These protein pumpkin muffins are the best (and easiest) way to celebrate the return of pumpkin season.
With only 4 ingredients needed, you have no excuse to not give these a try.
These healthy pumpkin muffins contain just 125 calories each and have 7 grams of protein, so they’re a great way to kick off your morning.
And if you’re worried about the taste- don’t be. My 2-year-old was my taste tester for these pumpkin protein muffins, and he absolutely devoured them. So, I’d say we have a winner here.
Ingredients Needed for Pumpkin Protein Muffins
Since these healthy pumpkin protein muffins require just 4 ingredients, each ingredient chosen is very important. I’ll break down each and help you explore possible substitutions (just in case) but if you want the best pumpkin protein muffins, try to follow the ingredients as closely as possible!
Here’s what you need:
- Pumpkin Muffin or Bread Mix (any brand)
- Pumpkin Pie Flavored (or similar) Protein Powder
- Canned Pumpkin
- Unsweetened Applesauce
First things first, we’re taking a bit of a shortcut with these pumpkin muffins and using boxed pumpkin muffin mix.
I have no issue taking shortcuts with some recipes, and a boxed mix is the perfect way to do that. The boxed mix contains the wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and flavors we need, so we don’t need to measure all of that out.
In this case, I used a pumpkin bread/muffin mix from Trader Joe’s, but any brand will work. You can likely even find a boxed mix that utilizes almond flour or oat flour if you need a gluten-free version, too. Head to your local grocery store and you’re sure to find an option.
To elevate the muffin mix, we’re adding protein powder. In this case, I used PEScience’s limited edition pumpkin pie flavor, because the flavor obviously works incredibly well. But it is a limited-time flavor, so if it’s not available to you, you can truly use any protein powder flavor you prefer.
A plain vanilla protein powder with a dash of pumpkin spice will work great here if it’s all you have! It won’t have nearly as delicious of a flavor as the pumpkin pie-flavored protein powder, but the additional pumpkin spice will definitely help.
I will caution you on the type of protein powder you use, however. PEScience is a mix of whey protein & casein protein, which I’ve found works the best in recipes (you can see the results of my protein powder baking experiment here). Whey protein powder should work just fine in this recipe, but I can’t promise that vegan protein powder will work quite as well.
The last two ingredients we’ll need for these protein pumpkin muffins are unsweetened applesauce and canned pumpkin.
Applesauce is a great low-calorie alternative to eggs in our recipe, and canned pumpkin (or pumpkin puree) will replace all of the fat (butter or oil) that is typically needed in muffin recipes.
Keep in mind that canned pumpkin is not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has sweeteners and flavor added, which we don’t need in this case. Sure, it will work just fine, but to keep this muffin recipe lower in calories, regular canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree is all we need.
And a quick note on applesauce: you can replace it with Greek yogurt or even cottage cheese if you want to bump the protein up a bit more, but I didn’t want to risk drying out these muffins.
How to Make Protein Pumpkin Muffins
If you thought that the ingredients list was simple, the instructions for this recipe are even simpler.
In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients together. Add the canned pumpkin and applesauce, then use a hand mixer to mix everything together until you have a thick batter.
You can mix everything together with a spoon or spatula, but our wet ingredients are pretty dense, so I find an electric mixer to be the easiest method.
Grab a muffin tin and place a muffin liner in each slot. Regular paper liners will work, but if you want to avoid any chance of sticking, I highly recommend picking up reusable silicone liners.
Spoon the muffin batter into each muffin liner to create 12 muffins. Don’t worry about the batter being perfectly smooth or level in the tin- since the batter is thick, each pumpkin protein muffin is not going to be perfectly smooth and uniform when it bakes. We don’t aim for perfection around here!
If you prefer pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, you can add some chocolate chips into your muffin batter and/or directly on top of each muffin. I opted to keep these plain, but I’ll never argue with anyone’s desire for anything chocolate chip.
Bake your muffins at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the muffin pan from the oven, and allow the muffins to cool for about 10 minutes before digging in.
These muffins are incredible when they are warm & fresh out of the oven, but they hold up great as leftovers, too!
Store your leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy them throughout the week for a delicious healthy breakfast or quick snack.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes To Enjoy
Pumpkin is not limited to the Fall months. Sure, that’s when pumpkin is in full swing, but you can (and should) enjoy pumpkin whenever you want to! Allow me to help with some more healthy pumpkin recipes:
- No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Protein Truffles
- The Softest Protein Pumpkin Cookies (Keto-Friendly & Gluten-Free)
- Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies
- Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker
- Air Fryer Pumpkin Pie Donut Holes
- 260g (2 Cups) Pumpkin Muffin or Bread Mix (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- 93g (3 Scoops) Pumpkin Pie Flavored PEScience Protein Powder (Since it's a limited flavor, vanilla or snickerdoodle also works great)
- 1 Can (15oz) of Pure Pumpkin
- 120g (About 1/2 Cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
- Pumpkin Pie Spice for Topping
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin mix, protein powder, canned pumpkin, and applesauce. Use an electric hand mixer to mix everything together into a thick batter.
- Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners (silicone liners work great) and spoon the batter into the pan for 12 muffins. Since the batter is thick, they won't be completely level, which is totally fine.
- Bake the muffins at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with a little bit of pumpkin pie spice on top and enjoy!
- These muffins keep very well as leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
- I highly recommend the pumpkin pie-flavored PEScience protein powder, but since it's a limited-time flavor, regular vanilla works great here as well. If you go that route, I recommend adding a little bit of pumpkin pie spice to the mix to make up some of the flavor.
- I only tested these muffins with protein powder that is a mix of whey & casein protein, but regular whey protein should also work here. I am not confident that plant-based protein would work quite as well.
- Any pumpkin muffin or bread mix should work the same for this recipe! The base of flour, baking powder, and sugar is generally similar throughout most mixes.
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Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1 Muffin
Amount Per Serving Calories 125Total Fat 0.5gCarbohydrates 22gProtein 7g