These healthy vegan pumpkin cupcakes are so easy to make with only nine whole food ingredients. The texture is absolutely incredible, you'll have no idea they are gluten-free!
The texture of these are so moist, fluffy and delicious. It's mind blowing that they are dairy-free and use no butter!
This recipe was originally published on 11/3/14
I'm a big believer in keeping things as easy as possible while still trying to nail a healthier, vegan and gluten-free version. These were definitely a winner much like my vegan vanilla cupcakes and vegan chocolate cupcakes, which are also both gluten-free!
It's easy to make cupcakes without eggs, dairy, and gluten if you mix up the right combination of plant based foods! Here's what you need:
- Oat flour
- Almond flour
- Cane sugar
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Lite coconut milk
- Pumpkin puree
- Apple cider vinegar
- Baking powder
- Sea salt
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes
These cupcakes are easy to throw together, it's just a matter of mixing the batter in a bowl and baking. The hard part is getting the darn batter into those cupcake liners without making a huge mess! Or is that just me?
- Whisk the dry ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredients.
- Fill the liners.
Our favorite way to decorate these pumpkin vegan cupcakes is with vegan cream cheese frosting! (Or check out the nut free frosting in the recipe card below!)
- Make the frosting. It's best to do this a day ahead and let it set in the fridge.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
- Spread the frosting on the tops!
You can also choose to decorate these pumpkin cupcakes with the following:
- Use homemade vegan whipped cream for a light and airy whipped cream type frosting. Mix it with the pumpkin pie spice for an extra layer of yummy.
- This quick 3 ingredient cinnamon glaze, simple drizzle it over the top.
- Dip the tops in vegan butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
- Use canned plain pumpkin here. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.
- I do not suggest using cooked fresh pumpkin.
- You definitely can, but it is more watery than canned and will result in a different texture.
- If you must use it, cut down the milk and add slowly until you get the same texture as the photos.
- You could also sub other squashes in a pinch. But again keep the water content in mind. Sweet potato is another option but the end result will be more dense and muffin like.
- If you are looking for a nut free version, I included the old recipe I had on these in the notes of the recipe card. This new recipe is better in texture and easier to make, but the old recipe is still delicious!
This recipe calls for pumpkin pie spice but if you don't have it, or prefer to mix it up, there are many other options. Essentially, pumpkin pie spice is a mix of the following spices:
So if you want to experiment and only use cinnamon, or a combination of cinnamon and something else, go for it! I would suggest having cinnamon be the main spice, but try it without too!
Prep Ahead and Storage Tips
There are a couple ways you can prepare these pumpkin cupcakes in advance:
- Do not mix the batter more than 15 minutes before baking. You can prep the batter by:
- Mix the dry ingredients and put them in an airtight container on the counter.
- Combine the wet ingredients and put them in an airtight container in the fridge. Allow them to return to room temperature before mixing.
- When you're ready to bake simply mix together, fill the tins, and bake.
- Make the cupcakes and the frosting but wait to frost until the day of serving.
- Unfrosted pumpkin cupcakes can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for about a day.
- After that it's best to refrigerate for up to 3-5 days, note the texture will change the longer they are stored.
- Once frosted it's best to keep them in the refrigerator.
You can freeze these vegan pumpkin cupcakes as well, here's how to do it:
- Make sure they are completely cool, give them a few hours. I do have a baking friend that says to freeze when still warm because it keeps the moisture in and helps them not dry out, but not sure how well that works with gluten free. I need to try it!
- Do not frost the cupcakes.
- Wrap in plastic wrap making sure they are completely covered.
- Wrap in foil.
- Put in an airtight container or ziploc freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Often times you have vegan cupcakes made with just the vegan substitutions for the traditional ingredients. I'm talking vegan butter, vegan egg subs, etc.
But I love a challenge and since I am a fan of desserts gone healthy when it comes to my weekly obsessions, I created these with whole foods, gluten-free, and oil free by using whole food fats instead.
I found that the combination of oat and almond flours, light coconut milk for some whole food fat, and cane sugar along with other ingredients gave me the soft and fluffy result I was looking for.
It depends on the ingredients used in the recipe, but they certainly can be. This is considered a healthy pumpkin cupcake recipe since it is made with all whole food plant based ingredients.
Yes, the two terms both reference pure pumpkin without any added ingredients. Pumpkin pie filling however is different and should not be used in this recipe.
More Vegan Fall Dessert Recipes
When the weather starts to turn these are the sweet flavors we crave, all made with plant based whole foods!
- Healthy Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Pie
- Apple Cinnamon Scones
- Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Layered Pumpkin Dessert
- Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte
Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes
Cupcakes (for older nut free recipe see notes below):
- 1 cup oat flour
- 6 tablespoons almond flour , make sure it is fine grained
- 10 tablespoons cane sugar , ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (see note)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 10 tablespoons lite coconut milk , ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree , not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 F/ 175 C
- Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to make sure to break up any clumps.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredient mix, and add the wet ingredients.
- Mix until combined.
- Place large spoonfuls of the batter into muffin tins lined with baking cups. Fill about ¾ of the cup. I use foil baking cups as they don’t stick like paper does and also they don't trap in the moisture like paper does. If you use paper the end result will be a little more wet.
- Bake for 19 minutes. Depending on your oven, your baking time may vary by a minute or two. Start checking them at 17 minutes and take them out when the tops begin to get firm and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the muffin tins. Once cool to the touch, remove and continue cooling on racks until completely cool, about an hour.
- After cupcakes are cooled, you can frost.
- Enjoy! If stored in a plastic or glass container with a little bit of airflow, these will still be good the next day!
- I tried coconut sugar and maple syrup for this and I did not love either the texture or flavor. Coconut sugar gave a deeper, not as light and airy, result and maple syrup gave it a little more density. So I stuck with regular cane sugar.
- Follow the metric weights for extra accuracy, however I measured my dry ingredients by scooping the measuring cup/spoon into the flour then scraping the top to flatten.
- Nutrition info is for cupcakes only.
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- ¼ cup potato starch
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¾ cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ½ cup coconut butter (room temperature)
- 1 ½ cups date paste
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- ¼ cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons date paste
- ¼ cup full fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup coconut butter (room temperature)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.
Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.
Cupcake perfection! The pumpkin flavor is perfect and the texture is amazing!
These are so delicious!
Any chance I could just use a good whole wheat flour instead of the gluten free in these?
Hi Nancy! So the combo of ingredients I used is like a science project. If you change one it could affect the end result. I use a certain ratio of liquid to fat to flour depending on which flours I end up with. That being said, you can totally try it! But don't judge the recipe on the end result if it doesn't turn out as light a fluffy! Sorghum is similar to whole wheat in how it reacts but the potato and tapioca give it a light fluffy texture too. Will you let me know if you try it out?? I'd appreciate it!!
Was super excited to make these nut-free for my daughter who has tree-nut allergies, then I saw you added coconut- that means they are not truly nut free. Unfortunately tree nuts includes coconut, and my daughter is allergic. It almost torture seeing all these yummy desserts posted only to read they need coconut or almonds, cashews, etc... Would earth balance substitute for the coconut butter?
Hi Leann, according to The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI): “Coconut is not a botanical nut; it is classified as a fruit, even though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut. While allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut. If you are allergic to tree nuts, talk to your allergist before adding coconut to your diet."
My kids school is nut free but they do not consider coconut a nut, as they follow the guidelines here. Some places put coconuts in the tree nut categories and others do not so it's not a strict tree nut by definition. I'm so sorry your daughter is allergic to coconut, it must be hard to avoid it along with all other nuts. You can definitely try subbing earth balance, I don't use it so I'm not sure if it would yield the same texture but taste should still be great. You can also try using oil as well, I was avoiding it but it would work too. For the milk, sub whatever milk you guys drink but again it may yield a different texture to the end result. I still think the taste would be good. If you have a certain way you make frosting, use your recipe as the base and simply add the date paste and salt to get the same salted caramel flavor. Let me know if you try it out and how they turn out so any others with coconut allergies can see as well! Thank you for following and I hope you enjoy!
Reblogged this on loradoggett.
Awesome! Thanks for following!
I wonder what changes I would need to make, if any, for baking these at a mile high 🙂
From what I know with high altitude baking, you need to raise the temp about 25 degrees, depending on how high up you are. Also, perhaps add less baking powder and/or sugar, which would be date paste in my case. I think it all depends on how high up you are. You can try a small sample doing nothing and see? It may be different for gluten free vegan baking. If altitude affects them, they will rise too quickly and then fall so your result will be a dense drier cupcake. Let me know what you try!
These look AMAZING!!! YUM!! I'm adding these to my list of recipes to try 🙂
Thank you so much Mandy!! Please let me know what you think!
They are delicious! The dried dates paste is yummy!
Thank you!! And the final version was even better than the one you tried!
these look so good! sorry to ask you to backtrack after all that work, but I can use almond flour in this case (actually need a grain-free) - would you be able to post a sub with almond flour? Thanks! 🙂
Hi Olivia! You can try subbing almond flour for the sorghum, just make sure not to use the Bobs Red Mill as it doesn't give the best consistency. You can also try using buckwheat, not a grain either, actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb. I used buckwheat in a few of my trials and it gave a much denser cake but my husband liked it. I was just going for a lighter cupcake feel so went with the sorghum. Let me know if you try either of those and how it turned out!
The Vegan 8
Yes girl!! I think the date paste probably helps mask the sorghum. I love the texture sorghum provides and you can't taste it at all in my 2nd option of my cupcakes either. With my pancakes, I used sorghum and potato starch as well. That's all I use on all my recipes is potato starch and tapioca starch along with almond flour or sunflower and oat flour as well in muffins or some cakes. I think the issue with the pancakes is I will need to sub more of the sorghum out for another (I have a couple of ideas!), but it was definitely too strong...it's all I could taste in the pancakes, yuck, lol! Your cupcakes look so yummy though. Don't you just love the coconut butter now?? 🙂 🙂 I make my brownies with them and they are simply the best brownies ever, BUT my husband won't eat them because he HATES coconut and can detect it because of the texture. Weirdo. He doesn't mind coconut milk ice cream though because it never tastes like coconut. He is so darn picky! Okay, I've rambled enough LOL! Have an awesome day gorgeous! xo
Lol! The hubby's can be so picky
The Vegan 8
They look yummy! G
The Vegan 8
Lol! Hit return too soon! These flours are similar to my version as well, lol! Sorghum is what I used as my second option on my recipe! I love sorghum flour but find too much of it overpowering or leave an off taste, that's what I used as my main flour in my carrot cake pancakes trial and it was just too strong for me. I'm curious how they taste with the date syrup in these, though!
And I can't get over how similar our frosting is, Lol! Great minds think alike!
They look great and I'm sure your son was a very happy boy!!!
Lol. I tried so many versions with a variety of flours but sorghum was the clear winner in combination with a little potato and tapioca starch. I really wanted to keep a healthy flour in here versus just filler ones for texture purposes only. And the texture turned out great as you can see in some of the pics. SO moist and really soft! I do not taste the sorghum at all. I use it often and usually don't taste it but it could be because of my other ingredients. The date paste, molasses and cinnamon are center fold in the taste department and leave a smooth deep flavor. Your frosting is definitely light and fluffy since you just used a touch of the coconut butter, which I absolutely LOVE, but wanted a true frosting on these that was thick and smooth. I actually never liked frosting at all until I started making it myself without all the unhealthy ingredients! Go figure! Let's find a weekend to make each others versions! That'd be fun! Thanks for checking them out friend!
Thank you! Everyone loved them!