3-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffin Tops

3-ingredient pumpkin muffin tops
Photos: Nathan Davison

Ever since I heard you could blend an egg with Reese’s peanut butter cups, bake it and make cookies, I’ve been obsessed with 2- and 3-ingredient recipes. They just seem foolproof! And easy! And you’re only buying two things, so it can’t be that pricey, right?! (Well, if you’re whipping up a big batch of Reese’s cookies — so many PB cups! — maybe not.)

So when I saw that people were combining a box of yellow cake mix and canned pumpkin to make pumpkin muffins, I HAD TO TRY IT. Had to. You understand, right?

3-ingredient pumpkin muffin tops

The end result was less than stellar, though. The muffins were way more yellow cake-y than pumpkin-y, like you stole a bite of your baby brother’s birthday cake AND his baby food at the same time. Not so appealing, right?

But, to restore them to can’t-eat-just-one, it’s-like-a-pumpkin-spice-latte-in-muffin-form glory, I realized just one ingredient was needed. Yes, it’d make this a — gasp! — three-ingredient recipe, but after taste-testing, it made a colossal difference. Bring on the Pumpkin Pie Spice. (Or even just cinnamon, if you don’t want to invest in the blended spice. You could also make your own.)

With a few shakes of the cinnamon-nutmeg-ginger-etc mix folded into the batter, the muffins tasted like the sweet, sweet marriage of a Village Inn pumpkin pie with your mama’s secret homemade (*coughDuncanHinescough*) birthday cake. And when you plop ’em on a cookie sheet, you get the very best part of the muffin AND you don’t have to clean out all the cups in a traditional muffin tray.

Try ’em and let us know: Is it true (muffin-top) love? How would you customize them?

3-ingredient pumpkin muffin tops

3-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffin Tops
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Low-cost, low-effort, almost no cleanup: What more could you ask for from a lil' muffin top? (If you're feeling fancy, toss in a few chocolate chips or sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds on top.)
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin (about 14 to 15 ounces)
  • 2½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stirring until a thick batter has formed. Scoop about 2-inch blobs of batter onto a cookie sheet, leaving about an inch between each muffin top. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.


1 Comment

  1. […] The secret? It’s all in the cake mix you choose. Many call for a vanilla or yellow cake, but you need, yes need, a spice cake mix. It has all of the cinnamon-flecked flavor you need. (Without it, vanilla cake mix + pumpkin puree = vaguely baby food-esque snack cakes. That’s why last year’s muffin tops required three ingredients: If you’re using a y…) […]

Tell Us What You Think

%d bloggers like this: