These pumpkin banana muffins are super moist on the inside with the best crumb topping. Because pumpkin and banana both are excellent substitutes for butter and oil, they are even just a little bit healthier.
Why you’ll love this recipe
In addition, they are so easy to make, using just a bowl and no special equipment. They can be made just when the craving hits! It is also a great way to use up that extra pumpkin puree.
Oh, and who doesn't love crumb topping? I had a poll on my Instagram stories a while back asking what you guys preferred (for this recipe) and it was no competition!
More crumb topping recipes:
Or simply search for crumb top in the search field and there are even more ideas for you!
To make the pumpkin banana muffins you will need:
- Ripe banana - ripe bananas are great in baked goods. They provide moisture, sweetness, and a delicious banana flavor. So if you don't like bananas in baked goods, you shouldn't make these as is (but keep reading the Variations step below).
- Pumpkin puree - pumpkin puree is another way to add moisture to the muffins. However, more like carrots in carrot cake, they don't get a lot of pumpkin flavors, just a mellow hint.
- Pumpkin pie spice - but to get that pumpkin vibe, we will definitely go with all the delicious pumpkin pie spices. They are also great in combination with bananas, so they are a super comforting and warming treat.
- Brown sugar - to keep with the warming and comforting reasoning, brown sugar is better to use than white sugar as brown sugar has a robust butterscotch flavor. Brown sugar also makes the muffins moister, but not super light and airy such as angel food cakes. That doesn't matter in banana and pumpkin baked goods, if you ask me!
- All-purpose flour - providing strength and structure to the pumpkin banana muffins.
- Baking powder and baking soda - are two leavening agents providing more air to the muffins. Baking soda needs acid to be activated, in this case, brown sugar. However, it is not enough and so it requires some help from baking powder which does not need any acid.
- Egg - eggs have multiple functions in baked goods. Eggs provide structure by having a binding effect, they are also emulsifying the fat with the other ingredients and should not be omitted. In addition to this, they also provide moisture and flavor although the pumpkin and banana have this property as well.
- Salt - should never be omitted in baking as salt enhances both flavor and texture. Salt has a binding and strengthening effect, making the flour stronger. There is also a bunch of more nitty gritty stuff you can read more about in Understanding Ingredients for the Canadian Baker.
- Milk - milk is used as the liquid for the leavening agents to ensure that the chemical processes will start, providing a fluffier texture.
- Pure vanilla extract - more warming flavors! Vanilla extract can usually always be omitted, or you can use vanilla bean sugar (in the dry ingredients) instead.
Start by preheating the oven to 430℉ (220℃) and then make the crumb topping. In the later years, I've come to prefer the melted butter way to make crumb topping as you don't have to worry about the temperature of the butter.
Melt butter, combine with the other ingredients, and pour onto a lined baking sheet or a large plate. Set aside to cool and dry out while you prepare the rest.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the dry ingredients together: all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients together: Brown sugar and egg. Once combined, then add the pumpkin puree and mashed banana. Finally, add the milk and pure vanilla extract.
Carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet, and avoid over-mixing. I like to add a little of the dry ingredients at a time and stir with a spatula.
To make domed muffins like bakery-style muffins, fill the muffin liners to the brim with the muffin batter. Then sprinkle on the crumb topping.
Bake for 5 minutes to give rise to the muffins, then reduce the temperature to 375℉ (190℃) to ensure the muffins get done without burning the top. Bake for another 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
Let cool on a wire rack before enjoying.
I find that the best way to store muffins with crumb topping is by placing the baked and cooled muffins back into the muffin tin (cleaned) and then loosely covering them with aluminum foil.
This way you are ensuring that the muffins themselves stay moist by encapsulating them in both muffin liners and the muffin tin. And by only loosely covering the top, you are letting some air circulate to keep the crumb topping crunchy.
This is my crumb top hack and I always use it! I've read multiple ways how to do it, and I will not even restate them here because this is the best way and I haven't gotten any other way to work so well.
This way they will last for 3-4 days in a cold room. But anyway, they are always best on the first day!
What does pumpkin do in baked goods?
In short, pumpkins provide a light sweetness and moisture, and they can be a substitute for fat. You can also use pumpkin puree instead of eggs, for structure (try ¼ cup puree per egg). Don't overdo this of course, as the texture will never be exactly the same!
What does banana do in baked goods?
In a similar fashion to pumpkins, bananas provide sweetness (more than pumpkins), moisture, and fat. Thus, it can be a substitute for oil or butter in a recipe. It is a substitute for eggs as well. When using pumpkin or banana as an egg substitute, extra leavening may be required.
Why are my pumpkin muffins so dense?
It can be that you used homemade pumpkin puree and forgot to strain it through a cheesecloth, resulting in a very liquid puree. That way you have too much moisture in your pumpkin muffins, making them gummy and dense.
Also, when substituting fat with pumpkin or banana, you will need more leavening. So it may also be that you used too little leavening (or that it has expired!).
How can I add more flavor to pumpkin?
Making homemade pumpkin puree often yields better flavor, although canned is perfectly fine too. Other than that, pumpkin is like made for warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.
How can I use old/ripe bananas?
Let's dig out all those banana recipes! Ripe bananas are fantastic in baking and in smoothies.
- Smoothies: if I only have one ripe banana, it is perfect for smoothies. Try this mango pineapple smoothie, green smoothie, or even some of my rainbow smoothies in the 99 Summer Drinks book!
- Baking: for example this healthier honey banana bread, double chocolate banana muffins, banana snickerdoodle cookies, or banana pancakes.
If you have too much to handle right now, you can freeze it for later. Slice the bananas and place them on a sheet, freeze for at least an hour, then place the banana slices in a ziplock bag. That way they won't stick together!
You can make these as only pumpkin muffins or as pure banana muffins with a super easy substitution. Just replace pumpkin puree with mashed banana 1:1 or the other way around!
If you want to make straight-up banana muffins, you don't have to use pumpkin pie spice (although you can of course!). Spices that are perfect with bananas are cinnamon and nutmeg.
Did you like this recipe? Here are more pumpkin recipes I think you’d love:
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