Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Moist Applesauce Pumpkin Muffins are full of warm spices, have a tender crumb, and are a delicious make-ahead breakfast, snack or side dish. Best of all, the easy applesauce muffins come together with just one bowl and about 10 minutes of prep. Serve them with a cup of coffee, a mug of mulled cider, or a cold glass of milk, and watch your family smile!

Applesauce Pumpkin Muffin on a small white plate

One Bowl Applesauce Pumpkin Muffins

Hands-down, these are the best pumpkin muffins you’ll ever taste! I simply tweaked our favorite pumpkin bread recipe by reducing the sugar, adding some natural sweetener and moisture in the form of applesauce, and adjusting the baking time and temperature for the smaller muffin cups. The end result is a bakery-style treat that all of my boys adore! The tops of these easy pumpkin muffins rise nice and high, while the inside stays moist and tender. They’re simple, quick, delicious, and freezer-friendly. Everything that an applesauce muffin should be!

Why This Pumpkin Muffin Recipe Works

The key to a nicely-balanced, moist pumpkin muffin with a light, tender crumb is just the right amount of pumpkin puree paired with just the right amount of oil and applesauce. Too much oil, butter, applesauce or pumpkin and the muffins turn out dense, heavy and gummy. Too little oil, butter or pumpkin and the bread turns out dry, crumbly and flavorless. It’s a delicate balance, and this recipe gets it just right for perfectly moist, fluffier muffins every single time!

Can I use applesauce instead of oil in muffins?

Yes and no. Applesauce adds moisture to muffins and other baked goods, which can replace some of the oil called for in a recipe. Omitting all of the oil, butter, or other fats and replacing them entirely with applesauce, however, will yield an undesirable gummy, rubbery texture. Instead, these pumpkin muffins get a hefty dose of moisture from the pumpkin and applesauce, but still maintain that necessary fat with ½ cup of oil. It strikes the perfect balance between a light, fluffy texture and moist, rich crumb.

Front shot of applesauce muffins on a tray with more on a stand in the background

Ingredients

  • Sugar: just enough for sweetness
  • Vegetable oil: for moisture; you can substitute with canola oil or even melted butter
  • Eggs: give the muffins structure
  • Canned pumpkin puree: just the unsweetened 100% pumpkin — not a pumpkin pie filling.
  • Applesauce: adds sweetness, moisture, and flavor to the muffins; sweetened or unsweetened will work; I prefer a thicker variety to yield a thicker batter if you can find it (this homemade recipe is ideal)
  • Vanilla extract: for more flavor
  • Baking soda and baking powder: the leavening agents that help these muffins rise high!
  • Salt: just enough to balance the sweetness and add flavor
  • All-purpose flour: for even healthier muffins, swap out half of the all-purpose flour for 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger: all of the classic warm spices that you love in an easy pumpkin muffin recipe!

Batter for applesauce muffin recipe in a bowl

How to Make Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

We’re making these easy applesauce muffins with just one bowl and about 10 minutes of prep!

Process shot showing how to make the best pumpkin muffins

 

  1. Stir together sugar, oil and eggs.
  2. Add pumpkin, applesauce and vanilla.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda, baking powder, and salt over top. Stir until well blended.
  4. Sift in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger. Combine, but don’t over-mix.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among 12 standard-size muffin cups. Sprinkle coarse sugar on top.
  6. Bake in a 375° F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Close up front shot of applesauce pumpkin muffins on a serving tray

Serving Suggestions

Offer the muffins for a quick grab-and-go breakfast on busy mornings (just pull one from the freezer and reheat it in seconds); pile some in a basket as a part of a special brunch buffet; set out a few with a glass of milk for an afternoon snack; or even enjoy them as a side dish with dinner.

Pumpkin muffins are delicious at room temperature, or even better when served warm. They’re best with a smear of soft butter, a dollop of jam or homemade honey butter, or even spread with almond butter or peanut butter. Don’t forget a cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk!

Healthy applesauce muffins cut in half on a plate

Storage

Pumpkin applesauce muffins are a perfect make-ahead breakfast or snack because they just get better as they sit overnight and the flavors come together. Allow the muffins to cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Thaw frozen muffins on the counter overnight or in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, just until warmed through.

Applesauce Pumpkin Muffins Recipe Variations

  • Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffins: replace half of the all-purpose flour with 1 cup of whole wheat flour.
  • Nuts: stir in 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Raisins: add 1 cup of raisins to the batter
  • Cranberries: add 1 cup of sweetened, dried cranberries (such as Craisins), or try fresh cranberries for a tart pop of flavor.
  • Chocolate chips: 1 cup of chocolate chips added to the batter takes these easy, moist pumpkin muffins over the top!
  • Mini Muffins: Divide the batter between mini muffin tins. Bake the mini muffins in 350° F oven for a total of 14-16 minutes.

Tray of easy pumpkin muffins with glass of milk in the background

Tips for the Best Pumpkin Muffins

  • You only need 1 cup of the pumpkin puree — do not use an entire can.
  • Make sure that you use a can of 100% pure pumpkin puree, which is different from canned pumpkin pie filling. The pure pumpkin puree is unsweetened and doesn’t include any spices or other seasonings.
  • I recommend using either canola oil or vegetable oil. You want a neutral oil that will not flavor the bread, so don’t use olive oil. Feel free to substitute with melted butter if you prefer.
  • Use a thick applesauce to produce a thick, rich muffin batter. I like this homemade recipe, but store-bought applesauce is fine, too!
  • Sift the flour to avoid any big clumps in your batter.
  • Be careful not to over-mix the batter. You want it to come together so that everything is combined, but then stop stirring! Mixing too much will result in dry, dense muffins.

Front shot of the best applesauce muffin recipe cooling on a wire rack

More Muffin Recipes to Try

Applesauce Pumpkin Muffin on a small white plate

Applesauce Pumpkin Muffins

5 from 7 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings 12 muffins
Calories 242 kcal
Sweet, moist, warmly-spiced Applesauce Pumpkin Muffins come together with 1 bowl and just 10 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • Optional, for topping: coarse sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, stir together sugar, oil and eggs. Add pumpkin, applesauce and vanilla. Sprinkle baking soda, baking powder and salt over top. Stir until well blended.
  • Stir in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger; be careful not to over-mix.
  • Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle coarse sugar on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean.

Notes

  • You only need 1 cup of the pumpkin puree -- do not use an entire can.
  • Make sure that you use a can of 100% pure pumpkin puree, which is different from canned pumpkin pie filling. The pure pumpkin puree is unsweetened and doesn't include any spices or other seasonings.
  • I recommend using either canola oil or vegetable oil. You want a neutral oil that will not flavor the bread, so don't use olive oil. Feel free to substitute with melted butter if you prefer.
  • Use a thick applesauce to produce a thick, rich muffin batter. I like this homemade recipe, but store-bought applesauce is fine, too!
  • Sift the flour to avoid any big clumps in your batter.
  • Be careful not to over-mix the batter. You want it to come together so that everything is combined, but then stop stirring! Mixing too much will result in dry, dense muffins.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffinCalories: 242kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 249mgPotassium: 99mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 3217IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: applesauce muffins, easy pumpkin muffins, pumpkin muffins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This post was originally published in August, 2017. It was updated in January, 2021.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

    1. Hi, Cindy! Yes, ma’am! I would use 2 1/2 teaspoons of the pumpkin pie spice in lieu of all of the other spices. Hope you enjoy!