Lightly sweet with mellow hints of coconut and vanilla, these cinnamon-dusted whole-grain applesauce muffins are delightful.

These muffins may not look like much but trust me when I say they are taaaaaasty.

Remember the applesauce oat muffins from almost exactly two years ago? The ones that are also a little shy in the looks department but judging by the 200+ positive reviews are a great lesson that it’s what’s on the inside that counts?

A muffin with a bite taken out getting cinnamon and sugar dusted on top.

Well, today’s cinnamon and sugar dusted muffins are similar…but different, too. Heavy on the unsweetened applesauce, light on the sugar and oil, the slightly sweet, tender muffins are baked and then brushed with tiny bit of coconut oil (or butter) and dusted with a hint of cinnamon and sugar.

And all I can say is, it is impossible to eat just one. The first time I made them, I had to go back for more, just to make sure they really could be this delicious when whole grains and healthy-healthy were in full force. Quality control and all that.

A sugar-dusted muffin in a white liner with apples in the background.

Official disclaimer: please keep in mind that despite my raving reviews these muffins do not taste like a donut. Or a cupcake. Or a fluffy bowl of cotton candy. Or…well, you get the picture.

They taste like a really yummy, lightly sweet, healthy-ish muffin. If you are just starting down the road of incorporating whole grains into your baking, you might try using half whole wheat/half all-purpose flour to start and increase the whole wheat flour gradually with subsequent batches.

I prefer baking with white whole wheat flour – it’s lighter and less dense than hard red wheat (there’s more info in this whole wheat tutorial) but has nearly the same nutritional content and it tends to sub pretty well for all-purpose flour in many baking recipes.

A cinnamon and sugar dusted applesauce muffin with a bite taken out.

Phew. I feel better now that we’ve gotten that out of the way.

I’m excited about these babies and hope you are, too. I’ve been packing them in lunch boxes, making them for after school snacks and I even froze a batch last week to open up as part of a quick breakfast.

Basically, what I’m saying is – these muffins already have a permanent place with us.

As with all really great muffins, remember not to overmix the batter. Doing so spells death (harsh but true) to all the muffins of the world that deserve to be light and fluffy.

I have a quick video tip coming tomorrow, complete with my faithful 3-year old assistant, to show exactly how much (or rather, how little) to mix muffin batter, which is especially important for 100% whole grain muffins like these.

I’m done talking. Now go make some applesauce muffins!

A cinnamon and sugar dusted applesauce muffin sitting on a white muffin liner.

Cinnamon and Sugar Dusted Applesauce Muffins

4.60 stars (27 ratings)


Muffin Batter:

  • ¼ cup (57 g) butter or coconut oil, melted
  • cup (71 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (170 g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ½ cups (213 g) white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • 1-2 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups (lightly grease the muffin liners with nonstick cooking spray – since the muffins are low in oil, it will help them not stick to the paper liners).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter or coconut oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and applesauce. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet batter, mixing just until combined – it will look slightly lumpy; that’s ok and better than overmixing which can cause the muffins to be dry and dense.
  • Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes until the tops spring back lightly and the muffins are baked through; don’t overbake or again, the muffins can be dry.
  • Remove the muffins from the tin and let them cool completely. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. When the muffins are cooled, brush the tops with a bit of the melted butter or coconut oil and then immediately sprinkle lightly with the cinnamon and sugar (you may not need to use all of the cinnamon/sugar topping).


Muffin Size: I evenly portion out the batter to all 12 muffin cups which makes for slightly shrimpy muffins (not super tall). You could probably scoop the batter evenly into just 10 of the cups if you want the muffins a bit higher/larger (or double that batch and go for about 20-22 muffins).
Whole Wheat Flour: I am almost always using freshly ground whole wheat flour which is quite fluffy right out of the grinder. If using whole wheat flour that’s been compacted (storebought or from the freezer after being ground), fluff it up VERY well before measuring if you don’t have a scale to double check exact amounts. This post talks a little more about measuring flour accurately.
Serving: 1 Muffin, Calories: 147kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 186mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 10g

Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe after my friend, Heather, told me I needed to make them immediately (I healthified and lightened them up a bit, decreasing sugar, oil and using whole grains)