Brown Butter Apple Muffins | Ambitious Kitchen

Oh hey there! It’s your resident Muffin Queen here to bring you a brand NEW muffin recipe that just screams fall.

These tender, perfectly sweet brown butter apple muffins are filled with warming spices and juicy bites of apples, plus the most incredible cinnamon pecan streusel topping. Ever since I shared this Brown Butter Apple Coffee Cake a couple of years back I’ve been dreaming about a super fluffy muffin version. I baked these beauties up a couple of months ago and it was truly love at first bite.

I’ve included easy ways to customize your apple muffins, including how to make them gluten free (because I know you’ll ask!). So remember to scroll through the whole post and notes section to get all of your questions answered. Enjoy these beautiful muffins warm with butter for the best breakfast or snack this fall!

apple muffins in stacks on a plate

What you’ll need to make these brown butter apple muffins

These beautiful apple muffins are perfectly sweet, filled with warming spices, and have an incredible cinnamon pecan streusel on top. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • Flour: we’re using good old all-purpose flour in both the streusel topping and the muffin itself for the perfect texture. See below for a gluten-free substitute!
  • Butter: these apple muffins are deliciously moist and decadent thanks to brown butter. It’s the secret ingredient that makes them extra special.
  • Applesauce: you’ll also need some unsweetened applesauce for extra moisture and apple flavor.
  • Sweetener: we’re sweetening these muffins with a little brown sugar and pure maple syrup.
  • Apple: we’re also mixing a chopped apple right into the batter, of course! I like to use a honeycrisp apple, but feel free to use any firm, sweet apple you like.
  • Spices: every bite tastes like fall thanks to the cozy spices! You’ll need cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and a little salt.
  • Baking staples: don’t forget the baking powder, baking soda (yes, both!) and vanilla extract.
  • For the streusel: that gorgeous streusel topping is made with flour, chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter. OBSESSED.

mixing batter for brown butter apple muffins

Customize your apple muffins

There are a few swaps I can recommend to make these apple muffins your own. Here’s what I suggest:

  • Make them gluten free: simply use an all-purpose 1:1 gluten free flour in place of the regular flour.
  • Make them dairy free: use a vegan butter (I like Miyokos) instead of regular butter. Do not attempt to brown the vegan butter, simply melt it instead and use it in the recipe as directed.
  • Make them a little more nutritious: use up to 3/4 cup of white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour in place of the all-purpose flour.

mixing batter for an apple muffins recipe

Learn how to brown butter

As I mentioned, the brown butter adds a rich, nutty, absolutely delicious flavor to these apple muffins. Learn how to make brown butter here, plus get all of my tips and tricks!

unbaked apple muffins with a crumble topping in a muffin tin

How to make the best apple muffins

  1. Make the streusel topping. Start by mixing together the ingredients for the streusel topping, pouring in the melted butter last, and stirring it all together with a fork to create nice crumbles. Refrigerate the topping until you’re ready to use it.
  2. Brown your butter. Add the butter to a saucepan or skillet over medium heat and whisk it until it’s a nice deep amber color and smells nutty. Set it aside to cool before adding it to your muffin batter.
  3. Make the muffin batter. Add all of your wet ingredients to a large bowl and mix until they’re well combined, then do the same in a separate bowl for your dry ingredients. Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until just combined. Stir in the brown butter last, then fold in the apples!
  4. Top, bake & enjoy. Divide the batter into a muffin tin lined with muffin liners (I also recommend spraying the muffin liners!), sprinkle the streusel on top of each muffin, and bake. Cool and enjoy as is or with a little butter!

homemade apple muffins on parchment paper

Don’t forget these muffin-baking tips

  • Use room temp ingredients. Be sure your brown butter is cooled before using it and bring your eggs to room temperature so that they do not coagulate with the butter. Simply run your eggs under warm water for a few minutes to bring them to room temp.
  • Don’t overmix the batter. Mix the dry ingredients into your wet ingredients until it’s just combined. If you overmix the batter your muffins may turn out dense and almost rubbery, which we don’t want.
  • Use muffin liners & spray. I recommend spraying your muffin liners with a bit of cooking spray to prevent any sticking.

brown butter apple muffin with a bite taken out

How to store and freeze homemade apple muffins

  • To store: store the apple muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, then I recommend storing them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • To freeze: wrap the muffins individually in freezer-safe bags or store them in a large freezer bag. When you’re ready to enjoy them, reheat them for 30-45 seconds in the microwave or simply thaw them at room temperature.

Our fav tools for baking muffins

Don’t forget to check out all of our favorite kitchen essentials.

homemade apple muffin on a plate with butter

More muffin recipes you’ll love

Get all of my muffin recipes here!

I hope you love these brown butter apple muffins! If you make them, be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!


Brown Butter Apple Muffins with Cinnamon Pecan Streusel

apple muffin with a bite taken out

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

Serves12 muffins

Beautiful brown butter studded apple muffins made with with chunks of juicy apples AND applesauce! A touch of brown sugar, maple syrup and a crunchy cinnamon pecan streusel will have you coming back again and again! And the apple muffins stay moist for days! Make these, you won’t regret it.


  • For the topping & streusel:
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup finely chopped raw pecans
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • Wet ingredients:
  • cup salted butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar (or sub coconut sugar)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dry ingredients:
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour (or sub gf all purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Mix-ins:
  • 1 medium honeycrisp apple (or another firm & sweet apple), peeled, cored and roughly chopped into ¼ inch pieces (about 1 cup chopped apple)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners and spray the inside of the liners with nonstick cooking spray. This will prevent sticking.

  • First make your streusel topping: in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add in the melted butter and stir together with a fork until it begins to form into crumbles and resembles clumps of wet sand. You may need to use your hands/fingers to form into nice thick ‘crumbs’. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use.

  • Make your brown butter: add ⅓ cup butter to a large saucepan or skillet and place over medium heat. The butter will begin to melt, crackle, and then eventually foam. Make sure you stir constantly during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown and turn a nice golden amber color on the bottom of the saucepan, this usually happens right when it foams. Continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Set aside until cool enough to touch, about 5 to 10 minutes.

  • In a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until well combined: applesauce, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

  • In a separate medium bowl: whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined; do not overmix. Finally stir in the brown butter until well incorporated, then fold in the chopped apples.

  • Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin liners, then evenly sprinkle the streusel on top. Bake for 23-28 minutes or until the tester comes out of the middle clean. Allow muffins to cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan before removing and transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy muffins warm with butter. Makes 12 muffins. Store muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days, then transfer to the fridge for up to 1 week or freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe Notes

To make gluten free: use an all-purpose 1:1 gluten free flour.
To make dairy free: use a vegan butter (I like Miyokos) instead of regular butter. Do not attempt to brown the vegan butter, simply melt it instead and use in the recipe as directed.
To make these a little heartier (and a little more nutritious!), use up to 3/4 cup of white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour in place of the all-purpose flour.


Serving: 1muffinCalories: 232calCarbohydrates: 31.2gProtein: 3.8gFat: 10.6gSaturated Fat: 5.5gFiber: 1.5gSugar: 11.5g

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