stand and a white surface topped with a dark and light pink cloth in the background.

I want to be mature about all this. I am trying, all right? I’ve been trying to find things that I actually like about these darker days – sunny mornings, for example, or the fact that I usually wake up before my alarm.

This almost-winter thing isn’t so bad. Plus, there is Thanksgiving on the horizon, and after that, Christmas.

An orange muffin in the foreground with the paper wrapper peeled down, with more in the background on a table and white cake stand.

Meanwhile, I could use a hug, if not a plane ticket to someplace lovely and warm where I can wait out the next few months. Of course, I’d also settle quite happily for a bite of something delicious… Maybe something made with pumpkin, as another reminder of fall’s virtues?

On the hunt for the perfect pumpkin recipe, I baked these muffins last night.

A pumpkin muffin with a bite taken out of it is resting on a white paper wrapper in the foreground, with more of the baked goods i the background, on a rose-colored cloth surface.

They’re not overpoweringly sweet, with a super moist center and flecks of cinnamon and sugar on top. This might not cure my seasonal woes, but they’re a step in the right direction. A good reminder that there are plenty of things to be enjoyed.

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Eight pumpkin muffins with cinnamon and sugar topping arranged in a circle on a white plate.

The Best Pumpkin Muffins

  • Author: Meghan Bassett
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 18 muffins 1x


Wake up to the scent of fall with an incredible batch of pumpkin muffins. With sugar and spice, these baked goodies bring a burst of flavor.




  1. Place oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F. Put liners in 18 cups of two 12-cup muffin pans.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, mix together pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, and 1 1/4 cups of sugar on the lowest speed.
  4. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix until just combined, always with machine on its lowest setting.
  5. Stir together the cinnamon and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl.
  6. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle the tops of each with cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle.
  8. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack and cool completely before storing.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Breakfast

Keywords: pumpkin, pumpkin muffins, fall, autumn, breakfast

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Measure Ingredients and Prepare Pan

Measure all of the ingredients and place them on your counter in the order they are listed in the ingredients list. This will make it much easier to pull the recipe together.

Out of oil? You can bake anyway with these creative substitutions! And if you need to make this recipe egg-free, there’s a solution for that as well.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups of one 12-cup muffin pan, and line half of the cups of another pan, for 18 total.

Step 2 – Combine Dry Ingredients

Flour and cinnamon are in the bottom of a stainless steel mixing bowl, on a wood table.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

A flour mixture fills the bottom of a stainless steel bowl, on a brown wood surface.

Whisk until combined. Set aside.

Step 3 – Make Batter

Orange pumpkin puree, two eggs without the shell, and a pile of sugar rest at the bottom of a stainless steel stand mixer bowl, on a light brown surface.

Fit an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, and 1 1/4 cups sugar to the bowl of the mixer.

Orange pumpkin puree mixed with egg is in a stainless steel stand mixer bowl.

Stir the wet ingredients together on the lowest setting until combined.

Pumpkin batter fills the bottom of a stainless steel bowl.

Add the flour mixture and continue stirring at the lowest speed, until the batter is combined.

Missing the crunch and taste of nuts in the batter? You might want to consider making our pumpkin nut muffins instead!

Step 4 – Make Cinnamon Topping

A pile of cinnamon is to the left of a larger pile of granulated sugar, in a clear glass bowl on a brown wood surface.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and remaining tablespoon of sugar.

A cinnamon and sugar mixture is in the bottom of a clear glass bowl, on a striped wood surface.

Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Step 5 – Bake

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each of them about 2/3 of the way full.

Orange muffin batter fills paper cups in nine wells of a metal muffin tin.

Sprinkle the tops evenly with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. When you insert a toothpick in the center, it should come out clean.

Orange muffin batter in a tin, topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan to cool directly on the rack. Cool completely before storing the muffins.

Serve warm.

Pumpkin Pie, In a Muffin

If you love pumpkin pie, you are going to fall in love with these muffins. I think one of these tastes just like biting into that piece of pie at the end of Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s soft and supple, with a slight added crunch of sweetness from the cinnamon sugar crust on top.

Eight pumpkin muffins with cinnamon and sugar topping arranged in a circle on a white plate.

Trust me when I say that these are showstopping. You are going to feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast. In my book, that’s always a win. Wouldn’t you agree?

If you need more muffin recipes, we got ’em! Check out some of our recipes:

What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin during the fall season? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on November 7, 2008. Last updated: October 6, 2021 at 11:22 am. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

13 thoughts on “Fall in Love with Showstopping Pumpkin Muffins for Breakfast”

  1. i used to say that Autumn was my fave season too. girl, i take it back. i like it in pictures and theory only. it’s an indian summer day today and if i had a camera, i’d be taking pix of everything outside and SWEATING. i’ll settle for lunch outside instead.

    i’m glad you’re on your way to finding the ultimate pumpkin recipe. while i’m sure this tasted wonderful, i’m still not sold on it.

  2. I had a hard time falling into Fall this year. I didn’t want summer to end! But the beautiful color and foods win me over each time. And the fires in our fireplace too! I made a yummy pumpkin cake this week, give it a try, it is super easy and turned out great! Your muffins look just fine!

  3. I have always hated fall, only because I hate winter so much. But this year…it wasn’t so bad. Red and orange leaves against bright blue skies; crisp, fresh air and brand new sweaters; 70-degree weather in November?! Um, yeah…that’s probably why I didn’t mind this year’s fall — the unusually warm couple of weeks we’ve been having. But winter is on its way, I can feel it. NOOOOOO!!!

    The only thing that gets me through Chicago winters are soups, casseroles, and fuzzy robes. Oh, and food blogs. 🙂

  4. Lan: So it’s HOT there? We had some blissful days (see Jacqui’s comment), but today was blah–rainy, drizzly, cold. Boo.

    RobinSue: I totally saw your pumpkin cake and have my eye on it. I keep buying more pumpkin–I might as well just try every recipe! And it you promise it’s good… oh, I will do it.

    Jacqui: You had to go and remind me how mild our fall has been, didn’t you? As soon as I saw your “red and orange leaves against bright blue skies,” I was smitten with the season all over again. It helped, you could say, that my toes are numb at this moment. Brought me back to reality.

  5. These are sooooo good! I mixed in mini chocolate chips before baking. Not powerfully sweet, which I appreciate. I’ll be keeping this recipe!

  6. I had to make them two days in a row these were met with just great approval from my family! Thank you for such an amazing fall breakfast treat!

    • Thanks, Karin! Glad everyone is falling in love with this recipe – and you have the rest of the season to continue baking them!


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