This easy gluten-free applesauce muffins recipe is made from simple ingredients & plenty of warm spices. You’ll love the soft, fluffy texture!
I love a batch of muffins on a weekend morning! Whether it’s fluffy Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins, Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Muffins, Banana Crumb Muffins, or something that matches the season, like zucchini, pumpkin or apple.
We’re diving headfirst into recipes for cooler weather, so a batch of gluten-free apple spice muffins sounded PERFECT.
These Gluten-Free Applesauce muffins have an INCREDIBLE fluffy texture, plenty of warm spices, and make the whole house smell incredible. They make for a delicious fall breakfast or fun addition to school lunches and after school snacks.
In case you’ve never baked with it before, applesauce is a common substitution in recipes to use as an egg replace or in place of butter or fat in recipes. It gives baked goods a super moist texture, and we’re putting those skills to work in this applesauce muffin recipe.
The ingredients list is simple and straightforward, with applesauce as the star. Here’s what you’ll need to make these Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins…
Our Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins Recipe, At A Glance:
Simple Ingredients For Gluten-Free Applesauce Muffins
- Gluten-Free Flour. We’re keeping things simple with a measure-for-measure gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum. I highly recommend this blend from King Arthur Baking (which I use for all my muffins, cookies, brownies, etc.), but if you use another brand (like Bob’s Red Mill), be sure it contains xanthan gum. I do not recommend substituting in oat flour, almond flour, or coconut flour in this recipe.
- Baking Soda & Salt. For just enough puff and the perfect balance of flavor.
- Warm Spices. I love a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in these apple spice muffins. SO GOOD!
- Oil. A neutral-tasting oil like avocado, canola, or vegetable oil works best. (Coconut oil will impact the flavor, so I don’t like it here.)
- White Sugar & Brown Sugar. For moisture, sweetness & flavor.
- Unsweetened Applesauce. So what does adding applesauce to muffins do? Just like using mashed bananas or pumpkin puree, applesauce adds moisture! It also keeps these muffins sweet and fluffy.
- Eggs. Then, adding eggs helps bind the muffin batter and give them just enough rise.
- If You want: Some Grated Apple. If you don’t mind a little texture, a peeled, grated green apple adds even more apple flavor!
- Our Cinnamon Sugar Topping. I love this trick for a quick, easy finish. Top these gluten-free apple muffins with a mixture of melted butter, cinnamon, sugar, and gluten-free flour. Adding that little bit of flour helps the cinnamon sugar mixture really stand out on top of the muffins!
Optional Extras To Try:
These simple muffins are meant to be easy and delicious. An easy no-frills muffin recipe you can whip up on the weekend or for a holiday breakfast. You can absolutely get creative with them–the big secret is NOT to add extra moisture. You’ll want to stick to dry mix-ins and extras, rather than things like berries that can water down the muffins. A few options to try:
- Cinnamon-Sugar For The Tops. Sprinkling these applesauce muffins with a little cinnamon-sugar gives them a bakery-style feel that’s as delightful as it is delicious. I like a ratio of 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for 1/4 cup sugar. It gives them a lovely apple cinnamon muffins feel.
- A Streusel Top. Or, go big by making a batch of the streusel from our Gluten-Free Banana Crumb Muffins and add it to the muffins before they go in the oven!
- Chopped Nuts. Toasted pecans and walnuts are lovely!
How To Make Muffins With Applesauce, Step By Step
- Preheat & Prep. Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup metal muffin tin with parchment liners or grease each muffin cup.
- Combine The Dry Ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, combine gluten-free flour blend, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Whisk to combine well.
- Mix Wet Ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, and oil. Whisk to combine. Mix in applesauce, the mix in the eggs one at a time.
- Finish The Batter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. If desired, fold in 1 cup grated apple or chopped nuts.
- Let The Batter Rest. For best results, let the batter rest for 30-60 minutes. This will give your muffins a MUCH bigger rise and is worth the wait!
- Mix Up Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, cinnamon, sugar, and flour. Stir with a fork until everything is well combined and the butter is coating all the dry crumbs. It’ll be thick and powdery.
- Scoop The Batter. After letting the batter rest, gently use an ice cream scoop to spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup, filling each muffin cup almost up to the top of the parchment liner. (Depending on how much the batter has expanded, you may end up having 1-2 muffins extra batter. You can bake these in a second batch.) Try to be gentle here so you don’t deflate the batter. Sprinkle tops the muffins with cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Bake & Cool. Put the muffins in the oven and bake 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 10-14 minutes, or until the muffins are done. The interior should reach at least 205 degrees F., the tops should spring back when gently pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out with just a few moist crumbs. Let the muffins cool 1-2 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Serve & Store. Enjoy warm muffins right away, or store leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days or in a freezer bag in the freezer up to 2 months.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Applesauce Muffins
Use The Right Tools!
The best muffins don’t require much, but the tools you use can make a big difference. We recommend a light colored metal muffin pan for even baking (especially in a recipe like this that has plenty of natural sugars from the applesauce). Then, we love these parchment liners because the apple muffins EASILY come out (no losing half of your muffin to the liner!). Last but not least, a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop makes portioning batter easy. (We also use this size for some of our big cookie recipes!)
Some Tips On Applesauce.
- Favorite Brands. We tested this easy recipe using several brands of store-bought unsweetened applesauce. Motts is a common brand that’s easy to find and works well.
- Stay away from flavored applesauce (like cinnamon or berry) as it’ll interfere with the flavors in this recipe
- Stick With Unsweetened. If you’re wondering “can I use sweetened applesauce instead of unsweetened applesauce?” I wouldn’t recommend it here. With unsweetened applesauce, most of the volume you’re getting comes from apples. With sweetened applesauce, you get more added sugar but less bulk.
- If you’re using homemade applesauce, be sure it’s smooth and not too watery or thin, and know that your results may vary slightly compared to how uniform store-bought apple sauce is.
Can I Use Apple Pie Spice Instead?
I really love and recommend the blend of spices we’re using in my recipe card below, but if you prefer, you can substitute in apple pie spice for the spices. Just know your flavor will vary from mine.
These gluten-free apple muffins are delicious on their own, but you can also serve them with a few little extras. Try serving them with:
- A Little Butter or Whipped Cinnamon Honey Butter
- Peanut Butter or Almond Butter (or your favorite nut butter!)
- Apple Butter or Pumpkin Butter
🌟 Leave a star rating below when you try our gluten-free Applesauce Muffins recipe! We can’t wait to hear what you think!Print