Simply Applesauce Muffins

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. There’s no mixer required and you can play around with the add-ins for varying flavors and textures. Enjoy!

healthy whole wheat applesauce muffins

When I’m looking to bake something quick, easy, and wholesome– I always rely on muffins. Banana 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
  • 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 crumb muffins. What a treat!

whole wheat applesauce muffins with oats on top

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

  1. 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.
  2. Melted Coconut Oil: Without some fat, these muffins taste dry and rubbery. I love using melted coconut oil, but vegetable oil or melted butter works too.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 honey wheat English muffins, this is the perfect place to use it!
  5. 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.
  6. Add-Ins: This thick muffin batter welcomes add-ins such as raisins, 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. If you’re craving a sweeter treat, you could absolutely use chocolate chips.

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.

(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.)

applesauce and other muffin ingredients shown in bowls

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.

applesauce muffin batter in glass bowl and in muffin pan

whole wheat applesauce muffins in muffin pan

whole wheat applesauce muffins with raisins

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.

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whole wheat applesauce muffins with oats on top

Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffins

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 21 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (245gwhole wheat flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2/3 cup (58g) 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 (80ml) melted coconut oil (or use vegetable oil or melted butter)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk (any kind), 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. Muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days, then transfer to the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: For longer storage, freeze muffins for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or warm up in the microwave if desired.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Maple Syrup: You can use honey for the maple syrup, but the flavor will be different.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

68 Comments

  1. These look great, and I have some homemade applesauce I want to use up. Just a note here: sugar is sugar. Maple syrup is sugar. Its chemical makeup is almost identical to table sugar. The key is to have as little sugar as possible without compromising flavor. 1/3 cup sounds quite reasonable.

    1. Lauri Pszeracki says:

      Another note. Many come to this website for the cooking expertise and supportive approach to healthier home baking which is difficult to find these days. The benefits of using Apples, Bananas, Maple Syrup or Honey are they provide sweetness with nutrients not found in table sugar. There is appreciation for Baking Addiction suggesting options supported by accurate information.

    2. Hi Debi, thank you! I’m happy to clarify. Some bakers look for baking recipes made with unrefined sugar such as maple syrup or coconut sugar. That is why we pointed out this recipe does not contain refined sugar.

    3. Can I use the same amt of sugar instead of the maple sugar? I live In the Caribbean and maple syrup is not readily available. Don’t have honey on hand.Can I use all purpose flour?

      1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Michelle, Regular granulated or brown sugar would work as a substitution for maple syrup. (There is enough liquid in the batter and switch to dry is not a problem.) You can use all purpose flour too. Enjoy!

  2. Question: if you do not happen to have whole wheat flour can you substitute all purpose? What amount?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Julie! Yes, you can use the same amount of all-purpose flour.

  3. If you don’t have maple syrup, would a 1/3 cup sugar be an appropriate substitute or would it be too dry?

    1. Hi Mary, you can use honey instead. Regular granulated or brown sugar would also work. (There is enough liquid in the batter and switch to dry is not a problem.)

  4. Wendy Dewhurst says:

    Hi, can I sub in oat milk?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! Use any milk you like (dairy or dairy free).

  5. My grandson has an oat allergy, can I leave those out?

    1. Hi Peggy, you can leave out the oats but I recommend adding a little more flour to help soak up some liquid, such as 3 Tablespoons (about 24g).

      1. Could I sub almond flour?

      2. Hi Sandie, I haven’t tested it to be certain but I fear the recipe would need additional adjusting since almond flour doesn’t absorb wet ingredients like whole wheat flour does. If you’re ever searching for gluten free recipes though– I have this gluten free recipes section. You may enjoy these blueberry almond muffins.

    2. Thank you for that question! I know Sally has a no oat apple muffin but that uses grated apple. I’m glad she now has an apple purée muffin with no oats too 🙂

  6. Would this recipe work for mini muffins? Of so, what oven temperature and time would you advise? Thanks in advance!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, for mini muffins, bake 11-13 minutes at 350°F (177°C) the whole time.

  7. Sheila Calnan says:

    I just happened to come across this, this morning looking for things to make….using up some applesauce. Perfect timing. They smell amazing and look pretty good, too.
    I did use regular milk.
    Alas, I won’t get one as they are going to my Doctor’s Office.
    Have posted a picture in the FB group.
    Thanks for coming to the rescue again.

  8. Charlotte Moore says:

    I love to use whole wheat flour in muffins, cookies, pancakes, bread, etc. This looks great.

  9. Can I use whole wheat pastry flour? Love your recipes

    1. Shouldn’t be a problem in this recipe.

  10. Ironically I was thinking of making applesauce muffins on the weekend, and was going to adjust your apple wholemeal muffins with grated apples. Now I don’t have to, thank you! <3

  11. Leonie sutton says:

    Hi sally , My daughter and myself love your receipts you are an amazing cook
    When have an a special occasion on you are who we pick too use your baking skills
    We love and enjoy your delicious recipes thank you so much for all your love time and effort you go too much appreciated

  12. Hi Sally, If you want to use more than one add-in, like apples and chocolate chips together, how many total cups should you use? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jo Ann, the amounts of add-ins will vary depending on if they’re sweet (raisins), not sweet (nuts), or wet (apples). You just really do not want to overpower the applesauce flavor, so for apples and chocolate chips– I would use 1 cup chopped apples and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

  13. Ooh, excited to try this recipe! I love your whole wheat maple apple cinnamon muffins, but I don’t always have apples on hand (or I’m too lazy to shred/grate them haha). Thanks for posting this one!

  14. What is the calorie count? Did I miss it in the recipe?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carol, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients, and many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients. However, there are many great online calculators where you can plug in your exact ingredients like this one: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

  15. These are the best miffing I have ever made! Very flavorful and soft. Thank you for this recipe!

  16. Just made these with golden raisins and they are delicious! Love the crunch from the sugar on top. Had applesauce to use up and had just the right amount

  17. Tracy Hutchinson says:

    I made these muffins exactly as written with the exception of baking time. Mine were done early but I think my oven runs hot and I know to check early. They are perfect and even better the next day, in my opinion. They also freeze really well. My husband likes to take one out of the freezer every morning to enjoy with coffee. I’m definitely experimenting with apples or blueberries next time.

  18. Definitely one of the best whole wheat muffins I’ve tried! So moist! I used homemade apple/pear/carrot sauce and a mix of raisins and dried cherries, blueberries, and cherries. I don’t usually love raisins in things, but I definitely feel like these muffins need them to add a sweet punch.

  19. Made these with my almost 3 year old son yesterday when he boycotted napping in his new “big boy bed”. We used regular white flour and brown sugar instead of maple syrup as subs and they were perfect for snacking yesterday and will be breakfast today! Thank you for the easy and toddler-friendly recipes! Let’s hope for a nap today or else I’ll be back for another recipe…

  20. It’s January and I am thrilled to kick the year off with a healthier more wholesome recipe. I love all your sweet special decadent treats but I also love when you have healthy-ish stuff too. Ill serve these as an alternative to granola bars for a weekday on the run breakfast with the kids. We skipped the raisins and did walnuts instead. The kids loved them. Thanks again Sally!

  21. Your site is my new favorite for baking! I’ve made probably half a dozen of your recipes since Halloween and they’ve all be winners! I had some homemade applesauce in the fridge from Christmas, and wanted to use it. Then I saw this recipe! Easy and delicious. I used half whole wheat and half regular flour. I didn’t have maple syrup so I subbed brown sugar. Also used dried cranberries instead of raisins. This is a keeper!

  22. Sally, so appreciate these healthier bakes. I made these for my mother over the weekend, adding chunks of apple instead of the raisins. I just got a sweet text from her, “I had one of your muffins and an egg for breakfast. The muffins are so delicious, you’re the greatest!” Guess that says it all.

  23. I just baked a 1/2 batch of these, leaving out the raisins. They came out perfect. They are quite big, with perfect “muffin tops,” and they smell delicious. I can’t wait to give them to my kids for a snack after school 🙂

  24. Sally, thank you for being my ‘go-to’ site for great recipes and inspiration. The recipe sounds delicious! I do have a question. Would grated carrot be an acceptable add-in?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jean! We haven’t tested carrots, but don’t see why they would be an issue! We would start with 3/4 cup – let us know if you try it!

      1. A follow-up:
        I used 1/2 cup of finely grated carrots plus about 3/4 cup chopped and toasted pecans. They turned out beautiful….high and golden-colored. I was expecting the carrots to overpower the taste of the applesauce. Happily, that did not occur.
        My husband and I are trying to eat a bit healthier, but that is difficult as I love baking and would bake (and eat!) every one of your recipes. But by starting with your healthy recipe and sneaking in a veggie, I don’t feel so guilty.
        Thank you Sally

  25. My muffins turned out a little dry. Any idea why that might have happened?
    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maria! How did you measure the flour? Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much flour into your measuring cups – or use a kitchen scale. You can read more about properly measuring baking ingredients in this post. Also careful not to over-bake, an easy fix for next time.

      1. I just scooped the flour; next time I will be sure to spoon & level.
        Thanks, Trina!

  26. Jessica Rosario says:

    Hi! I used almond flour instead of whole wheat and it turned out with a moisty texture. I preferred to add half shreadded gala Apple instead of raisins. Really good! Thanks.

  27. Will flax eggs work in this recipe?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Charlene, We haven’t tested these with any egg substitutes but let us know if you try it!

  28. Hi Sally! Can quick-cooking rolled oats be used in place of the old-fashioned whole rolled oats?

    1. Absolutely. Use the same amount.

  29. I’m gluten free and made these this morning substituting wheat flour with Bob’s 1 to 1 gluten free flour! OMG! Yum! now my favorite! i made my own applesauce by pureeing fresh apples with peels on, used oil as Sally’s recipe calls for and added 2 Tbsp melted butter since GF baking usually needs a little extra fat. So delicious! no one believes they are GF!! thank you for this amazing recipe!

  30. I just made them and they are yummy! I didn’t have whole wheat flour, so I used all purpose. I added some chopped pecans since I did have them. My husband came downstairs and asked what smelled so good. We both thought they were tasty. Thanks for such an easy recipe!

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