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Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Oat Streusel Topping

These secretly vegan pumpkin spice muffins are the perfect baked good for fall. They hit all the right flavor notes and the oat streusel makes them look textured and delightful. But they are surprisingly easy to throw together – and no one would ever guess they are egg and dairy free!

my vegan pumpkin spice muffin criteria

  1. Not too sweet. I’ve found that some vegan baking recipes turn out extremely sweet. These muffins avoid that. Yes, these do have a lot of sugar (truthfully, they might be better classified as cupcakes). But they have plenty of other flavors and salt to balance out the sweetness.
  2. Plenty of texture. Mouthfeel is almost as important as flavor in my book. Not only do these muffins have an excellent balance of gooeyness and crumble, but the crunchy streusel takes them to a whole other level.
  3. Not obviously vegan. I love recipes that don’t require replacing everything with a vegan version of the thing. These muffins include both pumpkin and apple sauce, ingredients necessary for a lovely fall spiced flavor. And those ingredients just happen to double as excellent egg replacements, plus provide enough liquid that no dairy is required! I have used vegan butter in this recipe, but you could just as easily use coconut oil if you really don’t want to buy any specialty ingredients.

the oat streusel topping

The oat streusel is really what makes these muffins shine. Most streusel just has cinnamon, sugar, and flour, but I like to add oats and pumpkin seeds for this recipe. They lend a delightful crunchy texture and look absolutely amazing. Here are a few tips to get the best crumble effect:

  • make sure to fill the muffin cups all the way to the brim. Most muffin recipes recommend leaving some space, but I prefer to let the batter spill over and create a huge, fluffy muffin top! And that gives you plenty of surface area for the perfect streusel.
  • it is easiest to combine the streusel ingredients when the butter is slightly softened, but don’t melt it or the streusel will be too thin to crumble. If you forgot to leave the butter out ahead of time, use cold butter rather than melt it – it will just take a little longer to mix together.
  • when you put the streusel on the batter, remember that the muffins will be expanding a lot! So use up all the streusel, putting a thick even layer on each muffin. You can pile it high and pat it in – it will expand and crack along with the muffin.

storing your muffins

I like to make these muffins on weekend mornings and have some leftover for a quick weekday breakfast. But storing muffins can be a little tricky. Leave them out and they get stale, but if you put them in a container or in a covered cake stand they get soggy.

I’ve found the best thing is to keep them in a sealed container with a couple of tea towels or some paper towels. But a layer on the bottom of the container, and a layer over the muffins (but try to set it lightly so that it is not touching the muffins too much). The fabric will absorb moisture and keep the muffins fresh and crumbly. Just make sure you let the muffins cool completely before you do this, or you will trap the steam in with them.

serve vegan pumpkin spice muffins with…

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Oat Streusel

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter (I use Earth Balance or Miyokos)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Oat Streusel

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds / pepitas
  • 1/2 tsp of salt (omit if your pumpkin seeds are already salted)

Instructions
 

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients, making sure to break up any clumps of baking soda.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the vegan butter. Add in the other wet ingredients (including the sugars) and mix to combine.
  • Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the batter is combined and any large lumps are gone. It is important not to mix too vigorously or for too long – this will develop the gluten in the flour and cause the muffins to be tough.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with baking cups (or spray with oil). Using a 1/4 measuring cup and a spatula, fill each muffin cup all the way to the brim! This will create a big puffy muffin top, the canvas for our streusel.
  • While the oven is heating up, make the streusel. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and press together with a fork or your fingers. You should end up with a slightly crumbly, thick mixture.
  • Using your fingers, crumble and pat the streusel onto the top of each muffin. Try to cover the entirety of each muffin evenly, then press very gently to stick the streusel to the batter. Use up all the streusel, putting a reasonably thick coat on each muffin. It will crack apart beautifully as the muffin tops expand!
  • Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick/skewer comes out clean or with gooey crumbles (just not wet batter).
  • Let the muffins sit for 10 minutes to cool before taking them out of the pan. A spatula along the side will help remove them without messing up the lovely tops.