These easy apple cinnamon muffins are soft, moist, and packed with juicy apple pieces. A simple, sweet, crunchy brown sugar-cinnamon topping makes them totally irresistible!
What makes these apple cinnamon muffins the best?
My very favorite baked goods meet the following 3 criteria:
- Made in a single bowl so there's minimal cleanup
- Uses ingredients I'm likely to have on hand when the urge to bake strikes
- Is the very best version I've ever tasted of the baked good in question
You're probably expecting me to tell you that these apple cinnamon muffins fit that criteria to a T. And you would be...
Correct. I never was one to bury the lede.
What else makes them great?
Creaming the butter and sugar together
Unlike most muffins, the butter and sugar are creamed together at the beginning. This means that instead of the hearty, dense and chewy texture you get with most muffins, these have a soft, light, almost cakey crumb.
This isn't ALWAYS what I'm looking for in a muffin, but in this case it REALLY works. It's like biting into a soft cinnamon-scented brown-sugary cloud. You could really call them coffee cake muffins.
Come to think of it, they are reminiscent of my favorite apple cake.
Nothing dry about these muffins either. Muffins are often made with yogurt or buttermilk, but my favorite thing for the moistest muffins is tangy sour cream.
That said, use plain yogurt or buttermilk if that's what you have. All do a good job of adding moisture, and are fairly interchangeable for muffin purposes.
Do not use just regular milk however, as it lacks the acid needed to react with the baking soda, which makes the muffins rise.
In a pinch, if you don't have yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk, you can make a buttermilk substitute by combining a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice with enough milk to make a cup. See here for more info and for other buttermilk substitutes.
Step-by-step how to make apple cinnamon muffins
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Add the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy,4-5 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the egg. Mix until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix on low speed until fairly smooth, scraping down the bowl once or twice, another minute or so.
5. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to the bowl.
6. With the mixer on low speed, mix just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix. The batter will be very thick (unless you used buttermilk instead of sour cream in which case it will be a bit thinner).
7. Peel, core, and dice two apples into ¼ inch pieces. I used a Granny Smith apple for tartness and a Honeycrisp for sweetness. But any baking apples will work. Fuji, Braeburn, and Jonathans also hold their shape well, which makes them good for baking.
8. Fold the chopped apples into the muffin batter. It will seem like way too much apple for the amount of batter, but like in this rhubarb coffee cake, it works, trust me!
9. Grease and flour a standard 12-cup muffin tin (or line it with muffin papers).
10. scoop the batter into the muffin cups (they will be filled all the way to the top). for the crumble topping (optional but so delicious), combine ⅓ cup of brown sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 20 minutes and unmold onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
These muffins are great warm out of the oven or cooled to room temperature.
More of my favorite muffins!
One Bowl Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup light brown sugar firmly packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sour cream *see note
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 large apples peeled, cored and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- ⅓ cup brown sugar firmly packed
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed, for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and continue mixing until incorporated, scraping down the bowl once or twice (about 2 minutes). Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix on low speed another minute.
- Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, add the apples, and give it a good stir with a rubber spatula until the apples are evenly distributed in the batter.
- Divide the muffin batter evenly between the muffin cups. They should be about ¾ full.
- Topping: In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the muffins.
- Bake muffins in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.