This Caramel Apple Muffins recipe is a sweet fall treat perfect for a snack after pumpkin picking, apple picking, or just hanging out cozy around the house! These muffins are loaded with fresh diced apples, sweetened with caramel sauce, and spiced with nutmeg, all spice, and cinnamon. A caramel sauce center makes them the ultra caramel apple muffins. They are made even more exciting and kid-friendly by topping with more caramel sauce, walnuts, and sprinkles!
What better way to ring in the beginning of Fall than with lots of warm, freshly baked goodies, pumpkin spice everything, cozy soups, and of course...caramel apples!
Caramel Apple Muffins are a twist on this American classic/start of fall/back to school favorite.
Nothing says it's September better than apples. Whether it's the apple cartoons all over your kids' back to school supplies (or rather this year, your teaching supplies!).
Or the cartons of apples fresh from the orchard that start appearing in grocery stores. September is for apple picking and boy do I hope the orchards around here are open for business this year, safely of course. This year will hopefully be the first time I take my apple-loving barely 2 year old to an apple orchard.
Since we plan to just go once and bring home a ton of apples, I am starting my apple recipe planning. Caramel Apple Muffins are second on the list, right behind these Apple Nachos.
What makes apples so nutritious?
We've all heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and there is a lot of truth to this!
Apples have protein, fiber, and naturally occurring sugar and contain no fat. They are also chock full of vitamin C. They contain the flavonoid quercetin, which has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Apples are rich in pectin too, which helps to lower "bad" cholesterol and regulates the bowel system.
Therefore, apples are thought to protect against chronic diseases, certain cancers, and bowel disorders.
Keep in mind though, that most of their fiber and vitamin C is in the skins. In this Caramel Apple Muffin recipe I remove the skin, but if you'd like to keep much of the apple's fiber and vitamin C intact, leave your apple skins on.
Which apples are best to use in baking?
I like making muffins and breads with sweet red apples, like Galas or Fujis. But, it's your preference as to which apples to use. Here is a handy guide to the most popular apple varieties and the best ways to use them.
This Caramel Apple Muffin recipe uses standard baking ingredients, plus lots of caramel sauce!
- all purpose flour
- white sugar
- baking powder
- all spice
- egg (or flax egg)
- olive oil
- vanilla extract
- caramel sauce (the kind in the jar, not the squeeze bottle)
- diced apples
Plus, you'll need your choice of colorful festive sprinkles and chopped or crushed nuts. Maybe a dash of sea salt for a salted caramel apple muffin!
My favorite apples for muffins are gala or fuji because they are some of the sweetest apples. But use your favorite apples! No apple is wrong to use in a caramel apple muffin recipe.
You can also use apple pie space in place of the nutmeg, cinnamon and all spice. McCormick makes this one and it's my favorite store bought apple pie spice.
Should I use caramel candies or caramel sauce to make Caramel Apple Muffins?
I think caramel apple muffins are best when a jarred caramel sauce is used in the center. Caramel sauce will stay soft and creamy and will not harden like the candies will.
The first time I made these I actually used the caramel candies because I thought it was easiest. You'll see them in my step-by-step pictures below.
But when the muffins cooled in the air conditioned house, the caramel center hardened...and it was pretty hard to eat without that melted caramel center! However, that is solved by simply warming the muffin in the microwave for about 20 seconds or the toaster for 2 minutes.
So technically, you can use whichever you prefer, but I do think it's better to use the caramel sauce.
Making caramel apple muffins is fun and would be a great muffin recipe to get your kids in the kitchen for help! They can decorate the muffin tops with their favorite caramel apple toppings and they'll have a blast doing it! (and eating it)
Here are the steps:
- Mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl, mixing thoroughly to evenly combine everything. Mixing the wet ingredients well here will reduce the amount of time it takes to mix the dry and wet ingredients together. And it's very important not to over mix muffin batter! In a large, separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Do not add the apples yet to either bowl.
- Combine the wet and dry bowls and mix until just combined. Fold in the apples until they are just evenly distributed.
- Add batter to lined or greased muffin cups so it fills them ½ way. Then drop 1 caramel or 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce on top. Cover with more muffin batter, until the cups are filled ⅔ of the way.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes and then decorate with more caramel sauce, walnuts, and sprinkles.
How delicious does that creamy caramel center look?!
Caramel Apple Muffins with Creamy Caramel Center
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cup caramel sauce, divided
- 2 cups apples, peeled and diced
- Preheat the oven to 400° and line a muffin tray or spray with cooking oil.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice.
- In a measuring cup, thoroughly mix the egg, oil, milk, vanilla extract, and ⅓ cup of the caramel sauce.
- Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the apples.
- Fill each muffin cup ½ way to the top. Add about 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce on top of the batter. Add more batter to fill each muffin cup ⅔ to the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If desired, top with caramel topping, nuts, and sprinkles.
I have 2 favorite options for serving Caramel Apple Muffins, especially to guests.
The first is to decorate them beforehand with a few different toppings, like rainbow sprinkles, walnuts, almonds, Halloween or fall themed sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, and other caramel apple toppings that you love.
The second is to not top the muffins with the caramel sauce and fun toppings, but set up a "muffin topping bar", so your guests can choose their own!
If my family is eating Caramel Apple Muffins at home, just us, we simply warm them up for a few seconds, drop some caramel sauce on top, and everyone puts on their choice of sprinkles or nuts.
Store the muffins at room temperature for 3-5 days, if they last that long! You can freeze them for 6 months for longer keeping, as you would any other muffin.
I hope you enjoyed this Caramel Apple Muffin recipe!