Pumpkin apple spice muffins

These hearty pumpkin apple spice muffins contain no processed sugar! Molasses, maple syrup, applesauce and apples provide the sweetness in these flavorful breakfast treats. You definitely won’t miss the processed sugar!

One thing I love to do around here is share the things I bake with family and friends. After all, we are only a family of three, so it’s nearly impossible for us to eat all the goodies around here. Well, I know we technically could, but that would not be a good idea. So what I do instead is gift a lot of it to friends and coworkers.

A consistent comment that I’ve received from friends is that the desserts I make are not too sweet. While some desserts are very much laden with sugar, I do try to make some healthier substitutions whenever it makes sense (swapping out oil or butter for applesauce, as an example).

And since I am such a big fan of muffins, this recipe was very appealing to me when I flipped through Joanne Chang’s Baking With Less Sugar cookbook. I loved the fact that these muffins contained no processed sugar and that the sweetness came from the molasses, applesauce and apples.

These muffins seriously tasted like fall. I could taste all the autumn spices and ginger in these wonderfully springy and satisfying muffins. Both Addie and my husband devoured these (Addie ate 2 in one sitting). And we definitely did not miss the processed sugar; in fact, we couldn’t even tell that there wasn’t any in the muffin. The muffins got all their sweetness from the apples, applesauce, maple syrup and molasses.

This is definitely a wonderful muffin that you can try if you are cutting back on sugar.

Pumpkin apple spice muffins

These hearty pumpkin apple spice muffins contain no processed sugar! 
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Breakfast, Muffins
Servings: 24
Author: Eva Bakes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour can substitute half of it for whole wheat to make it slightly healthier
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 Gala or Fuji apple peeled, cored and diced small


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two standard muffin pans and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix together the applesauce, molasses, maple syrup and vanilla and medium speed until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, until each is fully incorporated. Turn the mixer down to low and add the apple juice and pumpkin puree. Beat for about 30 more seconds or until the mixture is well combined. It may appear curdled, but that is OK.
  • Transfer the molasses mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, mix until just a few dry streaks remain. Add in the chopped apples and fold until everything just comes together - do not over mix.
  • Evenly distribute the batter into your prepared muffin pans, filling each well about 3/4 full. Bake in your preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not underbake these or else they will be gummy.
  • Allow the muffins to cool slightly before serving.


Store leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. The muffins will keep for several days. Muffins can also be frozen and thawed.
Source: Barely adapted from Baking With Less Sugar, by Joanne Chang, pages 130-131

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