Apple Cinnamon Crumb Muffins

These apple cinnamon muffins start with an easy muffin batter that’s flavored with cinnamon, brown sugar, and plenty of juicy apples. We use the same base recipe when making blueberry muffins because the simple batter produces moist, soft, and cakey muffins with tall muffin tops. They’re always a favorite! Enjoy the muffins plain or top them with crumb topping before baking and smooth vanilla icing before serving. If you love apple cinnamon bread, you’ll enjoy these apple muffins!

apple cinnamon muffins with crumb topping

These crumb-topped apple muffins have been a personal and reader favorite since I published the recipe in 2014.

Tell Me About These Apple Cinnamon Muffins

  • Flavor: These are buttery muffins where apple and cinnamon flavors take over. It’s always disappointing when you bite into a muffin and there’s hardly any “stuff” like blueberries, chocolate chips, etc. Today we’re using extra apples so you get the delicious fruit in nearly each bite. If you’re looking for a fall baking recipe where apples shine, this recipe fits the bill!
  • Texture: The apple cinnamon muffins are moist because we add yogurt (or sour cream) to the batter. And because we start with creamed butter and sugars, the muffins are soft, light, and cakey like a cupcake. We don’t overload the batter with milk (use only 1/4 cup (60ml)), so you still have a slightly dense texture. I like to describe these muffins as having the perfect harmonious balance between soft and dense!
  • Ease: I categorize this recipe as a beginner baking recipe because you use simple ingredients and easy mixing methods. An electric mixer is key for creaming the butter and sugars together and if you decide to add the icing, you just need a whisk. Some crumb toppings require cold butter and a pastry cutter to mix, but we’re using melted butter here so you just need a fork. Easy! All of the ingredients used are baking staples, so there’s nothing new or difficult. Plus you have wiggle room with the yogurt and milk depending on what’s convenient for you. I love easygoing recipes that produce consistently delicious results and know you appreciate that too!

Apple cinnamon muffin with vanilla icing on top

Why This Apple Cinnamon Muffin Recipe Works

Today’s muffin recipe uses my all-star muffin batter. This batter can be used to create endless muffin varieties and you’ll see it again in my blueberry muffins, peach muffins, cranberry orange muffins, and more. In fact, this “Master Muffin Batter” has become such a hit with readers that I created a separate page dedicated to all its possibilities: 1 Muffin Batter for Infinite Muffin Recipes. It starts with basic dry ingredients like flour, baking powder + soda, and salt. More often than not, I add ground cinnamon and you’ll see its addition in today’s apple cinnamon version. The wet ingredients are just as straightforward– creamed butter with sugars, plus 2 eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream/plain yogurt, and milk. I use either plain Greek yogurt or sour cream based on what I have and the same goes for the milk. Use whole milk, 1%, almond milk, buttermilk, oat milk, etc. I’ve made these muffins what seems like 1,000x with various milks and trust me, they all work!

  • By the way, if you’re a muffin aficionado, you might also love my Bakery Style Muffins which are denser, jumbo in size, and have a distinctively tight crumb.

Overview: How to Make Apple Cinnamon Muffins

I like to make the crumb topping first so it’s ready as soon as the batter comes together. The crumb topping, while certainly optional, comes together with ingredients you use in the muffin batter– very convenient. (It’s the same crumb topping we use on peach muffins.) After that, you can peel and chop the apples into roughly 1/2 inch pieces. Pictured below is 1 cup plus several chunks on the side. You need 1 and 1/2 cups (about 165g) which is about 2 medium apples. Fold the apples into the batter.

chopped apples and muffin batter in glass bowl

crumb topping shown in bowl and on top of muffin batter

How to Create The Perfect Tall Muffin Tops

Press crumb topping into the tops of each muffin before baking. For tall muffin tops, there are 3 directions to follow closely:

  1. Make sure your muffin batter is THICK. (This one is!)
  2. Fill your muffin tins/liners all the way to the top with batter.
  3. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at an initial high temperature, and then lower it the temperature.

This initial high oven temperature quickly lifts up the muffin top. Once the temperature is lowered, the centers of the muffins bake. I recommend this in nearly all of these muffin recipes.

baked apple cinnamon muffins in muffin pan

apple cinnamon muffin cut in half on a white plate

And one more piece of advice before you start:

Best Apples to Use in Apple Muffins

Firmer apples are ideal for baking so avoid soft, mealy, and mushy apples. If you’re baking a recipe that calls for many apples such as apple crisp or apple crumble pie, use a mix of tart apples and sweet apples. These apple cinnamon muffins only need 1 or 2 apples, so it’s fine to use tart apples like Granny Smith or sweet apples like Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Pink Lady.

Print
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Apple cinnamon muffin with vanilla icing on top

Apple Cinnamon Crumb Muffins

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 14 muffins
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These apple cinnamon muffins start with an easy muffin batter that’s flavored with cinnamon, brown sugar, and plenty of juicy apples. Enjoy the muffins plain or top them with crumb topping before baking and smooth vanilla icing before serving.


Ingredients

Crumb Topping

  • 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup (84g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Muffins

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk (any kind), at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (165gpeeled & chopped apples (1/2 inch chunks; you need about 2 medium apples)

Vanilla Icing (Optional)

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream (or milk for a thinner consistency)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. You may need a 2nd pan as this recipe makes up to 14 muffins, though you can always bake in batches using 1 pan. Set aside. *See note about jumbo size & mini muffins.*
  2. Make the crumb topping: Mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter, and then gently mix in the flour using a fork. Keep the mixture as large crumbles and do not over-mix. If over-mixed, this will turn into a thick paste. Set topping aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Make the muffins: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is combined and mostly creamy. (It’s ok if it appears somewhat curdled.) Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients and milk into the wet ingredients and beat until no flour pockets remain. Fold in the apples.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into each cup or liner, filling each all the way to the top. Spoon crumb topping on each, gently pressing it down so it sticks.
  6. 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 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 20-23 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  7. Make the icing: Whisk all of the icing ingredients together and drizzle over warm or cooled muffins.
  8. Iced or plain muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Freeze baked & cooled muffins for up to 3 months. It’s best to freeze the muffins without the icing and add the icing after thawing and before serving. (Freezing them with the icing on is completely fine, but the muffins taste better with fresh icing.) Thaw muffins in the refrigerator or at room temperature before icing/serving.
  2. Yogurt or Sour Cream: You can use either regular or Greek plain yogurt in this recipe (any fat content) or sour cream. The same amount of unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana may also be used if needed.
  3. Milk: You can use any milk, dairy or nondairy.
  4. For a jumbo muffin pan: 425°F for 5 minutes, then reduce to 350°F for 22-25 minutes for a total of 27-30. Makes about 6. For mini muffins: 350°F for 12-14 minutes. Makes about 36-40.
  5. Quick Bread: Here is apple cinnamon bread, which is close to the same recipe and baked in a loaf pan.
  6. Why is everything at room temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.

Keywords: apple cinnamon muffins

260 Comments

  1. Sally, great muffins. I used Envy apples – Next time I will chop them into bigger pieces.
    God bless.

  2. Great recipe, my family loved it

  3. What kind of apples would be best for this recipe?

    1. Hi Carrie, I really like using Granny Smith or Fuji apples in muffins and breads. Though I’ve made these with Honeycrisp, Gala, and Pink Lady too. I would just avoid softer, mealy apples like Red Delicious.

  4. I can’t wait to try out this amazing recipe, Sally. I tried your blueberry oats muffins and they were simply spectacular! Is there a way to replace the sugar with honey and incorporate oats for more roughage into this recipe?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nana! That would require some testing to get right. You could try using apples instead of blueberries and adding a crumb topping to out blueberry oatmeal muffins instead! Let use know what you try. Happy baking!

  5. I made these as jumbo muffins. I love that they’re packed with apples and that they’re not overly sweet.

  6. I’ve made these muffins several times and they are always a hit! I usually use whatever apples I have on hand. This morning I used one large red delicious apple. I also used sour cream because I did not have yogurt. I prefer without the icing. Great recipe! Would definitely recommend!

  7. These are amazing! I swirled some dulce de leche on top instead of icing and it was amazing.

  8. Hi Sally! Just wondering if you had any recommendations for making this recipe dairy free? Potentially with coconut oil instead of butter! Absolutely adore your recipes so would love to be able to use yours but my friend who I’m making these for is vegan! Thanks in advance for your help ☺️

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Catherine, we haven’t tried a dairy-free version of this muffin recipe, so we’re unsure of the results. You can certainly try using coconut oil, or a plant-based butter. Likewise for the milk and yogurt — plant-based alternatives would be a good place to start. Let us know what you try!

  9. Hi Sally, the muffins look fantastic. I’ve made your crumb cake and loved it. I’m considering to make these muffins or your apple crumb cake. Do you have a favorite of the two? Thoughts on using muffin pan for the crumb cake too please.
    Thank you in advance Sally.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Clo! The recipes are very similar and this recipe is formulated specifically for muffins – we recommend sticking with the recipe above for muffins. We’re so glad you love the crumb cake, too!

  10. Just made these muffins and followed the recipe exactly. They seem too dry. Would it help to add T of oil? Other suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi MG, is it possible that the muffins were baked for a bit too long? Over baked goods can typically come out a bit dry. Also make sure you’re spooning and leveling your flour so there’s not too much of the dry ingredients in the batter. Hope this helps for next time!

  11. Hi Sally,
    Loved your Apple Cinnamon Bread. Can unsweetened apple sauce be used here instead of yogurt or sour cream. (Apple sauce was used in your Apple Cinnamon Bread). thank you

    Diane

    1. That shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for checking!

  12. Are these good without the crumb topping?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emmy, you can certainly omit the crumb topping if you wish.

  13. Omg. Made these today because my little one begged for apple muffins and I didn’t have a recipe and have never made. Keeper! I love the more cake-like texture. I didn’t really have the time or energy for the crumb topping or icing and would still count these a winner. Thank you. I plan to try your pumpkin crunch muffins next!

  14. Perfect for fall!

  15. Hi dear Sally ❤️
    I tried your recipe and like every time your recipes are always a big hit.So delicious and super soft with that amazing crumb.
    Can’t say how much I am thankful for your kindness and perfect recipes ❤️
    If I want to make mango muffins with this master muffin recipe,should I leave out both milk and sour cream? 5 STARS for ever

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sara, a mango version sounds delicious! You can leave the recipe as is, simply replacing the apples with mangoes. You may want to pat them dry before adding to the batter since they have so much moisture. Let us know how it goes!

      1. Thank you so much for your quick help and answer❤️Of course I will inform you of the result with pleasure ❤️
        So if I would like to use chopped mango I will go ahead as the apple recipe,but if I want to use mango purée what is your suggestion?Should I go ahead as you recommend for the banana muffin?(leaving out just the sour cream?)

  16. Hi,

    I still have a half jar of apple sauce left. Was thinking of adding some to it. Is it ok? How much do I need if ever?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary, you can use the applesauce in place of the yogurt/sour cream — same amount. See recipe notes for details.

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