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Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

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Who needs dinner rolls when you can have pumpkin cornbread muffins? Perfect for pairing with a bowl of soup or even Thanksgiving dinner, these muffins are irresistible when topped with a pat of homemade maple butter.

Closeup of Pumpkin Cornbread Muffin cut in half and slathered with maple butter

Although I originally developed this pumpkin cornbread muffin recipe for Thanksgiving, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate them as an all-around kind of muffin for fall. Why wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy these, right?! Since they freeze well, I keep a few on hand at all times for serving with my Instant Pot autumn harvest butternut squash soup or sweet potato, parsnip, ginger, and turmeric soup.

Of course, you totally have to make this recipe for Thanksgiving too. Slather them with maple butter and oh my gosh—they are 100% perfection. These pumpkin cornbread muffins are the perfect companion to your Thanksgiving meal. Instead of making dinner rolls this year, you should make these for sopping up gravy. And if you have leftovers? Slice the muffins in half and put turkey and cranberry sauce in between to make a sandwich. 

Orrrr just slather your pumpkin cornbread muffin in a ton of butter and eat it on its own. Any way you have it, you will love it!

What You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to make pumpkin cornbread muffins:

For the muffins:

  • Yellow cornmeal – Don’t substitute white cornmeal—the flavor is different.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Pumpkin pie spice – Here’s how to make your own pumpkin pie spice.
  • Salt
  • Maple syrup
  • Eggs
  • Pumpkin puree Make sure you get a can of pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling!
  • Vegetable oil – Canola oil or another neutral-flavored oil you like to use for baking can be used instead.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Milk

For the maple butter:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Maple syrup – Splurge for this good stuff! It’s worth it here.
Closeup shot of Pumpkin Cornbread Muffin with maple butter

How to Make Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

If you’ve made cornbread before, this recipe isn’t all that much different, aside from the pumpkin! Here’s what you need to do, step-by-step:

Prepare. Preheat oven to 400ºF and place a 12-cup muffin pan in the oven.

Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk the maple syrup, eggs, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, and milk.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour the wet ingredients into it. Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones, being careful not to over-mix.

Grease the muffin pan. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and place 1/4 teaspoon of butter into each cup. Swirl to coat, or use a pastry brush to make sure the whole cup is well-coated to keep the pumpkin cornbread muffins from sticking.

Put the batter in the muffin pan. Use a large cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to distribute the batter evenly among all 12 cups, filling each about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake the muffins. Return the muffin pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool. Let the muffins sit in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Make the butter. While the muffins are cooling, combine the maple butter ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffin being brushed with maple butter

Tips for Success

These tips will help you make the best pumpkin cornbread muffins:

  • Let the batter sit. Give it about 15 minutes or so to rest before you add it to the muffin tin. This allows the baking powder more time to activate.
  • Expect a thick batter. If you’ve never made cornbread muffins before, you might be expecting a muffin batter-like texture, but cornbread is a lot thicker. Don’t think you’ve done something wrong!
  • Know when to test. Wait for the tops of the muffins to be golden brown and crisp on the edges before testing for doneness with a toothpick. 

Can Cornbread Muffins Be Made Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make cornbread muffins a day or two in advance and keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. Although they will keep for longer than two days, if you’re making them for Thanksgiving, you want them to be as fresh as possible.

How to Store

It’s important to let the muffins cool completely before you store them, otherwise they’ll go bad quickly. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two to three days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Can You Freeze This Recipe?

Yes, you can freeze this recipe for up to 2 months. Wrap each muffin in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer bag or airtight container.

Overhead shot of Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins
Ditch the dinner rolls and give these pumpkin cornbread muffins a shot! The perfect companion to your dinner table or holiday meal. Warm cornbread muffins slathered in butter are the way to go!

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

These pumpkin cornbread muffins are the perfect companion to your Thanksgiving meal. Instead of making dinner rolls, you should make these!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

For the maple butter

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place a 12-cup regular muffin pan into the oven.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup, eggs, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and milk.
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and then pour the liquid mixture into the center. Using a spatula, gently start folding the dry ingredients with the wet until a dough formed.
  • Remove the muffin pan from the oven and carefully place 1/4 teaspoon of unsalted butter into each of the muffin cups. Carefully swirl around so it coats the entire cup or use a pastry brush to brush the entire cup with the melted butter.
  • Using a large cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly amongst the cups, filling 3/4 of the cup full.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes then remove muffins from muffin pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the muffins are cooling, stir together the ingredients for the maple butter in a small bowl then use when serving the muffins.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 Muffin | Calories: 232 kcal | Carbohydrates: 27 g | Protein: 4 g | Fat: 12 g | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 8 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Muffins
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cornmeal muffin recipe, thanksgiving side dishes

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Recipe Rating




Don Hawley

Monday 12th of November 2018

I couldn't find an easy way to print from the mobile app

Julie Wampler

Tuesday 13th of November 2018

Hi Don, I don't have mobile printing on because I have had too many comments berating me for having the print icon on when "they can't actually print" (they just don't realize how to mobile print). Apologies!

Shannon

Sunday 27th of August 2017

In the pictures you posted, there is clearly a glaze on the muffins but there is no mention of it in the recipe. Also, 20 mins was a bit too long in the oven.

Julie

Monday 28th of August 2017

That's the maple butter that I mentioned in the recipe.."use when serving the muffins" — I put it on top of the muffins (which melted because the muffins were warm which is why you see the 'glaze') and I also put it on the muffins when I sliced them in half. Oven temperatures and heat definitely range so if you felt 20 minutes was a bit too long, please do adjust next time you make these! I give time based on how long it took me to cook my muffins in the oven. I guess it could be a range...15-20 minutes.

Marla Meridith

Monday 21st of November 2016

These muffins looks irresistible!

lachiah

Monday 21st of November 2016

Condolences to you, Jason, and his family. Losing a loved one close to a holiday like Thanksgiving is especially tough. I hope you all are able have a nice meal in spite of the circumstances.

Julie

Monday 21st of November 2016

Thank you so much for your thoughts <3

Naomi

Monday 21st of November 2016

I'm so sorry to hear about Jason's grandmothers passing (and of course all the shuffling around you will need to do). On an up note these muffins looks so good!