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.
I absolutely love these muffins, especially the mix of textures with its ultra-plush crumb that almost melts in your mouth and a sweet crunchy brown sugar streusel. While I love how they taste, my real favorite thing about them is how simple they are to make. When I created this recipe, I wanted to do away with all the complicated “hacks” that are common in many muffin recipes. This recipe is super straightforward, with a simple ingredient list, no special equipment needed and uses muffin liners to make sure muffins don’t get stuck.
How to get tall bakery-style muffin tops
- Make sure your leaveners are fresh - Chemical leaveners like 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.
- Use room temperature ingredients - Cake batter is essentially an emulsion. Eggs, butter and milk trap bubbles 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, this air expands leading to light, airy muffins with tall tops!
- 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).
- 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.
- 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 fall, the tops to sink and interior to become gummy.
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!
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 cookies, 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.
What you need
- Pumpkin puree
- Sourdough discard
- Whole milk
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Brown sugar
- Vegetable oil
- Large egg
- Mixing bowls
- Silicone spatula
- Parchment paper
- Large cookie scoop
- Muffin tin
- Set ingredients out to bring them to room temperature
- Preheat oven to 450 F and line muffin tins with paper liners
- Make streusel and refrigerate
- Melt butter and stir in spices, set aside to cool
- Whisk dry ingredients together
- Whisk sugars into butter
- Stir in egg, oil, sourdough discard and pumpkin puree
- Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients
- Divide batter into 12-cup muffin tin and top with streusel
- Turn temperature down to 375 F and bake for 20 to 25 mins
Homemade pumpkin puree has a different moisture content than canned pumpkin puree. This could change the hydration level of your muffins and adversely affect the result of your bake. It’s best to use canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling).
- 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.
Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins
The perfect mix of crunchy and soft, these Sourdough Pumpkin muffins are fluffy and moist with irresistibly tall muffin tops!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
Brown Sugar Streusel
4 grams (1 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
42 grams (3 tablespoons) butter, cold and cut into 1-inch cubes
40 grams (⅓ cup) all-purpose flour
50 grams (¼ cup) brown sugar
113 grams (8 tablespoons) butter
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon ground all-spice
210 grams (1 ¾ cup) all-purpose flour
4 grams (1 teaspoon) baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
6 grams (1 ½ teaspoon) salt
200 grams (1 cup) brown sugar
28 grams (2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
1 large egg
226 grams (1 cup) pumpkin puree
56 grams (¼ cup) sourdough discard
28 grams (2 tablespoons) whole milk
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.
Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 F with the rack in the middle. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside
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.
Mix dry ingredients: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
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.
Make the batter: Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients a third at a time. Gently stirring to prevent your batter from forming too much gluten, or your muffins may become dense and rubbery.
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).
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.
When in doubt, use weight over volume measures
- Serving Size: 1 muffin
- Calories: 296
- Sugar: 21.3 g
- Fat: 13.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 41 g
- Protein: 3.6 g
Keywords: muffins, sourdough discard, quick bread, breakfast