Pumpkin zucchini muffins are moist and tender muffins that are perfect for fall. Made with shredded zucchini, pumpkin puree, chopped pecans, and your favorite fall spices.
Pumpkin zucchini muffins are the perfect muffin recipe for fall. They're made with pumpkin puree and shredded zucchini for a tender, moist texture. Fall spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves make these muffins the perfect fall treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee.
Shredded zucchini and pumpkin puree help add structure and moisture to your muffins. Because of this, we're able to reduce other ingredients slightly, like oil and eggs.
These muffins are slightly sweet and filled with cozy fall spices - perfect for a quick morning breakfast with coffee or tea. Muffins also make a great snack or less-sweet dessert. Perfect for fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving morning.
You can make these muffins as a quick bread too - pumpkin zucchini bread.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need one cup of finely grated zucchini (before squeezing out the liquid). We're squeezing the liquid out of the zucchini because we're also adding pumpkin puree and don't want to add too much moisture (this causes your muffins to be gummy). One cup of shredded zucchini weighs about 135 grams before, and about 70 grams after squeezing the liquid out. This equals about 1 medium or 1.5 small zucchini.
- Pumpkin puree - You'll need a scant 1 cup of pumpkin puree for this recipe, or half of a 15 ounce can. This recipe was created to use exactly one half of a can, making it easy to double (using the entire can).
- Sugar - Adds moisture and sweetness to your muffins.
- Oil - Adds moisture to your muffins. Any vegetable oil or neutral cooking oil works.
- Egg - Adds moisture and structure to your muffins.
- Vanilla extract - Adds depth of flavor.
- Flour - I highly recommend using all-purpose flour for this recipe. I have not tested this recipe with other types of flours, and can't say for sure how your muffins would turn out. Baking is an exact science, and altering the flour can change the texture and structure of your muffins.
- Leavening - You'll need baking powder and baking soda for this recipe. One cannot be substituted with the other, you'll need both for the proper lift.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your muffins without making them "salty".
- Spices - Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves can be substituted with an equal measurement of pumpkin pie spice.
- Pecans - Pecans are optional, but add a nice crunch and texture to your muffins. Or, substitute with walnuts or chocolate chips for a chocolate chip pumpkin zucchini muffins.
Is pure pumpkin the same as pumpkin puree?
Pumpkin puree is a canned product made of cooked, pureed pumpkin with no additional ingredients. This product may be labeled as 100% pure pumpkin, grade A pumpkin, or organic pumpkin.
Pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin pie mix is not the same as pumpkin puree - this product contains pumpkin puree with added spices and sugar, meant to be used as a pie filling. You don't want to use this - your muffins will turn out heavily spiced and too sweet.
If you're not sure, take a glance at the ingredient list. Pumpkin puree contains one ingredient only - pumpkin.
How to grate zucchini for muffins
I recommend shredding zucchini using the small or "fine" side of a box grater. Small pieces melt right into the pumpkin muffins when baked.
If you prefer, you are welcome to use the large side of a box grater - this adds a noticeable texture to your muffins.
If you have a food processor with a grating disc, this is a great time-saving way to grate zucchini.
Why are my pumpkin muffins dense/soggy?
Pumpkin muffins can turn out dense or soggy for several reasons.
- The main reason muffins turn out soggy or dense is due to too much moisture in the batter. Make sure you're squeezing the liquid out of your zucchini. We tested this recipe both ways, and the muffins turned out too dense with wet zucchini.
- Don't add extra wet ingredients to the recipe. Adding extra ingredients not listed in the recipe card, like sour cream, milk, buttermilk, more oil, more sugar, more eggs, can all make your batter too wet to rise properly.
- Make sure your muffins bake long enough. A toothpick test can be unreliable, but should come out with crumbs, not wet batter. Try pressing onto the top of a muffin with your finger- if it pops back right away, your muffins are done. If an indent is left, it needs more time. Or, use an instant read thermometer - muffins are done when they reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit in the center.
- Leavening issues. If you add too much leavening to a muffin recipe, the batter rises quickly, then collapses. This either makes a mess of your muffin pan or creates a dense muffin. Likewise, if your leavening has gone bad (is no longer active), your muffins won't rise, creating a dense muffin.
- Overmixing your batter. If your batter is mixed for too long, the gluten can become overworked, causing your muffins to turn out tough. Muffin batter is surprisingly simple - all you need is a spoon to stir the ingredients together just until incorporated.
How to store pumpkin muffins
For more information on how to store quick breads, check out my post: How to store zucchini bread
Room temperature - Pumpkin muffins can be stored in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
Refrigerator - If your muffins are extremely moist, you may want to store them in the refrigerator. Pumpkin muffins will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week in a tightly sealed container.
Freezer - Pumpkin muffins can be carefully wrapped in plastic wrap/foil, then stored in a freezer safe bag or container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Set out on the counter top for 1 hour to thaw.
Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins
- 1 cup (135 g) finely grated zucchini, after measuring, squeeze liquid out*
- 1 scant cup (212 g) pumpkin puree, (½ can)
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 g) vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch cloves
- 1 cup (110 g) chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- Measure 1 cup (135 grams) of grated zucchini, then place into a few layers of paper towels, or a kitchen towel, and gently squeeze over the sink to remove excess liquid. Zucchini should measure about 70 grams afterward.
- In a large bowl, add wet ingredients: zucchini, pumpkin, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir until evenly combined.
- In a separate bowl, add dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Whisk to remove clumps. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
- Divide batter between 12 muffin tins, filling to about ⅔ full. Bake for about 17 to 20 minutes, OR until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with crumbs (baking times will vary based on your oven and type of pan used).
- Transfer muffins to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before unwrapping (muffins/cupcakes will stick to the wrappers if they're still warm).
- Measure 1 cup (135 grams) of finely grated zucchini, then squeeze liquid out (70 grams) before adding to the batter.
- Leftover muffins will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. If your muffins are very moist/wet, I recommend refrigerating.
- Pumpkin muffins can be frozen for up to 6 months. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap/foil and store in a freezer safe bag or container. Thaw on the counter top for 1 hour.
- Pecans can be omitted or substituted with chopped walnuts.