Tender and flavorful bakery style cinnamon streusel apple muffins loaded with tart bites of fresh apple and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla. They aren’t complete without the delicious brown sugar cinnamon streusel crumb topping and an easy vanilla glaze.
Cinnamon streusel apple muffins
Are you ready for Fall? Or still clinging to these last languid days of Summer?
I’m somewhere in the middle, excited to finally have a kitchen to get back to (and in turn start baking again), but also loving all the late-season produce still beaming from produce bins at the market. Peaches, plums, tomatoes, sweet corn… it’s all still calling my name.
…But apples – spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla, and folded into a buttery muffin batter and generously topped with a crumbly brown sugar streusel – sound pretty great too.
When I first baked these apple crumb muffins, years ago now, the leaves were just beginning to change in the middle of Georgia; the fall foliage creeping in with vibrant bursts of crimson and golden yellow. Autumn beginning in fits and starts, flirting between the mid-eighties one day, and a full twenty degrees cooler the next. Summer’s last gasps in late-September.
I was however, quite stubbornly set to autumn, our little apartment kitchen filled with the aromas of fall baking, slow-braised stews, and hearty, simmering soups.
Inspired by the start of apple season, and tempted by the many lovely varieties, beautifully-stacked and practically glowing on display, I’d over-indulged at the market, and needed a new recipe to feature my hoard.
A few of the tart varieties made their way into these simple, but flavorful muffins, elevated beyond their humble appearance with a bevy of spices, an irresistible streusel crumb topping, and an optional (but recommended) vanilla glaze.
The ingredients you’ll need to bake apple streusel muffins
These ingredients list for these apple crumb muffins may seem long, but they’re mostly pantry staples. If you bake often, you probably have most of them on hand right now. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
- apples: these wouldn’t be apple crumb muffins without some fresh chopped apple mixed in. I most often use Honeycrisp apples, but any firm, sweet-tart variety will work. It’s worth the extra step to peel your apples, and dice them small so they incorporate evenly throughout the batter.
- flour: regular all-purpose flour forms the base of these muffins. For the best soft and tender texture, be sure to measure your flour carefully (and if possible use a baking scale), and be sure not to overmix.
- baking powder and soda: for just the right amount of lift and perfect, gently domed muffin tops.
- salt: to intensify all the other flavors. My favorite Kosher salt is Diamond Crystal.
- warming spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves are a match made in heaven with sweet apples and a buttery streusel. You could also use an apple or pumpkin pie spice blend.
- butter: for lots of flavor. Creaming the butter with sugar also creates a moist, tender muffin crumb.
- granulated sugar: for sweetness. We’ll also bring in some caramel and butterscotch notes from brown sugar in the streusel topping.
- eggs: for lift and a tender crumb. See the recipe notes on making these egg free.
- vanilla: always a splash of the good stuff.
…and all topped with a buttery cinnamon streusel crumb. It’s a classic streusel, made with flour, white and brown sugars, cinnamon, and melted butter, and really takes these apple muffins to the next level.
But we’re not done yet. You can stop there, of course, and you’ll have a perfectly delicious apple crumb muffin. But add a drizzle of simple vanilla glaze and you’ve got full blown apple cinnamon roll meets coffee cake meets spice cake or really just, the ultimate Fall muffins.
Find all the exact measurements and full recipe instructions below.
We were fortunate in Washington to have incredible apples nearly year round, and spoiled via the wonders of cold-storage, it’s easy to forget that apples have a season. But they are sweeter, fresher, crisper during the actual fall harvest season, beginning as early as August.
There was a community apple orchard in our first neighborhood in Tacoma, and I used to love to stop by this time of year in the early morning and pick a handful of different varieties of apples – bright, tart greens, and rosy pinks, and dainty, dark purple beauties – a few for snacking, but most destined to make their way into sweet muffins, or classic apple pie, apple cider cinnamon rolls, or gooey caramel crumb bars.
Because that classic combination of apples with cinnamon and sugar is hands-down my very favorite and just too hard to resist.
And decked with a chunky cinnamon streusel topping and bursting with apple flavor, these indulgent little apple muffins, somewhere between breakfast and dessert, are an especially sweet way to start the day. Happy baking!!
Other easy and delicious apple recipes to bake right now:
- Classic apple pie
- Baked apple donuts
- Apple cider cinnamon rolls
- Homemade apple hand pies
- Caramel apple crumble bars
If you make these apple streusel muffins, be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #forkknifeswoon and leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked them! ★★★★★ Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, LauraPrint
Originally published on September 27, 2012. Updated with recipe photos by Laura Kasavan, of the lovely desserts blog Tutti Dolci.