With fall approaching two things come to mind in regards to baking-- pumpkins and apples! Both conjure up autumnal memories in the best ways. Delicious smells like roasted apples with cinnamon, baked pumpkin pie, the infamous PSL, and my Cream Cheese Frosted Pumpkin Cookies come to mind. One healthier way to get more of your pumpkin fix this season is with this High Protein Pumpkin Muffin recipe.
These Healthy Protein Pumpkin Muffins are made without refined sugar (they are sweetened with honey!), part of the flour is supplemented with oats, and hemp seeds and greek yogurt pack in the protein (9 grams per muffin!). And don't forget the pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, which are super healthy in their own right! These lightly sweet and energy sustaining pumpkin spice protein muffins are the perfect breakfast or snack to enjoy this fall. They are kid-friendly and freezer-friendly, too.
Pumpkin Protein Muffins WITHOUT protein powder
When I set out to make this recipe, I wanted to make sure I could create a delicious, healthy protein pumpkin muffin without adding in protein powder. I know that not everyone has protein powder on hand and buying a big container of it can be an investment. So I decided to add protein in different ways! Here's what I did.
Eggs: Did you know that there are 6 grams of protein in one egg? At 70 calories a piece, good things really do come in small packages!
Hemp hearts: Speaking of small, I added hemp hearts to these as another source of protein and texture. ½ cup of hemp hearts has approximately 26 grams of protein. If you would like, you can use this link to get 20% off anything from EcoHemp (the brand I used!) the code you enter at checkout is "2r" not capitalized. I make a small commission if you shop through the link!
Greek Yogurt: One cup of greek yogurt has 23 grams of protein. Divide that between 12 muffins, and almost 2 grams of protein comes from the yogurt alone! I love to use Chobani Whole Milk Greek Yogurt.
- all-purpose flour
- old fashioned rolled oats
- hemp seeds
- greek yogurt
- canned pumpkin puree (or you can make your own pumpkin puree from scratch in the Instant Pot)
- baking powder
- baking soda
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients-- yogurt, eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and honey. Stir to combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, excluding the hemp hearts or any optional add-ins (see below). Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
In thirds, add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, folding the muffin batter as you go.
Once everything is incorporated, fold in hemp hearts.
In a lined muffin tin, pour batter into each cup. This recipe creates 12 muffins, and each one should be about ¾ full of wet batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick pulls out cleanly.
Allow to cool and enjoy! Muffins will stay fresh in an airtight container on the counter for about a week. Otherwise, you can freeze any extras!
These pumpkin protein muffins do not have oil in them. So they will stick to the pan if you don't use cupcake liners or a silicone cupcake tin. I advise that you wait until they are completely cool (I know it's hard!) to peel back the liners and enjoy, they may stick otherwise.
Who are these muffins good for?
Those looking to add extra protein to their diet! Each protein pumpkin muffin is packed with a whopping NINE grams of protein.
Toddlers. Since these are very lightly sweetened, these are great for our little ones. My son LOVES them! Just be sure to wait until after age one, as they do have honey in them.
Nursing mothers. With oats to help increase milk supply and hemp hearts for healthy omega-3 and omega-g fatty acids, these muffins are perfect for nursing mothers. The protein in these muffins will keep you full!
Looking for ways to switch up these pumpkin protein muffins? Try any of the following!
Chocolate Chips: These add sweetness and are a delicious accompaniment to the pumpkin flavor. Try semi-sweet, bittersweet, or cacao nibs!
Coconut flakes: Add in a half a cup of coconut flakes to these muffins. You may find you need to cut back on some of the hemp seeds if you do this, to make sure the muffins stay together.
Banana: Sub out ⅓ cup of the pumpkin puree for one banana for extra flavor and a little sweetness. Pumpkin Banana Protein Muffins?! Sounds great to me!
Protein powder: If you would like to up the protein in these muffins even more, you can substitute out some of the flour for plain or vanilla protein powder. I would stick to ½ a cup or less being subbed in, to retain the texture of the muffins. Many protein powders contain whey, so if you would like to keep these muffins vegetarian and still use protein powder, try on of these vegan protein powder options.
Pumpkin pie filling: The flavors in these muffins already make them a sort of "pumpkin pie" protein muffin, so pumpkin pie filling is a totally fine substitute here. There will be some spices in it, but they will complement the ones already included. Be aware that the pumpkin pie filling will most likely have sugar in it. If you want to have these muffins stay refined sugar-free, you will want to stick to regular canned pumpkin.
Gluten free flour: I have not tested this recipe with gluten free flour, but it would be worth a try to substitute in coconut flour, almond flour, or oat flour. If you try an alternative flour to make these muffins gluten-free, please leave a comment for other readers to learn from!
Can you freeze pumpkin muffins?
Yes, they freeze extremely well! This is a great way to be efficient with your time AND have extra breakfasts/snacks on hand for when you need them. Either make a single or double batch of these healthy pumpkin muffins and save half to pull out when you need them.
Healthy Protein Pumpkin Muffins
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup hemp seeds
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- ½ tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ cup honey
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients-- yogurt, eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and honey. Stir to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, excluding the hemp hearts or any optional add-ins (see below). Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
- In thirds, add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, folding the muffin batter as you go.
- Once everything is incorporated, fold in hemp hearts.
- In a lined muffin tin, pour batter into each cup. This recipe creates 12 muffins, and each one should be about ¾ full of wet batter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick pulls out cleanly.
- Allow to cool and enjoy! Muffins will stay fresh in an airtight container on the counter for about a week. Otherwise, you can freeze any extras!
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