These Skinny Pumpkin Apple Muffins are brimming with pumpkin spice, sweet apples and are perfect for a chilly fall morning. These are moist muffins with a sweet streusel topping and just 129 calories per muffin!
Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins are perfect during apple and pumpkin season. They are tasty muffins with warm spices with the flavors of fall. This family favorite is the perfect way to start the day or as a healthy snack.
What makes this skinny?
- Less sugar. We used ⅓ cup each of brown sugar and white granulated white sugar in the muffins. Granulated sugar is sweeter than brown sugar for the same amount so mixing gives more sweetness with less sugar used than if just using brown sugar.
- No vegetable oil or butter in the muffin batter. Using applesauce (that trick from our Skinny Swaps series) provides the function of oil without the calories.
- Slimmed down streusel topping. Usually it has double the sugar, butter and flour. We wanted enough for a sweet topping but not so much that it loaded on calories that weren't needed.
Regular apple pumpkin muffins are between 250 and 300 calories each. Our skinny version tastes just as great and only has 129 calories per muffin.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
All purpose flour. Regular all purpose flour or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend will work. We use and recommend Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 flour blend for gluten-free baking. You'll use it both in the muffins and in the streusel topping.
Spices. These homey muffins are full of fall flavor thanks to classic spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice (or ground cloves).
Eggs. You'll use two large eggs. Always use fresh eggs for best results..
Applesauce. This is a great baking swap that can be used instead of oil (see more like this in our Skinny Swaps & Tips). You'll use ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce. You can use store bought applesauce or homemade applesauce.
Sugar. We combined both granulated white sugar and light brown sugar for a perfectly sweet flavor without tons of sugar. Brown sugar gives a great caramel flavor to baked goods and granulated sugar is sweeter so together we can get away with less sugar.
Apple. You'll need 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple. Choose a sweet apple to give more sweetness to the muffins.
Pumpkin puree. Use 100% pumpkin not pumpkin pie filling. You'll use 1 cup of pumpkin puree.
Cupcake liners. We made this muffin recipe with muffin liners but you can also spray the muffin cavities with non-stick cooking spray instead.
Favorite apples for baking
We love fresh apples that still hold their form after baking and have a strong apple flavor. For this recipe we prefer sweeter apples (versus tart granny smith apples) to add natural sweetness.
Skip red delicious apples which have very little flavor and go for one of these:
- Jonagold. These are a sweet and tart apple mix.
- Pink Lady. Also known as a Cripps Pink.
How to make Pumpkin Apple Muffins
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 18 muffin tin cavities with baking paper liners.
STEP 2. Make batter
In medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice or cloves, baking soda, and salt (photo 1). If you don't have a sifter or fine mesh sieve whisk together.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs well (photo 2). Add applesauce, light brown sugar, granulated sugar and pumpkin until combined (photos 2-3). Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients (pumpkin mixture) (photo 3). Stir just until combined (do not overmix)(photo 4).
Fold in apples (photo 6).
STEP 3. Streusel topping
Make streusel in small bowl by combining brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and flour with fork (photo 6). Add the melted butter and stir until all the dry ingredient have incorporated the butter (nothing should look dry and should have a pebble texture) (photo 7).
STEP 4. Bake & Cool
Evenly divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups (a cookie scoop works great for this). They should be filled between ¾-full and the top of the liner (photo 8).
Evenly sprinkle the streusel topping on the top of the muffins (photo 9).
Bake muffins 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into middle.
Allow the baked muffins to sit in the muffin tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely (photo 10).
Use pumpkin pie spice. You can substitute 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice for cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.
Using oil. Vegetable oil can be substituted for applesauce if you prefer. It will give the muffins a slightly different texture (will be a more fluffy muffins) but does add significantly more calories.
Don't want apple chunks? Using chopped apples gives bigger bites of apple all through the muffins. If you prefer no chunks, just shred or grate the apples or dice into small pieces instead.
Add some nuts. Chopped pecans or walnuts are great in the streusel topping.
Spoon the flour; no scooping! Spoon the flour into your measuring cup piling it above the top of the measuring cup, use the back of a dining knife to to scrape across the measuring cup to discard excess flour to make a cup. This ensures you won't have the flour densely packed which happens with scooping the measuring cup into the flour. Scooping risks too much flour making muffins dense and tough.
Use non-stick baking liners. We recommend using non-stick parchment liners, reuseable silocone baking cups and spraying the muffin tin without using liners to ensure the muffins do not stick to the liners.
Don't overmix the batter. Overworking the muffin batter can make the muffins tougher in texture.
When making streusel topping, don't use piping hot butter. If it’s too warm it will create a paste instead of clumps.
Ovens vary, so check for doneness before bake time is up.
How to store
Store muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Be sure to keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator so they don't dry out. Serve at room temperature.
How to freeze
- Allow muffins to fully cool.
- Wrap individually in plastic wrap then place in a freezer bag or freezer safe airtight container.
- Freeze up to 3 months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator and serve at room temperature or warm for best flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have only made the muffins with regular all purpose flour and gluten-free measure-for-measure flour. Whole wheat flour is great in terms of protein content but it can make baked goods denser and require more moisture to be added. This batter is a thicker batter to start with so we don't recommend swapping the full flour amount for whole wheat.
The rule of thumb about swapping whole wheat flour into a recipe is that you can use up to half the flour (in this case half is 1 ¼ cups) as whole wheat and the other half all purpose flour without adjusting other ingredients.
Yes however be sure to drain it first if it is very watery. Homemade puree tends to be more watery in consistency versus thick canned puree.
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