Bran muffins are a seemingly wholesome way to start the day, yet so many bran muffins rely on sugar and oil to create moisture and flavor. Enter pumpkin!
My original recipe for Pumpkin Bran Muffins is a family and reader favorite. Over the years, however, I have received many requests for a gluten-free version. However, a gluten-free version of any favorite recipe can’t just be good for being “gluten-free.” To make the cut, even gluten-eaters should want to eat it and not actually notice a difference. This version took a little fiddling, but last year I came up with a muffin that tasted every bit as good as the original. It’s equally moist, flavorful, and healthy. The beginning of a new pumpkin season seemed like the perfect time to pass it along!
I love that this recipe uses the whole can of pumpkin and that the batter may be mixed the night before and baked in the morning. In my house, there are always boxes of the kids’ favorite cereals available for a quick meal. Proof of a successful breakfast recipe occurs when the kids choose it over their go-to cereal. I’ve made countless batches of these muffins–both the original and the gluten-free counterpart– and they’re the winner every time.
Yields 12 muffins.
- 1 15-ounce can 100% pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free multi-grain flake cereal (see notes for specifics), lightly crushed
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup melted butter (or coconut oil for dairy-free)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (or 2 1/4 teaspoons white or apple cider vinegar plus milk of choice–dairy-free if needed–to make 3/4 cup; allow to sit a few minutes before stirring into batter)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free baking flour (I tested these muffins with Bob’s Red Mill’s 1-to-1 and my Homemade Blend
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- *Optional:* 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts; 1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened according to preference); coarse sugar for sprinkling or optional *Speedy Maple Cream Cheese Frosting* (see notes)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin. (If using paper liners, I recommend spraying them with cooking spray so the paper doesn’t stick to the muffin. This is somewhat common with gluten-free flours.)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, crushed cereal, raisins, butter or melted coconut oil, and sugars. Stir in the eggs and the buttermilk.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (Stir in the optional nuts and/or coconut at this point.) Add to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups. I like to use a large ice cream scoop. The cups will be rather full but they will not overflow.
Sprinkle the tops with a little coarse sugar or shredded coconut, if desired. (The muffins will still be delicious if omitted.) Then bake for 23-28 minutes or until the muffins pass the toothpick test and do not feel mushy in the center when the top of the muffins are gently pressed.
Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
Once cool, frost with the maple cream cheese frosting, if using. Store the muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- I use Mesa Sunrise by Nature’s Path. This cereal is a wholesome combination of organic corn, flax, quinoa and amaranth. (It also tastes great by the handful as a quick crunchy snack or mixed with dried fruit and nuts for an easy snack mix.) One Degree offers a similar cereal, although I have not tested it in this recipe.
- For a slightly decadent topping option (the frosting isn’t dairy-free), stir approximately 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup into a quarter cup of cream cheese (the mixture will be creamier if the cream cheese is softened first; if not, just keep stirring until smooth). This amount will provide a speedy cream cheese frosting for about 6 muffins. Feel free to adjust the amount of maple syrup up or down to your liking and double the recipe if you’d like to frost all 12 muffins.
Gluten-free Pumpkin Bran Muffins, above, and the original recipe, below.