Spiced Pumpkin Honey Muffins


The second November hits, I’m counting down to Thanksgiving. Literally – I have a T-giving countdown calendar on my Google homepage. It has a very festive orange and yellow and green leaf motif. And right now, it’s telling me there are 21 days, 1 hour, 53 minutes, and 48…47…46… seconds til the big day. I love Google homepage. And countdown calendars.

In my mind, Thanksgiving marks the official kick-off to the holiday season – my favorite time of year. It evokes thoughts of fallen leaves crunching beneath my shoes, comfy scarves, spending time with family and big dinners with all the fixin’s. I’m smiling just thinking about it!

To get myself in the spirit this year, I set out my honeycomb turkey decoration. Because that’s classy. And then I baked some pumpkin muffins!


These Spiced Pumpkin Honey Muffins are one of my favorite things to bake and one of my family and friends’ favorite things to eat! I adapted this recipe, and now they’re whole grain and practically fat free. Major swaps include using white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, applesauce instead of oil and egg whites instead of whole eggs. And I upped the spices, because I’m a spicy gal.

The best change though is replacing the white sugar with honey. Not only does honey keep this a whole-foods-only muffin, but it adds a depth of flavor and keeps the muffins extra, extra moist – even without any oil. And guess what I recently learned? Honey bees pollinate pumpkins! Pumpkin farmers actually keep honey bee hives nearby to make sure they’re always around to help their crop grow. So obviously, pumpkin and honey are a match made in the pumpkin patch.


Here’s my recipe:

1/2 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

3 egg whites

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup honey

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, egg whites, applesauce and honey until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix white whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.


I just ate that one. It was even yummier than I remember.

What’s your favorite thing to make to feel all Thanksgiving-y inside?


30 Responses to “Spiced Pumpkin Honey Muffins”

  1. 1 VeggieGirl November 6, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Oooh, yum!! Now THESE muffins would be fabulous in a Spiced Pumpkin AGAVE version 😉

    **For that “Thanksgiving-y feeling,” I always bake up lots of pumpkin loaves, make homemade cranberry sauce, etcetera.

  2. 2 erica November 6, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    mmm, these look so delicious! anything with pumpkin during the fall months make me fell all “thanksgiving-y” as does cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie!

  3. 3 sweetandnatural November 6, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    VeggieGirl, erica – Pumpkin definitely = Thanksgiving. But I’ve never been a cranberry sauce fan. Is that un-American?!

  4. 4 Andrea November 6, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Mmmmmmm…these sound incredible! My favorite thanksgiving-y feeling recipe to make is pumpkin cranberry bread. I haven’t made it healthy yet, but am planning on experimenting this weekend because I’ve been so inspired by your blog! 🙂

  5. 5 Amanda November 6, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I love this blog because I get to eat the contents!

  6. 6 Jennifer November 6, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    YUM! I love the idea of using allllllllllllllll honey to sweeten the muffins!

  7. 7 Meghann November 6, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Ashley,

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. I have actually been secretly reading your blog as well. Everything on her looks delicious and you are a very stistic food photographer, a skill I need to master. 🙂 Thanks for the muffin recipe. I really need to try the honey substituion for sugar. I never thought of it before, such a great idea!

    My favorite Thanksgiving-y thing is also a christmas thing, my mom’s chocolate peanut butter balls! She only makes them for Thanksgiving and Christmas so its quite a treat and I look forward to it all year long!

  8. 8 sweetandnatural November 6, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Andrea – I know I just said I don’t like cranberry sauce, but pumpkin cranberry bread sounds pretty tasty to me.

    Amanda – One more thing to make for you and I’ll pop ’em the mail. Hope I have a box somewhere under my bed…

    Jennifer – The all honey thing is totally the secret to these muffins. They are SO moist!

    Meghann – Hahaha – I love all the lurking that goes around. I think I feel more empowered to comment now that I have a blog of my own. Like I’m actually contributing something the the blog world. 🙂 And are you talking about the peanut butter/powdered sugar balls that are covered in melted chocolate? I love those!

  9. 9 Andrea November 6, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    I tried these tonight, they were so tasty! Not nearly as beautiful as yours though, not sure why mine turned out so lumpy. I can’t wait to share with my office tomorrow, I know they’ll be a hit! 🙂

  10. 10 sweetandnatural November 6, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Andrea – I’m so glad you like them! Hope your work friends do too. And I just peaked at your site and saw the muffin pics – I love the way they look! But how interesting that they’re so different. Maybe it’s our ovens? Mine is certainly not fancy, so who knows how comparable it is to other people’s.

  11. 11 HangryPants November 7, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I haven’t heard of subbing flax for butter, but you can sub it for egg if you add it to water. I love it.

    These muffins are so delicious looking! Yummmmmy.


  12. 12 sweetandnatural November 7, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    HangryPants – That’s what I told my friend! I knew you could do it for eggs, but butter was brand new information. I’ll have to try both!

  13. 13 strongandhealthy November 8, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Those look so good! I love pumpkin in anything!

  14. 14 Joanna November 8, 2008 at 10:01 am

    i have never seen someone individually put pumpkin seeds on muffins! i give you total props for that. nicely done. they look lovely.

  15. 15 sweetandnatural November 8, 2008 at 11:36 am

    strongandhealthy – I love pumpkin too. I just had some leftover in my oatmeal this morning – first time! It was delish!

    Joanna – All for the camera. 😉

  16. 16 Kimberly November 14, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I just put these muffins in the oven! I hope they turn out as beautiful as yours. I only used a half cup of honey after discovering that was all I had (and I have already been to two grocery stores this morning), so we shall see. P.S. I really like your site and look forward to more sweet and natural delights to come!

  17. 17 sweetandnatural November 14, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Kimberly – Let me know how they turn out with less honey! I’m glad you like the blog. 🙂

  18. 18 Kimberly November 18, 2008 at 8:36 am

    I think they turned out pretty well with less honey. They are a little dense, but I don’t think that was the honey’s fault – I mixed a little too long. They were perfect with a little smear of pumpkin butter.

  19. 19 sweetandnatural November 18, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Kimberly – I’m glad they were okay for you! And I bet using less honey did make them more dense, because the honey adds SO much moisture to the muffins. Maybe if you’re running low next time, you could try adding some extra liquid to the mix – like milk or water?

    • 20 kate September 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      Could I use agave or applesauce in place of honey or truvia or sugar free syrup? I dont have honey and am vegan too. Thanks

  20. 21 Nella Pasta November 3, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    yum! I love anything with pumpkin and/or pumpkin seeds

  21. 22 Mary November 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I tried these tonight myself…. All the pieces of the puzzle were delicious, but they were still mushy in the middle when I finished cooking them (for an extra 20 minutes). I cooked them for another 20 minutes after that, trying to get them up to 200F, and they were a less watery but still not like a muffin on the inside–it was almost like they were muffins with a honey-pumpkin-applesauce filling. I did use whole wheat flour rather than white whole wheat flour, but that was the only substitution. Have you come across this kind of thing in your foray into whole baking?


  22. 23 Lara November 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I’m going to try it with honey-sweetened cranberry sauce instead of applesauce. Let ya know how it turns out!

  23. 24 kelley September 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I just made this recipe and it didnt come out any where near what it should of been. I am very disappointed because I thought I found a recipe that was great.

    • 25 kate September 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      sorry that happened to you, Ingredients are not cheap and I empathize with you

      • 26 Jessica October 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

        These turned out wonderful! They were perfectly done at 25min and slipped right out of the pan and into my husband’s tummy. I did use a zero calorie honey substitute and it did not cause a problem. It is so gratifying to treat loved ones to something that is good for them. Thanks for the great recipe!

  24. 27 Veronica October 17, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I made these with a whole gala apple (3/4 c. Blended) and only about 1/3 cup of honey. They came out chewey and not too sweet. My husband took them to work and they got rave reviews:)

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