Ultimate Pumpkin and Spice Muffins with Sourdough Discard

Muffin pan filled with batter for pumpkin sourdough discard muffins
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These pumpkin and spice muffins with sourdough discard came about in my quest to bake something my daughter MK can grab on her way out the door to work in the early morning. I have learned to bake these either a) late at night after everyone has gone to bed or b) first thing in the morning before anyone wakes up. Otherwise they disappear before MK can get her hands on any. We can’t resist them. (They also freeze well. The homemade cloth produce bags I store them in sort of disguise them, making them stick around a bit longer.)

Leftover fresh pumpkin

Fresh pumpkin or squash can’t be beat, whether in these pumpkin sourdough muffins, pumpkin pie or pumpkin pasta. I buy whole sugar pie pumpkins or kabocha squash and either roast them in the oven or cook them in a pressure cooker (in merely eight minutes!).

Cooking fresh does require more effort but you also get seeds out of the bargain that you can roast for an autumnal snack. The purée also freezes well. I try to stash at least a few jars of pumpkin or kabocha squash purée in the freezer every winter. (Go here for plastic-free freezing.)

However, you don’t need to freshly cook a fresh pumpkin or squash. If you have leftover cooked pumpkin, kabocha squash or other winter squash on your hands, bake these muffins. And yes, these are muffins, not cupcakes, according to this Kitchn article. (The designation depends on the mixing method.)

Prepped ingredients reduce food waste

While buying more food than we can eat leads to food going uneaten—our stomachs can hold only so much—cooking additional food can help prevent food from going to waste. It sounds a bit counterintuitive. But let’s say when cooking squash for soup, I decide to cook extra squash. With the main ingredient for another squash recipe ready to go, I have part of the cooking done. I’ll opt for less work and make another pumpkin dish, not something completely unrelated. I save time. The pumpkin gets eaten. I free up space in my refrigerator…

These sourdough discard pumpkin muffins also use up a bit of sourdough discard left over from feedings. I haven’t made these without discard but if you’d like the formula for converting recipes, go here. You’ll replace the sourdough discard with additional flour and water. I will unsourdough-ize these pumpkin discard muffins for another post. If you don’t have a sourdough starter and would like one, go here for instructions and check here for upcoming sourdough classes.

Ingredients for pumpkin muffins with sourdough discard sit in bowls and measuring cups on a distressed cookie sheet. The cookie sheet sits on grey and white marble.
Baked pumpkin muffins with sourdough dicard cool on a cooling rack set on grey and white marble
Cooling muffins
A pumpkin sourdough discard muffin cut in half sits on cooling rack, surrounded by whole muffins. The rack is sitting on grey and white marble.
Crumb shot
Baked pumpkin muffins with sourdough dicard cool on a cooling rack set on grey and white marble
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Ultimate Pumpkin Sourdough Discard Muffins

Use leftover fresh pumpkin or squash purée plus a bit of discard for no-waste muffins
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 230kcal


  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large pastured eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin or kabocha squash purée
  • ½ cup sourdough starter discard straight from the refrigerator, see Note
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • cup raisins


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
  • Toast the nuts for 5 to 10 minutes in the oven until fragrant but not dark.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and baking powder.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light. Add the sugar, mixing well. Stir in the pumpkin purée, starter, olive oil and vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until well combined.
  • Fold in the chopped nuts and raisins, being careful to not overmix the batter.
  • Divide the batter and fill the muffin pan. Bake for 21 to 23 minutes, until a fork inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.


My sourdough starter is a 100 percent hydration starter, meaning it contains equal parts water and flour by weight.


Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 864IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Accolades for my cookbook, The Zero-Waste Chef: Plant-Forward Recipes and Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen and Planet:

You can check out the book here.

Canadian cover

2 Replies to “Ultimate Pumpkin and Spice Muffins with Sourdough Discard”

  1. Thank you for your “Make them after everyone goes to bed” suggestion.

  2. Oh man, these are good! I used dates so reduced the sugar.

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