nut-free pumpkin muffins

It may be pumpkin spice latte season, but we know that the tastiest fall treats are made right in your kitchen. Even the pickiest eaters can’t resist a slice of homemade pumpkin pie, cake, and even pancakes. We love the vitamin-rich vegetable[1] so much, we’ve rounded up six kid-friendly pumpkin baking recipes made with canned pumpkin purée. It’s our go-to shortcut for easy, quick pumpkin desserts, any day of the week. Just be careful and don’t confuse it with pumpkin pie filling that’s already sweetened.

Fresh Pumpkin or Canned?

Short on time? Canned pumpkin is the way to go. Baking pumpkins are picked, cooked, and canned at the height of the season, preserving the best of the patch for big, harvest flavour year-round. It’s our favourite go-to when we need a quick fix, and it’s a time-saver for seasonal baking. Fresh pumpkin purée is earthy and buttery with mild caramel notes.

How to Make Pumpkin Purée

Start by halving and seeding a sugar pumpkin and prick it all over with a fork. Set your oven to 375°F and roast, cut side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let it cool a bit, then scoop the flesh into a food processor and have the kids whirl it till smooth. Pumpkin is naturally full of water, so you’ll need to drain your purée in a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a bowl for about an hour and a half. Then you can keep in the fridge for four to five days. Don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting!

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Pumpkin pie

Ready in: 1 hour

Why we love it: Cozy up to classic pumpkin pie for fall comfort food at its best. This spiced slice is almost too good. The medley of sweet baking spices highlight the fresh earthy flavour of pumpkin, the harbinger of autumn. Kids will flip for the silky, creamy texture of this family-friendly dessert.

How kids can help: Little ones will get a kick out of making dough from scratch, blending the flour mixture with their hands and shaping the dough ball. Be sure to go over good hygiene practices, washing and drying hands thoroughly beforehand.

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HEALTH HIGHLIGHT
A mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, margarine, 1 per cent plain yogurt and egg whites make for a lower-fat pie. Believe us, it’s still full of flavour with the addition of warming spices and brown sugar.
nut-free pumpkin spice muffins

Ready in: 45 minutes

Why we love it: Let little hands get creative with these fun, easy-to-make pumpkin spice muffins. Super-moist and cakey, these cuties are so good you’ll be tempted to make them for any occasion.

How kids can help: Once the batter has been poured into muffin tins, let kids help sprinkle the pumpkin seed streusel over top (and lick the bowl, while they’re at it!).

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TIME-SAVING TIP
Replace pumpkin seeds with sunflower seeds for a still-nut-free but more budget-conscious option.
pumpkin coffee cake

Ready in: 45 minutes

Why we love it: Dessert for breakfast? We can make an exception for this delicious coffee cake. We can’t get over how they’re dairy- and gluten-free, too. Leave it on the counter and let the family snack on a slice throughout the day; it’s that irresistible!

How kids can help: Mixing and whisking is all fun and games for kids. Just make sure the bowl is heavy to avoid any flipping mishaps during the excitable stirring moments.

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TIME-SAVING TIP
The batter can be made up to one month ahead and frozen to cut down on prep time prior to baking. Preserve the cake batter in an airtight container or a sealed freezer bag. Transfer the frozen batter to the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight to thaw prior to baking.
Pumpkin cheesecake

Ready in: 6 hours 15 minutes

Why we love it: This silken pumpkin dessert is the ultimate make-ahead with a choose-your-adventure option of refrigeration or freezing. With a creamy decadence adults love, and the chocolate-caramel goodness kids adore, this cheesecake is perfect for kiddos of all ages. Omit the cayenne for the little ones, and we promise this super light, dreamy dessert will become an instant fall classic.

How kids can help: Get cracking with the tots and teach them how to crack eggs into a bowl so you can see any little eggshell bits on the bottom.

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TIME-SAVING TIP
Don’t let the total cooking time discourage you; it’s mostly hands off with four hours of chill time. Plus, you can make this pumpkin cheesecake up to three days ahead or freeze for up to three weeks—great for prepping well ahead of time. Cheesecake freezes beautifully and improves after a day in the fridge, so planning is your sweet reward.
Pumpkin ice cream cake

Ready in: 4 hours 35 minutes

Why we love it: Since pumpkin pie is everyone’s absolute favourite fall dessert, why not double-down and make a frozen pumpkin ice cream version? This one gets it right with a quick graham cracker crust. Just soften vanilla ice cream and mix in pumpkin purée, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Freeze, and voilà, you have a dessert for the week. We can’t guarantee leftovers, though!

How kids can help: Let kids help toss the graham crackers crumbs with margarine and sugar and press into a pie plate. Little hands are genius at getting into those shallow crevices.

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BUDGET WATCH
Buy whole graham crackers and pulse them in a food processor or bash them up in a resealable bag using a rolling pin. Budget-friendly and more versatile than graham cracker crumbs, you’ll also get more graham for your dollar.
pumpkin cake roll

Ready in: 2 hours 45 minutes

Why we love it: Everyone loves a pumpkin pie for fall, but why not switch it up with a fun and delicious pumpkin cake roll instead? This light sponge cake with a whipped cream cheese filling is easy to assemble and makes for a delightful Thanksgiving surprise!

How kids can help: Let kids help sprinkle the cake with icing sugar before serving—just be sure to accompany them. A little sugar goes a long way with this already sweet dessert.

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BUDGET WATCH
Save the remaining canned pumpkin purée and freeze in a resealable bag or container for future easy pumpkin recipes. 

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Article Sources

  1. Berkeley Health. Pumpkin: One Nutritious Gourd.

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