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.

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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

255 Comments

  1. These are excellent; I did deviate a bit I did not have enough yogurt (I make my own and had just started a new batch). Instead I used the whey from my last batch of yogurt with a few tablespoons of yogurt. They turned out wonderful.

  2. My kids couldn’t decide if these were cakes, cinnamon rolls, or muffins but they all scarfed them down. I normally like my muffins on the healthy side, but I added the icing out of curiosity. The recipe is delicious and the extra effort to cream together the butter and sugar was definitely worth it in this case, though I did go hide in the pantry to do it so I wouldn’t wake up my sleeping children ;). I am even a muffin icing convert after trying these. They would still be delicious without the icing, but it gave them something extra special for Sunday morning. Thanks Sally!

  3. Am I able to use margarine instead of unsalted butter?

    1. I don’t recommend it, Becca.

  4. I made these and brought some to my son’s family. My 4 year old granddaughter just called and asked me to make more muffins. These are a bug hit with my family and friends.

  5. So….On a day I was really distracted, my third born (almost 2yr old) kept getting into the refrigerator and eating a couple of bites of apple. What I thought was the same apple turned out to be 4 apples half eaten, around the house. What can I do with half eaten apples? These muffins for breakfast!! Thanks for saving the day! LOL They smelled heavenly….and tasted even better!!Big fan of your site!! Every recipe comes out great!!

  6. The crumb topping is better when you BROWN the butter first.
    Just saying.

    (Also, I used full fat sour cream, 5% cream instead of milk and lard instead of butter in the actual muffin batter (but used browned butter in the topping). I think all that fat made them extra special and delicious.)

    Thanks for a the great recipe.

  7. Brittany O. says:

    Great recipe! Just made these with my daughter for a camping trip and they are delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Hi Sally, would like to check if there is a need to macerate the apples before adding them into the mix? (I’m using rose apples) thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Adrian, Just chop the apples, no need to macerate. They will cook and soften in the muffins.

  9. Marla Moore says:

    I just made these.. I took one out of the pan and it was lifting up a cinnamony apple cloud! So light, fluffy and tender! Thank you for posting, this recipes’ a keeper!
    ( I substituted sour cream for yogurt)

  10. Hi Sally, may I know how is this recipe different from your Master Batter Mix? I noticed this recipe uses much less baking powder. Thanks!

    1. Hi Shirley! So these muffins are the same as my master muffin batter. They are buttery, soft, and cakey. I also have this recipe which yields big bakery-style, dense muffins. That recipe uses oil instead of butter, as well as several other changes.

  11. I made these using sour cream and pink lady apples, but omitted the icing, they were delicious. I’ve tried many of your recipes and they always turn out and taste amazing! Thanks for sharing all of your fabulous recipes.

  12. Amazingly good!

  13. These muffins are delicious! I bake them every month for my grandchildren (and grab a couple for grandpa and me before they disappear!!!)

  14. Your Glazed Apple crumb muffin recipe is the best! I’ve made them several times and they’re always a big hit. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes.

  15. These are so yummy! The method of dropping the heat was very effective and really helped my muffins get that beautiful rise that bakery muffins always seem to get. I ended up baking with salted butter as that was what I had on hand and they turned great.

  16. Would this work with pears? I have so many pears right now.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes!

  17. Is it possible to substitute flax eggs for the regular eggs in this recipe? We have A TON of apples and I’m looking to make something with them with my toddlers but we’re all out of eggs :/

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa, We haven’t tested this recipe with an egg substitute but let us know if you try it!

      1. I did end up making with flax eggs and it worked great! So delicious. These went QUICK. Thanks for another yummy recipe!

  18. I just found Sally’s Baking Addition website and I am happily addicted. I made these muffins adding more cinnamon (my favorite) and they turned SOOOOO delicious. Will be trying more of your recipes very soon.

  19. Absolutely delicious…a family favorite! Do you know if this could be made in loaf form instead of muffins?

  20. I did half and half oat flour and all purpose, half regular sugar half maple syrup and they turned out great! Thank you for the recipe!

  21. Laura Migliore says:

    These are so delicious. I skipped the glaze, but otherwise made as directed. I knew as soon as I saw the amount of vanilla and cinnamon, that maybe we were somehow related. The weather is just turning cool, and I baked these while my hamburger soup was simmering on the stove. Love your recipes. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  22. Would it be possible to omit the yogurt altogether if you don’t have any yogurt/yogurt substitutes lying around? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Louise, I don’t recommend leaving it out completely, either yogurt or sour cream is crucial to the muffin’s texture! In a pinch you can try to substitute BOTH the yogurt and milk with buttermilk (or a DIY sour milk) – so you would use 3/4 cup of buttermilk in place of the yogurt and the milk. Let us know if you try it!

  23. Easy to make but hard to turn down! I used sour cream in place of yogurt. They were so fluffy and light. I reccomend making sure to really push (not a little pat) the crumble topping into the top of the dough so most will stick to the top (also, filling cups maybe just over 3/4 full and it keeps the topping mostly in place). I also went a little rogue when it came to the topping. I used 1/3 (maybe a bit more) butter and instead of cinnamon I used a packet of instant cinnamon spice oatmeal along with what the recipe is. It made a more sturdy crumble I think. Overall this is a great recipe!

  24. I made these muffins yesterday and today. Yesterday was the test run and today was for a baking contest. I won 2nd place. I think they were good enough to win 1st place!! In the test batch I followed the recipe exactly, using vanilla flavored Greek yogurt. I didn’t know what type of apples would taste the best so I bought granny smith and fuji. I know a lot of recipes call for the more tart apples to offset the sugar in the recipe. I decided for the test run to put both apples in and see what I liked better. I felt like the fuji apple tasted better than the granny…in my test 🙂 When I made them today for the contest I used only fuji apples, and instead of unsalted butter I used salted in both the crumble and the batter. I went heavy on the granulated sugar because they weren’t real sweet yesterday…just a tad more than the 1/4th cup, and I was slightly more generous with the vanilla and cinnamon. The reason’s I was told mine were selected as a winner was the texture, nice and moist, and not too sweet. I really liked the flavor. I used vanilla paste for what that is worth as well. It was my first time using it.

  25. How much of the vanilla icing should I make for this recipe? It seems like the traditional amount mentioned on the vanilla icing page would be far too much for this recipe

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, If you just want a light drizzle, feel free to cut the icing recipe listed above in half. We hope you enjoy this recipe!

  26. These are amazing! Unfortunately my daughter is picky as all heck and asked if I could make these with apple sauce instead of chopped apples. Can I? How much apple sauce would be appropriate?
    Thanks for such a good yummy recipe!

    1. Hi Jess, I don’t recommend replacing the chopped apples with applesauce because the applesauce works more as a wet ingredient than an add-in. Instead, leave out the apples and yogurt and add about 3/4 cup of applesauce. This amount will replace the yogurt and add a little extra moisture since you’re skipping the apple chunks.

  27. i’m going to try this recipe, but i don’t know how long to leave yogurt and milk out of refrig so that it gets to “room temp” Please advise me on this. Thank you,. I’m a Sally too.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sally, You can take your ingredients out of the refrigerator about an hour before using them. If you are interested here is a post all about Room Temperature Ingredients.

  28. Very tasty! But a bit too sweet for us. The flavour and texture is absolutely divine, so I’ll try without glaze and reducing total sugar by about 10%. I think my taste has become more sensitive to sugar since living in the UK! Thanks for another great recipe!

  29. Delicious!! Taste like a crumb cake with addition of brown dugar crumble on the top!

  30. If you haven’t made these yet DO IT!! Family haven’t stopped requesting it since!!

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