Caramel Apple Buttermilk Muffins

Have you noticed? I’ve been trying really hard the past few weeks to savor the season. I’ve been tempted to plunge into all the fun Fall recipes I’ve been seeing in magazines, flyers and the myriad I’ve been pinning on Pinterest. But I’ve been good, knowing that you were still up to your ears in zucchini and tomatoes and that corn, peaches, nectarines and raspberries, etc were still abundant and very reasonable at the market.

But then it happened, out of the blue. My husband came home from work one day with a crisp, red-blushed, shiny, fabulous looking apple. And that was all it took! Before I knew it, I was dicing, mixing, stirring and dolloping out muffin batter and my oven was doing a happy dance as it was preheating (after feeling a bit neglected all summer long).

Caramel Apple Buttermilk Muffins - What a winning combination! They rise up tall and high and are topped with a delicious buttery cinnamon crumble.

 I tried a new recipe from a cookbook I’d recently ordered. A new recipe is always a little scary, but when these beauties rolled out of the oven, I almost squealed with delight. They rose up tall and high with beautiful golden domes covered with lots of buttery cinnamon crumble and shards of lovely apple sticking out here, there and everywhere. The aroma was completely intoxicating and the first bite, well, let’s just say that all who partook (my official taste-testers) were quite smitten. There were “wows” and “mmmmmms” and “oh my goodnesses” and sentiments like “these are crazy good!”.

Caramel Apple Buttermilk Muffins - What a winning combination! They rise up tall and high and are topped with a delicious buttery cinnamon crumble.

 It’s the muffin recipe one dreams of (okay maybe just the dreams of crazy cooks like me), easy to throw together, not temperamental, very adaptable, delectably tender, super moist and fabulously delicious. Need I say more?  If you want to get into the spirit of Fall in a very delightful way, whip up a batch of these Caramel Apple Buttermilk Muffins. But one warning: just be sure to close the windows tightly, unless you want the neighbors lined up down the front walk and up the street wiping drool off their chins.

P.S. If you don’t like “muffin tops” on your muffins (I can’t help you with your jeans) see this Blueberry Muffin post for a neat trick on how to always have beautiful dome-topped, perfect muffins. You just have to promise to ignore the photos, it was me taking the pictures and not my very talented photographer (aka husband, Scott).
We laugh frequently and say that, if I did the photography for the blog, no one would EVER come back for a second visit. BUT, if Scott did the cooking, no one would EVER come back for a second visit either. I guess you could say we’re quite symbiotic!

UPDATE: I got so many comments and emails about this recipe. Most people loved them and had great results but there were a few who had some trouble with them. I pulled the post till I could re-test it. After testing, I did tweak this recipe just a bit to make it better and more user friendly, but it’s back now and definitely one of our favorites. 

Caramel Apple Buttermilk Muffins
What a winning combination! They rise up tall and high and are topped with a delicious buttery cinnamon crumble.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 16
  • For the streusel topping:
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • ⅓ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • For the muffins:
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour (you may need a bit more, if the batter is too wet)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¾ cups coarsely chopped peeled* apple
  • For the caramel icing:
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  1. In a bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients. With your fingers, combine until you have a crumbly mixture. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. and line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda); set aside. In another bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, and egg. Once combined, stir in the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Gently mix in the apple*. If the batter seems to thin, add a tiny bit more flour. The batter should be fairly stiff. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups dividing it equally.
  5. Divide the streusel topping equally among the muffins.
  6. Lower the temperature to 350˚ F. and bake for 20-25 minutes. When the muffins are done, they will spring back when lightly pressed. Otherwise, test the muffins by inserting a toothpick. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove them and let cool for 15-20 minutes on a wire rack before drizzling with caramel icing.
  7. While muffins are baking, prepare drizzle mixture. Combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a medium size microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir well and return to microwave for 15 seconds.
  8. Add vanilla. While stirring, add powdered sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Mixture should drizzle easily, but should not be super 'runny". Add a bit more milk or powdered sugar to adjust thickness. Drizzle over cooled muffins.
* I like to leave about ½ cup of the apple unpeeled and reserve it. I stick these pieces into the batter after filling the muffin tins. It give the muffins a pretty look.

Adapted from The Best of BetterBaking by Marcy Goldman

87 thoughts on “Caramel Apple Buttermilk Muffins”

  • Umm! Ummm! Made these using honest to goodness real un-homoginised buttermilk that I buy at the farmer’s market, thick and flavourful like the buttermilk of my childhood, not the thin excuse now sold in supermarkets! I will use this recipe as the base for all my fresh fruit muffins, with minor adjustment to showcase the whatever fruit I use… mango, papaya, pineapple, berries, whatever is in season here in Costa Rica. There is always an abundance of fresh produce year round. My husband is still licking his chops! As I served it with a fruit salad I did not use the caramel drizzle.

  • Perfect timing to stumble upon this recipe. Can’t wait to get home tonight and use the remaining Macs I picked a week ago. Yum!!!

  • Was looking for a recipe to use up some buttermilk and came across this recipe. So glad I did! Made a batch this afternoon and they turned out wonderfully. Will definitely be making them again, now that it is apple season.????

  • After searching for just the right apple muffin recipe, I found this and baked them the other day. They are possibly the best muffins I have ever made. I followed the recipe exactly (not something I normally do), but it paid off. My husband took them to work and he had colleagues emailing him telling him how great they were. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • I just made these and love caramel and apples. They don’t quite look like yours ????. They kinda spread. Should I have added more flour or refrigerated the dough? I did add some xtra flour let me you said but maybe not enough. And the crumble kinda made holes in the top while baking. I did refrigerate the crumble before I put it on the unbaked muffin.

    • Hi Kimm,
      It’s always hard to say. Ovens, altitudes and even flours vary a great deal. It does sound like you probably needed more flour. The crumble may have made holes because the batter was too loose. Again, I can’t say for sure.

    Here it is 5-22-16 and we here in Sparks NV woke up to 38 degrees , so what better to bake for Sunday breakfast than your crazy yummy muffins! Delicious a million times over!!!! THANK-YOU!

  • Just baked these — so good. I had a half cup flour ready to add if needed. Batter was a little thin so I used it to coat the apples. Also made 22 cupcakes — next time I plan to add another small apple so hope to make 24 cupcakes. I used Granny Smith apples cut small and they did fine. I used caramel sweetened condensed milk — it was too thin and it tasted more like butterscotch to me. Will use recipe icing next time. Also added 1 tsp cinnamon to batter.

  • I tried these out and found that they didn’t rise properly. I always mix my ingredients together first then gently fold in the baking powder last so you dont mix as much. My mother always said you put your baking powder last.

    • Hi Caryn, so sorry you had trouble with these. I’ve baked for a zillion years and never heard to add the leavening agent last. It’s so interesting to learn other’s tips for cooking and baking. I haven’t had any trouble with these rising though. They are always high and domed, not sure why you had this problem. Again, sorry.

  • Hi! these look great!
    quick question, are they made with light or dark brown sugar?
    A quick reply will be appreciated.

  • Great recipe! I tried them on my family…needless to say they didn’t last long. I love to cook, but my son is my worst critic. Partly because his taste buds are still developing. But he devoured these! I had some trouble making the icing. I could not get rid of the gritty texture of the sugar. Any tips?

    • Hi Cassie, I”m so happy you enjoyed them and that your son gave them the thumbs up! If the icing is gritty I would just add a bit more milk and microwave it longer – try 30 more seconds then stir really well.

  • These look fantastic. I would love to make these for our church cafe but they would need to be made ahead and frozen . Do you think freezing and thawing them would affect the glaze, would it run off?

    • Hi Pam, I think these would be fine frozen. They didn’t last long enough at my house to freeze but I do freeze muffins like this all the time and they come out great. ENJOY!!

  • Bum er, my oven must be running hot – mine came out basically done at 15 minutes and slightly burnt with 5 hi Ute’s at 350. Too bad 🙁

  • I have made these twice and they are amazing! The second time I was out of buttermilk and used skim milk and honestly you couldn’t even tell. Thank you for sharing them. I also used honey crisp apples this time and braeburn last time. Both worked well.

    • Oh thanks for letting me know, I’m so happy they turned out so well for you! That’s good to know that you don’t have to use buttermilk, thanks!

  • Could you please tell me what kind of apples are best.Planning on making them in the morning.They look AMAZING.!!!!! Can’t wait to taste them.

    • Hi! I like to use Golden Delicious, Gala, Braeburn, Honey Crisp or Pink Lady when I make muffins. Any good baking apple that’s not too firm. I love Granny Smith apples but not for these as their baking time is quite a bit longer. Hope that helps! Have fun!

  • These came out delicious but didn’t look nearly as pretty! I won’t fill them to the brim next time- because my tops didn’t puff up nicely, but rather spread all over. Only thing I changed was adding 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the batter and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Tasted yummy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *