One batter is all it takes to make these marble pumpkin muffins. They're super light, fluffy, and moist with a subtle pumpkin flavor in every bite! The base batter for these muffins comes courtesy of my favorite bakery-style chocolate chip muffins (because it's already perfection) with a few little tweaks to get that authentic pumpkin muffin texture.
what makes these marble pumpkin muffins so good?
- one batter makes the chocolate and pumpkin swirls
- SKY HIGH muffin tops!
- tender, moist & fluffy
- pumpkin & warm fall spice flavor in every bite!
butter and oil
I mentioned above that I made a few little tweaks to my favorite chocolate chip muffin recipe to create this one - and possibly the most important change is the addition of oil!
While chocolate chip muffins are designed to have a slightly denser crumb, pumpkin muffins are most traditionally baked up into an airy and moist confection. This is usually achieved by featuring all oil in the pumpkin muffin batter.
I loved how these muffins turned out with a combination of melted butter AND oil - giving them the perfect balance between richness, flavor, and moisture! The oil also helps keep the chocolate layer soft and moist (which would otherwise be more prone to being dense and drying out because of all the added mixing needed).
how to make marble pumpkin muffins
1. Whisk together dry ingredients.
2. Whisk together wet ingredients.
3. Combine wet and dry ingredients. That's all it takes to make the base batter!
4. Whisk together cocoa and milk in a separate bowl. This helps dissolve the cocoa and makes it easier to incorporate into your batter without having to mix too, too much. The added milk is also important to make sure the cocoa layer doesn't dry out.
5. Mix cocoa mixture into about half of the base pumpkin batter.
6. Portion batters into muffin cups and use a skewer to swirl into a marble.
7. Bake and cool before serving!
how to marble muffin batter
There are a lot of different ways you can marble your batter and each one will give you a uniquely beautiful swirl in the muffins! I usually use one of the below methods to marble batters:
- Fill half the muffin cup with one batter, and top with the other. After layering, gently swirl the batters with a skewer or knife. This will give you slightly more distinct layers of pumpkin and chocolate with a light swirling in the center.
- alternate spoonfuls of each batter. This is how I usually marble my batters. It involves spooning in little dollops of the 2 batters, alternating randomly. So start with a little dollop of pumpkin, then chocolate, then pumpkin again, and so on. Lightly swirl with a skewer or knife and you're all set! This will give you a bit more of an authentic marble look.
Be careful when measuring flour. This is super important in any baked treat, but measuring flour incorrectly can result in extra flour inadvertently ending up in your batter - which leads to a dense, dry, sad muffin! Make sure to either measure flour by weight, or if using cups, by using the spoon and level method.
Use pure pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. Pie filling has additional ingredients added in which can throw off the sweetness and spice in the muffins.
Be careful with mixing! Another very important thing to keep in mind. Because we're using one batter for both the chocolate and pumpkin swirls, it's especially important to avoid overmixing and deflating all the bubbles in the batter!
For extra tall muffins, fill the muffin cups alllll the way full! Unlike with cupcakes (where you shouldn't fill the cups more than about ⅔ full), one of the secrets to a tall muffin top is filling the cups to the VERY top. I filled 11 muffin cups to get the tall muffin tops you see here. Feel free to fill all 12 cups for slightly shorter tops (although start checking on the muffins 2 minutes earlier as the bake time may reduce).
Marble lightly. You don't want to over swirl the 2 batters or you'll barely have any marble effect!
Can I use regular milk instead of buttermilk?
Yes, but the extra acidity in buttermilk helps give the muffins extra rise. You can also easily make your own buttermilk substitute using regular milk and vinegar!
Can I just make plain pumpkin muffins?
Yes! You can definitely skip the cocoa and additional milk used to create the swirl.
Can I bake the muffins at one temperature?
I personally recommend against sticking to one temperature. Switching temperatures halfway through the bake is what helps give you those extra tall muffin tops and tender interior! The initial high heat pushes the muffins to rise quickly and the slightly lower heat helps bake them through.
Keep muffins covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container / plastic bag. These will keep for 3 days at room temperature or around 5 days in the fridge. You can also freeze these muffins for future cravings!
how to freeze marble pumpkin muffins
Place muffins in an airtight freezer container or in a plastic bag with the air pushed out and sealed well. Try to keep the muffins in a single layer to make defrosting easier down the line, but you could also separate stacked muffins with sheets of parchment or wax paper.
Freeze the muffins for 2 to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or defrost on your counter for a few hours before enjoying!
check out these other recipes!
Marble Pumpkin Muffins Recipe
- 2 & ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- 1 & ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (optional - you can also use ground cinnamon instead)
- 1 & ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- ¼ cup (60mL) vegetable oil (or any neutral flavored oil)
- 1 cup (220g) pure pumpkin puree - NOT pumpkin pie filling
- ¾ cup (180mL) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup (60mL) whole milk or additional buttermilk
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line 11 cups of a standard muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. *(see notes)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Set aside.2 & ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour,, 1 & ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1 & ½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, both sugars, butter, oil, pumpkin puree, buttermilk, and vanilla to combine.2 large eggs,, ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar, ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar, ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter,, ¼ cup (60mL) vegetable oil, 1 cup (220g) pure pumpkin puree, ¾ cup (180mL) buttermilk,, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until just combined. Take care not to overmix or the muffins will end up tough!
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together cocoa and additional milk until the cocoa is dissolved. Add about half of the base pumpkin batter to the bowl, and fold together until combined. Again, take care not to overmix.¼ cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder, ¼ cup (60mL) whole milk or additional buttermilk
- Alternate adding in small dollops of chocolate and pumpkin batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup to the very top for extra tall muffins! Use a skewer or knife to lightly swirl the batter to create a marble.
- Bake the muffins in your preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes. Then, without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 375°F and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Cool muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then transfer onto a wire rack and set aside to cool completely before serving!