Treat Your Family to a Batch of Cozy Apple Muffins

By Sheela Prakash, TheKitchn.com
Sheela Prakash, TheKitchn.com
Sheela Prakash, TheKitchn.com
Sheela Prakash is a senior contributing food editor at TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com. Copyright 2021 Apartment Therapy. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
November 10, 2021 Updated: November 10, 2021

These warm apple muffins, kissed with cinnamon-sugar, are the coziest breakfast to wake up to in the morning. Unlike dense, super-sweet muffins that taste more like dessert, these muffins are fluffy and just lightly sweetened, with chunks of tart apples that help balance everything out. Sit down to one with your morning coffee, or pack one up for breakfast on the go.

Choose Your Apples

Tart apples, such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Gala, are the best choice for these muffins. These kinds of apples lend tangy, juicy sweetness, which is the perfect counterpart to the moist and fluffy crumb. They also hold their shape well when baked, which means the chunks of fruit remain evenly scattered throughout the muffins.

There’s no need to peel the apples for these muffins, as the skin will become tender in the oven. Skipping this step keeps prep time to a minimum, which means you can have warm muffins on your breakfast table even faster. However, if you’d prefer to peel them, you absolutely can.

Just the Right Amount

There’s a fine line between using too little and too much apple in muffins. The fruit lends lots of moisture to the muffins’ crumb, so if you use too little, the muffins will end up dry and lacking in flavor. But if you overload the batter with apple chunks, the muffins may bake up gummy or dense. This recipe calls for just the right amount of apples to ensure perfectly moist muffins.

Apple Muffins

Serves 12

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole or 2 percent milk
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium tart apples (about 12 ounces total), such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard 12-well muffin pan with paper liners or coat the wells with cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, baking powder, 2 teaspoons of the ground cinnamon, and kosher salt together in a large bowl. Stir the remaining 4 teaspoons granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside for the topping.

Place the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract together in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Core and dice the apples (peel first if desired, about 2 1/2 cups).

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Some lumps are fine. Gently fold in the diced apple.

Divide the batter between the muffin wells, about 1/3 cup of batter per well. Sprinkle each muffin with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar.

Bake until the muffins are golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the pan.

Recipe Notes

Quick bread variation: To bake as a quick bread, line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with a parchment paper sling and coat the pan and paper lightly with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with sugar, and bake at 375 degrees F until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 45 to 60 minutes.

Storage: Muffins will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. They can also be frozen, then thawed at room temperature.

Sheela Prakash is a senior contributing food editor at TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com. Copyright 2021 Apartment Therapy. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC