Wild Thistle Kitchen: Apple Butter Muffins

Apples are a true sign of fall in Virginia. We are surrounded by so many beautiful orchards and every year we head to one of our favorites and come home loaded with apples, fresh apple cider, kettle corn, and of course — apple cider doughnuts. A few years ago I started making slow cooker apple butter and applesauce and it has become one of my favorite fall traditions. It’s so easy and makes the house smell incredible. This year I decided to come up with some recipes that featured apple butter as an ingredient, and this easy apple butter muffin recipe was first on the list.

These Apple Butter Muffins Come Together in a Flash with a Few Pantry Staples

  • Flour — I like to use regular all purpose or whole wheat pastry flour when I have it but I would be careful using 100% regular whole wheat as it will result in a very dense muffin. You can replace ¼ of the flour with whole wheat but I would not go more than that.
  • Baking powder and soda — for a nice lift and some tenderness.
  • Kosher salt — for balance and flavor enhancement.
  • Cinnamon — to boost that fall flavor and make the house smell amazing.
  • Apple Butter — the star of the show! Use store bought or whip up a batch of my Slow Cooker Apple Butter. If you’re not familiar with apple butter, it’s like a thicker, slightly sweeter and more spiced, concentrated version of apple sauce. Very good to spread on toast as you would use jelly or jam.
  • Light Brown Sugar — For a hint of molasses and a little extra moisture. It was a no-brainer to use brown sugar in this apple butter muffin recipe.
  • Butter — I always use salted but you can swap unsalted here — either is fine. You can also sub an equal amount of a neutral oil if you don’t use or have butter.
  • Eggs — for moisture, structure, and lift. Room temperature is best but I’ve broken that rule more times than I can count, with excellent results.
  • Vanilla — because I love it and it pairs so well with apples and cinnamon.
  • Toppings — very thinly sliced apples (I used the cutest mini apples in these photos) and/or cinnamon sugar make great toppers but these need no adornment and I pretty much just do the toppers for the photos, full disclosure.

My Tried-and-True Muffin Tips and Tricks

I know I sound like a broken record, but I will never stop telling you this: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT over-mix your batter. Lumps are good. Even itty bitty bits of flour still showing is fine. Muffin batter should be lumpy and ugly. Your self-restraint will be rewarded when you bite into a tender, fluffy muffin. If you over-mix you will have a tough, dense, heavy muffin. These apple butter muffins are sturdy already, overmixing will make them very dense.

There are all kinds of tips and tricks on how to get the tallest, most domed muffin tops. I’m not a fan of starting at a higher temp and then lowering. I like to just toss them in the oven and walk away. My trick? Let your batter sit for 20 minutes once you scoop it into the pans. This allows the baking powder to start doing its magic. Use this time to scurry around and clean up the mess you’ve just made and put a pot of coffee on.

My last tip: Don’t over-bake your muffins. I err on the side of underdone as they will have a little bit of carry-over cooking. Around the 15 minute mark, press the tops just lightly with your finger. If they spring back, they are done. If they leave an indentation, give them another minute or so. You can also check with a toothpick; just insert and if you see a few moist crumbs they are done. If you see wet batter, give them a little more time. I found 15 minutes to be just right for these apple butter muffins but all ovens vary.

Tender, sturdy little muffins made with apple butter and plenty of cinnamon – a true taste of Fall and so easy to whip together! Serve warm with butter and extra apple butter. Perfect for breakfast, snacks, and lunch boxes.

 Total Time: 25 minutes

 Yield: 12 muffins 1x


  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 stick, ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the full recipe and instructions go to Wild Thistle Kitchen


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