Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins

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Apple cinnamon muffins are a wonderful start to a crisp autumn day. Made with whole wheat flour, crisp apples, and fragrant cinnamon, the whole family will love them!

Apples are one fruit we always need to have in the house, no matter the season. 

Maybe it’s our Midwest roots, but apples are a go-to snack around here, and when apple picking season comes around we can’t get enough.

apple cinnamon muffins in muffin tin

That must be why these whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins are the entire family’s favorite muffin, and it’s incredibly hard to make a batch last longer than one breakfast.

Wonderfully tender, chock full of apples and cinnamon, and hearty enough to power you through the morning? A winning combination.

Whether you make apple cinnamon muffins to grab and go on busy mornings or to tuck into a fall picnic basket, they’re sure to please.

Ingredients for apple muffins

Gather your ingredients ahead of time to make quick work of this muffin recipe.

Apples – You can use whatever variety of apple you have on hand for these muffins, and don’t bother peeling them.  

Dicing the apple into small pieces will make the peel completely unnoticed after baking the muffins, so save some time! 

We tend to have Gala or Pink Lady apples on hand and they are wonderful in baking. The only apple I don’t recommend is Red Delicious, which is often mealy and bland.

Flours – I use both all-purpose and whole wheat flours in this recipe. 

I love the nuttiness the whole wheat flour provides, while the all-purpose flour helps keep the muffins lighter.

You can use all whole wheat flour if you prefer, but keep in mind that the muffins will be more dense. A bit more liquid might be needed in the batter as well.

ingredients for apple cinnamon muffins with labels

Buttermilk – I love using buttermilk in muffins. It makes them more tender than using regular milk, and provides a very subtle tang. 

Swap in 2% or whole milk if you prefer, reducing the amount to ¾ cup if desired.

Brown sugar – I use brown sugar in this recipe for just a bit more flavor. It pairs wonderfully with apple and cinnamon.

Cinnamon – Without the fresh apples these could just be called cinnamon muffins, because there’s a lot here! To make sure the cinnamon flavor shines through, it calls for 1 tablespoon.

If you prefer a less pronounced flavor, drop it down to 2 teaspoons.

Don’t forget to check your cinnamon before using it! Ground cinnamon should have a strong scent. If yours doesn’t, it’s probably time for a new batch.

You’ll also need: Unsalted butter, nutmeg, egg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

apple cinnamon muffins on wood tray

How to make this apple cinnamon muffin recipe

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or coat with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together flours, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and buttermilk.

Stir in the flour mixture just until no dry bits remain — do not overmix or your muffins can turn out tough.

Fold in the apple pieces, then scoop batter into muffin tin. 

I fill my muffin cups almost all the way to the top, dividing the batter between 12 cups. A cookie scoop or ice cream scoop with a trigger makes this an easy task.

Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Let cool slightly before serving; cooled muffins will release from the papers easier.

Can I use this recipe for quick bread?

Don’t have a muffin pan or prefer quick bread? You can use this same recipe to make apple cinnamon bread.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and fill a 9×5-inch loaf pan with batter. Bake for 60-70 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. 

Make sure to cool the quick bread completely before serving, to prevent a gummy texture on the bread interior.

apple cinnamon muffin in green striped paper liner

Recipe suggestions

It’s easy to customize apple cinnamon muffins to your liking! 

Add other spices along with the cinnamon, such as cardamom, nutmeg, or ginger. Crystallized ginger is a great option!

Top the unbaked muffins with sparkling sugar, which is large crystal sugar often found among the decorating supplies. 

I like the extra crunch it adds to the muffin, plus it’s a nice festive touch to add to your standard morning meal. 

If you can’t find sparkling sugar, you can use turbinado or raw sugar crystals, or mix cinnamon and sugar together for a more flavorful topping.

Or, go even further and make a crumb topping with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Love an icing drizzle? Use my sweet biscuit icing to spoon over the muffins, or dip the tops directly into the icing bowl.

Storage tips

Muffins keep well at room temperature for about 3 days. For longer storage, put leftover muffins in the refrigerator.

If you like, double the batch and save half to freeze for later. Let them cool completely, then freeze in plastic wrap, a freezer bag, or other freezer-safe container.

Then just unwrap and pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds for a quick breakfast or snack.

apple cinnamon muffin broken in half

Other muffin recipes to make

Try some of my other muffin recipes, too!

apple cinnamon muffins in muffin tin

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins are a great start to your day, lunch box filler, or afternoon snack.
5 from 15 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 199 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup diced apple, about 1 medium apple
  • Sparkling sugar, for tops (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a muffin tin with papers (or grease with nonstick spray).
  • Stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in egg, then mix in buttermilk.
  • Stir in dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in diced apple.
  • Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Top with sparkling sugar, if desired.
  • Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 gCalories: 199 kcalCarbohydrates: 27 gProtein: 4 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 5 gCholesterol: 36 mgSodium: 184 mgPotassium: 159 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 11 gIron: 1 mg
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11 Comments

  1. I wanted a little something for the weekend and these were perfect, not too sweet, and a little healthier. Thanks! We loved them!

  2. Made these this weekend for my girls to have for breakfast this week. They’re already gone. (It’s Tuesday.) They were delicious, and we can’t wait to make them again!

  3. Made a double batch so I could take some to my yoga class and they were gone in a heartbeat! They want me to make them again for next class. Thank goodness I saved some for myself.

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