These Moist Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins offer the best of two worlds – the rich, autumnal flavor of pumpkin and the moist, subtle taste of zucchini. These muffins are not only delicious but also incredibly moist and filling, making them a perfect breakfast or snack. Let’s dive into how to make this fantastic recipe.
Why Do These Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins Taste So Good?
This is my go-to, super-moist spiced muffin recipe. I make it in a giant batch (3 dozen muffins) and freeze them in 6-muffin bags for future-Jenn to enjoy. The secret to these muffins’ mouth-watering flavor lies in the combination of key ingredients and preparation methods:
- Moisture: Did I mention how incredibly moist they are??!The grated zucchini and pumpkin puree provide a soft, tender interior.
- Sweetness and spice: The brown sugar and cinnamon add just the right balance of sweetness and warmth.
- Nutty richness: Optional mix-ins like walnuts or pecans add a rich, nutty flavor.
- Flexibility: The customizable mix-ins let you tailor the flavor and texture to your liking. I love them with coconut, walnuts and raisins. Sometimes I use chopped dates or fresh cranberries instead. They’re very versatile, and super yummy.
Gather What You Need
Pumpkin Zucchini Muffin Ingredients
Before you start baking, it’s good to know the role each ingredient plays in making these delicious muffins:
- Canned pumpkin puree: Adds moisture and a distinct autumnal flavor.
- Grated zucchini: Further adds moisture and a subtle, earthy taste.
- Buttermilk: Contributes to a tender crumb and balances the sweetness.
- Vegetable oil: Provides the fat needed for a moist texture.
- Brown sugar: Adds sweetness and a slight molasses flavor.
- Eggs: Act as a binding agent and provide structure.
- Vanilla extract: Enhances the overall flavor of the muffin.
- All-purpose flour: The main structural component of the muffin.
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens the muffin.
- Cinnamon: Adds warmth and spice. Feel free to swap in a pumpkin spice mix.
- Baking powder & baking soda: Leavening agents that help the muffins rise.
- Salt: Enhances the overall flavor.
- Mix-ins: Add texture and complexity; options include nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, or seeds.
Variations and Substitutions
For those who like to experiment or have dietary restrictions, here are some options:
- Gluten-free: Use gluten-free flour as a one-to-one substitute for all-purpose flour.
- Vegan: Substitute flax eggs for eggs and use a dairy-free buttermilk alternative.
- Oil substitute: Replace vegetable oil with melted butter for a richer flavor (but they’ll be a bit less tender, as the butter cools to solid at room temperature)
- Spice it up: Feel free to add other pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg, ginger and/or cloves for additional flavor.
Grab These Tools
To create these wholesome muffins, you will need:
- Muffin pans: To bake 36 muffins, you’ll need to use 3 pans or cool the same 12-cup muffin tin in cold water between batches.
- Paper muffin liners or nonstick cooking spray: For easy removal from the pan.
- Large bowls: For mixing wet and dry ingredients separately.
How to Make Zucchini Pumpkin Muffins: Easy Step-by-Step Directions
Follow these simple steps for a delightful result:
- Preheat oven: Set your oven to 375 degrees F to ensure a consistent baking temperature.
- Prepare muffin pans: Ready your muffin pans with paper cups or nonstick spray for easy removal later.
- Combine wet ingredients: Mix all wet ingredients well in a medium bowl, creating the base for the muffin mixture.
- Whisk dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients which will provide structure and flavor.
- Mix together: Create a well in the flour mixture and pour in the wet mix, stirring until almost combined.
- Fold in mix-ins: Customize your muffins by folding in your chosen mix-ins.
- Spoon and bake: Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Make Ahead and Storage
These muffins are perfect for make-ahead convenience:
- Freeze: They freeze well for up to two months; just thaw and reheat. To freeze them, cool first to room temperature on wire racks, then pop the whole wire rack into the freezer (allowing them to freeze in a single layer and maintain their shape, rather than being smooshed into the bags). Once frozen, transfer to zippered freezer bags or airtight containers. Individual muffins thaw within a half-hour on the counter or in a lunch bag, or you can pop ’em in the microwave for 20 second intervals (upside down first, then right-side up for even heating) – they’ll be just like fresh-from-the-oven.
- Room temperature: Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days for optimal freshness.
Notes, Pro Tips, and Science-Based Secrets
Enhance your baking experience with these tips:
- Squeeze out excess moisture: From the grated zucchini to avoid a too-wet batter.
- Mix-in flexibility: Feel free to mix and match the mix-ins to suit your personal preference.
- Don’t overmix: Keep some flour streaks to avoid overworking the batter, which can make the muffins tough.
- Check for doneness: A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few crumbs.
- Can I use a substitute for the pumpkin or zucchini?: Yes, yellow squash can be a good substitute for zucchini. Sweet potato puree makes a great substitute for pumpkin (like in these fan-favorite Sweet Potato Cupcakes!)
- Can I use a substitute for buttermilk?: Yes, though it may slightly alter the flavor and texture. Here are my top 3 buttermilk substitutes that actually work.
- How to make them vegan?: Substitute the eggs with one of the best egg substitutes and use a dairy-free buttermilk substitute.
Moist Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups 18 oz/510 grams all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
Mix-ins (choose up to 3):
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup dried fresh or frozen (thawing not necessary) cranberries
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup chopped dates
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare 3 12-cup muffin pans by lining with paper muffin cups, greasing well or spraying with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, stir together all the wet ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, dig a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a light hand to incorporate the wet into the dry, stirring only until almost combined, with floury streaks and dry pockets remaining. Gently fold in the mix-ins; by this time the floury streaks should be gone.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes, until tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Last Updated on August 31, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD