Enjoy all of the flavors of Fall with this small batch of Apple Pumpkin Streusel Muffins. This is an easy recipe for soft muffins made with two of Fall’s most popular ingredients – Pumpkin and Apple! The muffins are full of fresh apple chunks and finished with a sweet apple streusel topping.
recipe updated September 2021
Apple Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
If someone were to ask you, ‘what flavors come to mind when you think of Fall’? Do you immediately go to pumpkin? Probably some pumpkin spice. And I’m hoping apples! At least – these are the flavors that come to mind for me. So, why not put them all together in a delicious baked treat.
These Apple Pumpkin Streusel Muffins combine two of Fall’s most popular ingredients – Pumpkin and Apples. Which seems fitting since Fall is apple harvest season and pumpkins are the epitome of Halloween and Thanksgiving. The two flavor pair harmoniously as pumpkin has a sweet earthy flavor and apples provide even more sweetness, a little tart, and a great texture when baked.
Small Batch of Fall Muffins
This is a small batch recipe for 4 tender and moist muffins. Oh geez – there is that word again – ‘moist’. But, these muffins are just that. They are also tender and delicate – the complete opposite of a brick of muffin you may find sitting on a store shelf. So what makes these muffins moist:
- Sour cream – Sour cream does two things in these muffins: It keeps the muffins moist, and it tenderizes the muffins to make them soft.
- Brown sugar – There is an amount of moisture and molasses in brown sugar, which adds to the moisture content.
- Pumpkin puree – Pumpkin puree has a lot of moisture in it.
- Fresh apples – The apples will release some of their own moisture when baked.
And as with most of my small batch recipes – it is easy. There is nothing better than making a recipe full of exciting layers of flavor, and have it ready in less than 30 minutes. Bottom line – this muffin recipe is easy and quick.
What Kind Of Apples Should You Use Apple Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
The million dollar question. And I’m sure you would get about a million different responses. Ok – probably not that many, because I don’t think there are that many varieties of apples.
My response to that question is – use an apple you like to eat. For this recipe (and most of my apple recipes), I use Honeycrisp apples. It also helps that they are in season in fall. And as the name implies, they are sweet and crunchy.
Of course there are some baking purist out there that will insist on using a tart and crunchy apple – like a Granny Smith. Problem is – you will never see me walking around munching on one, so I’m likely not going to use it in my bakes. Though – I will say they come across sweet when baked in a luscious apple pie.
Do The Apples Get Soggy When Baked In A Muffin
No. There is still a bit of a bite with the Honeycrisp apple in these muffins. Partly because they are a firmer apple. Partly because we are not pre-cooking the apples before they go in the batter.
And along those line – I don’t peel my apples either. Again, another area where you may get a variety of opinions. That said – if you want to peel your apples, by all means make them the way you like!
What You Need To Make Apple Pumpkin Muffins
- Fresh Apple – You only need about 1/2 of one apple for this recipe. I use Honeycrisp apples because they have a delicious balance of sweet and tart, and they retain texture when baked. However, use any apple you prefer!
- Pumpkin Puree – Pure pumpkin puree in a can, and not pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling has extra sweeteners and ingredients we don’t need for this recipe.
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Soda
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Sour Cream – I recommend full fat sour cream.
- Brown Sugar – I used light brown sugar as dark brown sugar may have too much moisture. And I didn’t want a molasses flavor to overpower the apple and pumpkin.
- Granulated Sugar
- Egg Yolk
- Vanilla Extract
- Unsalted Butter – For the streusel topping
- Cupcake/Muffin Pan
- Cupcake Liners
- Mixing Bowls
Tips For Making Apple Pumpkin Muffins Streusel Muffins
- Use any apple you like – I used Honeycrisp, but any apple you like to eat will work.
- Peel or don’t peel the apples – Whether or not you peel the apples is entirely up to you. It is all personal taste preference.
- Chop the apple into small cubes – Since the muffin is a smaller vehicle to deliver the apples, we want the apples to be in smaller chunks so they fit in the muffin!
- Dice some of the apple a little smaller – You will reserve a little of the apple to dice into even smaller pieces – these will be used for the streusel topping.
- Make sure it is pumpkin puree – We use canned pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has extra ingredients added that we don’t need.
- Don’t overmix the batter – Overworking the batter causes more gluten to form, which will almost guarantee a rubbery and dense muffin.
- Use a cookie scoop – Using a cookie scoop to portion the batter into the cupcake liners is an easy way to add equal portions, and less mess!
- Pile on the streusel! – It may seem like you are putting a lot of streusel on the muffins, but it bakes down quite a bit, and we want to make sure we have a good ratio of streusel to muffin in the end!
- Start the oven temperature hot – Starting with a hot ovens sets off a rapid rise in the batter. Steam is quickly produced which gives the muffins rise, and the leavening agents to start working immediately. Both result in the classic ‘muffin top’. Then we turn it down after a few minutes to allow the muffins to cook evenly and thoroughly.
Common Questions For Making Apple Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
I have not tested a larger batch, and I can’t say for certain how they would turn out.
Any apple you like to eat is my recommendation. I like Honeycrisp because they have a sweet and tart balance, and they retain texture when baked.
You don’t have to peel the apple. In fact, this is entirely up to you and your preference on how you like your baked apples. I like to keep the skin on for texture.
Starting with a hot ovens sets off a rapid rise in the batter. Steam is quickly produced which gives the muffins rise, and the leavening agents to start working immediately. Both result in the classic ‘muffin top’. Then we turn it down after a few minutes to allow the muffins to cook evenly and thoroughly.
Keep in mind there is butter in the streusel. Don’t be alarmed if you see a little melted butter on the outside of your muffin liners.
The muffins should stay tender and moist for a couple of days covered at room temperature. Beyond that, they will likely start to dry out.
Good observation! I was determined to get the recipe down to 4 muffins from 5. Additionally, the texture and flavor have been improved with the addition of sour cream and apple juice.
More Fall Apple and Pumpkin Recipes
- Easy Apple Biscoff Crisp
- Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread Minis
- Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing
- Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Whipped Ganache Frosting
- Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts
Apple Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
- 1 – Muffin/Cupcake Pan
- 1/2 cup fresh apple, cut into small cubes - I used a Honeycrisp apple. Dice about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons smaller to reserve for the topping
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon pure canned pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon apple juice - or orange juice or water
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes - cold butter
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon - or pumpkin pie spice
- pinch salt
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons diced apples - reserved from above
- In a small mixing bowl, add the flour, butter, both sugars, salt, and ground cinnamon. 'Cut' the butter into the flour using a fork or your fingers, until you have small pea size pieces of streusel. Stir in the reserved diced apples. Tip – With this amount of streusel, it is easier to use your fingers to mix the streusel.
- Refrigerate the streusel topping until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 425F degrees and adjust oven rack to the middle position. Line the muffin/cupcake pan with 4 muffin liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl add the sour cream, pumpkin, juice (or water), both sugars, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix (with a fork) until combined and smooth. Stir in the remaining apple cubes.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the batter just until no dry streaks remain. Do Not Overmix The Batter – Otherwise the muffins will turn out dense and chewy.
- Evenly scoop the batter into the prepared muffin liners. Top each muffin with equal portions of the streusel topping. Tip – Using a cookie scoop to equally portion the batter into the muffin cups makes it much easier!
- Bake at 425F degrees for 5 minutes. The quick time at high heat makes the muffin tops puff up. Then reduce the heat to 350F degrees and bake for an additional 10 to 11 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
- Cool the muffins in the pan set on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the muffins to the wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
- Pumpkin – Depending on the brand, canned pumpkin can have different names, but is the same thing: Pumpkin Puree, Pure Pumpkin, 100% Pumpkin, Organic Pure Pumpkin. Just be sure it is not Pumpkin Pie Filling.
- Small Batch Size Baking Equipment – Check out my Resources page for baking tools that are helpful when making small batch recipes. For example – odd size measuring spoons, and ‘shot glass’ mini liquid measuring cups.