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Healthy “Real Food” Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Sad-but-true-story: Once when my very northern in-laws were in town, I decided to treat them to a traditional homemade southern meal of chicken n’ dumplings. (“Dumplins” if you’re being serious about this.)


Good call, right? Add a few daughter-in-law points to the scoreboard? Except instead of adding my cream-of-soup powder to the giant pot of veggies and chicken, I accidentally added pancake mix.


Good thing they’d never had it before, so I could pretend like chicken n dumplings is supposed to taste like breakfast.

Raise your hand if you love recipes that are virtually fool-proof, which allow you to substitute all sorts of ingredients for each other, and still end up with the most scrumptious results?

Raise your hand if you like sweets made with healthy, real food?

Aaaand raise your hand if you don’t mind a little warm pumpkin muffin with melty chocolate chips swirled happilly throughout? Right.

That’s why I’m sharing my favorite fall recipe: healthy pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, made completely with real food and no added sugar. (Except the chocolate chips. But don’t focus on that.) They’re called pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, but you can actually use sweet potato instead of the pumpkin and it’s just as amazing.
Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
This is adapted from this recipe at Money Saving Mom, but I substituted all the unhealthy ingredients, including switching out the sugar for stevia.

Quick note on Stevia:

If you’ve never used stevia, you’ve GOTTA try it. It’s not an artificial sweetener like splenda or aspartame. Stevia is actually a natural plant that’s 300 times sweeter than sugar. It has zero calories and doesn’t affect your blood sugar. I bought this two-pack almost two years ago and I still haven’t opened the second bottle! It goes a LONG way. Two to three drops will sweeten your coffee, and a teaspoon or so will sweeten a whole recipe for baking… muffins, for instance.


Healthy Real Food Pumpkin/Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins

Healthy Pumpkin/Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 eggs
1/2 c bulk liquid like pumpkin, applesauce or yogurt + 1.5 tsp stevia
Or 1.5 cups sugar
1 (16 oz.) can pureed pumpkin
Or 16 oz. mashed sweet potato (without butter, salt, or milk)
3/4 cup cottage cheese
Or 3/4 cup milk (a little less protein this way)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
Or 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Or 3/4 cup oil

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
6-8 oz chocolate chips (Half to 3/4 of a 12-ounce package)

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and applesauce/oil until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients, and stir just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 16-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Healthy real food pumpkin sweet potato chocolate chip muffins

See what I mean? You have options here, people. That’s my kinda recipe.

I’ve made these muffins using probably every variation of the ingredients above and have never found a combination of ingredients that’s not absolutely delightful. I like to double the recipe and freeze them, then pop one or two in the microwave when the sweet tooth invades.

Such as always.

Do you like recipes with alternatives? Have you ever botched a meal for the inlaws? Do you like your chicken n dumplings with a little pancake mix added in?

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  1. I confess I slightly groaned when I saw this post pop up as me and my fella are in a rather serious weight-loss / get healthy situation at the mo (as of today I’ve lost what we in the UK bizarrely call a ‘stone’ and you guys just sensibly call 14lbs – either way if you google what that much fat looks like it’s AWFUL!). Whilst I’m kinda enjoying being all healthy and smug I’m missing the odd sweet treat and when I saw Pumpkin Muffins I imagined something along the lines of what Pinterest is currently awash with i.e. recipes for ‘pumpkin cheesecake with fudge brownie base and M&M crust served with Sunny Delight Jus and buttercream twiddly bits’ at a bazillion calories a look, so I figured you were just posting more naughtiness to tempt me, however you were true to your word and they do indeed look pretty darn healthy so will deffo give them a whirl (and try not to eat the whole batch in one singular inhale – I guess that may defeat the point of all your clever substitutions). So thank you health queen for saving my waistline 🙂

  2. Ooooh yummy. I’ve never heard of subbing sweet potato.

    And that’s hilarious about the pancake mix. It’s totally something I would do.

  3. I think you emailed me when you were making these! I love anything with variations, I had a pumpkin banana muffin debacle this weekend, so for sure, I’m trying these next time! Pinned.


  4. These look so good! Thanks for the Stevia tip. I’ve never baked with it so I think I’ll give it a try.

  5. No joke, I am literally eating mini pumpkin chocolate chip muffins at this very moment. They aren’t quite as healthy as these…but i love, love them :).

  6. These sound delicious! Oh yum! Definitely going to have to give them a try!

  7. Thanks for the recipe. This sounds really good!

  8. Pumpkin + chocolate = my favorite fall combo! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll definitely be making these 🙂

  9. This is really close to a recipe my room mom made for us — and it’s delish! I’ll have to try this one… yummy!!
    xo Heidi

  10. Oh that looks soooooo yummy!!

  11. Christine @ Casa-de-Christine says:

    Yum! These look delicious! I’ve never baked with stevia before so it will be nice to try something new. I just happen to have an extra can of pumpkin in the pantry too…

  12. funny… moments before i opened your email, my hub and i were discussing ways to get sugar out of our kids’ diet as much as possible. We are on Feingold (no artificial anything and much more) and it has calmed our two rowdy ones down TREMENDOUSLY ! Now we want to push it a little further as i mentioned (one is overweight but a gal’s gotta have some sweetness). So gonna make these. Keep up the good work. I’ll take any recipe you have to offer.:-).

  13. I NEED options when cooking. And a chef … that would help, too.

  14. I’ve definitely heard of Stevia but never tried it. We use agave syrup instead of sugar. I wonder if they’re similar? I will definitely be trying this recipe…thanks!!

  15. Hi! I wanted to make these but was a little confused. When you say 1/2 cup applesauce at the beginning and then you say 1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce at the bottom, what’s the difference? Should I just put in 3 cups of applesauce or are they supposed to be different things?

  16. These look fantastic, I can’t wait to try them!!

  17. So I’ve been failing miserably at this whole “I love fall and bake up a storm using pumpkin in everything” motto I have. As in – have not made anything pumpkin YET. Maybe I should make it a goal to make these this weekend. No I WILL make them this weekend. And then I will tell you all about it. Great recipe!

  18. You had me at healthy! Haha. Chocolate and waist line friendly? Yes please!

  19. Oooh. I have been afraid of stevia in baking because it can be overpoweringly sweet and also I don’t know what to sub for the sugar in terms of volume/baking chemistry. Thanks for this recipe as a safe jumping off point. I’m gluten sensitive so I’ll have to see how it turns out with baking mix or brown rice flour subbed for the whole wheat flour.

  20. Ha. That is too funny that you added pancake mix. Oh well, pancakes are yummy too!
    These muffins look great; I may have to try them out soon. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Thanks for the recipe. I made these muffins today, but I tried to make them gluten free, so I used oat flour and buckwheat flour in place of the wheat flour. I also used fresh, cooked pumpkin in place of all the ‘bulk liquid’ items. I think I had too much pumpkin and not enough flour in the first batch I cooked as they never really ‘set’. However, in the second batch, I added some additional flour and they set much better. They are good. I still think I need to tweak the recipe a bit, but thanks for all the great ideas! I love heathly recipes that my kids will eat 🙂

  22. Just baked these – they are awesome!

  23. Hey Kelly, I just wanted to let you know I FINALLY made these last weekend and they were a success! I’m gluten intolerant and flour substitution can be a gamble, but I just subbed Pamela’s GF baking mix for the flour and leavens. Worked great and my husband complimented them too.
    You might put a note about the brand of stevia and amount needed – I have a stevia in glycerin suspension (“Now” brand, I think) and one drop is almost too much for a cup of tea. I started to use the 1 1/2 tsp measurement but after two droppersful only gave me about 1/2 tsp, I decided to stop there and taste the batter after mixing. I’m glad I did – it turned out just the right sweetness. Anyway, just wanted to let you know and thanks for sharing your recipe!

  24. Kelly, WOW. You got me on this one. Just pinned it!

    I’m especially intrigued by the cottage cheese. We have cottage cheese pancakes just about every weekend, which sounds weird but they’re SO GOOD. And since it’s high in protein, you have like zero guilt for eating a whole stack of ’em.

  25. Just made these and they are delicious! So easy and my daughter has given the thumbs up. This recipe makes a lot of muffin batter. I baked 12 muffins and am freezing the batter in silicone muffin cups for another 17 (future) muffins! Thanks for the great recipe.

  26. Awesome recipe and agreed, you’ve gotta try stevia.

  27. Amazing! Thank you for the recipe, totally hit the spot 🙂

  28. I was a bit worried with all of the ‘or’s in the recipe but I picked the ones I liked and made these today….. and they were delicious! I accidentally added an extra 1/2 cup of homemade pumpkin puree but it didn’t seem to hurt anything. I’m not sold on stevia yet so I used sugar, then used all the other bolded ingredients. It made 30 normal sized muffins and I only put chocolate chips in a dozen of them– I put a bit of cream cheese topping on a few others instead while they were still warm out of the oven and they were scrumptious. Will definitely be making again and sharing with health-minded friends, family members & co-workers, thanks for the recipe!

  29. KareninStLouis says:

    Sounds yummy but I’ll definitely avoid the stevia. People should know, especially those who’ve never used it, that stevia is not suitable for everyone. Those with a ragweed allergy should beware.

  30. Recipe looks delish! Just wanted to say one thing though. I read that Stevia can actually alter your DNA, so consume it in small portions!


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