One of my favorite things about fall is the abundance of apples and apple recipes (like this one)! I spend most of the year ambivalent about apples, and then as soon as fall hits I LOVE them. They just taste so much better!
As for apples in baked goods, though, don’t worry – I love those all year round. 🙂
These cinnamon apple crumble muffins are no exception – they are flavorful, moist, and topped with a delicious brown sugar crumb topping. I absolutely love the apple spice scent they give off when they’re baking, too – your kitchen will smell incredible!
Plus, these apple muffins are dairy free and particularly nutrient dense, made with mostly wholesome ingredients and lower in sugar (but they still taste really good, I promise). They’re simple to make and bake up quickly, making for a perfect cozy fall breakfast or afternoon snack that the whole family will love.
Healthier Apple Muffins with Crumb Topping
Muffins are one of my favorite breakfasts and snacks to make, as you can tell by all the easy muffin recipes on my site! There’s just something so crave-worthy about a warm muffin studded with fruit. They’re delicious on their own, or smeared with Greek yogurt or nut butter.
These soft and moist crumb muffins are packed with apple flavor (from both chopped apples and applesauce). Walnuts are optional, but they add a nutty crunch that elevates these muffins even further!
Almond milk and coconut oil make these muffins dairy free, but you can easily substitute butter and dairy milk if you prefer. Gotta love a versatile recipe. 🙂
I love baking with white whole wheat flour, because the texture is less dense than regular whole wheat flour, and you still get the added nutrients from the whole wheat. It’s a win-win!
Not only that, but these muffins are packed with protein and healthy fat (hello, staying power!), thanks to the chia seeds and walnuts. This is the key for me with muffins – you need to make sure they have some protein and fat (not just carbs) or you’ll be hungry again an hour later!
With these muffins, you’ll get to enjoy a delicious breakfast that will also keep you full and satisfied for hours.
If you end up with extra apples, be sure to also try my apple cinnamon oatmeal! It’s so cozy, filling, and perfect for fall.
What You’ll Need
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these apple cinnamon muffins with crumble topping:
- apples (You can use your favorite type of apple here! I love Granny Smith apples or Pink Lady apples, as their slight tartness perfectly balances out the sweetness of the cinnamon crumb topping.)
- unsweetened applesauce (I prefer using unsweetened applesauce, since it allows you to control the amount of sugar in the recipe.)
- white whole wheat flour (I don’t recommend using regular whole wheat flour, as the muffins will turn out denser and with a more pronounced whole wheat flavor. White whole wheat flour is made from a different type of wheat – with a milder flavor – but has the same nutritional value as regular whole wheat flour!)
- coconut oil (This helps keep the muffins moist and dairy free, but you can replace it with melted unsalted butter if desired.)
- white granulated sugar
- brown sugar (I used light brown sugar, but you can use dark brown sugar if that’s what you have! It will just have a deeper, richer molasses-like flavor.)
- almond milk (or milk of choice)
- chia seeds
- chopped walnuts (These are optional, but delicious! You can also use a different kind of nut if desired. Pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, or cashews would all work great here – just roughly chop them before adding.)
- vanilla extract
- baking soda
- baking powder
How to Make Apple Cinnamon Crumble Muffins
To make these apple crumb muffins, start by whisking together the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chia seeds).
In a separate bowl, melt and slightly cool coconut oil (if needed – in some cases, coconut oil will already be melted at room temperature – it should be melted but not super hot). Beat the white sugar with the melted coconut oil until it forms a smooth paste.
Next, whisk in eggs, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Dice the apples, then stir them in along with the applesauce.
Then, mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until just combined (don’t over-mix!). Gently fold in chopped walnuts if using.
Spoon or scoop equal amounts of muffin batter into a greased or lined muffin tin. (You can use a large cookie scoop to save time!)
Next, make the crumb topping. In a small bowl, whisk white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Use a fork to mix in melted coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly, like wet sand.
Sprinkle over each filled muffin well, and lightly press it into the batter so it sticks.
Lastly, bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or until the internal temperature of the muffins reaches just under 200 degrees Fahrenheit).
Remove the muffins from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes, as they’ll continue to bake a little longer once removed.
What are the best types of apples for baking?
The best types of apples for baking are firmer apples, because they hold their shape/structure better when baked. Some examples include Fuji apples, Gala apples, and Granny Smith apples.
For this particular apple muffin recipe, Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples are perfect, because they add a slight tart flavor to balance out the sweetness of the muffins. But you can use any kind you have on hand if you’re in a pinch!
Muffin Baking Tips
Here are a few tips to help ensure your muffins turn out soft and moist:
- Make sure your eggs and coconut oil are at room temperature. Cold eggs will cause the oil to seize up slightly. Leave the eggs out on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour, and let the coconut oil cool after you melt it in the microwave. (Depending on the environment, your coconut oil may already be melted at room temperature.)
- Don’t over-mix once you combine the dry and wet ingredients. Over-working the flour once moisture is added can give baked goods a tough texture.
- Don’t over-bake! Remove the muffins when they reach the minimum baking time, and use a toothpick or fork to check if the middle is done. There should just be a few crumbs when it’s removed (no wet batter).
Storage & Freezing Tips
To keep your apple crumble muffins moist, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. When ready to enjoy, warm them up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds (if desired).
To freeze, wrap the muffins individually in plastic wrap or foil. Place them in a sealed freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to three months.
These are a must-try muffin for fall, with tart and juicy apples, a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon crumble topping, and a soft and tender crumb. Make them ASAP – you won’t regret it! 🙂
You’ll find the full apple crumble muffin recipe at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
For the Muffins:
- 1 3/4 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Coconut Oil (melted, but cooled to room temperature)
- 2/3 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 Eggs (at room temperature)
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 1 1/2 cup Diced Apple Granny Smith or Pink Lady
- 1 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
- 1 cup Chopped Walnuts (Optional)
For the Crumble Topping:
- 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/8 cup Coconut Oil Melted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray or line it with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chia seeds in a small bowl. Set dry ingredients aside.
- Beat the sugar and melted coconut oil in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in eggs, almond milk, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir in diced apple and apple sauce.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Add in chopped walnuts.
- Spoon the batter evenly into each cup or liner, about 1/4 cup per muffin.
- Make crumb topping: In a small mixing bowl, add granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Whisk ingredients together. Using a fork, mix in melted coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly. Spoon crumb topping over each (unbaked) muffin and gently press it down so it sticks.
- Bake for 20- 25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 200 degrees. Remove from oven & let rest 5-10 minutes.
- Storage: To keep your apple crumble muffins moist, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezing: For best results, wrap the muffins individually (in plastic wrap or foil) and place in a sealed freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to three months.
- Equal parts butter can be substituted for the coconut oil in the base muffin recipe. If using butter instead of coconut oil for the crumble topping, you’ll want to use ¼ cup of melted butter. (When using coconut oil, you’ll only need 2 tablespoons.)
- Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples are especially perfect for these muffins, because they bring a tart taste to balance out the sweetness of the muffins.
- If you want to omit the apples, they will still have a good apple flavor from the applesauce (but they'll be a little smaller).
- Feel free to replace the walnuts with another type of nut, such as pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, or cashews.