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Pumpkin Brown Sugar Muffins

Brown Sugar, cinnamon and chocolate, combined with pumpkin makes an incredibly tasty muffin. Plus these bakery style muffins with  big domed top are so easy to make!

Pumpkin Muffins

In 2011 I made these pumpkin muffins. They tasted totally divine, but they turned out flat.

In my book, muffins aren’t supposed to be flat. They are supposed to have big, billowy tops with moist and tender interiors, just like the Rocky Mountains! 

In Colorado because of our altitude, many baked goods often just don’t do what they are supposed to. Cookies are often flat. Breads are often dry. And muffins, kind of sometimes, look like this!

Yes, I took this photo in 2011!

pumpkin muffins from 2011

Clearly, my pumpkin muffin recipe just wasn’t measuring up to the standard of a muffin I wanted, except for that incredible flavor.

Fast forward to 2020. I’ve got the secret for you about how to make the muffins look like something someone would love to eat.

These bakery style pumpkin muffins with a nice domed top are just what I always wanted to achieve.

With research I found out the secret to baking muffins that resemble their bakery style cousins. And because I love passing out great tips, I’m going to share!

Pumpkin Muffins in muffin pan

How to Bake Bakery Style Muffins:

I always chill my cookie dough. Why have I never ever thought to chill muffin batter? By chilling your muffin dough for at least an hour or even overnight, this allows the flour to absorb the liquid ingredients into the batter which creates a batter that is stronger.

From there the technique is all in the baking.  Does your muffin recipe say “bake at 350 for 20 minutes”? Well, that’s not how I’m going to do it anymore!

Baking muffins at an initial heat of 425  helps creates an initial burst of steam that lets the batter rise quickly. How come I didn’t think of this before?

After that the oven temperature is reduced to 350 to finish baking.

Pumpkin Muffins in Muffin Pan

Honestly I was amazed that it was this simple to produce such lovely muffins. I can’t wait to try other muffin recipes, as now I have no doubt that this works.

I did nothing else to this recipe besides change the chilling and the baking process!

Manservant loved these muffins and  he isn’t much of a sweets eater at breakfast. He ate two before I pulled them out of his reach and placed them in the freezer.

Yes, these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are for Zoe. She loves sweets in the morning! And she is a huge fall foods eater!

Pumpkin Muffins with Sugar on top

These muffins aren’t loaded with pumpkin spice; in fact all they contain is cinnamon and a bit of fresh nutmeg,  but one could substitute pumpkin pie spice if one so desires.

I feel the chocolate and cinnamon makes these pumpkin muffins just right! Well, more than right. These are really good!

A Few More to Try:

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Banana Granola Bread

Banana Granola Toasting Bread on black platter

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A few things that come in handy when baking  muffins: First I have 2  12 cup muffin tins. And I have 2, 6 cup muffin tins. And I have 2 mini 12 cup muffin tins. Seems like a lot. Well, sometimes you end up having more batter and you need more muffin tins. The minis come in handy for company or gifts or for making little won ton cups for appetizers. It’s nice to have muffin liners on hand and these natural ones are basic, but good!


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Pumpkin Muffins with Sugar on top

Pumpkin Brown Sugar Muffins

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 - 16 Muffins 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These showy, pumpkin muffins with brown sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips are divine.


Units Scale

1 3/4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t cinnamon
a good shaving of fresh nutmeg or don’t use it
1 1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c oil
1/3 c water
1 c canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 c walnuts or pecans chopped medium fine

Topping and Filling
1 c brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1 2 c mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate


Spray the top of the muffin tin with cooking spray. Fill muffin tin with muffin liners.

In large bowl whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together.

In another bowl whisk together sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and nuts. Add flour mixture to liquid. Combine well with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Do not over mix.

Chill muffin batter for at least 60 minutes or overnight.

Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips to create filling.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 425. Place oven rack in upper third of oven.

Fill muffin tins halfway with batter and sprinkle with a spoonful of filling. Now fill muffin tins within an 1/8″ of the top and sprinkle with any extra filling.

Bake at 425 for 6 to 9 minutes. Without opening oven door, peek to see if the muffins are about a 1/4 -1/2″ above the paper. That means it’s time to turn the oven heat down to 350.

Bake 6 – 10 minutes longer or until toothpick inserted comes out barely clean. (My muffins were ready with the shortest times mentioned.)

Remove from oven and let cool on rack for 1 – 2 minutes. Then remove from pan. If you leave them in the muffin pan the sides and bottom will become soggy.


Never over mix muffins. No need to use a mixer. Stir by hand!

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Karen (Back Road Journal)

Wednesday 30th of September 2020

Pumpkin muffins with pecans, yes please. They would be outstanding with a cup of tea for breakfast.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

These are such good muffins! Get the tea ready!


Sunday 27th of September 2020

Yum!! I am so excited that its fall and I can’t wait for all the baking to begin. Thanks for this recipe, it’s got me all inspired!


Friday 2nd of October 2020

I do like how baking overtakes gardening!


Friday 25th of September 2020

Abbe, this is absolutely divine ! Thank you for all the useful tips and I wish you have a great week end !


Friday 2nd of October 2020

Amazing how increasing the temp makes a perfect muffin. Can't wait to try more muffins now!

John / Kitchen Riffs

Thursday 24th of September 2020

It's always interesting to me how a small change in technique can result in a pretty large change in appearance, texture, or flavor. Anyway, I think you've just won pumpkin season with these! :-)


Friday 2nd of October 2020

You are so right John! And I do love these muffins!


Thursday 24th of September 2020

These muffins look perfect, Abbe. And I love all the great tips on how to make perfect baker style muffins.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

Thanks Angie. This is a really good fall recipe!