These healthy pumpkin muffins are a delicious Fall treat, made with easy whole food ingredients. I love that they’re naturally sweetened with fruit and don’t require any flour or oil!
I was inspired to make these muffins because I wanted my son to have something nut-free that he could pack in his school lunchbox. I didn’t want to send him off with something too sugary, so I relied on fruit as the sweetener in these muffins, and blended them together with rolled oats, pumpkin puree, and eggs for filling fiber and protein.
As you may know, I’m in love with using dates in my baked goods because I think they are the healthiest sweetener on the planet.
You can read more about why I think they are so good for you in my post on how to make date paste. And if you’re worried about the sugar in fruit, I hope you’ll check out my post on why I don’t limit my fruit intake.
My 5-year-old is my ultimate “picky eater” right now, so trust that if he thinks these muffins are good… they’re good. Not just good for being a healthy treat, but good because they are delicious. I hope you’ll love them, too!
Optional Muffin Toppings & Add-Ins
I like to add some pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries into these muffins when serving them to adults, as they add a nice contrast of textures and flavors, but my kids won’t touch them that way, so I usually only sprinkle these additions on top. If you have more adventurous eaters, fold them into the batter– or just leave them out for a simple pumpkin muffin.
This recipe makes 7 full-size muffins, or 20 mini muffins. Feel free to double the recipe if you want to fill a standard 12-cup muffin tin.
I like to make these in a mini muffin tin for my kids, since they don’t eat huge portions as it is, so I’ve included the baking time for that in the recipe notes below.
These healthy pumpkin muffins are naturally gluten-free and nut-free, and make the perfect treat for a school lunch. I love that they are sweetened with fruit, and are made without added flour or oil.
- 1/3 cup dried fruit (like raisins or cranberries)
- 1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
Line a muffin tin with 7 muffin cups (I use these silicone liners) and preheat your oven to 350ºF. Place the dates in a large food processor fitted with an S blade, and process them until broken down slightly. It's okay if they form a ball.
Use a spatula to break up the dates if they have formed a ball, then add in the pumpkin, water, salt, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and egg. Process again until smooth.
Add in the oats and baking soda to the mixture and process again, until a batter is formed. If the batter appears very thick, you can add 1-2 more tablespoons of water to help thin it out a bit. Fold in the dried fruit and seeds, if you want to add them for added texture. (Omit if you have picky kids that don't like texture.)
Use a 1/4 cup to scoop the batter into the lined muffin cups. Bake until the muffins have risen and feel firm when you lightly touch them in the center, about 20 to 22 minutes. Let them cool for at least 20 minutes in the pan before serving.
Muffins can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days, but for best shelf life I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Note: I love making these muffins in a mini muffin tin for my kids. This recipe makes about 20 mini muffins, and I bake them at 350ºF for 13 minutes in that case.
Per muffin (without add-ins): Calories: 82, Fat: 1g, Carbohydrates: 17g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 2g
- I haven’t tested a vegan version of this recipe yet, but you might be able to use a flax or chia egg instead of the real egg. Please leave a comment below if you try it!
- If you don’t have enough dates to make this recipe, you can use some banana in their place, but that will change the flavor a bit. As always, if you experiment, please leave a comment below letting us all know what worked for you!
Reader Feedback: Do you have any nut-free recipes to share for school lunches? Please share in the comments below!