Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein
Sonja_For The Pleasure Of Eating

Hey There!

Lovely to meet you!

I’m Sonja and “For The Pleasure Of Eating” is my food blog.

Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds or discover new recipes, my blog is the perfect place to find ideas that impress your family and friends while creating a party in your mouth!

More about me and how I lost weight here.


Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein have everything you could possibly want in a muffin: Crunchy, nutty pistachios, a soft and fluffy inside, studded with sweet-tart dried apricots and a crunchy brown sugar sprinkled top. All that with 7g protein per muffin and just 280cal. So you can have a yummy snack with your coffee and feel good about it!

Why You Want to Make Them


Are you going nuts for Pistachios too?

I’m honestly hooked recently. I got a big jar of pistachio butter from Bulk and it’s utterly delicious on pretty much everything. I spread it on some rice cakes, topped with blueberries as my evening sweet snack, stirred it in oatmeal with cherries, made Pistachio-Protein Crème Brulee and now these Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein.

Of course Pistachios aren’t technically nuts, but rather the stone of a fruit, very similar to almonds, which explains their affinity for very similar foods almonds go with. I added some almond essence to these muffins, which underlines the Pistachio flavour rather perfectly.

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

Speaking of Protein

If you read a few of the sweet recipes on my blog, you probably noticed that I’m adding protein to many of them. Considering I’m not eating much meat and am not the biggest fan of legumes, so I don’t want to include them into every single meal. Yet, have an acute need to add more protein to my diet, to meet the target for muscle building and/or maintenance, which is at least around 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, I keep looking for ways to increase my intake, without drinking shakes. Why not shakes you ask? They simply bore me.

I feel if I’m not eating or drinking something that is worth the calories, I’m wasting my time.
Is it a weird way to see food? Maybe.
But having lost 70lb taught me, that I’m working on an energy budget per day. Loving food and eating means, I want to spend it well. This does not include the same boring protein shake every day, but rather finding recipes to excite me and have me look forward to eating them.
That’s where Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein come in: Something I really enjoy eating and am looking forward to, which also adds a nice portion of protein to my day.

Easy to Make

If you ever made muffins, you probably loved how easy they are. I know I do. The batter comes together in 10-15 minutes and that includes getting the ingredients out.
Well…unless your store cupboards are way too full, like mine, and you have to rummage around in them to find stuff. I knew I had dried apricots somewhere! *Empties half her pantry before finding the bag*

Lower calories than your average Muffin

Eating an average muffin, according to Google, you are looking at 340-424 calories. That is a fairly big chunk out of your daily budget, if you are watching your weight like I do.
Having gained a few pounds over Christmas (because I can’t be trusted around sweets), I’m currently trying to get rid of them again. But I really don’t want to go without a sweet treat per day! That would just leave me grumpy and missing something, which in turn means, once I lost the weight I’d go even more for sweets again. Not a good cycle.

So my solution is, to develop recipes that are sweet, not compromising in flavour, yet lower in calories than the standard versions. This is one of them.
Oh and I want them to have nutritional value too. High standards for sure.
These Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein have only 280 calories per muffin, which is a nice bit of saving for one satisfying snack. Or even breakfast if you like.


The Ingredients

Looking at the typical Pistachio Muffin recipe, I noticed that most are using rather artificial pudding mix to accomplish taste and texture of them. I wanted natural taste though and not use some mix with barely any real pistachio in it.
That means my muffins aren’t bright green, since they have no colouring either, but instead mostly natural and nutritious ingredients.
Except the protein powder. Let’s be honest, it isn’t natural, but I feel the benefits outweigh that downside.

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein_Ingredients

Note, these are just some of the ingredients and why I use them, not all, as most are still those of a classic muffin.

Let’s start with the obvious bit: Pistachio butter. I only replaced half of the butter with it, as nut butter has less fat than butter, which would have meant I needed to add more other fat back in, which wasn’t the idea.

Keeping half and adding a mix of sour cream and 0% fat Greek yoghurt gave me the moisture content I lost, by swapping part of the butter into Pistachio butter.

I also reduced both the flour and sugar by adding protein powder. Buttered Popcorn flavoured in this case, though you can easily use vanilla.
I particularly love MyProtein (not sponsored or affiliated, though I wish it would be, I use it so much!), which adds lovely flavour and sweetness to my recipes, without any weird aftertaste.
You can safely replace about ¼ of the flour in a recipe with it, without any negative impact. Use more, and the results might be drier than intended.

I’m still using a mix of white and brown sugar, but less than usual, to keep the structure needed. The sugar mixed with the sweetener from the protein powder also means it still tastes just naturally sweet.

While looking into the secrets of Pistachio muffins, I found the pudding powder not only adds flavour and sweetness, but also a bit of cornflour, which will thicken the pudding, but add a lovely softness to muffin batter. So I replaced some of the flour with cornflour to achieve the same effect.

Nutrition and flavour wise, I prefer a mix of white flour for lightness and the typical muffin feel and whole wheat flour for some nutty flavour. If you can find it, use fine whole wheat flour, which is great for lighter pastry.

For even more flavour, I’m using a bit of almond extract, which is in the same flavour family as pistachio, making it a natural choice. Unless you have natural pistachio extract, which would be a fantastic replacement. But I couldn’t find any in my local supermarkets and wasn’t keen on ordering just for this recipe. Though…it’s in my head now, I still might. Has anyone tried it? What were your thoughts?

To reduce the sugar and up the fruit content, I swapped out 2 eggs for 2 bananas. You can choose to use just eggs for more protein but add a little more sugar.

For the add-ins I’m using dried apricots, as they are not adding a lot of additional water, which I’d have to account for if I’d be using fresh ones. But, since I found some fresh apricots at Tesco, I decided to add half a fruit on top of each muffin, which gave them an amazing fruity-fresh kick I loved.
They are purely optional though.

Also some chopped pistachios for extra crunch and more pistachio flavour.

Each muffin got a little sprinkling of demerara sugar on top, adding some sparkle, crunch, and sweetness, making the muffins extra special.


The Process

The one thing that makes all baking easier is, to have all the ingredients at room temperature. If you have fridge cold butter, it’s much harder to mix it with the sugar. Just melted however, will give you a greasy result.
Similar for the eggs, which, when cold, can lead to a curdled result while mixing into the soft butter.
So plan a little bit ahead by taking everything out of the fridge an hour or so before you plan to make your muffins.

Preheat your oven to 425°F/220°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases. Or grease it thoroughly if you prefer. Personally I find muffin cases much easier to remove and they leave less to clean, which is always a plus in my book.

If you have 2 muffin tins, you’ll need both. Otherwise you might bake in 2 batches, as this recipe makes about 16 large muffins.

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein_Process

From there on it’s as easy as mixing the butter with the sugar until fluffy and white. Then, one by one, whisk the eggs and mashed bananas in until well incorporated.
Add the protein powder with the remaining wet ingredients, to make sure you have no protein lumps in your Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein.

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein_Process

Now mix your dry ingredients, keeping back about 1-2 tbsp of the chopped pistachios for sprinkling on top, and add most of them to your batter. But not all. Keep a few tablespoons of the flour mix back, to coat the chopped apricots in. This is to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

Gently fold your dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. A few lumps are fine. Don’t overmix, or your muffins will be tough from the gluten you developed.
Then add the flour coated apricots and fold them in too.

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein_Process

Divide the batter between the muffin molds, filling them all the way, so you get nice and high tops. I use an ice cream scoop for this, to make it very easy. Two tablespoons work too.

Sprinkle with the remaining chopped pistachios, lay a sliced fresh apricot half on top, if using, then sprinkle lightly with demerara sugar.

Now you might have looked at the high oven temperature and thought it might be a typo. It’s not. The high initial temperature is what gives you the beautiful high muffin tops, but it will be lowered after 5-7 minutes of baking, to the classic 350°F/175°C, to bake for another 15-17 minutes, depending on your oven.
Just don’t open the oven door, except once, around half of the baking time, to turn your muffin tin, should your oven bake unevenly.

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

Your Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein are ready when the top is golden brown and toothpick comes out mostly clean, a few crumbs are ok.

Let them cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then take them out onto a wire rack.

Enjoy your fluffy, tangy, and crunchy Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein with a nice cup of coffee or tea. They are also really good for breakfast.

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

Storing your Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

The muffins keep well in a tin or box for about 3 days.
They also freeze very well. I usually place most in freezer proof containers or small freezer bags and just air fry them for about 7 minutes when I want one. They taste like fresh!

If you liked this recipe, try my Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein

These delicious Sourdough Brownies with Protein

Or a super easy Cherry Peach Clafoutis with Protein


Please Comment

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein have everything could possibly want in a muffin: Crunchy, nutty pistachios, a soft and fluffy inside, studded with sweet-tart dried apricots and a crunchy brown sugar sprinkled top. All that with 7g protein per muffin and just 280cal. So you can have a yummy snack with your coffee and feel good about it!
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Breakfast, Cake, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 299 kcal


  • Muffin Tin


  • ½ cup butter + 2 tbsp
  • ½ cup pistachio butter
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup 0% fat Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • ¾ cup protein powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried apricots chopped roughly
  • ½ cup chopped pistachios 1-2 tbsp kept for sprinkling on top
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar for sprinkling
  • 8 fresh apricots for topping optional but delicious


  • Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature for easier mixing. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Line a muffin tin with cases or grease it.
  • In a large bowl, cream together ½ cup + 2tbsp softened butter, pistachio butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy and white.
  • Whisk in the eggs and mashed bananas, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add sour cream, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix until smooth.
  • Combine the protein powder with the remaining wet ingredients to avoid lumps. Mix until well incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the white flour, whole wheat flour, cornflour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Reserve 1-2 tbsp of the flour mix to coat the chopped dried apricots and 1-2 tbsp chopped pistachios for topping the muffins.
  • Add most of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and gently fold until just combined.
  • Toss the chopped dried apricots in the reserved flour mixture to prevent sinking. Fold them into the batter.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cases, filling them to the top. Use an ice cream scoop or two tablespoons for ease. Sprinkle the remaining chopped pistachios on top. Optionally, place a fresh apricot half, cut in slices on each muffin and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes at 425°F/220°C, then reduce the temperature to 350°F/175°C and bake for an additional 15-17 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  • Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Serve and enjoy your fluffy, tangy, and crunchy Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein with a cup of coffee or tea. They make a lovely breakfast treat too.


Calories: 299kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 10gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 467mgPotassium: 369mgFiber: 3gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 982IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 121mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition Facts
Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword Easy, For Guests, Healthy, Protein, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Juyali

    5 stars
    These muffins are the perfect balance of sweet, nutty, and nutritious. A satisfying and yummy treat that I enjoyed with a nice cup of coffee. 🙂
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. Anonymous

    Wow – these muffins are so delicious! I love how crunchy they are on top and how soft and fluffy they are on the inside!

  3. Leslie

    5 stars
    Really love this flavor combination!

  4. Padma

    5 stars
    Just love pistachios in any form! This sounds like such a wholesome recipe. Cannot wait to try it.

  5. Amy

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved this recipe! Have been trying to incorporate protein into more of the things I make and this was great.


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