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Paleo Pumpkin Muffins w/ Pecans & Orange Zest

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Looking for an easy gluten free recipe for paleo pumpkin muffins? You’ll love this healthy version with a unique twist of orange zest & pecans. You’ll be surprised by how delicious it tastes!

5 paleo pumpkin muffins with varios toppings including pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, and chocolate chips

For this fall season, we wanted to create a nourishing recipe with pumpkin as an ingredient. So we came up with the idea of paleo pumpkin muffins with pecans and orange zest– it seriously has been my favorite recipe lately! 

What’s unique about these paleo pumpkin muffins?

As I was scrolling through muffin recipes on Google, I noticed a lot of them with chocolate chips as an ingredient. But I thought I would be creative and incorporate something different that I haven’t seen yet in other pumpkin muffin recipes– orange zest.

I never thought the combination of pumpkin and orange would be SO DELICIOUS! Orange gives a unique and refreshing flavor to these healthy pumpkin muffins–you will want to keep eating them! (P.S. this was me after creating this successful recipe!!)

Health benefits of pumpkin & pecans

Pumpkin is a popular fall food. Did you hear about the rumor of a canned pumpkin shortage? When I was getting pumpkin puree at Walmart, people literally grabbed 10 cans at a time! Fortunately, the rumor wasn’t real.

Anyway, pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients in soups, salads, and pumpkin pie. It is high in carotenoids, beta-carotene in particular, which turns into vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is good for our eyes, skin, and immune health. The cucurbitacin found in pumpkins contains antiviral, antibacterial, and anti inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown the benefits of polysaccharides in pumpkins for people with diabetes as well.

Pecan is a great source of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which can help manage diabetes and maintain cholesterol level, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. It is high in vitamin E (serves as an antioxidant), and contains polyphenolic compounds that are also good for diabetics. In general, tree nut consumption helps manage obesity due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Bonus, nuts are a delicious food for brain health too!

Learn more about nuts and brain health: How to Boost Your Brain Health with a MIND Diet Meal Plan

Our paleo pumpkin muffins are nutritious. They’re rich in vitamins A & E, along with magnesium. Each muffin contains 4 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. Bonus-they’re relatively low in sugar at 8 grams per serving. Not bad for a muffin!

Muffin tray with uncooked muffins topped with pecans.

How to make paleo pumpkin muffins from scratch

The basic ingredients for muffins include flour, leavening agent, egg, oil, salt, and sugar (we use maple syrup here). To make paleo pumpkin muffins, we incorporate natural ingredients, such as almond and coconut flour, pumpkin puree, and coconut oil.

Similar to regular muffins, dry ingredients (i.e. flour, salt, and baking soda) are mixed together before combining with the wet ingredients (i.e. pumpkin puree, egg, maple syrup, and oil). Then we spoon the batter into paper liners and bake at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes.

And, of course in our recipe we also add in chopped pecans, orange zest, and orange juice. The final step we did was to top the muffins with pecans.

White marble tray with ingredients to make paleo pumpkin muffins.

Tips, substitutions, variations, and serving ideas

  • Want a low FODMAP version? Try omitting coconut flour and using all almond flour instead.
  • Don’t have chopped pecans on hand? Feel free to substitute with chopped walnuts. 
  • If you want your muffins to have a lighter texture, separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat the egg whites to achieve a stiff peak, then fold into the final mixture.
  • Maple syrup can be swapped with honey for a sweeter taste.
  • For a more intense flavor, I’m sure that these muffins will taste yummy with spices like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cloves too! 
  • Besides topping your muffins with pecan halves, you may also substitute with walnuts, almonds, dark chocolate chips, or pumpkin seeds. You will love the variety of toppings, which is also perfect for your Instagram photos!
  • Not sure what to pair with our healthy paleo pumpkin muffins? We suggest eating one with a high protein meal (like these Scrambled Eggs in a Jar) for breakfast. Or, enjoying one with a cup of matcha tea for an afternoon snack.
3 paleo pumpkin muffins on a pink background.

Storing your pumpkin muffins

To enjoy the crunchiness of the pecans, we recommend eating your paleo pumpkin muffins freshly baked. For meal prep, store your muffins with a paper towel wrapped around them in an airtight container in the freezer, for up to 7-10 days. This helps keep the moisture away and preserve them longer. To unfreeze and reheat, simply place in the microwave for about 40-45 seconds per muffin.

Let’s make some paleo pumpkin muffins!

(Note: If you’re in a paleo muffin making mood, you’ll love these Paleo Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Zest too!)

5 paleo pumpkin muffins with varios toppings including pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, and chocolate chips

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins w/ Pecans and Orange Zest

Looking for a healthy gluten free, grain free, paleo pumpkin muffin recipe? Try this easy-to-make recipe with a unique twist of orange flavor and pecans– you will be surprised by how it tastes!
4.9 from 19 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup fine almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, see notes for low FODMAP version
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 oranges, zest from 1 1/2 oranges + 4 tablespoons juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus 10 additional whole pecans for garnish
  • coconut oil, enough to grease paper muffin liners

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 10 paper muffin liners.
  • Mix together almond flour, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium-size bowl.
  • Zest 1 1/2 oranges with a zester. Be sure to avoid zesting the white pith which is very bitter.
  • Squeeze the oranges with a handheld juicer. You will need 4 tablespoons of juice.
  • In a separate large-size bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, orange zest, and orange juice.
  • Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients, then stir in chopped pecans.
  • Spoon batter into muffin liners, then top each muffin with a pecan. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until done. Let cool and enjoy your delicious muffins!

Notes

  • Want a low FODMAP version? Omit coconut flour and use all almond flour instead.
  • Don’t have chopped pecans on hand? Feel free to substitute with chopped walnuts. 
  • If you want your muffins to have a lighter texture, separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat the egg whites to achieve a stiff peak, then fold into the final mixture.
  • Maple syrup can be swapped with honey for a sweeter taste.
  • For a more intense flavor add spices like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and/or cloves. 
  • Alternative/additional toppings include walnuts, almonds, dark chocolate chips, or pumpkin seeds. 
  • Serving ideas: Have a muffin with a high protein meal (like these Scrambled Eggs in a Jar) for breakfast. Or, enjoy one with a cup of matcha tea for an afternoon snack.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 3027IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg
EA Stewart, RD | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low FODMAP Option, Mediterranean, MIND Diet, Paleo, Vegetarian
Keyword healthy pumpkin muffins
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Wondering what other delicious ways you can enjoy pumpkin puree? Check out these favorite recipes on The Spicy RD Blog!

Let’s Chat! Are you a fan of pumpkin recipes? Will you try making these paleo pumpkin muffins? What toppings would YOU add???

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20 thoughts on “Paleo Pumpkin Muffins w/ Pecans & Orange Zest”

  1. Pumpkin and orange is such a great combination! I like it a lot more than pumpkin + chocolate. These look fantastic and I can’t wait to try them!

  2. Ok seriously, these look like just about the best dang muffins EVER! I’m making these this weekend, and I’ll prob eat them all, too! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. There’s so much fall flavor in these muffins and I love how it’s made with wholesome ingredients. Such a treat for the colder months ahead!

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