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!
These crumb-topped apple muffins have been a personal and reader favorite since I published the recipe in 2014. When you crave a big slice of apple pie for breakfast, these apple-studded muffins fill the gap 🙂
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. just like we do when making sour cream coffee cake. 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. I love easygoing recipes that produce consistently delicious results and know you appreciate that too!
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: Best Muffin Recipe. 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 180g), which is about 2 medium apples. Fold the apples into the 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:
- Make sure your muffin batter is THICK. (This one is!)
- Fill your muffin tins/liners all the way to the top with batter.
- Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at an initial high temperature, and then lower 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.
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 (just like apple cupcakes), so it’s fine to use tart apples like Granny Smith or sweet apples like Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Pink Lady.
For a detailed list of my favorite apple varieties, and when to use each, you can visit my post The Best Apples for Baking.Print
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.
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup (84g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (113g) 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 (180g) peeled & 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
- 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.*
- 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.
- Make the muffins: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, 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. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
- Make the icing: Whisk all of the icing ingredients together and drizzle over warm or cooled muffins.
- Iced or plain muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 12-count Muffin Pan | Muffin Liners | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Rubber Spatula | Cooling Rack | Peeler
- 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.
- Milk: You can use any milk, dairy or nondairy.
- For a jumbo muffin pan: Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then reduce to 350°F for 22–25 minutes, for a total of 27–30 minutes. Makes about 6. For mini muffins: Bake at 350°F for 12–14 minutes. Makes about 36–40.
- Quick Bread: Here is apple cinnamon bread, which is close to the same recipe and baked in a loaf pan.
- 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