Filed under: Fall / Muffins / Quick Breads
September 30, 2021

Apple Cider Muffins

These bakery style apple cider muffins have a soft, moist texture inside and a giant crunchy dome top. Fresh cider, grated apple and ground cinnamon make these the best apple muffins ever. 

5 from 7 votes
Yield: 6 jumbo muffins
Jump to recipe
apple cider muffins

These bakery style apple cider muffins have a soft, moist texture inside and a giant crunchy dome top. Fresh cider, grated apple and ground cinnamon make these the best apple muffins ever. 


apple cider muffins

How to make Muffins Bakery Style 

Bakery muffins are popular for their size and big, crunchy, fantastical tops. To make bakery style muffins you’ll want to use a jumbo muffin pan and jumbo liners. 

To get the coveted domed muffin top you’ll want to rest the batter for at least an hour before baking. To get it to be nice and crunchy use raw sugar, also called Turbinado sugar. This sugar is minimally processed and has big granules which are perfect for getting a golden crunch on muffins, pie crusts and breads. 


What is apple cider? What is reduced cider? How to reduce fresh Apple Cider? 

Apple cider is unfiltered apple juice. Where apple juice is clear and has had most of the solids removed from it, cider is cloudy, darker and over time will ferment (if you’ve ever had a bottle expire in your fridge you may have noticed the bottle swelled up. 

Reduced cider is fresh cider that has been cooked to remove a lot of the liquid. Usually you’re left with a thick, dark syrup that is stronger tasting. You can buy boiled cider online but homemade is much cheaper. 

To reduce cider you simply boil it in a deep pot for about an hour until most of the water has evaporated. You can add mulling spices to infuse it with more flavor (dried orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc.). 


apple cider muffins

This post is sponsored by Sugar in the Raw. All opinions are my own.

Ingredients for Apple Cider Muffins 

Apple cider: importantly this is not apple cider vinegar and it’s not apple juice. Apple cider is unfiltered apple juice and it’s available september-december in the US and sold cold.

Butter: I haven’t tried substituting the butter in these with an oil (which generally goes better with fruit bakes) but if I were to I’d try canola oil and probably go down to ⅓ cup. Dairy-free or vegan butter should work well here. 

Brown sugar: Light or dark. Don’t use coconut or organic brown as both of these lack moisture and will dry out the muffin. 

Apple: I use a large granny smith apple for these. If yours are particularly small then use two so you get enough moisture from them. It doesn’t have to be a granny smith but should be the kind of apple that bakes well (anything that works in apple pie). 

Buttermilk or kefir: Either of these will work here, they keep our muffin nice and tender. 

Cinnamon: Apple cider’s best friend! Use as much or as little as you like but don’t omit it. 

Flour: All-purpose flour. If you wanted to go for a whole wheat variety use white whole wheat flour so that the muffin doesn’t get too dry. 

Turbinado Sugar: Raw sugar which is golden and has large granules. I used Sugar In The Raw for mine, it’s unbleached and rich in natural molasses. 

How to make Apple Cider Muffins 

  1. Reduce some fresh cider (turn juice into a syrup). 
  2. Grate an apple. 
  3. Beat together butter & sugar. Beat in eggs.
  4. Fold in the rest of the ingredients. 
  5. Let the batter rest. 
  6. Pour into muffin cups, top with sugar and apples (if desired).
  7. Bake! 

FAQ on Apple Cider Muffins 

What kind of apple should I grate? 

Anything that can go into an apple pie will be good to grate. Granny smith is my chosen apple for these muffins but you can also use pink lady, gala, honeycrisp or golden delicious. 

What kind of cider should I reduce? 

Fresh, in season apple cider. The apple variety itself doesn’t matter really but some are more flavorful (check your local farmer’s market). 

Can I make these ahead of time? 

The batter needs to rest for a bit before these are baked so you can make them in the morning and then pop them into the oven an hour later or you can leave it in the fridge overnight and bake them the next day. 

Can I make these in a regular sized muffin tin (rather than a jumbo)? 

Yes, they’ll bake at the same temperature but for less time. Check them at 18 minutes. Fill cups ⅔ of the way full. 

What is Turbinado Sugar and where can I find it? 

Turbinado sugar is a ‘raw sugar’ that is minimally refined. It’s coarse with big golden granules and doesn’t melt very quickly so it’s a great sugar to use on muffins.  


Recipe for Apple Cider Muffins 


Apple Cider Muffins

Bakery style apple cider muffins have a soft, moist texture inside and a giant crunchy dome top. Fresh cider, grated apple and ground cinnamon.
apple cider muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 6 jumbo muffins
5 from 7 votes


  • ½ cup butter 113g
  • 1 cup brown sugar 210g
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour 250g
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1 large granny smith apple grated (about 150g after grating)
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons buttermilk or kefir 100g
  • ¼ cup reduced apple cider 75g from about 2 cups fresh apple cider
  • Turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top


  • Reduce 2 cups of fresh apple cider by boiling it in a pot on medium high for about 45 minutes to an hour. Toward the end it will bubble and foam up but keep going until it looks thick and dark (but also, don’t burn it!). You may end up with more than you need for this recipe but don’t use any more than the ¼ cup.
  • In a medium sized bowl beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and cinnamon for at least 5 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla, cider, buttermilk and grated apple and stir. Add the flour and baking soda and powder and beat to just combine.
  • Cover the bowl and let the batter sit at room temperature for an hour, alternatively set it in the fridge overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin and fill each cup ⅔ of the way with batter. Sprinkle a teaspoon of turbinado sugar over the top. If you like, you can add thinly sliced apples on top. Bake until the top springs back when pressed (for jumbo muffins about 30 minutes for standard size about 20).

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Recipe Reviews

  1. My apple cider boiled for about 20 minutes and then burned my pan up. I did 2 cups on high in a saucepan. Wonder what I did wrong?

  2. 5 stars
    These were so good!! Really nice apple flavor. I made them standard size and the ones I filled higher got a really good dome. Definitely would not skip the turbinado sugar and apple slices on top, they definitely added a lot to the recipe. Also, my cider concentrate kinda congealed after I took it off the stove and I was worried about it being weird in the final result but you couldn’t even tell once they were baked.

  3. I have taken to using the technique of quick 5 minutes in a hot oven after which the temperature is lowered for the remainder of the time. I get wondeful domes every time. For a recipe that calls for a 18-20 minutes bake @ 400, I bake @425 for 5 minutes and lower to 350 for another 15 minutes or until the muffins test done. I have also often made the batter the day before and overnight it in the ‘frig. I never realized that resting helps the rise. Finally, I make muffins often and love using the tall sided tupip parchemnt baking cups. It allows me to fill the wells with a bit more batter for a higter dome as well.
    I can’t wait to try this recipe. My mouth is watering already. Thanks for sharing. I love your site, recipes and creativity.

  4. 5 stars
    So yummy!! I added fresh cranberries and walnuts to mine and used a standard size tray (cause I didn’t have a jumbo one). The turbinado sugar is a MUST. I found that I could have filled my muffin tins a little bit higher—maybe 3/4 full instead of 2/3–cause only the fullest ones got that nice dome. I’m excited to eat these for breakfast… and maybe also lunch ?

  5. 5 stars
    These are just divine. They come together very easily for how beautifully tender the crumb is and how complex the flavours are. I don’t usually like Granny Smith but I stuck with it and it does something wonderful with the boiled cider.

    If you do opt for apple slices on top, maybe sugar the muffins before laying the apples down, and don’t be shy. I wish I’d used more…being generous with the sugar creates crunch and browning.

    I definitely recommend these. Get in the autumn mood before winter overtakes!

  6. 5 stars
    These are absolutely delicious! I went out and bought a jumbo sized muffin pan specifically for this recipe and I’m glad that I did! My family members were huge fans of this recipe as well, and we all enjoyed how moist and filled with fall flavor these muffins are. I used a local Honeycrisp for the grated apple, and subbed half the AP flour for whole wheat pastry flour, and they turned out beautifully. My brother particularly loved the crispy sugar domes!

    One small note regarding the recipe: it says to add the vanilla in two different steps, both when creaming the butter and sugar and when adding the other wet ingredients. To clarify, which step should it be added? Since it’s just vanilla extract, I’m assuming that it doesn’t matter much as to when; I added it during the creaming step.

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    Made these and they were pretty spot on. Just some words of advise, they will go from perfectly baked to burnt in two mins. I made them in cupcake tins and got 22 of them. I used a granny Smith but I think a more flavorful apple could have worked better but I hate granny smiths so that’s probably a me issue. I only wish it would have had a crumble topping. Super easy to follow recipe was able to get the batter done in 20 mins, the longest part was the resting. I baked mine for 18 mins at 400 but they could have come out at 16 when I originally checked them.