These Pumpkin Protein Muffins are easy to make, fluffy, delicious and packed with protein from lentils and eggs! The perfect healthy breakfast or snack that is kid-approved.
Why you need to make these pumpkin muffins
Muffins are delicious. There is no way around that! But many recipes floating around on Pinterest are made with tons of added sugar and not much protein. Not an ideal way to start the day off, in my book! Whenever I add a muffin recipe to the pages of TNN, I try to make them special and the healthiest, most delicious muffin you can cook up.
So why are these Pumpkin Protein Muffins special? And so dang good? Here are a few reasons to add these pumpkin muffins to your morning line-up:
- They’re loaded with protein! Lentils are not your typical muffin ingredient, I know..but I have had oodles of success adding them to blender muffins as a way to up the protein. Nope, you can’t taste the lentils, but they are in there next to all kinds of other good-for-you ingredients to help fuel you up and keep you going until your next meal.
- No refined sugar! I skipped the refined sugar in these muffins and lightly sweetened them with some maple syrup or honey instead.
- Flavorful. Full of pumpkin and warm fall spices, these muffins are so delicious.
- They’re easy to make! Whiz up the wet ingredients + lentils in the blender. Mix with the dry ingredients and into the oven they go! They are in the oven with less than 10 minutes of work and ready after about 20 minutes of baking.
- A great part of meal prep. These muffins are a great thing to stock in your fridge or freezer. They store great in the fridge for 4-5 days or make for a great freezer staple for months to come.
- Super adaptable! We all have different needs, preferences, or styles when it comes to our food. These muffins can be changed in a bunch of different ways to fit your needs. Check out the Suggested Adaptations section below for how to make these Pumpkin Protein Muffins work for you!
Want more protein muffins? Try my Veggie-Loaded Chocolate Protein Muffins and Vegan Carrot Muffins (with lentils)
This recipe is
Dairy-free, refined sugar-free, made with whole grains, freezer friendly, protein packed, veggie-loaded, and can easily be made gluten free and egg free.
How to cook lentils for these protein muffins
I like to buy and cook my lentils from dry because they are cheaper and pretty low fuss to cook.
- To cook lentils for these protein muffins on the stove top, cover the lentils with water in a pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the lentils simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain and let them cool a bit before adding to the recipe.
- To cook lentils for this recipe in the Instant Pot, combine 1/3 cup dry lentils with 1 1/2 cups water. Cook on HIGH pressure for 9 minutes (it will take about 5-6 minutes for your IP to reach pressure). Quick release the pressure once cook time is up. Drain and let the lentils cool a bit before adding to the recipe.
- To cook lentils for this pumpkin muffin recipe in your slow cooker or crockpot, combine the 1/3 cup dry lentils with 2-3 cups of water and cook on LOW for 4 hours or on HIGH for 2 hours (depending on slow cooker). Drain and let cool before adding to the recipe.
- Skip the dry lentils and buy precooked lentils! I find them in the fridge or freezer section of many health focused grocery stores! Just be sure they aren’t seasoned with anything or that will impact the flavor of these muffins.
- No pumpkin? You can use butternut squash puree or cooked and mashed sweet potato in this protein muffin recipe instead of pumpkin, if needed.
- Make them egg free by using 2 “flax eggs” in place of the eggs in this recipe.
- Need gluten free? Replace the white whole wheat flour with a cup-for-cup gluten free flour blend.
- No white whole wheat flour? You can make your own by mixing half all-purpose flour + half whole wheat flour. You can also use all whole wheat flour if needed, but the muffins might be a bit denser and have a slightly different flavor.
- Add a mix-in or topping. Chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins or chopped nuts would all be delicious additions to these Pumpkin Protein Muffins.
Tips for the best pumpkin muffins
- Don’t over mix. Seriously. Mixing the wet + dry ingredients together until just combined is key to fluffy muffins! Over mixing will often result in flat, dense muffins….and that is just a bummer.
- Let the muffins cool for at least 10 minutes. Muffins continue to bake even after they are removed from the oven and will firm up as they sit. Hot muffins also might stick to their muffin tin liners or muffin tin. So let them cool a bit…even if a hot pumpkin muffin is pure magic!
- Use parchment paper muffin liners. I love this brand and find they are the best for easy peeling muffin liners. Another great (no waste) option is silicone muffin liners.
- Fill muffin compartments 3/4 of the way full.
- Use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin puree is JUST blended pumpkin, while pumpkin pie filling is pumpkin + sugar + spices.
How to store these protein muffins
I highly suggest storing these pumpkin muffins in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Because they are so moist, storing them in the refrigerator will keep them fresher longer and prevent molding.
Or, you can freeze these muffins. They freeze really well, so they are great for stocking up your freezer. I like to store them in a large freezer bag or freezer-safe large container.
To defrost, I like to take them out of the freezer and leave them on the counter to thaw overnight. Or if you want one NOW, you can warm a muffin in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.
Other veggie-loaded muffin recipes to bake up!
- Vegan Carrot Muffins (with lentils)
- Veggie-Loaded Chocolate Protein Muffins
- Oatmeal Green Smoothie Muffins
- Cinnamon Zucchini Banana Muffins
- Butternut Squash Banana Blender Muffins
Loving this pumpkin muffin recipe and now you’re hungry for more?
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Fluffy & Filling Pumpkin Protein Muffins
- Muffin tin
- 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 cup cooked and cooled green lentils about 1/3 cup dry. See above for cooking suggestions
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup avocado oil or coconut oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350℉ and line a 12-hole muffin tin with liners. Set aside.
- In your blender, combine pumpkin puree, cooked lentils, eggs, oil, maple syrup/honey, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Blend until mixture is smooth and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice. Mix.
- Pour the contents of the blender into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combine. DO NOT over mix. Over mixing can lead to dense, flat muffins.
- Portion batter into prepared muffin tin.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy and let cool completely before storing any leftovers in an air-tight container in fridge or freezer.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!
This recipe looks great. I want to make a batch for back to school snacks. Do you think you can substitute red lentils for the green lentils?
Yes! Those have worked well in similar recipes for me.
These are delightful! They are perfectly sweet (ie, not too sweet), light and fluffy, with a lovely crumb. I made them thinking they would last the week as kid snacks, but seven of the 12 were gone before they even cooled. My 3-year-old and 5-year-old love them, as do my husband and I. These will be a regular at our house!
Yay! I am so glad to hear all of that, Jen!
These are super yummy! I don’t know who ate them faster me and my husband or our 2 year old. Surprisingly light, fluffy and filling.
SO glad you all loved them, Corinne! I know! You would think the lentils would make them heavy but they are so light and I love how they really keep you going!
Just made these, delish. The perfect amount of sweet! I substituted two ‘chia eggs’ because we have a friend visiting who has an egg allergy. They still came out light and fluffy. Thanks for such a fun recipe.
I am so glad, Minda!
I added dark chocolate chips! These muffins are amazing and I will continue to make this recipe as part of a regular rotation in my health journey!
I’m so glad to hear that, Melissa! And I love adding chocolate chips to these as well!
Am I missing where the flour was listed in the ingredients list!???
Oh I just saw it! Sorry 😬🤦 will try soon and report back
Okay, phew! I was scared for a minute that it somehow disappeared from the recipe. 🤪
I love all your recipes. Was wondering if oat flour can be substituted for the white whole wheat flour. I’m GF but try to stay away from GF flour substitutes. Thanks.
Hi Pat! I’m so glad you enjoy so many TNN recipes! I always love hearing that.
I actually tested these with oat flour at first and found that it was just too heavy with the added lentils. It works, structurally, but again…makes for a very dense muffin.
Thank you! I might try half oat flour and half.1:1 GF flour mix. ☺️
What can I use if I don’t have apple cider vinegar?
The ACV is there to help activate the baking soda. Regular white vinegar or lemon juice will work too.
Is the wet ingredients supposed to be larger than the dry? Mine seemed like there wasn’t enough flour.
Also, does the recipe double ok?
Hi Heather! The ingredients are correct. I know it seems like it won’t balance out, but they do! Did your batter look like the thickness of the one in the picture? And I have not tried to double it yet, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out!
Would it be possible to sub beans for the lentils? My son has a sensitivity to lentils.
I haven’t tried these with beans instead of lentils, but it might work. I’d say either chickpeas or white beans. If you try it, Amy, please let us know how they turn out!