Pumpkin Chile Muffins

November 2, 2023

pumpkin chile muffin with butter

Pumpkin spice is everywhere and in everything. Beverages, candles, personal care products and naturally, baked goods. Think of these Pumpkin Chile Muffins as the anti-pumpkin spice treat.

Be that as it may, there is a hint of cinnamon to remind you of the ubiquitous spice mix. Uniquely, the flavor here is of chile powder, two types. Chile powder (which usually contains some cumin) and ground chipotle powder for extra heat. These honey sweetened muffins are topped with chewy pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. Cream cheese or nut butters make perfect extra toppers for warm muffins right from the oven.

ingredients for pumpkin chile muffins

Ever wonder why baking powder is called Double Acting? It begins to work as it combines with liquid, then again as heat begins in baking. My directions specify to work quickly as you add pepitas to the muffins, and equally as quickly as you tamp them down with moist hands. Batter that sits too long outside the oven will begin the leavening. In spite of two leaveners (baking soda and baking powder), you may potentially lose some rise before baking.

Here is a handy tip for baking with canned pumpkin. Many recipes call for one cup pumpkin. One 15 ounce can is about two cups, each just under one cup. I measure what I need and freeze the remainder for other baked goods like pumpkin spoonbread or pumpkin bread. The defrosted pumpkin may look a bit shaggy, but whisking well with other ingredients revives it. Using just under one cup of pumpkin has not compromised my baking at all!

pan of pumpkin chile muffins

Pepitas have a permanent place in my kitchen. Their nutty flavor and pleasantly chewy texture add color and character to all kinds of soups, entrees and side dishes.

Add the aroma of chiles to your autumn repertoire and enjoy this simple recipe.

closeup of pumpkin chile muffin

Pumpkin Chile Muffins

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes 12 muffins


1 ⅔ cup gluten free flour with xanthan gum*
3 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
ground chipotle pepper – use 1/8 teaspoon for milder, ¼ teaspoon  for assertive spice
⅔ cup honey
⅓ cup oil – canola or extra virgin olive oil
½ of a 15 ounce can pumpkin – this equals just under one cup
2 large eggs at room temperature
scant ⅓ cup pepitas
* I like King Arthur Measure for Measure; all purpose regular flour okay, too


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk all dry ingredients together, from flour to chipotle powder – use smaller amount chipotle for tasty spice and larger amount for more heat.
  3. In medium mixing bowl, whisk oil, pumpkin and honey.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.
  5. Place dry ingredients atop wet and use spatula to mix well for gluten free, lightly for regular flour.
  6. Grease 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  7. Working quickly so batter does not lose leavening, place spoonfuls of batter into tin; it will not seem like enough, but the rise is adequate to make fluffy muffins.
  8. Sprinkle pepitas on top of muffins and with moist hands, working quickly, tamp down pepitas so they will not fall off during baking.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes and pop them out onto cooling rack.
  10. Chile flavor is stronger with aging and these will last well at room temperature up to 3 days.
  11. They also freeze well, but avoid the high moisture refrigerator compartment.
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