Rustic Apple Muffins with Crumb Topping

September 20, 2023

Whether eaten for breakfast or dessert, these Rustic Apple Muffins with Crumb Topping are a must-make recipe for fall filled with spices and topped with a dried apple chip.

COOK + BAKE   |   Updataed September 17, 2023

Apple is one of the classic flavors of the fall season.

Is there anyone who doesn't enjoy some hot cider, home-baked apple pie, or caramel covered apples during the autumn months?

These Rustic Apple muffins are a perfect way to start your fall morning. Pair it with a cup of hot coffee and enjoy them warm straight from the oven slathered with some butter.

And to add to the fall perfection of this apple recipe, your house will smell amazing while the muffins are baking in the oven. The scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple will instantly put you into the mood for fall.

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What Makes These Apple Muffins Special

There are a few things that I think make these Rustic Apple Muffins something better than the ordinary.

  • To make them more like the fancy kind you get in a bakery, I baked the batter in a jumbo muffin pan. You could use a regular sized muffin pan if that is all that you have, though. You'll just have to adjust the baking time because they won't take quite as long.

  • The crumb topping of sugar, butter, flour, and spices adds the right amount of sweetness and crunch to the basic muffin recipe.

  • My favorite part of these muffins is the addition of a slice of apple on the top. It gets crispy from a coating of sugar and cinnamon turning it into something like an apple chip. The small addition really elevates what otherwise is a pretty basic muffin.

  • Finally, while these rustic muffins could certainly be baked in traditional jumbo muffin liners, I chose to make some homemade DIY wrappers using parchment paper and tying them with a little jute twine. Instructions appear further down in the post on how to do this yourself.

What You'll Need

For your convenience, a full ingredients list, directions for making Rustic Apple Muffins with Crumb Topping, and a printable recipe option appear further down in this article. Here is a brief overview of what you'll be needing.

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder and baking soda - both are needed for the rise of the muffin and baking soda helps brown the tops
  • salt
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • unsalted butter - melted and then cooled
  • large egg - room temperature for easier blending
  • granulated sugar
  • buttermilk
  • applesauce - I prefer Musselman's or another brand that doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup. The applesauce replaces the need for as much butter while providing more apple flavor.
  • apples - you'll need some peeled and grated, as well as some thin slices for the top

You'll also need additional softened butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the topping.

How to Make

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, let's make some muffins!

Start by preheating your oven to 375°F. Spray the inside of the cups of a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and then add the muffin liners or homemade parchment squares into each.


  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Set it aside.

  • In a separate bowl, stir the cooled melted butter, room temperature egg, sugar, buttermilk and applesauce together. Then fold in the freshly grated apple.

  • Pour about a third of the flour mixture into the egg and stir with a wooden spoon, add another third and stir, then the final third and stir just until combined. Mix just until you no longer see flour.

  • Drop the batter into the muffin cups using a cookie scoop if you have one or an ordinary spoon will do.


  • Mix the butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together with a fork or pastry blender until everything is crumbly. The mixture should resemble damp sand when it is ready.

  • Sprinkle the crumb topping over each muffin and then top with a thin slice of apple. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon and sugar to coat the apple slice.

Bake the muffins for 22 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

After you remove the muffin tin from the oven, sprinkle the tops with a little more cinnamon and sugar. Allow them to cool in the pan for five minutes before removing to a wire rack. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container when cool.

How to Make DIY Muffin Wrappers

If you'd like to add a homemade touch to your rustic muffins, you can make these DIY Muffin Wrappers instead of using ordinary muffin liners. They are so easy. Here's how:

  • Cut squares of parchment paper measuring five inches (for regular sized muffins) and six inches (for jumbo muffins). They don't have to be perfect, but try to cut as straight as possible.

  • Spray the inside of the muffin tin with a little cooking spray, center the square over the hole, and then press the wrappers down into the cup of the pan. You may want to press them down with something that is about the same size as the cup (like a small can of tomato paste) to get them to stick and fold into place.

  • Fill the liners with your muffin batter. Use a cookie scoop to keep things mess free, holding the liner open with one hand while dropping the batter in with the other.

  • Bake your muffins as directed in the recipe and allow to cool.

  • For the final detail, wrap each muffin around the middle of the liner with a little jute twine or baker's twine and tie into a bow.

These homemade liners can be used anytime you make cupcakes, muffins, or anything baked inside of a muffin tin. They add a fancy touch and work well if you start a recipe and realize you are out of traditional liners!


Whether eaten for breakfast or dessert, these Rustic Apple Muffins with Crumb Topping are a must-make recipe for fall filled with spices and topped with a dried apple chip.

Makes 6-8 jumbo muffins



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup of fresh apples, peeled and grated
  • thin slices of apple


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


STEP 1: Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray the cups of a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and add the muffin liners.

STEP 2: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside.

STEP 3: In a separate bowl, stir melted butter, egg, sugar, buttermilk, and applesauce together. Fold in the grated apple. Then pour in the flour mixture a third at a time and stir after each addition until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.

STEP 4: To make the topping, mix the ingredients together with a fork or pastry blender until everything is crumbly and resembles damp sand. Sprinkle over each muffin. Then add a thin slice of apple and sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar.

STEP 5: Bake for 22 to 24 minutes. When you remove the tin from the oven, sprinkle with a little more cinnamon sugar. Allow the muffin to cool in the pan for five minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have some questions about making Apple Muffins? Here are the answers to a few that are frequently asked:


I rarely have buttermilk on hand and this recipe doesn't take a lot so you may not want to buy any unless you have another use for it. While I don't think you should omit it as the liquid adds creaminess and tanginess to the muffin, you can make your own substitution at home.

All you will need is milk (I prefer whole, but you can also use 2%) and either lemon juice or white vinegar. The combination of ingredients will thicken and curdle slightly as it sits.

Measure 1 Tablespoon of the vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup and then add in milk to the 1 cup measurement line. Stir together and then let the mixture sit for five minutes before adding it into your other ingredients.

**Since this recipe only needs 1/4 cup of buttermilk, I normally cut the recipe down and have never had a problem. The conversion would be to measure 3/4 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice and then fill with milk to the 1/4 cup line.


If you prefer to make smaller muffins, just use a regular 12-count muffin pan. The baking time will need to be reduced by about 10 minutes. Check the centers for doneness with a toothpick.


Since this recipe doesn't use a lot of apple, you can choose whatever type you'd like or have available. Choose something tart like a Granny Smith or sweet like Pink Lady, Fuji, or Honeycrisp. As you can see from the pictures, I chose Red Delicious because it is what I had on hand.


The Rustic Apple Muffins are best enjoyed the day that they are made or can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.

Freezing is a great idea if the recipe makes too many for you to eat in that time frame. They can be frozen in an airtight container or zip top bag for up to 3 months. The crumb topping may not stay the same, but they will still be good to eat.

Thaw at room temperature before eating. You many want to pop them into the microwave or heat in a low-temp oven for 5 to 10 minutes for a warm version.

Whether paired with a cup of coffee for breakfast or alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert, these Rustic Apple Muffins with Crumb Topping are a must-make recipe for fall (or anytime of the year).

More Apple Recipes You Might Like to Try

CINNAMON CRUSTED FRENCH TOAST WITH CARAMELIZED APPLES - Another stellar recipe for a fall breakfast.

OATMEAL APPLESAUCE COOKIES WITH GOLDEN RAISINS - Apple twist to the traditional oatmeal raisin cookies

APPLE BUTTER PIE - The look and consistency of traditional pumpkin pie, but filled with an intense apple custard filling.



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