Delicious pumpkin protein muffins made with healthy ingredients and lots of pumpkin pie flavor - enjoy them for breakfast or as a treat. Serve them warm with a smear of butter or eat them plain! This post was made in collaboration with Naked Nutrition and contains sponsored content.
Why These Are Pretty Awesome
I get really excited at the chance to experiment with healthy swaps and more nutritionally dense ingredients in baked goods. These muffins are a good balance of moist and dense and are quite flavorful. You don't need any special equipment for these pumpkin protein muffins - just a standard muffin tin and a mixing bowl - so they come together quickly and easily.
What Ingredients Do I Need?
- Pumpkin Puree - fresh or canned, just make sure it's plain pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 large egg - for structure, a bit of fat for richness, and to aid in leavening
- Applesauce - my favorite swap for oil and butter to help lighten up baked goods. I use unsweetened.
- Brown Sugar - not too much, just enough to balance the sweetness and add tenderness to the crumb. You can use a brown sugar substitute like Swerve Brown if you prefer.
- Vanilla Extract & Salt - flavor enhancers that are welcome in any and all baked goods.
- Whole Wheat Flour - a more nutrient rich flour choice than regular all-purpose.
- Protein Powder - I used Naked Nutrition Pumpkin Spice for extra flavor - you can use vanilla instead if you prefer.
- Baking Soda - Helps to lighten up the crumb and contributes to leavening.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice & Pepper - Don't worry, you can't taste the pepper, it just enhances the other flavors. Use extra pumpkin pie spice if you use vanilla protein powder!
- Chocolate Protein Bar Pieces or Dark Chocolate Chips - I used Naked Nutrition's Chocolate Fudge Naked Bar for some extra protein.
Which Protein Powder Should I Use?
When testing this recipe for pumpkin protein muffins, I used Naked Nutrition's Pumpkin Spice Protein Powder. This protein powder is plant-based and uses pea protein along with MCT oil, cinnamon, coconut sugar, and other flavors from plant-based sources.
I chose to use a flavored protein powder to inject even more yummy pumpkin pie flavor into these muffins, and I love love Naked Nutrition's pumpkin spice flavor! It blends so easily and has such a nice flavor. I've also used it to create my pumpkin pie protein shake, so I knew it'd be perfect for these muffins, too!
If you don't have pumpkin spice flavored protein powder, it's okay, just use vanilla flavor instead and follow the instructions in the recipe for increasing the pumpkin pie spice.
Those Don't Look Like Chocolate Chips...
I wanted to add even more protein to these muffins (and make 'em a little more interesting) so instead of chocolate chips, I chopped up Naked Nutrition's new Chocolate Fudge Protein Bars. I tossed them into the batter and also added some on top to make the muffins extra pretty.
These new Naked Bars have 15G of protein and 180 calories. They have a strong fudge flavor and don't taste too protein bar-y (c'mon, you know what I mean). I like eating them plain and I loved using them in these pumpkin protein muffins!
If you don't have any chocolate protein bars on hand, don't fret. Just toss in an equal amount of dark chocolate chips - yum!
Good For Breakfast Or Snack
These muffins are hearty enough to be part of your breakfast and are ideal for an afternoon snack. They can be eaten fresh from the oven, warm with a smear of butter. They can also be eaten plain or at room temperature.
Just like traditional pumpkin bread, I think these pumpkin protein muffins are way better the second day, in both texture and flavor. So you'll be in for a treat when you dig into those leftovers the next day!
Can I Freeze The Muffins?
Yes, these muffins can be frozen, and doing so can be quite convenient when you need to grab a quick breakfast on the way out of the door.
To freeze: let the baked muffins cool completely, and then wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped muffins into a freezer-safe zip top bag and freeze for up to 3 months for best flavor.
To thaw: take one muffin out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature on the counter. You can also microwave at 50% power in 20 second increments if you need them to thaw faster.Print
Pumpkin Protein Muffins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
These tasty muffins use healthy ingredients and are full of pumpkin pie flavor - great for breakfast or an anytime treat!
- 1 cup pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup applesauce
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup pumpkin spice protein powder (can also use vanilla)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (increase to 1 tsp if using vanilla protein)
- Small pinch of black pepper
- ½ cup dark chocolate protein bar, chopped into small pieces OR dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a standard muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
- In another bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, protein powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and black pepper.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet in 3 additions, mixing after each one, until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Fold in the protein bar pieces or dark chocolate chips (reserve some of the chocolate for the top if you want pretty muffins). Distribute the batter evenly in the prepared muffin tin and top with reserved chocolate.
- Bake on center rack for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then carefully remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Serve warm with a smear of butter or enjoy at room temperature.
This recipe was tested using Naked Nutrition Pumpkin Spice Protein Powder and Naked Nutrition Chocolate Fudge protein bar.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Category: Muffins
- Method: Oven
- Serving Size: 1 muffin
- Calories: 102
- Sugar: 8.1g
- Sodium: 225mg
- Fat: 1.6g
- Saturated Fat: 0.6g
- Carbohydrates: 17.4g
- Fiber: 2.5g
- Protein: 5.9g
- Cholesterol: 16mg
Keywords: high protein, pumpkin, fall, muffins, breakfast
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