The mornings are getting chilly. We are picking up our lake toys, storing them for next spring/summer. Leaves are changing and starting to fall. My sourdough starter is taking a little longer (thanks to the cooler weather) and the warm smells of apples, cinnamon and pumpkin are wafting from my oven at least a couple times a week. Welcome FALL! Sourdough pumpkin muffins have been one of our favorite snacks this fall season. We especially love the sweet pop of cinnamon from the cinnamon chips that complement the tender pumpkin muffins. Sourdough pumpkin muffins are easy to mix up, they bake quickly and they taste so moist and delicious. Definitely add these to your baking list this fall!
Sourdough Discard in Pumpkin Muffins
If you’re new around here, you may not know that I love baking with sourdough. I’ve got a whole bunch of recipes that use sourdough discard and sourdough starter. Because I refresh my sourdough starter often, I end up with quite a bit of leftover discard in my fridge. I don’t like this discard to go to waste, so I find muffins, waffles, crackers, pretzels and rolls to put it into. The sourdough discard enhances the flavor and creates less kitchen waste. These sourdough pumpkin muffins are a great way to use up some of that extra discard and make something delicious (my kids don’t even know there’s sourdough in there).
How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last?
Typically sourdough discard can last a couple of weeks in your refrigerator. The longer the discard sits in your fridge, the more fermented and sour it will taste. If you like this flavor in your baked goods, use discard that is older. For a more mellow flavor, use discard that is only a day or two old. If you love baking with sourdough but don’t want any sour flavor, use bubbly sourdough starter instead of the discard. You can use what you prefer. I typically use a 100% hydration sourdough discard–equal weights of water and flour mixed with the starter. If your discard is maintained at a different hydration, you may need a splash of milk (with a thicker discard) or a little extra flour (with a thinner discard). In these pumpkin muffins, I prefer using bubbly sourdough starter, or discard that is only a day or two old and doesn’t smell or taste very sour.
Whisk Wet Ingredients
To a small bowl, whisk together the following wet ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- Canned Pumpkin: Use canned pumpkin for this recipe (not pumpkin pie filling). I have not made this recipe with homemade pumpkin, though it tends to be more watery. If you want to try this with homemade pumpkin puree, drain it a bit or compensate with some extra flour.
- Sourdough Discard: Use discard straight from the refrigerator or bubbly sourdough starter. I use 100% hydration sourdough (equal parts of flour and water).
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil makes these sourdough pumpkin muffins very tender and moist. If the coconut oil is solid, scoop some into a liquid measuring cup and warm up until it is in liquid form. If any of the other ingredients are cold the coconut oil will re-solidify. To prevent this, use room temperature ingredients and whisk quickly while drizzling the coconut oil into the bowl to combine. If it starts to clump up you can warm the mixture just a bit OR continue with the recipe (a small amount of solidifying is okay). You can also substitute a neutral-flavored oil if you prefer.
- Eggs: Whisk 3 large eggs until completely combined with the other ingredients.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar combines well with the liquid ingredients and adds a deeper flavor than white sugar, though you can substitute white sugar in a pinch.
- Vanilla Extract: Add the vanilla extract at the end. You can use imitation vanilla extract or the real stuff.
Combine Dry Ingredients
To a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. I sometimes use a one-bowl method for mixing, like these pumpkin spice muffins (no sourdough in this recipe). However, if you’re not careful when using that method, the baking soda will not get evenly spread around the flour mixture. Watch out for that if you choose to use one-bowl and make sure it’s evenly fluffed into the dry ingredients. Use a fork to fluff the dry ingredients.
Mix Together Gently
Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and gently mix together. The key to tender muffins is in not over-mixing the batter so that gluten strands don’t start developing. Mix until just combined with a few small streaks of flour throughout the batter. Add in the cinnamon chips and mix until just combined.
Cinnamon Chips in Pumpkin Muffins
Can you make pumpkin muffins without cinnamon chips? Why yes. Yes you can. Are the muffins over-the-top delicious with cinnamon chips? Also yes! We love the addition of cinnamon chips in pumpkin muffins. They bring the perfect fall flavors and those sweet spices really make for the best pumpkin muffin. I like the Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips available at most grocery stores (I linked them but they will be much cheaper at your local grocery store than they are online). You can also make your own cinnamon chips, which taste delicious too. These muffins are also yummy with chocolate chips, chopped pecans or leave out the mix-ins and eat them plain.
Baking Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray the inside of two muffin tins with cooking spray (neutral-flavored spray is best) or use muffin liners. I like to spray muffin liners too on the rare occasion when I am using them. Using a cookie scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the sourdough pumpkin muffin batter into each cup. Even them out as you’d like and bake in a fully pre-heated oven for about 18-20 minutes until the tops spring back and the muffins are baked through. Let them cool for about 5 minutes in the muffin tin before removing to a cooling rack. These muffins taste delicious warm and at room temperature. Enjoy!
Have you tried these Crispy Pumpkin Waffles? They taste so good and are another fall favorite with Pumpkin Syrup.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe works well for mini muffins or pumpkin bread too. For mini muffins bake for about 13-15 minutes. For pumpkin bread, fill a loaf pan about 3/4 of the way full and bake for about 60-70 minutes.
Put some coconut oil in a liquid measuring cup. Warm up the coconut oil (I use the microwave) until it’s a liquid and warm, but not hot. If it is really hot, add a little bit of the solid coconut oil to the hot oil and mix it to bring down the temperature. Use as directed in the recipe. You can also substitute the oil in this recipe for a different neutral-flavored oil.
Sourdough pumpkin muffins can stay at room temperature for about 24 hours. After 24 hours, place in a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or re-heat when ready to enjoy. We like throwing these frozen muffins into school lunch boxes. They thaw throughout the morning and are perfect by lunchtime.
Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins (with cinnamon chips)
- 2 cups canned pumpkin 450 grams, not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 cup sourdough discard 245 grams, see recipe notes
- 1 cup packed brown sugar 230 grams
- 1/2 cup coconut oil 95 grams, room temperature liquid
- 3 large eggs 150 grams, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 grams
- 2 cups all purpose flour 284 grams
- 2 teaspoons baking powder 4 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking soda 7 grams
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 10 grams
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 5 grams
- 1 teaspoon salt 8 grams
- 1/2 cup cinnamon chips 80 grams, see recipe notes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To a medium sized bowl add the canned pumpkin, sourdough discard, brown sugar, coconut oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined.
- To a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Fluff together with a fork until combined.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until just a few dry streaks remain. Add the cinnamon chips and gently mix until spread throughout the batter.
- Lightly grease two 12 cup muffin tins with cooking spray. If you'd like to use muffin liners, put them in each cup and spray with cooking spray before filling. Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full with muffin batter.
- Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick is inserted and it comes out clean.
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