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Pumpkin muffin recipe with applesauce

This sparkly pumpkin muffin recipe is loaded with warm fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Mixed by hand, they come together in just a few minutes, plus they stay tender and moist for days thanks to the applesauce and pumpkin purée.

These quick and easy muffins are full of pumpkin flavor. Each muffin is topped with a bit of coarse raw sugar for a bit of texture and crunch.

We’re moving from summer baking recipes like these blueberry peach muffins into the warm spices of fall. These muffins are a sure sign that autumn is on the way.

Pumpkin applesauce muffin in brown tulip muffin paper in front of silver basket.

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Pumpkin muffin recipe

Before we go any further, let me apologize for not having a pumpkin muffin recipe on the blog before now. I’ve been making some variation of this recipe for well over a decade, about as long as this website has been around.

Overhead photo of pumpkin muffins on cooling rack.

More often than not, when I bake something, the neighbors are the recipients of the baking endeavor. Not this time. These pumpkin applesauce muffins aren’t going anywhere except my belly.

They are great for a quick breakfast with a cup of coffee or an afternoon/after school snack.

Sparkly sugar-topped pumpkin muffins

Normally, when I bake pumpkin muffins, I top them with pepita seeds. However, when I went into the pantry, I realized that I was completely out of them.

Having to shift gears, I went with a crunchy, sparkly sprinkle of raw sugar. Awhile back, I remember seeing a recipe from Stella Parks that used a full teaspoon of sugar on top of each muffin.

Pumpkin muffin recipe with sparkly sugar tops.

It may sound egregious to those who have never tried it, but I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely necessary. It’s the perfect amount.

More muffin recipes we love – Banana muffins with cinnamon streusel | Easy blueberry muffins | Cherry muffins with almond streusel | Peach muffins


One of the best things about muffins is the ingredient list. There is nothing here that you wouldn’t normally find in your pantry.

Because I make a lot of dog treats, I always have canned pumpkin purée and applesauce in the cupboard. Those may be the only items you have to pick up at the store.

Ingredients for pumpkin muffin recipe

If you have pumpkin pie spice in your cabinet, you can substitute it for the individual spices that I have shown. Whichever you choose is fine, it’s basically the same either way.

For the applesauce, you’ll want to make sure that it has no added sugar. Otherwise, the pumpkin muffin recipe will be too sweet.

Lastly, make sure everything is room temperature before you start. Pouring melted butter into cold eggs will make it clump up and we want it to fully incorporate into a nice smooth mixture.

Muffin method

The muffin method, which isn’t just for muffins, is:

  • Dry ingredients in one bowl
  • Wet ingredients in another bowl
  • Pour wet into dry
  • Stir just until it’s all incorporated
  • Bake your muffins
Step by step photo instructions for pumpkin muffins.

Dry ingredients are whisked together in a slightly larger bowl than the wet ingredients because we’ll be adding the wet into the dry.

Scoop pumpkin muffin batter into muffin tins and bake until a tester comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

Pumpkin applesauce muffin with butter on stacked white plates with antique butter spreader.
  • I use a rubber spatula to stir the batter, as it’s easier to scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate the flour instead of stirring with a spoon.
  • Nonstick muffin pans are perfect for those who don’t want to use paper liners.
  • If you are going to use paper liners, go straight to commercial bakeware, like this traditional muffin pan
  • Tulip style paper liners – these are the exact same liners that I used.
  • 2 ounce scoop will give you uniform muffins. I highly recommend using it.

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More pumpkin recipes

Pumpkin muffin recipe

Cheryl Bennett
This sparkly pumpkin muffin recipe with applesauce is loaded with warm fall spices. No electric mixer needed and they stay moist for days.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Course Breakfast and brunch recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 1 dozen large muffins
Calories 279 kcal


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 8.5 oz. by weight
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin purée not pumpkin pie filling
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup no sugar added applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled (1 stick or 8 tbsp.)
  • 4 tbsp. sugar in the raw for sparkly tops


  • Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C / Gas mark 6.
  • Line a muffin tin with papers. (Or butter and flour the pan / coat with nonstick baking spray).
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves (*or pumpkin pie spice – see note). Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine pumpkin purée, eggs, vanilla, applesauce, sugars and melted butter and whisk to incorporate.
  • Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Gently stir with a spatula until flour mixture is incorporated, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  • Fill muffin liners 2/3 full. Sprinkle each muffin with 1 teaspoon of raw sugar.
  • Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
  • Let muffins cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.


You can substitute 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.


Serving: 1muffinCalories: 279kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 4gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 240mgFiber: 1gSugar: 30g
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