Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins Recipe | Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

If the world could have only one great muffin, this would be it. These sourdough pumpkin muffins are incredible. Fluffy, moist, PERFECT!

If you are one of the 3.2 million people who delved into sourdough last year when we were all stuck at home, today you are going to be very happy about that decision.

If you don’t have a sourdough starter, don’t panic, you can beg one off a friend, neighbor or start appealing to your community Facebook groups. Trust me, you’re going to want it, because these muffins are epic.

The Best Muffins in the World

I have eaten a lot (a lot!) of muffins in my day. A lot of really really good muffins.

And you probably think I’m being overly dramatic right now, but you guys, I’m not exaggerating when I say these sourdough pumpkin muffins are some of the best muffins I have ever had.

And I’m not alone. Every person that tries these muffins is blown away by the pillowy-soft texture and yummy pumpkin flavor.

bite taken out of sourdough pumpkin muffin with chocolate chips on white plate

What Does the Sourdough Do?

The sourdough starter, while subtle and nearly undetectable in flavor, lends a soft, fluffy texture to these muffins that is unparalleled.

You don’t take a bite of these muffins and think “whoa, sourdough!” Rather, you take a bite of these muffins…and another bite…and another bite…and you forget all else because they are that good.

I have a sourdough starter from a friend that, to be honest, stays largely forgotten in the refrigerator until I decide we want sourdough waffles or easy sourdough bread.

This pumpkin muffin recipe uses sourdough discard, which means the sourdough starter doesn’t need to be fed before using it in this recipe. This is GREAT NEWS for lazy sourdough bakers like me.

stirring sourdough starter in bucket with red rubber spatula

One Bowl Recipe

These muffins are mixed like any ol’ muffin recipe. Even better, they’re a one bowl wonder.

The sourdough starter is combined with the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, and vanilla. And then the dry ingredients go in for a quick mix.

Same muffin-mixing rules apply here: don’t over mix! Just give the batter a few quick stirs until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

adding flour, cinnamon and salt to wet ingredients for pumpkin muffin batter in glass bowl

A Perfect Bake

I have made these muffins close to a dozen times, and they turn out perfect every single time.

No overflowing. No flat tops.

These sourdough pumpkin muffins have the perfect rise and cutest little domed muffin tops ever.

baked sourdough pumpkin muffins in brown paper liners in muffin tin

Chocolate Chips Always Acceptable

I usually bake half the batter as-is and stir in mini chocolate chips to the remaining batter.

You just can’t go wrong with the pumpkin chocolate chip muffin combo. If I feel really motivated, I also sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top, but that’s entirely optional.

Of course, you can use regular chocolate chips, but I find that mini chocolate chips give a much more thorough representation of chocolate throughout the muffin.

baked sourdough pumpkin muffin with chocolate chips on metal cooling rack

I have many other pumpkin muffins that I love and that I will continue to make. But I have no problem declaring these sourdough muffins to be the best of them all (chocolate chips or not).

They are absolutely tremendous. And they stay soft and moist for days!

Even if you never venture into authentic sourdough bread, these pumpkin muffins make keeping a sourdough starter around absolutely worth it.

Dig out that starter from the back of your fridge or start making sourdough friend requests now, because I promise you are going to want these muffins in your life.

One Year Ago: Easy Homemade Broccoli Cheese Soup 
Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snack Cake {One-Bowl + Whole Grain}
Three Years Ago: Ultimate Beef Stroganoff {Slow Cooker or Instant Pot}
Four Years Ago: Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes {30-Minute Meal}
Five Years Ago: Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy
Six Years Ago: Quick and Easy Quinoa Enchilada Skillet Meal 
Seven Years Ago: Slow Cooker Applesauce {No Sugar Added} 
Eight Years Ago: Salt Crusted Potatoes with Fresh Rosemary
Nine Years Ago: Pumpkin Blondies with Chocolate Chips
Ten Years Ago: Monster Pudding Cups 

sourdough pumpkin muffin in brown paper liner on metal cooling rack

Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins

  • 2 cups (456 g) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade (see note)
  • 1 cup (227 g) sourdough starter, unfed/discard (see note)
  • 1 cup (212 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup neutral-flavored oil like canola or vegetable or melted butter or coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (284 g) all-purpose or whole wheat flour (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (decrease if using salted butter)
  • 1 cup (170 g) chocolate chips (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sourdough starter, granulated sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well-combined.

  • Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips (if using) and mix until just combined and no dry streaks remain. Don’t over mix.

  • Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling the muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full. If desired, sprinkle a few regular or mini chocolate chips on top of the muffins.

  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops spring back lightly to the touch and/or a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Pumpkin Puree: make sure to use single ingredient pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. If using homemade pumpkin puree, you might want/need to drain excess liquid before using as homemade pumpkin puree tends to be more watery than canned pumpkin. 
Sourdough Starter: this recipe calls for unfed sourdough starter (also known as discard). I have not tried it using recently fed sourdough starter – my guess is that will work fine as well. 
Whole Wheat Flour: whole wheat flour works well in these muffins (as does 50/50 white flour and whole wheat flour). I have only ever used white whole wheat flour. Different varieties of whole wheat will produce different results (for instance, red whole wheat is a bit more dense and heavy in baked goods). 

Serving: 1 muffin, Calories: 138kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 211mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 9g

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Recipe Source: adapted slightly from this recipe Janae W., a blog reader, sent to me (thanks Janae)

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