Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins & Whipped Honey-Maple Cinnamon Butter

With Thanksgiving on the horizon I’m on the hunt for new recipes to compliment our favorite annual staples.   It’s always tenuous to consider dropping a family favorite to try something new but being one who thrives on diversity, I have nothing against mountains of leftovers if it means more options on Thanksgiving.

For a number of years now we have purchased our turkey through our CSA farm, Cure Organic Farm, loving the both the quality of the birds and the circumstances of its raising.  This year we’ve learned many turkey farms are not raising turkeys due to the increased price of feed as an impact of the drought.  One of those ‘connect the dots’ moments one does not think about being a consequence of sweltering summer temps and no rain.

This year we’ll be having a heritage breed Blue Slate turkey from the Eastern Plains of Colorado.  Much like a scene out of Portlandia, we received a full sheet on the breed, what they eat, how they are processed and a bio on the green operation raising the birds using wind turbines for powering the incubators, hatchers, brooders and freezers.  I’ve actually always wanted to try a heritage breed turkey, despite their higher cost, and will leave it to my husband who revels in the cooking research and rituals of Thanksgiving to ‘deliver’ on the main dish.

Other ‘must haves’ are mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pies.  Now that our children are old enough to partake in the cooking, everyone in our household contributes to the Thanksgiving feast.  The kids each usually make a pie.  Grasshopper Pie has wiggled its way onto the menu at their choosing, complimented with second more Thanksgiving-friendly choice.

I was recently thumbing through a binder in which I stored tear outs from magazines a few years back intending to try them ‘one day’.  I came upon a Pumpkin Cornbread recipe that caught my attention imagining making it as muffins might be a perfect new addition this year.  Something about that prompted a childhood memory of Whipped Honey Butter, maybe (sadly) even from the school cafeteria since I do not recall ever having that at home.  A key difference I loved about these muffins is that unlike traditional cornbread muffins which can become dry, these have a more moist consistency thanks to the pumpkin puree, sour cream and buttermilk.  After a few iterations of the recipe, and experimentation with a seasonal version of honey butter, I feel sure these will grace our Thanksgiving table and maybe yours too!

What are your Thanksgiving favorites?

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins & Whipped Honey-Maple Cinnamon Butter

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: Aproximately 24 muffins and 1/2 cup of whipped butter

These muffins bear the familiar grainy texture of traditional cornbread, with a light pumpkin flavor and color. Paired with the sweet, seasonal whipped butter and your meal will hearld the flavors of fall!


    For the Muffins:
  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour (gluten free or regular)
  • 1/3 cup granulated Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina (or corn flour)
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 8-ounce container of Sour Cream or Crème Fraiche
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cups Pumpkin Puree
  • For the Whipped Butter:
  • ¼ cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Cinnamon


    Instructions for the Muffins:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with muffin baking cups.
  2. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer (or in a large mixing bowl if using a hand held mixer) combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, masa harina, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Mix on low to fully combine.
  3. In a separate large, mixing bowl combine butter, buttermilk, sour cream/crème fraiche, egg and pumpkin puree. Whisk to fully combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry ingredients, mixing on low to fully combine. Do not over mix.
  5. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes and then on a cooling rack. Serve slightly warm.
  6. Instructions for the Whipped Butter:
  7. Place butter in the bowl of a freestanding mixer (or large bowl if using a handheld mixer). Using the whisk attachment, mix at high speed until the butter is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  8. Add the honey, maple syrup and cinnamon. Mix to fully combine.
  9. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until using.


Cornbread Muffins adapted from Better Homes and Gardens



  1. Sarah says

    On Monday I have a meeting that I need to bring a food item for. I’ve been scrambling through recipes trying to think of what the best, easiest item to bring would be. I opened up your page and saw this. It is perfect! I’m so excited to make it. Thanks Toni!

    • Toni | Boulder Locavore says

      Oh Sarah I hope you’ll love them! They are moister that regular cornbread (which usually does best paired with another dish since they can be drier). I love (as did my family) the fall-tasting Whipped Butter too. Not overly sweet but really making the muffins all the more special. Let me know how you like them!

    • Toni | Boulder Locavore says

      I agree Laura; I love cornbread. The flavor, the color and the grainy texture all feel so rustic. I loved the addition of pumpkin in these muffins. They are moister, the color is beautiful and fall-like with great flavor. Hope you’ll love them too!

    • says

      Before you get too excited about how forward thinking I am I’ll note this post was from last fall! I do think ahead but not that far. I also don’t like to dive in too fast on seasonal food lest it feel like those annoying robotic Santas we now see at retail stores in August!


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