We have a few pumpkin muffin recipes on our website, but each one is unique and special. These dairy-free pumpkin nut muffins not only contain delicious chopped nuts, but they’re also enriched with molasses and vanilla for more depth in flavor. And of course, they’re spiked with warm autumn spices!
Dairy-Free Pumpkin Nut Muffins to Spice Up Your Fall Baking
This recipe was first shared with us over 10 years ago, but we have since updated it. It’s a wonderful fall recipe to whip up on the weekend, and a great baking challenge for kids! They can whisk and fold in every muffin batter step creation, and transfer the batter to the muffin cups and adorn it with more nuts. I have more tips and options in the FAQs below.
Can I Use Oat Milk instead of Almond Milk?
Definitely! Most types of milk alternative will work great in this recipe. In a pinch, you could even use water.
Will Regular Whole Wheat Flour Work?
Whole wheat pastry flour is a finer grind of whole wheat flour, which keeps the pumpkin nut muffins from becoming too dense. Regular whole wheat flour will work, but the muffins won’t be as fluffy. You can substitute more all-purpose flour for the best results, or use 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour.
I Don’t Have Pumpkin Pie Spice. What Can I Use?
There are two good options. If your spice supplies are limited or you just love cinnamon, increase the cinnamon to 1 1/2 teaspoons and omit the pumpkin pie spice. If you have other spices available, increase the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon and add 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and a pinch of ground cloves.
Can I Use a Whole Can of Pumpkin Puree?
One 15-ounce can contains about 1 7/8 cups, so quite a bit more than the recipe calls for. With this recipe, I think you can safely increase the pumpkin by 1/4 to 1/2 cup, but using a whole can will likely make the pumpkin nut muffins too moist and dense.
Will Pumpkin Pie Mix Work?
Pumpkin pie mix looks very similar to pumpkin puree on grocery shelves, but it already has sugar and spices added. So it won’t work as a direct substitute for the pumpkin puree in this recipe.
Will Coconut Oil Work for the Oil?
It will, but make sure all other ingredients, including the eggs and milk alternative, are at room temperature. If any ingredients are cool, it can cause the coconut oil to solidify into little hard beads.
Can I Substitute Applesauce for the Oil?
I don’t recommend it. These dairy-free pumpkin nut muffins are already low fat, so reducing or cutting the oil could result in a poor texture. And I’m not personally a fan of fat-free muffins. They often taste fine out of the oven, but become gummy once cool. Substituting the oil would also result in denser, more moist muffins that might not bake through.
Can I Substitute Butter Alternative for the Oil?
In theory, yes, you can. But I don’t really recommend it in this recipe. That would reduce the fat even a little more, which could negatively affect the texture. I’m also not a fan of butter alternative in pumpkin nut muffins that already have rich ingredients, like molasses. It tends to compete.
Can I Use a Different Sweetener?
You could substitute regular white sugar for the brown sugar. As mentioned, coconut sugar will also work, and will just be a little less sweet. Two other tasty alternatives would be evaporated cane juice (Sucanat) or maple sugar. If you want to use a liquid sweetener like maple syrup, you might try reducing it to 2/3 cup. I haven’t tested it, but that is a common reduction when substituting liquid sweetener for granulated. I haven’t tested this recipe with any sugar-free sweeteners, so I can’t comment on how they will perform or taste.
Can I Add Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips?
Chocolate chips tend to compete with molasses, which is a highlight in this recipe. If you do want to add chocolate chips, I would use maple syrup instead of molasses. But that’s just my personal preference. Some other add-ins that go well with molasses include dried cranberries, raisins, flaxseeds, or hemp seeds. If you are adding dairy-free chocolate chips or dried fruit, I would add about 1/2 cup. With tiny seeds, I would just add a couple tablespoons to start.
How Can I Make this Pumpkin Nut Muffin Recipe Gluten-Free?
As mentioned below, I haven’t tested this recipe as gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin muffins. But if you use eggs, most gluten-free all-purpose flour blends should work well. A close friends subs King Arthur Measure for Measure whenever she bakes muffins, and she says it works perfectly. Do not substitute coconut flour, almond flour, or another grain-free flour for the wheat flour. These will not perform properly. If you opt to use a single gluten-free grain flour (like gluten-free oat flour, rice flour, or sorghum flour), the muffins will be a little more crumbly.
How Can I Make this Recipe Egg-Free?
As mentioned, we haven’t tested this recipe without eggs. See the egg-free and vegan suggestions in the special diet section below.
Special Diet Notes: Pumpkin Nut Muffins
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally nut-free, optionally peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.
For egg-free and vegan pumpkin nut muffins see my Egg Substitute Guide. You will need two egg replacers (about 6 tablespoons in liquid form). If using a dense egg replacer option, like applesauce, flax egg, or chia egg, I would add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder to the recipe.
For gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin nut muffins, you can try substituting your favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. My friend swears by King Arthur Measure for Measure, but we haven’t tested this recipe without gluten. I recommend using eggs, and not the egg-free option, if trying gluten free.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup plain or vanilla dairy-free milk alternative
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar (can sub coconut sugar for less sweet)
- 3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 large eggs, divided (see post above for egg-free options)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup + ¼ cup chopped walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or peanuts, divided
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and grease a 12-cup muffin pan (no need to grease silicone cups), or line it with cupcake liners.
- Measure the milk alternative in a glass measuring cup, and whisk in the vinegar.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, pie spice, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, molasses, oil, and 1 egg until combined. Add the other egg, pumpkin, and vanilla, and whisk again until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture alternating with milky mixture, until just combined. Be careful not over mix.
- Fold in the ½ cup nuts or seeds.
- Scrape the batter into your prepared muffin pan, filling each cup about ¾ full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffin batter with the remaining ¼ cup chopped nuts or seeds.
- Bake the pumpkin nut muffins for about 20 minutes, or until puffed, golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Slide a knife around edges of muffins to loosen them from pan if no liners were used.
- Serve the muffins warm or let them finish cooling on the wire rack. Store them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 3 days.