Fluffy and moist with tall muffin tops crowned with crunchy brown sugar streusel, these Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins are perfect for fall and totally irresistible.
New fall favorite
There’s no denying pumpkin is the darling of fall. It’s a wonderful ingredient that adds an earthy flavor, moisture and sweetness to bakes. Its unique flavor really shines in these muffins and isn't overshadowed by tons of spices.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Ultra-plush crumb with a sweet crunchy brown sugar streusel
- Straight-forward recipe with no "hacks" required
- Simple ingredient list
- No special equipment necessary
Baking with sourdough discard
Sourdough discard adds a great tangy flavor to these muffins. Since you’re not using it as a leavener, your sourdough starter does not need to be activated or fed for it to work in this recipe and you can use it straight from the refrigerator. Older discard will have a tangier, more acidic flavor than freshly-fed sourdough starter. Both will work for this recipe, you’ll get a slightly different flavor but your bake will still be delicious!
If you love delicious sourdough discard recipes. Check out my collection of Sourdough Discard Recipes.
What you need
Pumpkin puree: For the best results opt for canned pumpkin puree, not canned pumpkin pie filling, since it contains added sugar and spices or homemade puree, which can change the hydration level of your dough . Use your leftover puree and make a Decorative Pumpkin Sourdough Bread, Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls or Pumpkin Sourdough Cupcakes.
Sourdough discard: Add 28 grams of water and 28 grams of all-purpose flour to your batter if you don't have any sourdough discard.
All-purpose flour: Do not substitute whole wheat flour for this recipe or your muffins will be too dense and gummy.
Brown sugar: Substitute white sugar if that's all you have in your pantry.
TIP: Start with room temperature ingredients. Cake batter is essentially an emulsion. Eggs, butter and milk trap air in the batter when they are mixed. These ingredients emulsify better when they are at room temperature, leading to a silky batter with less lumps. As your muffins bake, air expands leading to light, light and tender muffins with tall tops!
STEP 1: Make the streusel. Refrigerate while you make the batter.
STEP 2: Bloom spices in hot melted butter. Let the butter cool.
TIP: Make sure your leaveners are fresh. Baking soda and baking powder have a limited shelf life. If yours are no longer fresh, they won’t be able to help your muffins rise.
STEP 3: Stir the sugars, sourdough discard, pumpkin puree, oil and milk into the cooled butter and spice mixture.
STEP 4: Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
TIP: Fold the flour in a third at a time. This helps prevent lumps in the batter and avoids too much gluten development through over mixing.
STEP 5: Portion out the batter in a lined muffin tin. Top with streusel.
STEP 6: Bake muffins at 375 F for 20 to 25 minutes.
TIP: Start your bake at a high temperature. Preheat your oven to 450 F and then turn down the temperature to 375 F as your muffins go in the oven. The initial high heat will encourage your muffins to rise high, and continuing your bake at a lower temperature will gently bake your batter without burning your muffins.
Use canned pumpkin puree: Homemade pumpkin puree has a different moisture content than canned pumpkin puree. Using roasted pumpkin may change the hydration level of your batter and adversely affect the result of your bake. It’s best to use canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling which has added sugar and spices.
Test your leaveners for freshness: If your baking soda and baking powder have been in the pantry for some time. Ensure that they still work by combining 1 teaspoon with a drop of vinegar. If the mixture fizzes then your leaveners will still work.
Don't under mix or over mix your batter: Too much gluten development through over mixing will cause your muffins to become dense. However, under mixing will result in unbaked flour pockets in your muffins. Muffins also need a little bit of gluten to create structure which supports a tall muffin top.
Fill your muffins tins all the way: More batter = taller muffins! I like to use a large cookie scoop to measure out my batter and portion out about 80 to 90 grams (about 6 tablespoons).
No peeking!: Do not under any circumstances open the oven door while your muffins bake. This will prevent the heat from your oven from escaping. Opening the door prematurely before the crumb is fully baked will cause your muffins to sink and interior to become dense and gummy.
- Your baking soda and baking powder may be past their prime and not able to leaven your muffins
- You may have opened the oven door before the center of your muffins are fully baked, unfortunately this would cause them to sink and the center to be dense and gummy
- You may have measured your ingredients incorrectly, weigh your ingredients to make sure your proportions are correct
- Your oven temperature may have been too low, high temperatures encourage the muffins to rise
You may have developed too much gluten in your batter. It helps to fold your flour into the batter a third at a time to ensure all of the flour is incorporated without over-mixing. Opening the oven door before your muffins are fully baked could also cause them to be too gummy. In this case, your muffins will sink and the interior will be gummy.
Absolutely! Simply use the same proportion of freshly fed sourdough starter in the recipe. Your starter won’t add a strong tangy flavor to your muffins, but will still work.
If you don’t have a starter, but still want to try out this recipe, simply add 28 grams of all-purpose flour and 28 grams of water to your batter.
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Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins Recipe
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Brown Sugar Streusel
- 4 grams ground cinnamon
- 42 grams unsalted butter cold and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 40 grams all-purpose flour
- 50 grams brown sugar
- 113 grams unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground all-spice
- 200 grams brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 28 grams vegetable oil
- 56 grams sourdough discard
- 226 grams pumpkin puree
- 28 grams whole milk
- 210 grams all-purpose flour
- 4 grams baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 6 grams salt
Click US Customary to view volume measurements
- Make the streusel: Cut butter into all-purpose flour and cinnamon using a fork or your fingertips. Stir brown sugar into the mixture using a spatula until walnut or pea-sized pieces form. Refrigerate while you prepare the batter.4 grams ground cinnamon, 42 grams unsalted butter, 40 grams all-purpose flour, 50 grams brown sugar
- Melt butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Transfer the melted butter to a large mixing bowl, add spices to bloom. Let the butter cool completely before continuing.113 grams unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, ⅛ teaspoon ground all-spice
- Mix the wet ingredients: Whisk the brown sugar into the butter until fully dissolved. Stir the egg and vegetable oil into the mixture. Add in the pumpkin puree, sourdough discard and milk until fully incorporated and no traces of discard remain.200 grams brown sugar, 28 grams vegetable oil, 1 large egg, 226 grams pumpkin puree, 56 grams sourdough discard, 28 grams whole milk
- Make the batter: Fold the baking soda, baking powder, salt and a third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Gently stir the flour in until no traces remain.210 grams all-purpose flour, 4 grams baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 6 grams salt
- Fold the flour in a third at a time to prevent lumps. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rest while the oven preheats.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 F with the rack in the middle. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- Portion out batter: Divide the batter evenly among the crevices of the prepared muffin tin (about 80 to 90 grams or 6 tablespoons of batter in each). Top the batter with streusel.
- Bake: Place the muffin tin on the middle rack of the oven, close the door and immediately turn down the temperature to 375 F.
- Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not open the door too soon or your muffins will sink!
- Let the muffins cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning them out on a wire rack.
- Enjoy and store: Serve the muffins fresh from the oven and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
These recipes were developed and tested using grams for precise measurements. To increase your chances of success, I recommend investing in a kitchen scale. I've included rough volume estimates (in tablespoons and cups), but they might not be totally accurate.
Remember all ovens are unique, these recipes were tested in my oven which runs cooler than others. You might need to lower the temperature if your bake appears to be browning too quickly. Monitor your bake closely and make adjustments if needed.