These oil-free vegan pumpkin muffins are a little taste of fall with their warming pumpkin spice flavor and extra cinnamon. Serve them for breakfast, snack, or dessert for an autumn treat.
They’re deliciously spiced whole wheat pumpkin muffins that are oil-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. They also freeze well! Need more vegan pumpkin recipes? Try vegan pumpkin overnight oats or pumpkin steel-cut oatmeal. For more whole wheat oil-free muffin recipes, try pumpkin peanut butter muffins and vegan raspberry muffins with chocolate chips.
- Quick and easy!
- Whole-wheat, vegan, and oil-free!
- Packed with fall flavors!
Ingredient notes and substitutions
The vegan pumpkin muffin recipe uses simple ingredients. Please see the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and exact measurements.
Ground flax seeds - The ground flax seeds will be mixed with water to create a flax egg and used as a binder to keep the recipe egg-free. Use ground flax, not whole flax seeds. I haven’t tested with ground chia seeds so I can’t say for sure that they would work well.
Whole wheat flour - This can be substituted with white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, or a mixture of half whole wheat and half all-purpose. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then use the back of a knife to level off the excess flour.
Flour can become compacted during storage, so using the measuring cup to scoop out the flour can scoop out more flour than is needed for the recipe. Too much flour can create a drier vegan pumpkin muffin. I have not tested the recipe with gluten-free flour, so I can't say for sure that it will give you the best results.
Pumpkin pie spice and ground cinnamon - The fall spices are used to highlight the pumpkin flavor.
Pumpkin puree - Use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix (filling). The pumpkin pie filling is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a mix ready for a pie: so it has salt, sugar, and spices already added in. I use canned pumpkin puree for convenience.
Pure maple syrup - Maple syrup has a distinct full-bodied flavor that complements the pumpkin puree and spices.
Unsweetened applesauce - The ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce is used to eliminate the need for oil and keep these healthy pumpkin muffins moist. It can be substituted with ½ cup of mashed ripe banana. Using the banana will make the muffins slightly sweeter.
Non-dairy milk - Any plant-based milk can be used. Try it with almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, or cashew milk.
Vanilla extract - Added for more flavor, but can be skipped.
Chopped walnuts or vegan chocolate chips - Walnuts or chopped pecans can be used. For a nut-free version, try pumpkin seeds. Vegan chocolate chips can also be used for a sweeter version.
Tips for the vegan pumpkin muffin recipe
- Paper liners tend to stick to oil-free muffins. I have noticed that after refrigerating the muffins the paper does peel off easier, but they absorb some of the moisture. So either use silicone muffin liners or lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tray with non-stick cooking spray.
- If your baking powder and/or baking soda clumps, sift them so they distribute evenly in the dry muffin mix. Sometimes just whisking doesn’t break up the small clumps. If you’ve ever eaten a baked good that had clumps of baking powder or baking soda that didn’t break up, you know it isn’t pleasant.
Tips for using whole wheat flour
- If you’re new to baking with whole wheat flour, the baked goods tend to be denser than if made with all-purpose flour. White whole wheat flour can help with this, but it’s not always available in stores (like my store). The whole wheat flour also gives a slightly nutty flavor to these oil-free vegan pumpkin muffins.
- Over-mixing the flour can cause extra gluten development. To prevent this I like to stir the batter a few times before adding nuts or chocolate chips. Then I fold it together, don’t over mix. Do this by using a silicone or rubber spatula and scraping the bottom of the bowl towards you, then up the side of the bowl, and over the top. Turn the bowl and repeat. Keep turning the bowl and repeating until there are no more streaks of flour.
Frequently asked questions
A lot of oven temperatures are inaccurate. For years I've used an inexpensive stainless steel instant-read oven thermometer to remedy this issue. Oven temperatures vary so the amount of time your muffins need will vary also.
The toothpick test works well to test your whole wheat vegan muffins. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the muffins have finished baking. If the toothpick comes out with batter, bake the muffins for 1-2 more minutes and then check again.
I don’t use all-purpose gluten-free flours and I haven’t tested with them, so I can’t say for sure. Whole wheat flour adds a naturally nutty flavor to baked goods, complementing the overall flavor of these easy vegan pumpkin muffins.
Silicone muffin liners
Oil-free muffins tend to stick to paper muffin liners so I opt for reusable silicone muffin liners. During testing, once the muffins were cooled and stored in the fridge my paper liners came off easier but they also seemed to soak up moisture from the muffins. If you don’t have silicone liners, spray the muffin tray cups with non-stick spray then use a paper towel to wipe it around each cup (not oil-free but it is minimal).
Preheat the oven to 375 (190 C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with silicone cups or lightly non-stick cooking spray. Mix the 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed with 5 tablespoons of water and set aside for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
In a separate bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, applesauce, milk, vanilla extract, and flax eggs.
Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir a few times, then add the walnuts or chocolate chips. Then gently fold everything together until just combined.
Fill 12 standard muffin cups with the muffin batter and bake for 21-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean and the muffin tops bounce back when pressed. Cool in the muffin pan for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to continue cooling.
The pumpkin spice muffins will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for a couple of days. For longer storage refrigerate them for up to a week. For even longer storage freeze for up to 3 months.
To freeze the oil-free muffins separately, place them on a baking tray that will fit in the freezer. Once frozen, remove them from the tray and place the frozen muffins in a freezer-safe container. Now they’re frozen separately. Alternatively, you can individually wrap each muffin to freeze it separately.
Defrost the frozen vegan pumpkin muffins in the refrigerator overnight. If you’re in a hurry, warm them up in the microwave to defrost them. I would only do a couple at a time.
As always, I hope you enjoy these vegan pumpkin chocolate chip muffins! If you like the recipe, feel free to rate it and leave a comment.
Originally published on December 23, 2019, updated on October 19, 2021.Print
These oil-free vegan pumpkin muffins are a little taste of fall with their warming flavors from pumpkin pie spice and extra cinnamon.
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons (15 g) ground flax seed + 5 tablespoons (55 ml) water)
- 1 ¾ cup (220 g) whole wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup (230 g) pumpkin puree
- ½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup
- ½ cup (122 g) unsweetened applesauce
- ⅓ cup (79 ml) dairy-free milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (55 g) chopped walnuts (or use vegan chocolate chips)
- Preheat the oven to 375 (190 C). Line a 12-cup muffin tray with silicone cups or lightly coat your tray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Mix the 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed with 5 tablespoons of water and set aside for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, applesauce, milk, vanilla extract, and flax eggs.
- Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir a few times, then add the chocolate chips. Then gently fold everything together until just combined.
- Fill 12 standard muffin cups full and bake for 21-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and the muffin tops bounce back when pressed.
- Cool in the muffin tray for 10 minutes, then move to the cooling rack to continue cooling.
Use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix.
Paper liners tend to stick to oil-free muffins. I have noticed that after refrigerating the muffins the paper does peel off easier, but they absorb some of the moisture. So either use silicone muffin liners or lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 21 minutes
- Category: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegan pumpkin muffins, pumpkin muffins dairy free, oil free pumpkin muffins