These gluten-free dairy-free muffins are made with applesauce and a cinnamon sugar swirl for a perfect breakfast sweet. They are fluffy and moist and are pretty simple to make.
Be sure to check out my full list of dairy-free, gluten-free muffin recipes including my grain-free banana blueberry muffins, gluten and dairy-free sweet potato muffins, gluten-free cranberry orange muffins and my favorite zucchini, carrot, apple muffins.
But what is the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? That has always be a burning question for me. Muffins a little less sweet? Yes, sometimes. But really the biggest difference between a muffin and a cupcake is frosting! So make these as muffins or turn them into a gorgeous dessert with cinnamon frosting, sautéed apples and a drizzle of caramel.
Gluten-Free Flour Blend
I developed this recipe using King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour. King Arthur is widely available and the most affordable option I have found. Be sure to check out my collection of King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour recipes. Cup4Cup and Pamela’s All Purpose Artisan Blend will work well too. All of these are certified gluten-free and contain binders. If you use a flour blend that includes xanthan gum, guar gum or inulin (binders) omit the 3/4 tsp called for in the recipe.
With all the options for ready-made gluten-free flours, I prefer to use a DIY blend. My custom flour blend of sorghum, millet and brown rice flours creates a wonderful crumb and awesome flavor.
Here is my special flour blend that I love for this recipe and many more of my gluten-free recipes:
- 1 c sweet white sorghum flour
- 3/4 c millet flour
- ¼ c brown rice flour
- 2/3 c potato starch
- 1/3 c tapioca starch
See the notes in the recipe for a more simple DIY gluten-free flour blend or my post the best gluten-free flours for baking.
The cinnamon swirl is a simple blend of cinnamon, brown sugar and salt. The salt creates a nice balance with the sweet brown sugar and spicy cinnamon. To flavor these muffins from top to bottom, the cinnamon sugar is layered in with the batter and swirled.
An easy way to add apple flavor and bonus moisture is by using apple sauce. It adds just a hint of apple that is the perfect complement with the cinnamon swirl in these gluten-free, dairy free muffins.
Gluten-Free Dairy Free Muffins – Variations
- Add the zest of one orange for a fresh pop of citrus! Don’t know what zest is? Here’s my quick video on how to zest citrus.
- Add ½ c chopped dried fruit like tart cherries. cranberries or raisins.
- These muffins are perfect with a simple powdered sugar vanilla icing or even an orange icing. Mix 6 Tbsps powdered sugar with 2 1/2 tsp water or orange juice and a 1/8 tsp vanilla extract.
- For a lower sugar icing, try my Icing without Powdered Sugar which uses coconut cream as the base.
- Turn these muffins into a showstopper dessert with cinnamon frosting. Add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to my vanilla buttercream frosting recipe.
- Take it another step further and top the frosted cupcakes with sautéed, sweet apples and vegan caramel sauce or a drizzle of maple syrup. To make sautéed sweet apples: dice 1 apple into 1/4″ pieces and sauté in butter for 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbsps maple syrup and agave and simmer for 2 minutes. Done!
- Or one of my favorites, to add crunch, top the frosted cupcakes with my sweet and spicy candied pecans.
- Or just go for it and do it all! Frosting, sautéed apples, candied pecans and a drizzle!
For more gluten-free muffin recipes, check out my gluten-free blueberry muffins and my cinnamon crumb topped gluten-free banana muffins. Or for muffins that are filled with veggies and fruit but don’t taste like it, try my Zucchini Carrot Apple Muffins, gluten-free of course.
Gluten-Free Dairy Free Muffins with Cinnamon Swirl
- 1⅔ c gluten-free flour blend*
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp xanthan gum omit if your blend contains it
- 1 c unsweetened applesauce
- ⅓ c oil
- 3 eggs
- ⅔ c sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 c dried fruit like tart cherries cranberries, raisins, apples (optional)
Cinnamon Sugar Swirl
- ⅓ c light brown sugar
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- Combine all of the dry ingredients (flour thru xanthan gum) in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the applesauce, oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla together until smooth.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir until smooth. Stir in the dried fruit if using.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and let the batter sit for 10-15 minutes. This step will make a big difference in the rise of these muffins. They will rise higher and hold the rise better when cooled, if you can give the batter some time.
- While the batter is resting . . .
- Line the muffin tin with paper liners and . . .
Make the cinnamon sugar swirl
- In a small mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Be sure to break up all of the chunks of brown sugar.
Pan & Bake the Muffins
- Use a scoop or tablespoon to drop around 2 Tbsps batter into each liner.
- Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon sugar on each one.
- Fill all the liners about 3/4 full and top each one with another 1/2 tsp cinnamon sugar. Use a toothpick or the tip of the handle of the spoon to swirl the cinnamon sugar.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top springs back from a gentle tap.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. See above for topping suggestions.