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These gluten free apple muffins are easy to make, studded with sweet apple chunks and topped with a crunchy cinnamon streusel topping.
I love a good easy baking recipe as much as the next
lazy time-poor person, and this gluten-free apple muffin recipe is a great way to get a delicious breakfast or tea-time treat on the table in a short amount of time.
These moist muffins are bursting with chunks of apple and sprinkled with a delightful cinnamon and brown sugar crumb topping.
If you’ve been scarred in the past by dry (and sad) gluten free muffins, you don’t have to worry about that here. The chopped apples and a bit of plain yoghurt keep these muffins super moist.
Apples – You can pretty much use any type of apple you like in this recipe. I used Braeburn apples here, but my recommendation is to use any type of juicy apple that you enjoy eating. If you like sweet apples like Pink Lady or Gala apples then use those, if you like a more tart apple then use Granny Smiths. You’ll need 2-3 medium-sized fresh apples for this recipe.
Gluten free flour – I use my favourite homemade gluten-free flour blend, which is a combination of tapioca starch, potato starch and brown rice flour, however you can use your own favourite homemade or store bought gluten-free all purpose flour blend. Keep in mind that the texture of the muffins will vary from mine if you use a different flour blend, as all blends use different flours and starches.
Xanthan gum – If you use a gluten free flour blend that contains a gum ingredient (check the ingredients list), then you can omit the xanthan gum from the recipe.
Baking powder – Make sure you check that your baking powder is gluten free, as some are not.
Cinnamon – I kept things simple here by just using ground cinnamon, but if you like spicy apple muffins, feel free to add a little grated or ground nutmeg, a pinch of cloves or allspice, or swap the cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice or mixed spice.
Brown sugar – I used light brown sugar but dark brown sugar should also work in this recipe.
Butter – I’ve used salted butter here, if you use unsalted butter you might like to add a pinch of salt to the batter.
Milk – I prefer to use full-fat milk (whole milk) when making muffins, but low-fat (skim milk) will also work.
Plain thick yoghurt – I use plain, unsweetened Greek-style yoghurt. You can use sweetened yogurt if that’s what you have, your muffins will just be slightly sweeter. I haven’t tested it, but I suspect sour cream would work fine as a replacement for the yoghurt.
Egg – You’ll need one large egg for this recipe.
Vanilla – Either vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste will work in this recipe. If you don’t have either, you can leave it out.
How to make gluten free apple muffins
For the full recipe, check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here are some step by step photos to show you how to make the muffins.
Prepare the muffin tins – Spray one 12 cup muffin pan with vegetable oil spray, rub with melted butter or line with paper muffin cups or cupcake papers.
Make the crumble topping – Mix the gf flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, then add the melted butter and mix to make a crumble. I find it easiest to do this with a fork. Pop into the fridge to chill.
Mix the dry ingredients – Sift the gluten free flour, xanthan gum ( if using), baking powder and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine well. Add in the brown sugar and mix well, breaking up any big lumps of sugar.
Mix the wet ingredients – Microwave the milk and butter until the milk is warm and the butter is mostly melted. Stir until it fully melts, then add in the vanilla, egg and yoghurt and stir.
Prepare the apples – Peel and core the apples and chop them into 1cm (1/2″) chunks. Then weigh the apple – you’ll need around 200g. A little bit more or less is fine.
Mix the batter – Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently until *almost* combined. Add the chopped apples and stir until combined and the apple is well distributed.
Spoon into the muffin pan – Divide the muffin batter evenly between the muffin cups. I used a cookie scoop for this but a large spoon will do the trick too.
Sprinkle the crumble on top of the muffins, you may not quite need all of it.
Bake – Bake the muffins until golden on top and a skewer or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Ok so I’m sitting here writing this and suddenly I had this thought that if you want to be a bit extra, you should totally drizzle these muffins with some homemade caramel sauce or, even better, some rum caramel sauce. Now I am obsessed with this idea. And I have rum caramel in the fridge so I’m going to try it and take a picture.
Hold, please! 🎶 hold music plays 🎶.
Ok here is, gluten free apple muffin + rum caramel sauce…
You can’t tell me this wasn’t a thing that needed to happen. You just can’t.
Storing the muffins
The apple cinnamon muffins are at their most delicious when still warm out of the oven, but leftover muffins will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. The topping will soften over time, so if that bothers you then you might want to leave it off and just sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little extra chopped apple or some crunchy sugar instead.
If your muffins dry out a little over time, you can often revive them by wrapping them in a slightly damp paper towel and microwaving for 10-20 seconds.
Freezing the muffins
These muffins freeze and defrost really well, however the crumb topping does tend to get a bit moist, as mentioned above, so if that bothers you and you know you will want to freeze some or all of the muffins, I would leave the topping off.
For best results, wrap the muffins (individually or in pairs) in plastic wrap and pop them into an airtight container and into the freezer. To defrost, leave wrapped in plastic on the bench until they thaw, or defrost on low power in the microwave.
Why do we need scales? Because cup measurements are really inaccurate, and the “standard” cup size varies in different countries. For baking (gluten free baking especially!), getting ingredient measurements accurate is crucial to success. I want you to have success with these recipes, and for us to be able to troubleshoot if you have any problems. Knowing that the ingredient amounts you used are correct is vital to that. You can buy a set of inexpensive kitchen scales online, or in most homewares stores and even grocery stores.
Gluten Free Apple Muffins
For the cinnamon crumble
- 25 g gluten free flour
- 40 g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon butter
For the muffins
- 300 g gluten free flour* see notes
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum see notes
- 175 g brown sugar
- ¾ cup milk
- 75 g butter
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup plain thick yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 2 medium apples
Cinnamon crumble topping
- Stir together the gluten free flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, then add the melted butter and mix to make a crumble. I find it easiest to do this with a fork. Pop into the fridge to chill.
- Grease the holes of one 12-hole standard-sized muffin pan with vegetable oil spray or melted butter OR line with paper muffin cups or cupcake papers.
- Sift the gluten free flour, baking powder, cinnamon and xanthan gum (if using), into a large bowl and stir with a whisk to combine well. Add in the brown sugar and mix again, breaking up any big lumps of sugar.
- In a medium-sized bowl or jug, microwave the milk and butter until the milk is warm (but not hot) and the butter is mostly melted (around 30-40 seconds, depending on your microwave). Stir until the butter finishes melting then whisk in the egg, yoghurt and vanilla.
- Peel and core the apples, then chop them into small chunks – around 1cm (1/2"). Weigh the apple, you will need 200g. If you have slightly more than 200g, set some aside to add on top of the muffins, if you like.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir just until a few streaks of dry ingredients remain. Add in the chopped apples, and stir until combined and the apple chunks are well distributed.
- Divide the muffin batter evenly between the muffin pan holes, then sprinkle with the crumb mixture.
- Bake at 200°C (390°F) for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the muffins comes out clean.
- If you've used paper muffin cases, let the muffins sit in the pan for 2-3 minutes, then remove them and place onto a wire cooling rack. If you haven't used paper cases, leave the muffins for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then remove and place on a wire rack.
Storing the muffins
- The muffins are at their best when still slightly warm from the oven, but leftover muffins will keep for 1-2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
- To freeze leftover muffins, wrap in plastic wrap (individually or in pairs) and place in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature (still wrapped in plastic) or in the microwave.
Ingredient notes:Gluten free flour – I use my favourite homemade gluten-free flour blend, however you can use your own favourite homemade or store bought gluten-free all purpose flour blend. Keep in mind that different flour blends may give different results, as all blends use different flours and starches. Xanthan gum – If you use a gluten free flour blend that contains a gum ingredient (check the ingredients list), then you can omit the xanthan gum from the recipe. Yoghurt – I use a full-fat Greek style yoghurt. I have not tested this with low-fat yoghurt, but it should work. Apples – Use any of your favourite type of apples in this recipe.
Nutritional Disclaimer: Any nutritional info provided is a computer generated estimate and is intended as a guide only.