Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

By special request for Makeover Monday, a low carb, gluten-free version of the Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.   A perfectly healthy fall treat!

Low Carb Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

As some of you may already know, my husband Tim was hit by a car this past Friday morning.  Let me say first that he is okay, and we are eternally grateful that things aren’t worse.  But his right ankle was badly dislocated and broken in several places and he is in the hospital for orthopaedic surgery (this morning) and several more days of observation.  After that, he will have a few months of rehabilitation. It’s a long road to full recovery, but given the circumstances, we are beyond thankful that his injuries are limited thusly. I will spare you all the details, but as it happened right outside our house, there were a few terrifying moments where I thought I might have lost the love of my life and my best friend.  Words fail me.  Accurately describing the emotions of the past few days is beyond my ability.

Starbucks Copycat Low Carb Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Needless to say, my attention to All Day I Dream About Food may suffer somewhat over the next few weeks as we figure out how life is going to go.  Juggling the household, Tim and the kids will inevitably tax much of my resources, mentally and physically.  Thankfully, we have many good friends who are ready to step up at a moment’s notice, and I won’t hesitate to call on them.  And quite honestly, I welcome the opportunity to take care of my husband in this way.  We have been through a lot in the past few years and he has been there for me in ways I never could have imagined when we started our life together.  But he sometimes has trouble accepting help from others and tends to take far too much upon himself.  Well, now he has no choice and I get to take care of him in ways he never could have imagined when we started our life together.  So there!

Low Carb Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I do have a few recipes stored up and I hope that will see me through for now.  Or who knows, I could find myself baking and cooking madly in an effort to feed my man healthy, wholesome foods to strengthen his recovery.  Regardless, forgive me if I keep things on the short side and take longer in answering any of your comments and questions.  Please read nothing into my reticence but a lack of time and energy.

This recipe was made last week prior to the accident, specifically with Makeover Monday in mind.  The funny part is that it had been in my mind to make some sort of low carb pumpkin cream cheese muffin, when a reader requested a makeover of the Starbucks version. It gave me just the push I needed to get into the kitchen and whip them up.

Low Carb, Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: 15 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

By special request for Makeover Monday, a low carb, gluten-free version of the Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. A perfectly healthy fall treat!

Ingredients

    Pumpkin Muffins:
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups almond flour (Honeyville)
  • 1/3 cup unflavoured whey protein powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener or other erythritol
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Candied Pepitas:
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1 tbsp Swerve Sweetener or other erythritol
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener or other powdered erythritol
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. On a plate lined with two layers of paper towel, spread out pumpkin puree and blot with another layer or two of paper towels. Let sit while making pepitas and cream cheese filling.
  2. For the candied pepitas, melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add pepitas and toss to coat. Add sweetener and cinnamon and toss to coat. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. For the cream cheese filling, beat cream cheese with powdered sweetener, cream and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside.
  4. For the muffins, preheat oven to 325F and line 15 muffin tins with paper liners (if you only have one muffin pan, like I do, you can do the last three muffins after the first batch is cooked).
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  6. In a large bowl, beat butter with sweetener until well combined. Beat in pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla extract.
  7. Beat in almond flour mixture in two additions, alternating with almond milk.
  8. Drop a spoonful of batter into the bottom of prepared muffin tins and use a spoon to make a well in the center. Drop a tablespoon of cream cheese filling into the well, then top with more batter to fill muffin tins about 3/4 full.
  9. Sprinkle each muffin with some candied pepitas.
  10. Bake 23 to 25 minutes, or until tops are set and edges are just browned. Let cool in pan 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Repeat with any remaining batter, filling and pepitas.

Notes

Serves 15. Each serving has 7 g of carbs and 3 g fiber. Total NET CARBS = 4 g.

249 Calories; 22g Fat (74.9% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 75mg Cholesterol; 238mg Sodium.

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Comments

  1. I am so sorry about your husbands injury. Prayers for a quick recovery. I love the combination of pumpkin and cream cheese. Great muffins.

  2. I hope his surgery goes well this morning! Thinking of you and your family!

    And these muffins look fantastic, just as good as the originals!

  3. Prayers for your husband, you and your family.

  4. I wish your husband a speedy recovery and a lot of strenght to all of you and your family. Don’t worry about us/the blog, your priority is with your family now !

  5. So sorry to hear about your husband’s accident and very glad it wasn’t worse. What a nightmare.

    This looks like a great recipe to make for my son…

    if i don’t have access to pumpkin puree, any idea how much fresh pumpkin to use to make puree?

  6. Hugs, hugs and lots more hugs. All my love and best wishes for Tim and you.

  7. Prayers and healing thoughts to your husband and your family!! Carolyn you rock – thank you for all you give to all of us – and please take the time to give to yourself also!!!
    Those muffins are what I call a Makeover!! Trader Joe’s version has 320 calories – 15g fat 42g of carb – 23 g of sugar and 520 mg of sodium and 4g protein ……..

  8. Carolyn,
    I don’t know you, but feel as though I do. You add sugar and spice to my days. When you wrote about your husband I felt a stab of anxiety and heartache for you as I know how facing mortality of the one you love brings up a multitude of emotions. That being said, I feel that your love of life and your ability to make all things sweeter will carry you through. And when those things falter you have friends and family for reinforcements. My thoughts are with you, and don’t forget to take good care of yourself.

  9. Oh NO!! Thank goodness he’s ok and prayers for a quick recovery!!!

  10. Oh, SO sorry about your honeybunch.
    Don’t worry about us; we’ve got tons of your back recipes to go through, so do what you must, and know we’re keeping the prayers going.

    Thanks for more pumpkin – this sounds FAB. Presently trying to make over carrot cake muffins someone gave me… ☺ It’s nice to have this one already done!

  11. Praying that your husband’s surgery goes as planned. Just concentrate on your added commitments and don’t worry about us. As Tea said, we have a lot of your recipes to work with, and you know we will be here when you get back. Take care of yourself, because, now the burden will be on you for awhile.

  12. Made these this morning – they are wonderful! Didn’t have any pepitas on hand (who has pepitas on hand?? :), so no topping, but they were still rich and delicious. I hope Tim continues to mend, and it’s good that he is your priority. During this time, why not do some re-runs of your recipes? There are lots of them that I’m sure I’ve missed! Hugs to you and all the best!

    • Haha, I always have pepitas on hand, but that’s because it’s taken me 2 years to finish one package (I keep them in the freezer). :) Thanks for the well-wishes.

  13. Stephanie says:

    Sending up prayers for your husband and your whole family. I can’t begin to imagine how terrifying that must have been. Don’t forget, your whole community is here to support you in any way we can – just ask!!

  14. Prayers for you, so sorry. Don’t let the blog burden you. Invite guest posts, rest in the Lord, take care of your hubby and don’t worry about us. Thank God he spared you that separation of losing your hubby. Maybe repost some of your oldies but goodies. Whatever works for you. <3

    • Oh Carolyn!
      Thoughts and prayers for your husband’s healing and recovery, and for you and your family’s strength during this time.
      I was run over by a car when I was pregnant with my son, and it was frightening to say the least. My DH had a horrible time of it too, as one would imagine, but we are stronger for it, and my son is big and strong despite the surgeries (ankle and heart) and stress.
      PS making these muffins STAT! In honor of your hubs recovery! :-)

      • Wow, when you were pregnant! How scary! I was hit by a car when I was 12, and suffered a broken collarbone. So I guess my husband and I share that in common now.

  15. Oh my gosh! Speedy recovery and SO glad it wasn’t worse! Maybe this will give me a chance to catch up on all of your recipes I have marked, “to try”!

  16. Hope Tim has a full and speedy recovery! Also I was just at starbucks today drooling over those muffins, then I came home to this post!!! Timing couldn’t be better! Can’t wait to try these…

  17. Oh Carolyn, my heart goes out to you in this time of distress! I pray that that your husband’s time in the hospital is successful and short. And I have no doubt in my mind that the attention of you and your children will speed his recovery at home. Will definitely make the muffins for Saturday Bible study and offer ongoing prayers to your and your family for a total recovery.

  18. Wishing your husband a speedy recovery.

  19. I made these tonight and they were fabulous. I only had chocolate whey powder so I used that. Couldn’t even taste the chocolate so it worked fine. My kids said they would eat low carb if they could eat these every day. Wishing your hubby a speedy recovery!

    • Wow, I totally would have thought that the chocolate whey powder would come through in flavour. Glad they worked out!

  20. Wishing you Husband a speedy recovery…my nephew just had surgery to put his lower leg back together after a motorcross accident (his leg was in about 200 pieces)…and OMG am I glad for this recipe…you have no idea how hard it is to look at those muffins everyday and not eat one…now I can take one to work with me and enjoy it with my Thanksgiving Blend :)

  21. Thinking of you, Tim and your whole family, Carolyn. Hope Tim’s recovery is totally uneventful…and that he won’t need any more interventions. xo

    PS…your muffins look TERRIFIC!!!

  22. Your husband can’t help but get better with all the care that you put into everything that you do. Best wishes for a super speedy recovery and don’t forget to take care of yourself, too!

  23. Holy, Carolyn.. Really hope everything goes well with your husband’s surgery and recovery. You’ll have your hands full for the next little while but take care of yourself and your family and the blog will wait!

  24. If you care for your hubby like you do for the rest of us with your amazing recipes, he’ll be better in no time! My thoughts and prayers are with you both, and don’t forget to take care of YOU too! hugs!

  25. Boy, I broke my ankle badly a few years ago, and while it was nothing as traumatic as being hit by a car, it still turned my life upsidedown in an instant. You have my sympathy and best wishes. It’s quite a slog coming back from this sort of surgery, and your husband is lucky to have such a loving family to help him through it. Don’t worry about us … we can mine your archives for a good long while. Take care of your family.

  26. So sorry to hear about your husband! I hope he has a quick recovery!

    These muffins look incredible!

  27. I was happy to see that your husband came out of surgery okay. I’ll be thinking of you and your family the next few weeks and I hope Tim will recover quickly.

    Let me know if you need any online help and I’ll be there! I’ve just scheduled several of your posts on FB for the next month in hopes of helping (even if just a little!)

    Oh and the muffins? Love them. :)

  28. we will be fine..thanks for sharing what is going on with you. this is a good time to see if any of us want to share recipes online while you all manage life at your house. i would be happy to contribute.. take care of yourself, too.

    • Sure, Jillian! I once put out a call for recipes from readers but I didn’t get much response. What do you have that you’d like to share?

  29. Thanks so much for this great looking recipe! Prayers for all of you as your husband goes through surgery and recovery. So glad it was not worse.
    In 2006, I slipped and fell on a hillside dirt trail (I was headed downhill). Unfortunately, I tucked my left leg under me and landed quite hard on it, breaking the tibia and badly dislocating the ankle. After a four-hour surgery, the doc told me my ankle muscles were like spaghetti and that he had placed a metal plate in the ankle. Full recover took some time, but my leg is fine now. He offered to remove the metal plate, but that involved another surgery, so I declined. I lost some weight recently through a low carb life-style change and noticed that the plate is a little more pronounced. Otherwise, it’s all fine–never had any pain, no movement restrictions and I don’t set off metal detectors.
    Prayers and best wishes to you all…

    • sounds like a very similar surgery! Tim has a plate and several screws, along with some pins to keep the tibia and fibula together for now, since the ligaments were so badly damaged by the dislocation. It’s good to hear you are all healed.

      • Now that you mention it, I had pins, also. His sounds more complex than my injury, but he’s young and will likely heal quickly and completely. Well, that’s what we’re praying for, isn’t it? Best to you all through the healing time…And thanks for sharing so much of yourself and your life, along with all the wonderful, nourishing food!

  30. Michelle H says:

    Sorry to hear about your husband, and glad it wasn’t worse!! Your family is the most important before anything else, so concentrate on that!
    This recipe looks amazing, I’m going to make it in the morning. Does anybody know if I can use Splenda instead of erythritol and just use whole milk instead of almond milk?

    • Yes to the whole milk. I am sure splenda would be fine too, but I don’t really work with it so I can’t say for sure.

    • I just made these and they are really, really, really, really, really, good! I used Splenda and cream for the almond milk and it turned out just great. Excellent as written, but next time I’m going to use more spice because I love heartburn. :-) I also filled the cups up to the top so got 12 muffins exactly.

      Thank you for this recipe! I’m glad your husband is doing well, too.

  31. So sorry to hear about what your husband’s having to go through, Carolyn! You all are in my thoughts! Love these muffins. A very comforting breakfast or snack!

  32. So sorry to hear of your husband’s accident and injury. Prayers for a full and good recovery.

    The muffins look soooo good! Do you think that they would freeze well? I would like to be able to make a batch, freeze, and then pull one out when desired.

    • I know the muffin part would freeze quite well. The cream cheese might change texture a bit, but I think it’s still worth it to have them on hand when you wan them! The flavour would still be delicious.

      • Thank you so much for your response! I think I will try baking and freezing – give it a shot anyway. They just look too good to pass up.

  33. Carolyn,
    so glad to hear he is ok, I can’t even imagine such an experience. The fear, the worry and it sounds extremely painful too.
    I am thinking pumpkin too but pumpkin bread–just baked a bunch for some customers and you inspired me to take a few pictures.
    It was so fun meeting you in Seattle and sharing some laughs and a ride with Janelle!
    Karen

  34. Oh god, what a terrifying thing to happen. I’m glad that he wasn’t hurt worse and that you have resources to draw on during this stressful time. Wishing a speedy recovery to Tim, and strength and comfort to you and the kids.

  35. Thank you SO much for this recipe, especially with what’s going on with your husband and family! Saying a prayer for his speedy recovery and your strength/energy in the interim. I will toast to you with one of these muffins and a cup of coffee when I make them!

  36. So sorry about your husband’s accident, but very glad that he is going to be ok. These muffins look fabulous! :)

  37. Never apologize for putting your attention and efforts into your family. Really sorry to hear the news but glad he’s okay and on the mend. Sometimes things happen in life to remind us what we have. Keep calm and carry on smiling (English motto from an English lady).

  38. These look fabulous!!! I love pumpkin everything, it must be because I was born around Thanksgiving. You have a fabulous name by the way ;)

  39. Carolyn, so sorry to hear about your husband. Prayers for a full and speedy recovery. Thank goodness it sounds like he will be okay and that you are there for him. Thinking of you. xo

  40. I’ll admit I had to google pepitas – didn’t know what they were (in Canada where the 2nd language is french). These look delicious, looking forward to making them.

    Sorry to hear about your husband – hope his surgery went well. I am at the 8 week mark from our low-speed motorcycle accident that broke my husband’s right ankle (both bones, has two titanium plates screwed to the bones now) so I know what you will be going through in the weeks ahead. All the best to you and the rest of your family.

    First time poster, but I love your recipes and tell everyone willing to listen about your blog.

    • Hi Louise…as it happens, I am Canadian! But I’ve lived in the US since grad school so I’ve gotten used to hearing a lot of Spanish words. I am sorry about your husband’s accident. Tim broke both bones in his lower leg as well, the lower fibula was shattered so it’s all put back with plates and screws too. I am calling him the bionic man.

  41. Leslie Preston says:

    Many wishes for a speedy recovery for your husband. I’ve now run into (sorry) three people who had extensive ankle surgery, they all recovered beautifully, AND all were probably twice as old as your husband! One man said that instead of crutches, he used one of those things where you kneel on something like an elevated scooter-type thing to get around, so non-weight-bearing. Also, isn’t it something how an accident like this suddenly slaps everything into perspective?

    I love your blog! I’ve made many of the recipes and then have turned around and blabbed and blabbed to family/friends on how they can cut out the sugar in their lives and still be happy/satisfied. AND, I’ve been reading these comments to you and think what a great group of people follow your blog! It’s a win-win all over the place!!!

    • Thanks, Leslie. Yeah, I saw those scooters and thought they might not be a bad idea. My husband is 6’7″ though, so we need to make sure whatever we can can accommodate his height. He has crutches from a previous leg injury so at least we have those!

  42. Oh Carolyn! I spied the link in my email earlier this week and was really excited to check it out – Could my dreams of enjoying a pumpkin cream cheese muffin once again come true? But I only got around to checking out the full post last night and I was blown away. Wow, what a post!! So glad you are all ok – that is, as ok as you can be, considering. I am amazed at your resilience. That and your dedication and creativity will get you through, I have no doubt. Thanks for taking the time to read comments. :-) I think it was mine that I left a couple weeks ago about these dreamy muffins, so was thrilled to see them materialize, if not only virtually for the time being. Best wishes. Nancy
    PS – Are you connected with Lynn Terry? She is a big low-carb lifestyle blogger: http://www.travelinglowcarb.com/ She is a genuine, authentic person like yourself. :-)

    • Was it you, Nancy? I couldn’t remember who asked for these! Glad you like them. And now, I don’t know Lynn but I will be sure to check out her blog!

  43. Ivonne Carlo says:

    OMG I’m so sorry about your husband’s accident. I’m glad he’s alive and getting the care he needs to be 100% again. And you are one admirable woman posting recipes even with all that going on. You have my full respect! xo

  44. Prayers for your husband and you! Glad he’s going to be okay though.

    If you need any more suggestions for Makeover Monday, I would love a low carb version of Aussie Bites. Costco got me addicted to these convenient little gems, but lately I’ve been denying myself because of the carbs. There are recipes galore online to make the original version (with oat flour) and I did find one that used a tiny bit of coconut flour but it was still mainly oat flour. You would forever be my hero if you converted this!!

    Love your site!

  45. Michelle H says:

    I just made these right now. I used whole milk instead of almond milk, and Splenda instead of the other sweetener. The cream cheese filling is easily the best part, so I’m glad I used a lot in each muffin. The muffins, on their own, tasted like almonds, from the flour, but combined with the filling….awesome. They got a big thumbs up from myself AND my husband. They’re definitely going on the “when I feel like baking I’ll make…” list! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hi Michelle, glad you like them. What kind of almond flour did you use? Because the really fine, blanched stuff (like Honeyville) typically doesn’t have much almond flavour when baked.

  46. Oh wow! I just came for a pumpkin recipe!

    So so SO glad your husband is okay.

  47. I’m praying for your husband’s recovery, and for you and your family to be strengthened during this time. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! I haven’t tried Starbucks’ pumpkin cream cheese muffins, but I’ve discovered Whole Foods’ has a yummy version. Knowing I want my family to enjoy a healthier version, I searched your website and found just what I was looking for. I can’t express the sheer joy I felt when I discovered you had just posted this one. An answer to prayer for sure! Yours is one of my favorite blogs!! Thanks for all you do in creating and sharing your wonderful recipes! You’re a blessing to my family for sure!

  48. I’ve now made these muffins twice and they are so delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe! I hope your husband’s recovering is going smoothly!

  49. OH MY!!!! Me and my daughter made these last night. Easily the best pumpkin muffin recipe I have made lately. I started my venture of low carb, gluten free, sugar free in march and am so glad I found your site. I have made several of your recipes and am ways happy with the results. Keep up the excellent work.

  50. This is becoming my most requested cake. I’ve made it as muffins, mini muffins, and recently as small loaf cakes. I put raw pecans on the top instead of the candied pumpkin seeds. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
    I’ll be sharing on my blog. THANKS

  51. These muffins are delicious!!!! I didn’t have whey protein powder, but did have hemp protein powder, so I used it. I will most definitely make them again and again!! I refrigerated them after cooking because of the cream cheese – is that necessary?

  52. made these today and they are *insanely* good. thank you so much!!!

  53. shawn krosnick says:

    These were amazing…. and I even messed up the recipe and they still came out great!! I didn’t have enough almond flour and used extra vanilla whey protein… Still wonderful. Thanks for the wonderful recipes!!!

  54. Hi Carolyn. Another great recipe! I left the topping off but that’s okay they are still delicious! I make these for my breakfast. I just pop one in a baggie everyday and take it to work with me. They are super yummy! Thanks.

  55. Hi Ms Carolyn :-) I’ve just started my foray into a gluten free world due to my recently discovered non celiac gluten sensitivities, but I’ve been low carb for many years. Your website has been a godsend. I made these last night and they were fantastic, out of the 16 I ended up with there are 3 left…husband and kids loved them too! For our families tastes I will add a bit more pumpkin next time and some more erythritol in both the cream cheese filling and pumpkin muffins…but this was just a great, great recipe. Thank you for all you do!

  56. I have serious kidney issues and I’m always trying to reduce the protein and phosphorus content of food I eat (in addition to restricting carbs). It makes for a walk through a minefield. I have already had to replace the baking powder (wicked high in phosphorus and pepitas–also very high). What’s left is to ask you about 2 ingredients in this: eggs and whey powder. Egg whites are low in phosph. but the yolks are high. And whey protein is also high. Could the whole eggs be replaced with just the whites? Is there something that can sub for the whey powder? Since I don’t know exactly what its function is, I can’t answer the question for myself. Thank you for all your great recipes. I wish I weren’t so limited in what I can eat.

    • Hi Marcia…okay, go for 3 egg whites and for the whey powder, you can use either egg white powder (sometimes called meringue powder) or hemp protein (don’t know if that’s lower in phosphorus. For the baking powder, you can sub baking soda and cream of tartar, do you have that?

      The whey protein is to replace the gluten. Gluten is a protein so adding protein helps things rise and hold their shape properly!

      • Thank you. I do have the baking powder sub. Do you think psyllium could sub for whey? I use it in a lot of other low carb baking to hold things together. There is very little info about hemp on the Internet. What I found says that 100grams is the equivalent of 1 whole egg (in phosph), so that’s not too bad. Would it sub 1:1 for whey?

        • i’ve never used psyllium so I can’t say. But these sink a little in the middle anyway, because of the cream cheese filling. so I say go for it!

  57. I have made several of your wonderful recipes and passed your blog along to my friends. These yummy muffins are my favorite so far followed by the orange cardamom biscotti . It’s nice to be able to enjoy something besides “meat and eggs” with my morning coffee

  58. These are hands-down the best low carb pumpkin muffins of any low carb cooking site. We’ve tried many recipes and these are fabulous! Thanks very much!

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