Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Muffins are a great way to enjoy fall flavors for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack! They're packed with pumpkin, sourdough discard, and fall spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. And if you want a little extra sweetness, add chocolate chips!
Why you'll love this recipe
- This easy recipe comes together in about 15 minutes and requires no rise time!
- You can easily add chocolate chips or change up the toppings (try crushed nuts, pepitas, or oats) to make this recipe your own.
- This recipe is packed with pumpkin flavor and is a great way to use up some of your sourdough discard.
- Muffins freeze well so you can enjoy some now and freeze the rest for later!
There are a few key ingredients you'll need to bring these Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Muffins together.
- Softened butter: Letting the butter soften and warm to room temperature is important to get the correct texture for these muffins. You'll cream the butter with the granulated sugar, and that won't work as well with cold (or melted) butter!
- Sourdough discard: The sourdough discard should be unfed and at room temperature for this recipe. This recipe is designed for a sourdough starter with a 1:1:1 ratio (when you feed your starter, it's with 1 part starter, 1 part flour, 1 part water). If your starter uses a different ratio, you may need to adjust some of the ingredients.
- For example, if your sourdough starter uses a 1:2 ratio (1 part water, 2 parts flour), then you may need to reduce the flour in the recipe slightly (since there is more flour in your discard).
- Pumpkin purée: You can use canned pumpkin purée (I like to use Libby's 100% Pumpkin) or make homemade pumpkin purée.
- Turbinado sugar: This gives a little extra sweetness and crunch to the muffin tops. I like to use Sugar in the Raw.
See full recipe below for detailed directions.
Substitutions & Variations
This is a very adaptable recipe and below are a few easy substitutions and variations you can try.
- Use active sourdough starter - You can use active sourdough starter instead of sourdough discard to make this recipe. To do so, omit the baking powder and use active starter in place of the discard. Be prepared that your muffins may rise a bit more than normal since muffins aren't typically made with yeast.
- Use pumpkin pie spice - If you'd rather use pumpkin pie spice in place of the individual spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves), you can! Instead of those spices, use 1 Tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice.
- Add chocolate chips - If you want a bit of chocolate, add ½ cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks to the batter. My suggestion would be dark chocolate!
I have not tested this recipe with other variations, but if you do, let us know how it turns out in the comments! I always love to hear how you're adapting these recipes and use those as ideas for future recipes as well!
How to make Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Muffins
Muffins come together very quickly and don't need any rise time, so you'll have these on the table in no time!
Cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
Mix the sourdough discard and the pumpkin purée together. Add the dry ingredients and pumpkin mixture to the creamed butter mixture. Try not to overmix here!
Divide the batter into 12 lined muffin cups and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve!
Expert Baking Tips
- Make sure the butter is softened. The texture of the butter is very important for this recipe. Using cold butter, or melted butter won't give you the same light and fluffy muffins!
- Cream the butter for 2-3 minutes. Yes, the time matters! This allows the butter to get nice and fluffy (again, this is good for the texture of your muffins!).
- Every sourdough starter (and therefore the discard) is different. If you find your batter too thick or too thin, add 1-2 Tablespoons of water or flour to reach the desired batter consistency.
- Avoid over-mixing the batter. Mixing the sourdough discard with the pumpkin purée will help reduce the amount of mixing you need to do with the batter. This is all to try to help create a light and fluffy muffin!
- Don't forget the turbinado sugar! This gives the muffins a little extra sweetness and a nice crunch on the topping. I highly recommend it!
What is sourdough discard?
Sourdough discard is what you have leftover after you feed your sourdough starter. You can either discard it (literally throw it away, or compost it), or you can use it in sourdough discard recipes like this one!
Your sourdough discard should be unfed and at room temperature for this recipe. Also, every sourdough starter (and therefore the discard) is different. If you find your batter seems too thick or thin, add an additional 1-2 Tablespoons of flour or water (1 Tablespoon at a time) to reach your desired consistency.
Room Temperature Storage: These muffins are best eaten fresh. You can store these Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can reheat them in the microwave for 15-30 seconds to make them warm and soft again.
Freezer Storage: Muffins also freeze well! Let them cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also leave the muffin liners on for freezing! To reheat, let the muffins thaw at room temperature, or reheat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until they're warm and soft again.
You can! To do so, omit the baking powder and replace the sourdough discard with active sourdough starter.
Yes! Add ½ cup of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks to the batter for an extra bit of sweetness.
Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Muffins
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 200 grams (about ¾ cup) sourdough discard unfed, at room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar for topping
- Preheat oven to 375℉ and line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sourdough discard and pumpkin purée. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients and pumpkin mixture into the creamed butter mixture and mix until just combined (do not overmix!).
- Use a spoon or cookie scoop to fill the lined muffin cups about ⅔ full with batter. Sprinkle each muffin with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then serve or transfer to a cooling rack to cool fully.