Baking & Dessert

By Lindsay Hunt | March 2, 2011

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

As an unapologetic sweets lover who bakes every week, I rarely feel pulled towards a savory baked good recipe. I’ve heard wonders of cheddar scones, but a sweet scone draws my attention faster than you can say butter and flour.


This recipe for Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins is the exception to my sugary rule.  They’re moist from the pumpkin puree, and sharp and spicy from cheddar, cayenne, and black pepper.

Perfect on the side of a healthy meal of roasted vegetables with brown rice, or toasted for a morning meal on the run, these muffins are well worth having around.

I saw firsthand the influence these muffins wield.  I made a batch for my pumpkin carving party last fall, and they trumped my Pumpkin Pie and Buttermilk Cinnamon Doughnuts, no competition.

from BakedExplorations, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins Recipe

Servings: Makes 12 muffins


  • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 (about 4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, optional


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with a little bit of vegetable spray and use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly along the bottom and up the sides of each cup.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and sour cream. Add the eggs and butter and whisk until combined.

3. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and brown sugar. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well, and fold until just combined. Fold in three-quarters of the cheese.

4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the pumpkin seeds on top of the muffins. Bake them for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the muffin pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out the muffins. Serve them warm.

Muffins taste best when eaten fresh, but they can be made ahead of time and reheated in a 200-degree oven.

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