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Apple Cupcakes

These apple cupcakes are favorites every fall in our household. They are like eating an apple cobbler in cupcake form.
Apple Cupcakes

I make my apple cupcakes with brown sugar and load them up with fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves.

I also always add lemon zest to my apple desserts as it brightens up the flavor and gives them a little zing!

Which are the Best Apples to Use in Apple Cupcakes?

Apple Cupcake Ingredients

I like to use tart apples that hold their shape. I don’t want apple mush in my cupcakes; I want recognizable apple bits.

Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious apples are all great choices, but there are so many others that will also work well.

Tip: There is no need to peel the apples before use in apple cupcakes. I don’t peel them in my apple crumble pie, either!

How to Frost Apple Cupcakes

Over the years, I’ve experimented with lots of different frosting recipes for my apple cupcakes.

Vanilla cream cheese frosting and a caramel drizzle is a classic choice. That’s the recipe I share in this post.

Cream cheese frosting is always a win for me, but if you prefer buttercream, try my vanilla buttercream frosting.

Apple Cupcakes

One of my favorite ways to frost apple cupcakes is with pumpkin frosting (shown below). I make that using actual pumpkin pie!

Apple cupcakes are also wonderful with a crumb topping. When you make them that way, you can actually serve them for breakfast and call them apple muffins.
Apple Muffins

For some other fall recipe, frosting, and decorating ideas, take a look at my favorite fall cupcakes!

Why Do Cupcakes Peel Away from the Liners?

Apples cut this size may cause the liners to pull away from the cupcakes.

If a big piece of apple is right up against the liner, it won’t stick to the liner in the same way that the cupcake batter would and the liner will peel away.

You can avoid this by cutting the apples into smaller pieces.

If you like the big pieces, as shown in the image above, you can hide the fact that the liner peeled away by:

Can You Use Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream?

substituting yogurt for sour cream

This recipe uses sour cream. The sour cream gives the cupcakes a subtle tang that enhances their flavor while also adding more dairy/fat to the recipe.

If you don’t have sour cream in the house, I’ve done extensive testing and found that yogurt works perfectly as a substitute for sour cream.

You could even use flavored yogurt as a recipe twist!

Apple Cupcake Recipe

Apple Cupcakes

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Apple Cupcakes
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4.75 from 52 votes

Apple Cupcakes

Apple cupcakes with chunks of apples and fall spices topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple cupcake, apple cupcake recipe, vanilla cream cheese frosting
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 500kcal
Author Stef


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound apples roughly chopped and loosely packed, about 2 1/2 cups chopped apples

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
  • Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until blended.
  • Mix in flour mixture a little bit at a time until just combined.
  • Fold in apples.
  • Divide batter evenly among 12 cupcake liners (they will be filled almost all the way to the top).
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the vanilla.
  • Mix in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time until fully combined.
  • Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.


You can experiment with different sizes for the apple pieces. If you like chunks of apples in your desserts, cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. You can also cut them into smaller pieces or matchsticks if you want them more integrated into the batter.


Nutrition Facts
Apple Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 500 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 83mg28%
Sodium 109mg5%
Potassium 167mg5%
Carbohydrates 76g25%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 61g68%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 730IU15%
Vitamin C 1.8mg2%
Calcium 72mg7%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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57 comments on “Apple Cupcakes”

  1. what an amazing combo for a cupcake! they sound DELICIOUS!

  2. These sound great. I went to your facebook page, but didn’t know how to follow you on it. I’m new to facebook.

  3. Stefsays:

    DellaRae – Thanks! Just click the Like button at the top of the Facebook page.

  4. Adriennesays:

    …you have got to me kidding me. There is fruit in it, therefore I can eat these for breakfast. Every. Day.

  5. I’m abandoning all of my work to go make these cupcakes right now…

  6. Anonymoussays:

    I live in new zealand, we only use pumpkin for soup or roasting, also its spring here but cupcakes a grand idea for school lunches. would cream cheese icing (frosting) work? love your blog

  7. hollysays:

    I almost started drooling! Can’t wait to give these a try.

  8. I think I’d make a sweet potato based cupcake with a cinnamon frosting to celebrate the holidays!

  9. Stefsays:

    Anon – Sure, you’d be fine with that.

    Whoops – Michelle, I think you meant to leave that comment on FB.

  10. Alishasays:

    I would make pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes w/ cinnamon pumpkin cream cheese frosting.

  11. Anonymoussays:

    pumpkin cupcakes with carmel cream cheese frosting…

  12. Stefsays:

    Alisha and Anon – I think you meant to comment on my contest on FB. Be sure to leave a comment there.

  13. Clearesays:

    love your blog,love this cupacakes! My blog actually is only in Italian but as soon as possible i’ll translate all my recipe in english!

  14. JehanPsays:

    Yum! probably very delicious but also pretty!

  15. Seriously genius!! pumpkin pie frosting, i can’t get over it hahah. i love combining the best of multiple foods into a superfood!

  16. 5 stars
    Wow, what a combo! I can’t even imagine what it tastes like, but it HAS to be good. Such an autumn-y treat, they look gorgeous!

  17. Colleensays:

    I made these cupcakes last night and they are absolutely delicious. I still need to try them with the pumpkin pie frosting (I will tonight). I’m wondering if it’s normal for the cupcakes to deflate a good amount after taking them out of the oven. Did I take them out too soon?

  18. Stefsays:

    Colleen – Sometimes cupcakes deflate a little bit, but they shouldn’t deflate too much. Did you take them out of the tins right away? That helps them to cool evenly, which might help with that.

  19. eecdsays:

    These were awesome! I just added a cinnamon cream cheese icing to fill the cupcakes and put some candied ginger on the top! everyone loved them

  20. Angelasays:

    5 stars
    Great recipe..I used 1/2 ginger and 1/2 cinnamon with a vanilla cream cheese frosting. My kids loved it!!

  21. Anonymoussays:

    Loved this recipe. I was looking for a way to use some beautiful blackberries I found, so I swapped out blackberries for the apples, pumpkin pie spice for Ginger, and paired them with your sour cream frosting with the vanilla paste. I topped it off with a sprinkle of high end cinnamon and more fresh blackberries. The effect was like blackberry cobbler with classy vanilla ice cream. Fantastic! I’ll bet it would be great with any fruit.

  22. 5 stars
    This is quickly turning into my favorite recipe to play around with. After the blackberry I mentioned above, I wanted to try again with the pumpkin pie topping. In my mind, I was thinking about pumpkin bread with chocolate chips in it. So I swapped out the lemon extract for 1 tsp vanilla, Ginger for 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and in stead of apples I added a cup of chocolate chips. Topped with pumkin pi and a few sprinkles of mini chips. They were unbelievably good. Now you’ve got me wondering what other sorts of cream pies I could use instead of frosting… hmm

  23. Kaitlynsays:

    5 stars
    I just made the cupcakes and they are the best cupcakes I have ever had. I am in cupcake heaven right now. I love these so much and i haven’t even frosted them yet. they are DELICIOUS!

  24. Sandy Michnicksays:

    I am exicted to make some of these… is the brown sugar packed?


  25. Jessica Keysays:

    5 stars
    I just made these cupcakes yesterday, and they are delicious! I’m making them for my son’s first birthday (for the adults), and now I can’t wait to see what everyone else will think of these… perfect for fall, my favorite time of year!! Thanks for the recipe!

  26. Lydiasays:

    Is the taste of the sour cream noticeable in the end result? For some reason, I’ve never really liked the taste. If it is, is there something that could be used to replace it?

  27. 5 stars
    Thank you for this cupcake! It comes out wonderful every time I make it.I use your brown sugar frosting instead of the pumpkin (my boyfriend doesn’t like pumpkin). I highly recommend this cupcake :-)!

  28. Sherrisays:

    5 stars
    I have a longstanding love affair with cupcakes and was browsing the internet looking for some good fall recipes when I happened to stumble onto your blog and the recipe for the apple cobbler cupcakes with pumpkin pie frosting. I LOVE THESE! I have made three batches in as many days and anyone I talk into trying one adores them as well. Thanks so much for such a great find; you have definitely gained a new follower and I look forward to seeing what else your blog has to offer!

  29. Carynsays:

    These sound amazing! What type of apples do you recommend? Can’t wait to try!

  30. Gloriasays:

    5 stars
    These sound delicious…and addictive. Perfect for dessert, or with my afternoon latte. Apples in season are the BEST…and I know my grandkids would love these after school too.

  31. Carolynsays:

    5 stars
    Dang, girl. Those look like the perfect fall treat!

  32. Aprilsays:

    5 stars
    I love this cupcake, it’s sooo good! I love how many variations you’ve made with it, too. I need to try each and every one.

  33. 5 stars
    Every version of these apple cupcakes sounds amazing – that pumpkin frosting combo sounds delicious. And I love huge chunks of fruit in baking!!

  34. Dinisays:

    5 stars
    You’re right, this is absolutely everything yummy about Fall in cupcake form! :) Love the pumpkin frosting too, definitely trying these soon!

  35. Ellensays:

    I’d love one of these cupcakes with a cup of coffee!

  36. Sonalsays:

    5 stars
    So many apple recipes and this is one of those must save and must try.. looks amazing.

  37. Marisasays:

    5 stars
    These look so perfect for fall!

  38. Katiesays:

    5 stars
    Apple anything this time of year makes me happy, but cupcakes make me extra happy! This is an amazing recipe!

  39. 5 stars
    Wow! I feel like I can’t lose with all of the extra information you added based on reader questions! I think that I’m a classic Apple with vanilla cream cheese and caramel drizzle kind of girl. However, I do like the idea of a doing a crumb too and calling it breakfast!

  40. Lisasays:

    5 stars
    These apple cupcakes are positively glorious! I’ve made apple spice cake using applesauce before, but I’ve never made cupcakes with real apple bits before. Love that idea and bonus that you don’t have to peel the apples. I think the cream cheese frosting is for me, though I’d be happy to taste test all of them (for quality purposes)… But what is that wonderful drizzle you have on top of the cupcakes? Caramel? Cider reduction?

  41. Rachael Yerkessays:

    These are so good!

  42. Karasays:

    5 stars
    These sound like a perfect fall cupcake, and I’m a fan of anything with cream cheese frosting! I’d love them with chunks of apple, but my kids would definitely prefer them grated.

  43. 5 stars
    These look SO pretty! Love the caramel drizzle and apple garnish on top!

  44. Shadi Hasanzadesays:

    5 stars
    I love apple cupcakes, these look so tasty and I can’t wait to make them!

  45. Lydiasays:

    5 stars
    Such a delightful cupcake! I love how flavorful it is and the apple pieces help them stay nice and moist. Delicious!

  46. Tracisays:

    5 stars
    I don’t usually eat sweets for breakfast, but you have me wanting one of these right now after reading through this post. YUMMM! I’m kind of intimidated by cupcakes because I want them to turn out perfect (who doesn’t?), but that doesn’t always happen. This recipe looks like a good one for that. I love the spice combo you used, and of course that sour cream seals the dealio for me. Thanks for sharing this one with us! Pinning now! :)

  47. 5 stars
    I love the flavors in these apple cobbler cupcakes. They are great for a fall teat and the frosting is just delicious! These are a great treat to bring to an autumn party!

  48. 5 stars
    Oh these look perfect for an upcoming party we have. Fall flavors in something unique! Honeycrisps are my favorite and I LOVE the addition of lemon zest.

  49. Tinasays:

    5 stars
    I love the idea of eating these in cupcake form. I think it would be great for breakfast on the go. Perfect for a morning fika. Definitely going to have to try this1

  50. Marisa Francasays:

    5 stars
    I love all the spices you use in the apple cupcakes. Now is such a great time to make apple desserts and cupcakes are always a favorite. And your topping is the perfect finish to the delicious dessert.

  51. Donnasays:

    5 stars
    Oh my, these sound amazing! My kids have been asking to make apple cupcakes all Fall – I think these will more than satisfy the craving!

  52. Debrasays:

    5 stars
    First let me just say that those are the most professional looking cupcakes EVER. Every frosting option you list sounds delish…I don’t know which to pick!! The cupcakes look so moist with those apples. Can’t wait for the weekend to give these a try.

  53. Elizesays:

    5 stars
    This bake looks so sophisticated and the wrapper makes it look even more smart I would really like to give this a test as apples are a favorite ingredient for baking in our home I am sure I will be a star! Thanks for sharing…

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