Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze

If you find yourself needing a good fall recipe to use up your extra sourdough starter, these muffins are perfect. My sourdough pumpkin muffins are a delightful fall treat that uses homemade sourdough starter discard to add a little extra moistness and flavor.

Similar to sourdough pumpkin bread, these muffins contain a generous amount of pumpkin puree that give the muffins a beautiful orange color and a slight pumpkin flavor that is augmented by pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. They have a fluffy texture with beautiful domed muffin tops and are great way to kick off the fall season. 

There is a muffin tin that contains the finished sourdough pumpkin muffins with maple glaze. There are three muffins on a rectangle plate and one has a bite taken out of it. Around these items are two cinnamon sticks, a hand towel, and a wooden spoon.


Fats: Hear me out on this one. This recipe uses both vegetable oil and melted butter. The combination of both creates an ideal texture that is moist from the oil, but has that rich, buttery taste from the butter. I have tried making these only with melted butter and they were still good, but came out more coarse.

You can try making these with another cooking oil like canola oil, melted coconut oil or even olive oil. Keep in mind that olive oil is not a neutral tasting oil and will lend a bit of its flavor into the muffins. I personally like the flavor though!

Flour: This recipe uses regular all purpose flour. If you do want to add a little extra fiber, you can substitute 1/3 cup of the regular white flour for whole wheat flour. I don’t recommend using more than this though. Whole wheat flour can make the muffins taste dry if too much is used. If you have it on hand, I recommend using whole wheat pastry flour rather than regular whole wheat flour. Whole wheat pastry flour works better in pastries and quick breads because it has a much finer grind that doesn’t take away from the delicate texture of these types of baked goods. 

Salt and Baking Powder

Pumpkin Puree: It’s important to use pure pumpkin puree in this recipe. Do not use pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling contains other ingredients like added sugar and spices that will throw off the ratios in this recipe. I have never tried making the recipe with fresh pumpkin but I think it would work just fine here. If you do use homemade pumpkin puree I would love to hear how it goes in the comments!

Sourdough Discard: You can use active sourdough starter or your leftover sourdough discard. Active starter has a more mild flavor compared to sourdough discard because it hasn’t gone through the long fermentation process that the discard has. When the sourdough discard uses up all its food, it produces the sour, tangy taste sourdough recipes are known for. 

If you do not have your own sourdough starter, you can get some from a friend who makes sourdough bread, or make your own homemade sourdough starter. 

Sugar: I love to use both brown sugar and regular granulated white sugar in my recipes. This recipe has both which gives the benefit of the flavor and moisture from the brown sugar, and the without making the muffins overly wet. 


Vanilla Extract 

Maple Glaze Ingredients

This recipe has a delicious maple glaze that the cooled muffins are topped with. While this is optional, I highly recommend not skipping it. The glaze adds so much flavor and sweetness and only requires a few simple ingredients: maple syrup, powdered sugar, butter, and milk. 

Extra Variations:

If you want to make these pumpkin sourdough discard muffins even more special, you can make one of the following variations:

  • Sprinkle the tops with pumpkin seeds after applying the glaze.
  • Add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped pecans or walnuts, or white chocolate chips. 
Ingredients for sourdough pumpkin muffins.

How to Make Pumpkin Sourdough Muffins

Step 1: Preheat the Oven and Prep the Pan

Preheat the oven to 350oF. 

Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners so it’s ready to go. Set aside. 

Step 2: Mix the Dry Ingredients

Whisk together the dry ingredients (i.e. the flour, spices, salt and baking soda) in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

Step 3: Melt the Butter 

Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl in the microwave for 20 seconds (make sure your bowl is microwave safe!). If it is not completely melted, give it a stir, then microwave it for another 10 seconds. Continue to stir and microwave at 10 second intervals until it is completely melted. 

If you want to make these muffins in a stand mixer, add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and continue with the next step. 

White bowl with dry ingredients and whisk.
Yellow mixing bowl that contains un-mixed wet ingredients.

Step 4: Add the Wet Ingredients

Add the oil, sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin, and egg, in that order. Whisk until smooth. 

Now it’s time to add the sourdough discard. Continue to mix until smooth. 

Step 5: Add the Dry Ingredients

Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until the batter is slightly lumpy. If you are planning on adding in any nuts or chocolate chips, add them now and stir until just incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix the batter or they will come out dense and gummy. 

Yellow mixing bowl that contains mixed wet ingredients with a wooden spoon.
Mixed muffin batter in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

Step 6: Pour Into Prepared Muffin Tin 

Use a medium spoon to scoop the dough into the individual muffin cups. You want the batter to come almost to the top of the cup. This produces a nice fluffy, domed muffin when baked. 

If you chose to add any nuts or chocolate chips, you will have more batter and will likely need a second muffin tin. If you only have one muffin pan and have extra batter, you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the freezer until the first batch is done baking. Then, you can use remove the baked muffins and make the second batch. The benefit of chilling the batter is it creates a cold ferment process. 

Step 7: Bake

Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Use a toothpick to check that they are done. The toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin. 

Allow to cool in the pan before transferring them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. 

Baked pumpkin sourdough muffins in baking tin.

How to Make Maple Glaze

I highly recommend using this glaze in this recipe. 

  • Start by melting the butter in the microwave for 15 seconds. If it is not completely melted in that amount of time, stir it and microwave for another 10 seconds until fully melted. 
  • Add the maple syrup and milk and whisk until smooth. 
  • Add the powdered sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth. 
  • Gently spoon a generous amount of glaze over each muffin once the muffins have completely cooled off. If you put the glaze on while the muffins are still warm, it will melt and get absorbed into the muffins. 
White bowl that contains the finished maple glaze and a whisk.

How to Store

You can store these muffins at room temperature for 1-2 days. I recommend keeping them in an airtight container or on a plate covered with plastic wrap. If you do not consume these within 1-2 days, it’s best to keep them in the refrigerator. This will help to keep the pumpkin in these muffins tasting fresh and prevent them from going bad. If storing in the refrigerator, these muffins should last up to 7 days. 

What are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin?

Although these muffins are not a health food due to the amount of fat and sugar, pumpkin does have some health benefits. Pumpkin is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It also has antioxidant properties and some studies even suggest it can prevent certain types of cancer although more research is needed to draw any definitive conclusions. 

Why are My Muffins Dense?

If you end up with dense muffins after baking them, there are a few reasons this may have happened. 

1. If you over-mix the batter or use a whisk, you will develop too much gluten and the muffins won’t be able to rise well, resulting in dense, tough muffins. Next time, do not stir them as much. You want the batter to be mixed but it still should have some small lumps in the batter. Try to stir in any nuts or chocolate chips before fully mixing the muffin batter so you don’t end up over-mixing it. 

2. You might have under-baked them. Make sure you use the toothpick test. The toothpick should come out clean, without any raw batter on the toothpick. If you get to the end of the bake time and you still have raw batter on the toothpick, bake for another 5 minutes and check them again. 

3. You forgot to add the baking powder. These muffins need a leavening agent to rise. The sourdough starter alone is not going to make these muffins rise. 

4. You mis-measured the ingredients. Check to make sure you added the right amount of flour, fat, and pumpkin. If these ratios are off, your muffins will not be the right texture. 

There is a muffin tin that contains the finished sourdough pumpkin muffins with maple glaze. There are three muffins on a rectangle plate and one has a bite taken out of it. Around these items are two cinnamon sticks, a hand towel, and a wooden spoon.

I hope you enjoyed this pumpkin sourdough discard recipe. If you enjoyed this pumpkin sourdough recipe, check out these recipes:

Pumpkin Sourdough Blondies with Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Sourdough Cookies

Ultimate Sourdough Brownies

Sourdough Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Soft and Fluffy Sourdough Tortillas

There is a muffin tin that contains the finished sourdough pumpkin muffins with maple glaze. There are three muffins on a rectangle plate and one has a bite taken out of it. Around these items are two cinnamon sticks.

Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze

These sourdough pumpkins are rich with pumpkin spice flavor and a slight tanginess from the sourdough. They are fluffy and so delicious.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins


  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 rubber spatula or wooden spoon
  • 1 standard muffin tin
  • cupcake liners


For the Muffins

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil or other neutral tasting oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed

For the Maple Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Optional Add-Ins

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped nuts If adding, you will have enough batter for about 18 muffins.


  • Preheat the oven to 350℉
  • Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  • In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for 20 seconds. Continue to microwave at 15 second intervals until butter is fully melted, stirring between intervals. 
  • Add the oil, pumpkin, vanilla, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Mix until smooth. Then add the sourdough starter and continue to mix until smooth.
  • Slowly, add the dry ingredients and continue to stir until until mostly smooth with only a few small lumps. If using, add the chocolate chips or nuts and stir until just incorporated.
  • Spoon the batter into each cupcake liner until just over ¾ of the way full.
    (You should be able to to divide the batter among all 12 cupcake liners unless you added nuts or chocolate chips. This will increase the volume of the batter and you will have to do a second batch).
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before adding the maple glaze.

For the Maple Glaze

  • Melt the butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl for 15 seconds. If butter is not completely melted, stir, and return to microwave for 10 seconds. Continue to stir and microwave at 10-second intervals until the butter is completely melted.
  • Add the milk and maple syrup and whisk together until smooth.
  • Add the powdered sugar and continue to whisk until the batter is smooth and thick.
  • Use a small spoon to evenly divide the glaze over each muffin.
Keyword Fall Desserts, One Bowl, Pumpkin Recipes, Sourdough Discard
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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