Dairy-free Sensory Friendly Pumpkin Muffin
Heidi Hughes

Dairy Free and Sensory Friendly Pumpkin Muffins

Dairy-free Sensory Friendly Pumpkin Muffin
Heidi Hughes

Dairy Free and Sensory Friendly Pumpkin Muffins

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If you have a sensory kiddo (or adult) in your house who makes a ‘squash’ face (basically the 🤢 emoji), when cooked pumpkin or squash is offered, they will be pleasantly surprised to try this yummy pumpkin muffin recipe which is also dairy free!

Most oral sensory problems are with the texture of the food, not the flavor. This was an eye-opening discovery at our house and really opened up a lot of food options for us. We could still use the same ingredients just cooked in a different way.

These muffins can be made with any of your favorite winter squash varieties like pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash or even sweet potatoes. Canned pumpkin works well if you don’t want to roast your own pumpkin/squash. In our house, everyone loves roasted squash seeds so we try to roast our own pumpkin/squash then use it for these tasty muffins.

The recipe works really well when doubled or made in either mini loaf pans or full-size loaf pans. It can be made with gluten-free flour (I prefer King Arthur gluten-free flour) and/or egg substitutes. They also freeze well and can be frozen for several months in a freezer-safe bag. Freezing them is a great option if you want to be able to take 1 or 2 out at a time and warm them for ~20 seconds in the microwave.

Happy eating 😋 !

Dairy-free Pumpkin Muffins (makes ~12 muffins)


1 2/3 Cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground clove
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup water
Pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 350° F. and prepare a muffin pan with muffin papers or grease pan. (If using a standard loaf pan grease 1 pan for mini loaf pans grease 3).
  2. Mix sugar, eggs, oil and water in a large bowl.
  3. Add in pumpkin puree to bowl.
  4. Add in Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ground clove.
  5. Fold everything with a spatula until just combined.
  6. Fill muffins to half full. I use a #16 ice cream scoop – this makes the job faster and is a great way to work in some hand strengthening with your kiddos. (If you are using a Loaf pan just scrap batter into pan or divide between mini loaf pans filling to ½ -3/4 full)
  7. Sprinkle the top(s) with pumpkin seed if you wish.
  8. Bake muffins for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
    (For standard loaf pan bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean;
    For Mini loaf pans bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean)
  9. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 then remove from pan and Enjoy!

About the Author

Heidi Hughes is a mom, nutritionist, and restauranteur living in Baltimore, Maryland. One of her two sons, whom she calls ‘the little fox’ is on the autism spectrum. Heidi is an expert on homeschooling and sensory issues, especially creating nutritious recipes without sensory triggers. She is passionate about helping other parents with neurodiverse children navigate parenting challenges!

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