Applesauce zucchini muffins are a classic zucchini muffin that's lightly sweetened, with a hint of cinnamon. Shredded zucchini and applesauce make these muffins moist and soft - perfect for breakfast or snacking!
Zucchini bread is usually the first recipe you think of when you have an abundance of garden zucchini. Applesauce zucchini bread is my go-to recipe - this bread turns out moist, tender, and perfectly sweetened. It's so good, I had to try making it in muffin form!
These applesauce zucchini muffins have a classic zucchini bread flavor. Shredded zucchini and applesauce make these muffins exceptionally moist and tender. Just enough sugar is added to make them lightly sweetened, with a hint of cinnamon.
Applesauce zucchini muffins are perfect for snacking or a quick breakfast on the go. Try warming them in the microwave for a few seconds, then adding a slather of butter on top.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need one cup of finely grated zucchini for this recipe. Do not drain or squeeze the liquid from your zucchini. This liquid adds moisture to your muffins. Shredded zucchini should be lightly packed into your measuring cup. For this recipe, you'll need about 1 medium or 1.5 small zucchinis.
- Unsweetened applesauce - Can be substituted with sweetened applesauce if needed - this will make your muffins a little sweeter.
- Sugars - Granulated sugar and brown sugar add sweetness and moisture to your zucchini muffins. As written, these muffins turn out lightly sweetened. For sweeter muffins, add an extra ¼ cup of granulated sugar.
- Vegetable oil - Adds moisture to your muffins. Canola oil or light olive oil can work in a pinch.
- Eggs - Add moisture and structure to your muffins.
- Vanilla extract - Adds depth of flavor to your muffins.
- All-purpose flour - Adds structure to your muffins. I have not tested this recipe with other types of flours, so I don't suggest making any substitutions. Baking is an exact science, and altering main ingredients can change the density and texture of your muffins. Instead, search for a recipe that includes the flour you'd like to use.
- Leavening agents - This recipe uses both baking soda and baking powder. They cannot be substituted for one another - you'll need both to get the proper amount of lift.
- Spices - Cinnamon and salt add depth of flavor to your muffins. Salt enhances the flavor without making your muffins "salty". Cinnamon can be substituted with a spice blend like pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice for a fun seasonal twist.
How much zucchini do I need?
This recipe calls for 1 cup of finely shredded zucchini (do not drain or squeeze any liquid out!). This turns out to be about one medium zucchini (about 8 to 9 inches in length), or 1.5 to 2 small zucchinis (about 6 inches or shorter).
How to grate zucchini for muffins
I recommend shredding zucchini using the small or "fine" side of a box grater. The smaller pieces melt right into the zucchini muffins as they bake.
If you prefer, you are welcome to use the large side of a box grater - this adds a noticeable texture to your muffins.
If you have a food processor with a grating disc, this is a great time-saving way to grate zucchini.
Do I need to squeeze the water out of my zucchini?
No, do not squeeze any water out of your grated zucchini. Once your zucchini is shredded, place it into a measuring cup, then transfer the contents into your muffin batter, including any liquid.
This recipe is written to include the liquid from your zucchini, so leaving it out can result in less moist muffins.
Do I need to peel my zucchini?
No, there's no need to peel your zucchini for this recipe. The skin of the zucchini contains nutrients and fiber that you'd be missing out on by peeling the skin off.
Plus, small and medium zucchini have a tender skin that melts seamlessly into your muffins (as long as you're finely shredding it). Peeling your zucchini only takes extra prep time and is unnecessary.
How to store zucchini muffins
For detailed information how to store zucchini bread, check out my full post: How to store zucchini bread
Room temperature - Zucchini muffins will keep for about 3 to 4 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.
Refrigerator - If your muffins are extremely moist/wet, I recommend refrigeration. Muffins will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Freezer - Muffins can be frozen for up to six months. To freeze, wrap each muffin in plastic wrap/foil, then store in a freezer safe container or plastic bag (with excess air removed). To thaw, place on the counter top for 1 hour.
Applesauce Zucchini Muffins
- 1 cup (135 g) finely grated zucchini, do not drain liquid out
- ½ cup (128 g) unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (106 g) brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add finely grated zucchini (do not drain/squeeze any liquid out!), applesauce, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir until evenly combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Divide batter between 12 muffin tins, filling to about ⅔ full. Bake for about 16 to 19 minutes, OR until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with crumbs (baking times will vary based on your oven and type of pan used).
- Transfer muffins to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before unwrapping (muffins/cupcakes will stick to the wrappers if they're still warm).
- Leftover zucchini muffins will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. If your muffins are very moist/wet, I recommend refrigerating.
- Muffins can be frozen for up to 6 months. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap/foil and store in a freezer safe bag or container. Thaw on the counter top for 1 hour.
- There's no need to peel the skin off your zucchini, and no need to drain any liquid from your shredded zucchini. The recipe is written to include this liquid.
- As written, these muffins are lightly sweetened. For sweeter muffins, add an additional ¼ cup of granulated sugar, or use sweetened applesauce.