My favorite way to improve an already-delicious recipe? Add pumpkin! These rich and decadent chocolate muffins are made with pumpkin for the perfect fall snack. Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins are topped with a vegan Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting for a bakery-level treat that's almost too good to be true!
You might have guessed by now how much I LOVE pumpkin. I believe pumpkin makes any meal taste better! Since there are only a couple months in the year where I can go full pumpkin-obsession, I make the absolute most of it. These Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins are just right for anyone who wants to infuse pumpkin into each meal! They're nutritious enough that I made them as a breakfast recipe, but if I'm being honest, I dream about them all day until I decide to have another for dessert after dinner! The vegan cream cheese frosting is the perfect topping to finish it all off with pumpkin spiced delight.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffin Ingredients
I know that gluten-free baking feels intimidating to a lot of people, but I promise it doesn't have to be! You can make absolutely delicious gluten-free goodies at home without any crazy, hard-to-pronounce, specialty ingredients (read more about my Gluten-Free Product Recommendations and Helpful Resources right here!). This recipe is an example of that! It's a list made mostly with pantry ingredients that you can find in any grocery store.
- Oats - You can also use oat flour, but it only takes a couple seconds to turn your oats into oat flour. Double-check that you're buying certified gluten-free if that's important in your kitchen!
- Cocoa powder - Go for unsweetened cocoa powder, and I suggest double-checking to make sure it doesn’t contain added sugar, cocoa butter or milkfat.
- Pumpkin pie spice - This is just a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and allspice, so you can make it at home if you don't have specified pumpkin pie spice!
- Baking essentials - Baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract.
- Pumpkin puree - This recipe uses a cup of pumpkin puree, and I always encourage making your own for the best flavor and texture!
- Maple syrup - This is my sweetener of choice! It's totally natural and made from the boiled-down sap of maple trees. This sweetens your recipes without adding extra refined sugars!
- Coconut oil - Your coconut oil should be melted into total liquid. This makes it super easy to measure and mix into your muffin batter!
- Chocolate chips - These are optional, but you know how much I love chocolate! I usually use Hu brand chocolate gems since they are vegan and refined sugar-free.
Gluten-Free Baking with Oats
I use oats in most of my baking! They're a wonderful vegan, gluten-free base for so many recipes. I put them in a high-speed blender and blend them until they're a fine flour with no oat pieces remaining. You can buy oat flour in the store, but this method is incredibly easy and cost-effective! I also find the texture is lighter and fluffier when I make the oat flour myself. Oats are full of soluble fiber, and they’re higher in protein and healthful fats than most other whole grains. I also love that they're filling and give you sustained energy!
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
This is a really simple baking process! Once your oat flour is made in the blender or food processor, mix together all your dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients, and mix until no clumps remain. It should be silky smooth! Add in chocolate chips and spoon the batter into a lined or sprayed muffin tin. Each cup should be about ⅞ths full. While the muffins bake, make your dairy-free cream cheese frosting and let it sit in the refrigerator until the muffins are cooled and ready to be frosted!
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
I'm a firm believer in making your own pumpkin puree! It tastes a million times better and it's so easy to do, you won't believe it. I have both an oven pumpkin puree and a pressure cooker pumpkin puree! Pumpkin has disease-fighting nutrients and powerful antioxidants known as carotenoids that can protect cells from free radical damage. It also has fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, folate, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K.
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Can it be done?! Absolutely! I use a vegan cream cheese (both Kite Hill and Miyokos brands are delicious and creamy!), pumpkin puree, and a bit of maple sugar to blend up the tastiest, most satisfying dairy-free pumpkin cream cheese frosting you'll ever have. You'll want to eat it straight out of the bowl! Since this is a breakfast recipe, I go pretty easy on the frosting and the sweetener. If you want more of a dessert/cupcake dish, you can load up the frosting and add more maple sugar for sweetness!
I hope you make and love these Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins! I can already tell they're going to be a fall staple in our house. These muffins are vegan (no dairy and no egg!), gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free depending on which vegan cream cheese you use in the frosting. They're even made without refined sugar! Please tag me on Instagram if you make this dish, and don't forget to drop a review below.
More Muffin Recipes (all vegan and gluten-free!)
Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting (vegan + gluten-free)
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Diet: Vegan
These rich and decadent chocolate muffins are made with pumpkin for the perfect fall snack. Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins are topped with a vegan Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting for a bakery-level treat that's almost too good to be true!
For the muffins
- 1 ¾ cups oats (gluten-free if desired) [or sub 1.5 cups oat flour]
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- optional: ⅓ cup vegan mini chocolate chips
For the pumpkin cream cheese frosting
- 6 ounces plain vegan cream cheese (I love Kite Hill brand)
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup maple sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with silicone baking cups or parchment paper baking cups.
- In a high-speed, completely dry blender, add oats and blend on the highest speed until a finely ground oat flour forms. No oat bits should remain. If you do not have a high speed blender you can substitute with 1.5 cups store-bought oat flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oat flour, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.
- Add pumpkin puree, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Use a hand mixer to fully incorporate until not clumps remain.
- Stir in chocolate chips if using.
- Transfer the batter to the lined muffin tin so each cup is ⅞ths full. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit on the middle rack. Without opening the oven door, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the muffin tin for 15-20 minutes.
- Transfer the muffins (in their liners) to a wire cooling rack to cool completely to room temperature.
- While the muffins cool, make the pumpkin cream cheese frosting. Add vegan cream cheese, pumpkin puree, maple sugar and vanilla to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to mix together well until no clumps remain. Taste and add more sugar if a sweet cream cheese frosting is desired. This recipe is meant to be a muffin breakfast option but you can certainly sweeten it more if desired!
- Place the bowl of frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Once the muffins have fully cooled to room temperature, frost each with the pumpkin cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!
- If you are making in advance you can store the muffins and frosting separately. Store each in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
non-stick, non-toxic muffin tinBuy Now →
Freezing Muffins: Unfrosted muffins can be frozen for up to three months. Transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight before enjoying. If desired, warm the muffins slightly in the microwave for 30 seconds or the oven for 5 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 20
- Category: Breakfast or Snack
Keywords: vegan gluten-free chocolate pumpkin muffins
Louise McManus says
In the ingredient section for making the cream cheese frosting, it is unclear as to the amount recommended. It says 1/2 cup tablespoons maple sugar or coconut oil. Would you be able to clarify that please? Thank you.
Elaine Gordon says
Hi, Louise! Thank you so much for calling that to my attention. It should be 1/2 cup maple sugar (or coconut sugar). Not 1/2 tablespoon. I hope that helps! Best, Elaine
Frosting was good. Muffins - awful. Claggy. Waste of money and maple syrup.
Elaine Gordon says
Hi, Linda: I'm so sorry to hear you did not like these and felt it was a waste. That is the opposite of my goal here! Have you been able to try them since they fully cooled? I know at first they can be super fudgy but once the oat flour fully cools they should not have a claggy texture. Please let me know more about your baking experience so perhaps we can diagnose the issue. Best, Elaine
These were so good and very easy to make, I didn’t have or look ahead to see the maple sugar for the icing but used a cane sugar and it was good but will definitely try again with maple! So tasty!
Elaine Gordon says
Thank you so much, Vicky! I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed these and found them easy to make! Any granulated sugar works here. Thank you for the five star rating. Best, Elaine
Can you reduce maple syrup by 1/4 cup ? If so, what would i need to replace it with or would i just leave it without replacing amount reduced.
Elaine Gordon says
Hi Linda: I would not recommend reducing it or it will impact the texture and flavor. My mom did that and they were not sweet enough and very dry she said. You could potentially try substituting 1/4 cup with applesauce but I haven't tested it so I cannot guarantee the results. I hope that helps. Best, Elaine