Made with fresh apples, coconut oil and sweetened with maple syrup, my vegan applesauce muffins are infused with incredible apple and cinnamon flavour! Wonderfully soft and moist, these irresistible, dairy-free muffins are perfect for breakfast, a healthy lunchbox snack or afternoon treat. And the best thing? No one can guess that they are good for you!
Made from scratch with simple ingredients, these muffins are super quick to prepare and are made in just one bowl! Naturally sweet and completely delicious, they make the perfect healthy treat for all ages.
You won’t believe how much big apple flavour is packed into such a small package! And it’s because they contain fresh apple, three ways! Grated and diced fresh apple for texture and nutrients, and applesauce which infuses even more apple flavour, as well as helping to hold the muffins together without using eggs.
Just like these healthy banana muffins, whole wheat carrot cupcakes, healthy toddler muffins, chocolate zucchini muffins and blueberry quinoa cupcakes, these delicious applesauce muffins can be frozen for convenience for ready-made snacks. Make a double batch and keep them for easy, grab-and-go snacks and lunchbox fillers.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Quick and easy – you’ll need one bowl and around 30 minutes to make them.
- Dietary restriction friendly – this recipe is vegan, nut-free, egg-free, dairy free and contains no refined sugars. It could also be made gluten free, if required.
- No fancy ingredients! Just common pantry staples like flour, oats, apples and maple syrup.
What you’ll need
The full ingredient quantities and method can be found in the recipe card below. Keep reading for some helpful tips and FAQs!
- Apples – you’ll need around six large apples for these muffins. Half grated and half diced apples to add texture and flavour. I prefer to use Granny Smith apples for their sweet and tart flavour that holds up really well in baked goods. But, any fresh apples will work! The apples need to be cut into very fine pieces to cook through.
- Applesauce – use homemade steamed and pureed apples here. Or, store-bought applesauce with no added preservatives or sugars. Applesauce is used for extra apple flavour, but also to bind the muffins together without using eggs.
- Coconut oil – for extra moisture. Use liquid coconut oil, or melted coconut oil.
- Spices – cinnamon and ginger for those classic spiced apple flavours! You can also use a little nutmeg, if desired.
- Flour – plain whole wheat or white flour can be used in this recipe. Or, try a mix of both! If you require your muffins to be gluten free, gluten free flour can also be used.
- Oats. For extra fiber, antioxidants and nutrition.
- Baking powder.
- Maple and golden syrup – For sweetness. You could also use rice malt syrup or your preferred natural sweetener of choice.
- Milk of choice – I used rice milk to keep the muffins dairy free. You can also use soy milk.
- Vinegar – the vinegar reacts with the baking powder and helps the muffins to rise. Mixing the vinegar with the milk creates a vegan “buttermilk” which makes the muffins extra soft. I used white vinegar, but you could also use apple cider vinegar which can be found in supermarkets and health food stores. Alternatively, you can use equal quantities of lemon juice.
Step by step instructions
This recipe is super simple to prepare. An easy vegan buttermilk is prepared by adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the rice milk (or other milk of choice). The moisture comes from the grated apple, as well as the applesauce and coconut oil.
To make these muffins;
Step 1. Add the vinegar to the milk, stir and set aside for a few minutes. The vinegar will react with the milk and curdle slightly.
Step 2. Prepare the apples by peeling them. Grate enough for one cup and finely chop the remaining apples. The apples should be very finely diced into small pieces to cook through the muffins.
Step 3. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, oats, salt, spices) in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Step 4. Add all of the remaining wet ingredients to the bowl and stir until just combined. Don’t overbeat, as the mixture won’t rise enough.
Step 5. Divide the batter into a greased or lined muffin tray. This recipe makes a total of 12 muffins and the trays can be filled to the top. (They will rise, but not too high that they will overflow). Sprinkle a little raw sugar over the top. This step is optional, but gives a little extra texture and sweetness.
Step 6. Bake until the muffins are completely cooked through and fluffy. You can test one by inserting a wooden skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, with a few crumbs, it is ready.
Step 7. Cool on a wire rack, or leave them for a few minutes and eat them warm.
Which apples are best? I highly recommend using Granny Smith apples for their tart and sweet flavour. They also keep a nice texture during baking. Other apples like Jonathan, Pink Lady or any other sweet apple are great too.
How long do they keep? Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature where they will stay soft for around 4 days. Or, store them in the fridge for 5-6 days.
Can I freeze these muffins? Yes, you can! Let them cool completely at room temperature before freezing. Then, just store them in an airtight container in the freezer, with any layers separated by baking paper. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, simply let them thaw at room temperature (30 minutes) or microwave on medium-high heat for around 30-60 seconds.
If you’re loving the look of these dairy free muffins, check out these other healthy kids’ lunchbox treats;
- Sugar free raspberry and choc chip cupcakes
- Salted caramel nut free bliss balls
- Healthy berry banana breakfast cookies
To save time and money on healthy school and toddler lunches, see my 50 Healthy School Snacks E-BOOK! It also contains a bonus Guide to Making 2 Minute Lunches.
If you try these healthy lunchbox ideas, I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your favourite, or send me a message. For more lunchbox inspiration, tips and to share your own recipes and creations, head over to my Facebook Group; Healthy Lunchboxes Australia.
Apple and Cinnamon Dairy Free Muffins
- ½ cup milk of choice I used rice milk, but soy milk works too.
- 1 tsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 ¾ cups plain flour white or wholemeal (whole wheat)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 2 ½ tsp cinnamon ground
- ½ tsp ginger ground
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 large apples Granny Smith or any other apple of choice, peeled. 1 cup grated apples and the remaining apples very finely diced into small cubes.
- ¾ cup applesauce
- ¼ – ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup golden syrup
- ⅓ cup liquid coconut oil or melted coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla vanilla bean paste or essence
- raw sugar, to sprinkle over the top
- Pre-heat oven to 180 °C and grease or line a 12-hole muffin baking tray.
- In a cup or small jug, stir the milk and vinegar together and set aside for a few minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, oats, cinnamon, ginger and salt) together until combined.
- Squeeze about half of the juice from the grated apple and add all of the remaining ingredients, including the apple and milk, into the flour mixture.
- Gently stir until just combined.
- Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin holes. Top with a sprinkle of raw sugar (optional) and bake for around 20 minutes, or until the muffins are cooked through, fluffy and lightly golden.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and gently place them on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for around 4 days, or refrigerate or freeze them according to the notes below. Enjoy!