You’ll love these simple applesauce muffins because not only are they incredibly quick and easy, they’re deliciously moist, flavorful, and satisfying. Packed with wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour, oats, and applesauce, these healthful muffins are naturally free from refined sugar and contain no dairy if using non dairy milk. There’s no mixer required and you can play around with the add-ins for varying flavors and textures. Enjoy!
When I’m looking to bake something quick, easy, and wholesome—I always rely on muffins. Banana muffins, bran muffins, or these apple cinnamon oatmeal cups are my top choices because they’re simple, relatively healthy, and adult + child approved. Preparing muffin batter is a no-fuss task and you can enjoy muffins right away, which is definitely a bonus when baking for or with kids. (By the way, here are many kid-friendly baking recipes.)
These applesauce muffins join my top favorites and I know you’ll love them too!
Why You Will Love These Applesauce Muffins:
- Recipe is quick & easy
- Muffins are satisfying, soft, & moist
- No mixer required
- Use convenient, ordinary ingredients
- Healthful & wholesome just like these healthy apple muffins
- No refined sugar
- Dairy free if using a dairy free milk
- Optional add-ins for texture and flavor (raisins, nuts, chopped apples)
By the way, if you’re looking for a more indulgent apple muffin, try these apple cinnamon muffins.
Recipe Testing Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffins
Well well well. What ended up as a fairly easy muffin recipe began as complicated mess of sticky flavorless muffins. I started testing this applesauce muffin recipe using the base of my blueberry oatmeal muffins. Adding applesauce did the batter no favors and the entire muffin tasted bland and gloppy (technical terms). I adore that recipe and now know that it’s best to leave it alone.
So I turned to my whole wheat banana walnut muffins as a starting point. The batter includes oats as an add-in, so it’s less of an oatmeal muffin and more of a standard muffin with some oats in it—if that makes sense. I swapped applesauce for the mashed banana, added more oats, and slightly reduced the baking soda. (1 full teaspoon is simply not needed.) As it turns out, I think I prefer these applesauce muffins because I don’t always have brown & spotty bananas on hand. Convenience is key!
Key Ingredients in These Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffins
- Applesauce: Use unsweetened applesauce. If all you have is sweetened, that’s completely fine, just be sure to slightly reduce the maple syrup in the recipe. See recipe note below.
- Melted Coconut Oil: Without some fat, these muffins taste dry and rubbery. I love using melted coconut oil like we do in these healthier chocolate banana muffins, but vegetable oil or melted butter works too.
- Maple Syrup: The applesauce muffins aren’t overly sweet because using too much sugar takes away from the applesauce flavor. Maple syrup replaces refined sugar and pairs wonderfully with the applesauce.
- Whole Wheat Flour: These are 100% whole wheat muffins made with all whole wheat flour. If needed, you can switch out with all-purpose or white whole wheat flour. I have not tested this recipe with any gluten free flour alternatives. If you have leftover whole wheat flour from making English muffins, this is the perfect place to use it!
- Oats: Use whole oats or quick oats in this recipe and there’s no need to soak them prior to using in the batter like we do with blueberry oatmeal muffins.
- Add-Ins: Like zucchini muffins, today’s thick muffin batter welcomes add-ins such as raisins, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or chopped nuts. Based on sweetness of the add-in, it’s best to use either 3/4 or 1 cup as detailed in the notes below. You could also use 1 and 1/2 cups of chopped apples (about 2 medium). We love them with raisins because they remind us of bran raisin muffins which are made with wheat bran—an ingredient I don’t usually have on hand.
You also need cinnamon, baking powder & baking soda, salt, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Before baking, you can sprinkle the tops of the muffins with oats and/or coconut sugar or coarse sugar for a little crunch. I like adding it to pumpkin muffins, too.
(Note in the photo below the melted coconut oil looks like ice water since not all of the oil had been melted– I melted it more after taking this photo.)
Best Applesauce To Use
The best applesauce to use for baking is typically unsweetened. In this recipe, you can use homemade or store-bought and the consistency doesn’t make a difference—thick, thin, smooth, or chunky. Applesauce with cinnamon is also a great choice, but if you don’t want too much cinnamon flavor, I would slightly reduce the cinnamon in the recipe.
My best advice is to use whatever applesauce you enjoy eating!
Imperative Success Tip: Make sure you grease the muffin liners before adding the batter or skip the liners and grease the muffin pan. This batter sticks to the liners, but greasing helps. After the muffins cool completely, they do not stick as much.
The muffins above look like they have chocolate chips, don’t they? Chocolate chip lovers will be disappointed to learn those are raisins. HA! (Oh-so-good with raisins!)
Can I Add Apples?
Yes, apples are a wonderful choice as the add-in. See recipe note below.Print
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 21 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins
- Category: Muffins
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
These moist and flavorful whole wheat applesauce muffins come together with a handful of healthful and wholesome ingredients. See notes if you wish to replace the raisins.
- 2 cups (260g) whole wheat flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2/3 cup (57g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/3 cups (320g) unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature*
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (70g) coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil or melted butter)
- 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (80ml) milk (dairy or nondairy), at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (110g) raisins*
- optional: 3 Tablespoons oats and/or 1 Tablespoon coarse sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners. If using cupcake liners, spray the liners because when warm, these muffins stick.
- Whisk the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the applesauce, eggs, oil, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add the raisins. Fold everything together gently just until combined and no flour pockets remain.
- Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Top with oats and a light sprinkle of coarse sugar, if desired. 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 15-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 20-21 minutes, give or take. (For mini muffins, bake 11-13 minutes at 350°F (177°C) the whole time.)
- Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling or enjoy warm.
- Muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days, then transfer to the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: For longer storage, freeze the muffins for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then heat up in the microwave if desired.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 12-Count Muffin Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Muffin Liners
- Oats: This recipe uses whole rolled oats, but you can use the same amount of quick oats if needed. You can also skip the oats if desired, but I recommend adding a little more flour to help soak up some liquid, such as 3 Tablespoons (about 24g).
- Applesauce: It’s best to use unsweetened applesauce. If using sweetened, slightly reduce the maple syrup down to 1/4 cup (60ml). You can use homemade or store-bought applesauce and the consistency doesn’t make a difference– use thick, thin, smooth, or chunky. Applesauce with cinnamon is also a great choice, but if you don’t want too much cinnamon flavor, I would slightly reduce the cinnamon in the recipe.
- Maple Syrup: You can use honey for the maple syrup, but the flavor will be different.
- Raisins/Add-Ins: Feel free to leave the muffins plain, but they’re excellent with add-ins such as raisins, 3/4 cup (about 110g) dried cranberries, 1 cup (about 120g) chopped walnuts or pecans, 1 and 1/2 cups (165g) peeled & chopped apples (about 2 medium apples such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala, Pink Lady), or 3/4 cup (about 135g) chocolate chips.
- 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.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: It’s best if any cold ingredients are brought to room temperature before starting. The coconut oil will slightly solidify if other ingredients are too cold and you may notice greasy oily pockets in the baked muffins.
- Nutrition Information: Using VeryWellFit calculator and calculated using coconut oil, unsweetened almond milk, and raisins, these muffins come out to 181 calories, 7.2g fat, 27g carbs, 3.3g fiber, 9g sugar, and 4g protein each.
Keywords: applesauce muffins
Reader Comments & Reviews
Can I substitute buttermilk instead of regular milk? I look forward to trying this recipe!
Hi Laura, buttermilk would be fine here.
I was skeptical of this and afraid it would be dry but had a big old bag of whole wheat flour I was trying to use up. So glad I gave it a try! Dense, good flavor (I did use the raisins for something extra), filling, and not dry at all. Thanks for something new for the breakfast rotation!
Would mashed banana work instead of apple sauce?
Hi Fred, for mashed banana, we’d recommend following our banana muffins or whole wheat banana muffins recipe instead.
Loved these! Such a great aroma, look and flavor. Followed the recipe very closely, and they looked just like yours! Thanks for the amazing recipe!
I’ve made these muffins several times. I’m not a raisin fan so I prefer to use chopped apples. I also use date syrup instead of maple syrup to make them even healthier. I’ve used both quick and old fashioned oats and actually prefer quick oats because they bake up softer. I love the adaptability of this recipe! You can change it up in hundreds of ways and they always bake up perfectly delicious and healthy!
I love this recipe! Just wondering if you can use buttermilk instead of regular milk? And if yes, how much?
Hi Dina, buttermilk would be fine here.
These muffins were really tasty! I added toasted walnuts/pecans along with one whole granny smith apple chopped into pieces the size of a fingernail. Instead of coconut oil, I used avocado oil. Quick and very easy to whip up, will be making this again.