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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!

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: 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.

(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.

Print
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whole wheat applesauce muffins with oats on top

Applesauce Muffins

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 21 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 2 cups (255gwhole 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 (dairy or non dairy), 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. These were perfect. Didn’t change a thing. Delicious and didn’t feel like cake in a muffin tin.
    So

  2. Such an easy and delicious recipe to quickly whip up with my toddler. They’re healthy, still moist and tasty after a couple days (although I’m surprised they lasted that long!)

  3. I’ve been looking for a new whole wheat muffin recipe and this one is great! I added a bit more cinnamon than the recipe called for and used whole milk and they turned out perfectly! I doubled the batch so I could freeze a bunch and my kids take them to school as a snack. So good!

  4. These are unreal. I can’t stand fruit flavors in my baking and I was very concerned these would taste really apple-y. They’re moist and smell incredible and have just the right amount of sweetness. I added chocolate chips to mine and…yeah, these are my new favourite muffin.

  5. Can I add grated zucchini into these? Would be sure to squeeze out extra liquid, but not sure if the moisture would ruin the texture?

    1. Hi Alex, We haven’t tested zucchini, but if you blot it dry we don’t see why it would be an issue! We would start with 3/4 cup – let us know if you try it! Or you may enjoy these Morning Glory Muffins and replace the carrots with zucchini.

      1. Thanks! I love your Morning Glory Muffin recipe – make those all the time! I tired this new recipe today sans zucchini (as written with the chopped apples added in) and it was fabulous! Thanks!

      2. In your introduction to these applesauce muffins you said they were dairy free but the list of ingredients contain milk?

      3. I use nondairy milk. You can use dairy or non dairy in this recipe.

  6. Wonderful!!! Such an easy to follow recipe, explicit directions and great tips! Muffins turned out moist and delicious- perfectly crowned too. I used APF, the I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter Stick spread melted and added walnuts. I will say they are not overly sweet, just enough for me!

  7. I appreciate your post and I got to benefit from your blog
    you presented well. It looks tasty.
    you have told well on every matter
    good content. thanks for sharing

  8. If you are looking for something truly healthy to bake (not just healthier), this is your recipe. Beautiful texture. Made mine in a well greased muffin pan, which worked well. Ended up with 12 full-size muffins and six mini muffins. Used canola oil and dried cranberries, and both worked great. Will definitely make again.

  9. Made these this morning- swapped brown sugar for maple syrup, grapeseed oil for coconut pil, and added chopped walnuts and apples. The apples stayed a little firm but the muffins were still extremely delicious!

  10. Delicious muffins. I have been making the baked oatmeal muffins every week for years and while I love them, these are even tastier. I followed the recipe exactly and it made 18 muffins. Here’s a tip I heartily recommend: use a silicone muffin tray. The muffins pop right out after cooling. Thank you Sally for giving us recipes and advice we can always trust.

  11. So easy to make! I used apples as an add on. Muffins were so moist and flavourful! This is now a part of my go to recipes!

  12. These are incredible! This is my second time making them this week. I love that they’re not overly sweet— just the right amount of sweetness for a muffin. They are hearty, yet light and fluffy— I added toasted walnuts to ours which was the perfect complement. Yum!

  13. I made these today to serve my friends and they loved them. They all asked for the recipe. This is a healthy and easy to make recipe. I loved it.

  14. Used canola oil, and sultana raisins. So delicious!! A new family favourite!

    1. Hi Tori, Definitely! Any muffin recipe yielding around 12 standard size muffins can double as a quick bread recipe. We are unsure of the best bake time, but use a toothpick to check for doneness.

    2. Start checking at 45 minutes but it may need a full hour/60 minutes. I use a fan oven and the 8in loaf tin (smaller) so 45 minutes it’s ready. Hope that helps 🙂

  15. Hello,
    This recipe looks awesome! If I wanted to make these muffins with unbleached all-purpose flour (because that’s what I have in the house on this freezing winter day and I don’t want to go to the grocery store to get wheat flour), will that work? How much more all-purpose flour would you recommend I add to the recipe? Thanks.

    1. Hi Michele! You can use the same amount of all-purpose flour.

  16. These are great muffins. I somehow forgot to add the baking powder and they came out fine. I used coconut milk and added apples and walnuts. I had a muffin right out of the oven, and it was good, but if you can wait until the muffins are cool, that’s when they are best. Thanks for the recipe Sally.

    1. Hi Melanie! For mini muffins, bake 11-13 minutes at 350°F (177°C) the whole time.

  17. These muffins are wonderful, thanks for the recipe! I used date syrup instead of maple and used only about 40g, still sweet enough for me.

  18. Absolutely beautiful! Came together so well, used grape seed oil as I didn’t have coconut oil on hand. These are both kid and adult approved for sure.

  19. This recipe contains milk and therefore should not be listed in the dairy free category.

    1. Hi Starla, as mentioned above, the only dairy ingredient in this recipe is milk and that can be replaced with non dairy.

  20. I made these muffins today and they are really good. They are a nice texture and I like that you can taste the apple sauce in these.
    Just a helpful hint on the note about spraying muffin liners with cooking spray; I use parchment paper muffin liners for all my muffins and cupcakes, and nothing sticks to them! No need to ever grease them. My husband’s auntie told me about them, and they are the only kind I buy anymore.
    Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  21. These were so quick to mix up and baked up beautifully. I added 1 tsp of apple pie spice in addition to the cinnamon and used chopped apples as my add-in. Moist, flavorful, nutritious, perfectly sweet, and my new favorite applesauce muffin recipe! Perhaps because of the chopped apples I ended up with quite a bit of batter which produced 17 muffins. Which is good because my family of 6 wanted 2nds and 3rds!

  22. I started making these before realizing my applesauce had gone bad. I subbed 1 and 1/3c canned pumpkin instead of applesauce and it worked well. I haven’t made the recipe as written so I can’t compare but these taste good! If I hadn’t mixed the dry ingredients already I probably would have done pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon. Sharing in case anyone else finds themselves without applesauce.

  23. Hiya, any reason why using 50/50 applesauce and (probably frozen) pumpkin purée wouldn’t work? I would up the sugar anyway because the original recipe tasted savoury to me. TIA!

    1. In the end it was a mix of banana (thanks Dad), pumpkin purée and grated carrot to make up the numbers (100g/1/2 cup mashed green banana with the eggs for an hour following Serious eats “how to ripen (a barely eaten) banana quickly”, 200g/1 cup fresh pumpkin purée and 100g/3/4 cup grated carrot with peel because CBA to grate). Like I say, I doubled the total sugar (maple syrup as written and a 1/3 cup of light brown muscovado sugar). I upped the spices to 2tsp banana spice (from serious eats) and omitted extras just out of laziness lol. I also accidentally made them fat free (!) HOWEVER adding melted coconut oil on the cooked muffin salvaged the texture and the flavour is still A+ (reminds me of a morning glory muffin) so it’s definitely a success (if you add the oil or reduce the baking time lol). Thanks again for the recipe! 😀

    2. Forgot to add, I saw another reader add pumpkin purée instead of applesauce successfully and another reader added grated carrot as an add in (instead of apples) which is what gave me the idea to adapt this recipe (to use up leftover fruit/veg and fill out my breakfast cupcake tin haha)

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