Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

Hearty, healthy, and satisfying whole wheat muffins filled with sweet apples and plenty of cinnamon spice!

Healthy, simple, AMAZING whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins with zero refined sugar. Find this easy muffin recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

With zero refined sugar, by the way. (!!!)

Yep, I went there. The streak of healthy goodness continues. And guess what? Kevin loved these muffins. Not for one little second realizing that hello… they’re (1) whole wheat, (2) filled with fruit, and (3) not with sugar.

But before I get to the muffins: is it just me or did this week crawl by at a turtle’s pace? Scratch that. More like a snail. Whatever its speed, let’s just all be thankful that the weekend is here and it’s time to warm up and lounge around with healthy apple cinnamon muffins on our plates.

Cold weather necessity right here! ↓

Healthy, simple, AMAZING whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins with zero refined sugar. Find this easy muffin recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

As you’re probably aware, I don’t mess around when it comes to muffins. Especially when it comes to muffins of the healthy variety. Chocolate banana resembling brownies (seriously, have you tried them?), strawberry chocolate chip with shockingly low calorie count, and these skinny banana blueberry muffins that gain all sorts of buzz this time of year. Lightened-up muffins are the peanut butter to my jelly. Sprinkles to my birthday cake. Netflix marathons to my weekends. In short: I can’t live without ’em.

So let me show you a new way to make them, apple cinnamon style.

Today’s muffins are adapted from my simple morning glory muffins, which have all sorts of goodies packed inside like grated apple, grated carrot, raisins, nuts, etc. Thick: carrot cake, but lightened-up. For today’s apple cinnamon version, we’re leaving out the grated carrot and switching up a couple other ingredients. To keep them on the lighter side, I use a mix of applesauce and oil. This way the muffins keep their moist, rich texture but aren’t weighed down with fat. Sometimes I find that replacing all of the fat in muffin recipes results in a rubbery texture. I use melted coconut oil in these, but you can use canola or vegetable instead.

Healthy, simple, AMAZING whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins with zero refined sugar. Find this easy muffin recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Other healthy superstars: whole wheat flour (yes to that!) and apples. The muffins get a lot of their flavor and sweetness from the grated apples, so I suggest using a sweeter variety. And, of course, a variety you love because you’ll taste a lot of apple. I use Pink Lady or Fuji.

Also inside: pure maple syrup. None of that breakfast syrup stuff! The real deal, for concentrated flavor. Maple syrup in muffins is my new thing. It replaces the need for refined sugar. They aren’t super sweet muffins so if you love the high sugar stuff, you’ll miss the sugar here. A lot of sweetness comes from the apple, so again– that’s why I urge you to use a sweeter variety.

We’ve also got lots of cinnamon, some allspice, and chopped pecans for all sorts of delicious spice and goodness.

Healthy, simple, AMAZING whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins with zero refined sugar. Find this easy muffin recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

You know how whole wheat muffins taste completely uninteresting? You don’t even want to waste your time. Or your calories. That’s not the story here. With all those sweet apple pieces overflowing every bite, the purely magical maple syrup lingering, that robust allspice, the cinnamon swirling, and fat-cutting applesauce… there’s so much to love. In every single warm, snuggly, healthy, unrefined sugary, whole wheat bite. ♥ I just described these as snuggly. And I’m OK with that.

Healthy, simple, AMAZING whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins with zero refined sugar. Find this easy muffin recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Get those ovens preheated!

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Yield: about 15 muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour (includes cooling)

Print Recipe

Hearty, healthy, and satisfying whole wheat muffins filled with sweet apples and plenty of cinnamon spice! These muffins are not intended to be super sweet, so keep that in mind.


  • 2 cups (226g) whole wheat flour1 (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (64g) Diamond of California chopped pecans2
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) pure maple syrup (not breakfast syrup, the real stuff)3
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (60g) smooth unsweetened applesauce4
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (240g) shredded/grated apple (about 2 apples)5


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C)6. Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners. This recipe makes 15 muffins, so prepare a second muffin pan in the same manner.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pecans together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, oil, applesauce, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add the grated apple. Fold everything together gently just until combined and no flour pockets remain.
  3. Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 23-24 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to eat.
  4. Make ahead tip: Muffins stay soft, fresh, and moist in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Muffins freeze well for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up (if desired) before enjoying.

Additional Notes:

  1. 2 cups of white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour, or all-purpose flour work too.
  2. Instead of pecans, try chopped walnuts or even sunflower seeds. Or leave out completely. If using the nuts, feel free to toast them for 10 minutes at 300°F (148°C).
  3. You can use honey for the maple syrup, just expect a small loss of flavor. Maple works so well with the apple cinnamon!
  4. Instead of applesauce, use an extra 1/3 cup of oil. 1/3 cup mashed banana works instead too, but I found the muffins to be a little dry.
  5. Use a sweeter variety of apple that you love. I've used Pink Lady and Fuji. Both fantastic in these.
  6. Why the initial high temperature? The hot burst of air will spring up the top of the muffin quickly, then the inside of the muffin can bake for the remainder of the time. This helps the muffins rise nice and tall.

Using SparkRecipes calculator, these muffins come out to 184 calories, 8g fat, 25g carbs each.

Adapted from Simple Morning Glory Muffins

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Healthy, simple, AMAZING whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins with zero refined sugar. Find this easy muffin recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Wash them down with a sunshine smoothie. Happy weekend!

Sunshine Smoothie - wake up with this creamy, sweet smoothie from sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’m working with Diamond of California to bring you today’s recipe. Thank you for helping me work with brands I love! 

Healthy, simple, AMAZING whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins with zero refined sugar. Find this easy muffin recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
Healthy, simple, AMAZING whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins with zero refined sugar. Find this easy muffin recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

100 Responses to “Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins.”

  1. #
    Sinaposted January 18, 2016 at 5:45 am

    These muffins turned out great, wonderful recipe! I especially liked the combination of walnut, maple syrup and cinnamon – very balanced and it goes really well with apples.
    I had however a not-so-minor problem in the making which was totally my fault: I forgot to preheat the oven! I made these with my 5-year-old and was a little occupied with keeping an eye on him while he grated the apples, and apparently I only turned the switch for the temperature – not the one that actually starts the oven! So I quickly decided to bake them in the gas barbecue with indirect heat, worked surprisingly good. Otherwise the effect of the soda would’ve been nearly gone by the time the oven had the right temperature.
    So: rocksolid recipe, for outdoor-use as well 😉


  2. #
    Vaniaposted January 21, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I made a batch of those muffin and I find something weird.  Are you sure 2 cups of whole wheat flour are 260g? With my flour -and in a equivalence table- 2 cups equivaled to 160g.  I made them with 230g.  They taste good (I used honey and as you said they are not very sweet).  My batter is much more dark (maybe you use whole and all purpose) and solid (or dry). When they were done the top was not smooth and shinning as yours.  If you can, let me know what you think. 


    • Sallyreplied on January 22nd, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Apologies, Vania. It should be about 226g for the flour. (1 cup is about 113g.)


  3. #
    Mirabelleposted January 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Do you think substituting applesauce with greek yoghurt would work?

    Btw I’ve been reading your blog for like two years, it’s the best food blog ever and it just keeps getting better


    • Sallyreplied on January 25th, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Greek yogurt for applesauce should be just fine. Thanks so much for reading, Mirabelle! Loved reading this comment.


  4. #
    Gail Jonesposted January 25, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Made this muffins this past weekend. They were terrific!


  5. #
    rachaelposted January 27, 2016 at 8:49 am

    i love muffins that aren’t overly sweet!  and using whole wheat flour makes them even better!  thank you so much for this recipe.  i am making it right now.

    if you could do a recipe for maple taffy (the kind on the snow) i would be in heaven!


  6. #
    Marileeposted January 30, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Sally,
    I started reading your blog a couple months ago and fell in love with your recipes and the clear and detailed way you explain everything. I tell everyone about how I’m learning to bake correctly after years of winging it. I love that this month you have focused on healthier recipes. Have you ever looked into soaking grains? Personally I have never done it, but have done research on it. Basically it makes the whole grains more digestible and nutritious. I would love to have a recipe from you that incorporates this step. I would appreciate it a lot and if a popular blog like yours had a soaked grains recipe a lot more people might try it. Thanks!


  7. #
    Abbeyposted February 6, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I just made these muffins a week ago and they are absolutely delicious!
    However, they did come out fairly dry. Would you have any recommendations for making them moister without sacrificing the taste or the low calorie count?


    • Sallyreplied on February 7th, 2016 at 7:25 am

      How about adding 2 Tablespoons of oil? I know the calorie count will be a little higher in each, but it would surely help.


  8. #
    Michelle @ Modern Acupunctureposted February 17, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Love that these are made with maple syrup and applesauce!


  9. #
    Mayposted February 17, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Love, love these muffins!
    I’m not sure how many times I’ve baked these.  I love that this is a no-sugar recipe, and that you use whole wheat.  I use all non-GMO and organic ingredients and cut maple syrup to 1/2 cup 😉 Thank you for sharing such a great recipe!  My husband is a Marine, and he asked me to bake these for his Marines 🙂


  10. #
    Gracieposted March 24, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Any adjustments for high altitude baking? Living in Colorado i always have to ask


    • Sallyreplied on March 24th, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Gracie, I’ve never baked at high altitude so I have zero experience– but I did have a reader email me recently saying these are fine as is at a higher altitude.


  11. #
    Tommieposted April 10, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Could you make this into a bread and not muffins 


  12. #
    Beckyposted May 16, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Hey Sally, is there anyway to make this recipe into a loaf instead??


    • Sallyreplied on May 16th, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      Yep! This batter will fit into a 9×5 pan. Bake at 350F. Unsure of the exact bake time.


  13. #
    Kathrynposted May 28, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Amazing!! Super moist and flavorful. Thanks for the great recipe!


  14. #
    K Knippersposted July 29, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Excellent Muffin!!!
    My husband thought they were phenomenal!!

    My oven is a bit persnickety…following 5 minute burst bake,  the muffins baked in 14 minutes at 350.

    Moist, shiny and delicious!

    Thanks Sally!


  15. #
    Tommieposted August 12, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Could you use blueberries in this instead of apples?


    • Sallyreplied on August 15th, 2016 at 7:56 pm



  16. #
    Eliseposted August 16, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I made these this morning. I would love to have some healthy muffins in my repertoire that actually taste good, and I trust Sally’s recipes. I thought these were just OK. They have lots of potential. I love that the sweetness is from maple syrup and applesauce rather than white sugar. If I make them again, I think I will dice the apples rather than grate them and maybe put more in. It just didn’t seem appley enough for us, and I think I would like to bite into small pieces of apples. (In the recipe’s defense, I didn’t measure my grated apple. I had two rather large apples and just assumed that grating them would result in enough apple, but now I’m wondering if it wasn’t quite two cups.) The muffin was slightly drier than I would prefer — not sure if more apple would take care of that. If not, I would add a bit more oil. Definitely on the right track but as it turned out this morning it is not a muffin I would get excited to eat.


    • Pixiereplied on August 29th, 2016 at 5:38 am

      I did that with mine, just diced them and had tasty apple chunks in my muffins 🙂


  17. #
    Pixieposted August 29, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Made these yesterday. Really really good – thanks for an awesome recipe!


  18. #
    Trishaposted September 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    So delicious! I’m trying another double-batch after the family ate them up. The shredded apples are amazing, they kind of melt into the muffin and add flavour without being chunky. 

    My husband and kids don’t like bits of nuts in baked goods so I just added a bit of almond flour to up the protein and it worked just great! thanks!


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