Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes (paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

These moist spiced applesauce cupcakes (or muffins) are grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and have the most amazing maple almond butter frosting!

I did it – I turned in the manuscript! Thank you all for not abandoning the blog (and me!) I thought that when I finished, I’d be so sick of baking that I’d need at least a few days off. But instead, I’ve just been so glad to bake what I want, whenever I want, that I’ve been baking all kinds of goodies for the blog! I’ve missed blogging, reading other blogs and life in general. So happy to be back. :)

Maple syrup sweetened grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes with Maple Almond Butter Frosting

Before pumpkin mania takes over, I have one more apple recipe to share! I attempted some grain-free apple bars which didn’t want to work and after that drama, I just wanted something easy. So I took this apple butter cake I made last year in 6-cup bundt pan, which most people don’t seem to own, and because I know people are going to make it with applesauce instead of apple butter, I thought I’d better see if that actually works. I increased the almond flour just a little to make up for the extra moisture in the applesauce and added extra spice to make up for the loss in the apple butter.

These applesauce cupcakes could just as well be called muffins. Is there really a difference in texture between grain-free cupcakes and muffins made with almond flour and coconut flours? I’ve never noticed any, though it could just be the recipes I’ve tried. I topped them off with this maple cinnamon almond butter glaze frosting kind of thing which I’m putting on everything nowadays. It’s heavenly. Just don’t be like me and not let it chill enough before topping your cupcakes. If you let it firm up in the refrigerator like you’re supposed to, it won’t run that much. And the cupcakes and the frosting are both completely maple syrup sweetened and aren’t that sweet at all.

Grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes with Maple Almond Butter Glaze – completely maple syrup sweetened!

If you look at that first picture and wonder if these sink in the middle – they don’t! I knew that the cupcakes had to sit for a while (they’re not so good straight from the oven), but I dug a little hole out of the top for a taste, anyway, thinking I’d be able to cover it up. Apparently I don’t pay attention to anything when taking pictures, because I picked the one cupcake that had a gaping hole in it. Womp womp. Enjoy the cupcakes! Or muffins if you want to eat them for breakfast. :)

If you prefer something without coconut flour, check out this Applesauce Snack Cake, which uses oat flour and almond flour. It looks great!

Grain-free, Gluten-free and Dairy-free Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes

Rated 4.9 by 8 readers
Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes (paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 12


    For the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup (66 grams) coconut flour, sifted if lumpy
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablepsoons (81 grams) almond flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 7 tablespoons (98 grams) coconut oil, melted1
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (116 grams) unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the frosting glaze:

  • 1/4 cup (67 grams) almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons (19 grams) coconut oil, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • up to 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients (coconut flour through salt) in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix together the wet ingredients (eggs through vanilla) in a large bowl.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the wet one and stir until combined.
  5. Divide the batter among the liners and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. These don't have the best texture straight from the oven. I recommend giving them at least 8 hours before eating.
  7. To prepare the frosting, in a small bowl, stir all the frosting ingredients together, and place in the refrigerator to firm up, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
  8. I recommend removing the liners so that you don't lose any frosting to the liner should it run down the sides. Place 1 1/2 teaspoons of frosting on top of each cupcake. It will slowly spread across the cucpakes, so don't spread it all the way to the edge. Place the cupcakes in a container or on a clean surface in case the frosting runs.
  9. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  1. I used refined coconut oil, which has no coconut taste. If you use unrefined coconut oil, there may be some coconut flavor.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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39 comments on “Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes (paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)” — Add one!

  • Patti says
    October 3, 2023 @ 3:49 pm


    I love all your recipes. I need to know if I can sub xylitol for the sweetner and bobs red mill 1 To 1 baking mix. I’m out of the other flours. These look so good I’m dying to make them today.

    Also Congrats on your book.

  • Jen
    April 30, 2023 @ 11:41 pm

    These spiced applesauce muffins turned out delicious! We were very pleased with the results…The spice and mild sweetness and so moist.

    • Jen
      replies to Jen
      April 30, 2023 @ 11:42 pm

      We made them without the frosting…they were perfect plain! Thank you so much!

  • Bella says
    September 27, 2018 @ 11:00 pm

    What’s a good substitute for nut butter? I have somebody who is allergic to all kind of nuts, as well as soy :/

    • Erin replies to Bella
      October 2, 2018 @ 8:13 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing your question! Sunflower seed butter is a great sub. :)

    • Michelle Sullivan
      replies to Bella
      May 20, 2019 @ 5:49 pm

      Sooooooo delicious! They are our favorite dessert. I cut mine in hslf & add a bit of butter & its like eating a piece of heaven ❤️ Thank u so much for the recipe!

      • Erin replies to Michelle Sullivan
        May 23, 2019 @ 12:56 pm

        You’re so welcome! I’m really glad that you enjoyed them so much. :) Thanks for your feedback!

    • Mindy Fogel
      replies to Bella
      July 16, 2019 @ 3:13 pm

      Oh my God – these are our very favorite muffins nowadays. I use “flax eggs”to make the recipe vegan, and I skip out on the frosting because they are so amazing even without it. Thank you Erin!

      • Erin replies to Mindy Fogel
        July 23, 2019 @ 6:59 pm

        You’re welcome! I’m really glad that you liked them. :) I’m surprised that the flax eggs worked well! I think I tried chia eggs and it made the texture strange. Thanks for your feedback and sorry for my slow reply!

        • Mindy Fogel replies to Erin
          July 23, 2019 @ 9:10 pm

          I also think that chia eggs make the consistency of cake batters odd, but I find that flax eggs using golden flax seed work really well :)

        • Erin replies to Mindy Fogel
          July 29, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

          Oh, interesting! I hadn’t heard about that before. I’ll give it a try! Thanks. :)

  • G says
    October 19, 2016 @ 8:45 pm

    These taste absolutely amazing! And I am not a huge fan of coconut, but I used cream cheese frosting on top, and it made the coconut taste go way down, and just gave it a really nice extra touch!

    • Erin replies to G
      October 20, 2016 @ 7:47 pm

      Oh yum! Cream cheese frosting is my very favorite. :) I’m happy you enjoyed the cupcakes! Thanks for your feedback.

      • G
        replies to Erin
        October 23, 2016 @ 2:49 am

        Anytime! I’m making them again right now! And thank you for all the amazing recipes you share! It is hard to keep a gluten and dairy free diet with all the amazing sweets every ware… but you make it so much easier! And I am actually making the food instead of just going out and buying something quick and easy.

        • Erin replies to G
          October 23, 2016 @ 4:56 pm

          I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying the GF / DF recipes. :) And that’s awesome that the recipes make things easier for you. Yay! Thanks for your nice comment.

  • Jennifer says
    February 24, 2016 @ 12:31 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! I have already made these muffins twice and they will become a common snack for me to have on hand when I am craving something baked and sweet.


    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    • Erin replies to Jennifer
      February 24, 2016 @ 9:06 pm

      Awesome! I’m so happy that you enjoyed them so much. Thanks a ton for your feedback! :)

  • Cathi says
    October 31, 2014 @ 3:09 am

    Hi Erin! I made these last week for one of my friends turning 97 and they were a big hit. Just put another batch in oven tonight to share tomorrow with friends. I did use apple butter both times and left out the additional almond flour–also added some chopped apple this time. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe!

    • Erin replies to Cathi
      October 31, 2014 @ 11:23 pm

      I loved reading that you made these for your friend’s 97th birthday. :) I’m so happy that they turned out well! And awesome that you liked them enough to make a second time. Thank you so much for the feedback. :)

  • Kelly says
    October 10, 2014 @ 7:14 pm

    These sounds awesome. I will definitely be trying them at some point. Congratulations on submitting the manuscript!!!

    • Erin replies to Kelly
      October 11, 2014 @ 8:26 am

      Thanks, Kelly! And I hope you’ll enjoy the cupcakes. :)

  • Rose | The Clean Dish
    October 6, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

    Yay! Welcome back, Erin! Great recipe. Nom nom nom.
    I can’t wait to get a copy of your book – I am so excited for you!!

  • Kim
    October 5, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

    Always looking for healthy recipes for my family. Easy to make and everyone loved them. This one is a definitely a keeper!

    • Erin replies to Kim
      October 5, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

      I’m so happy that you and your family enjoyed them! Thanks so much for letting me know how they came out. :)

  • Charlotte Moore
    October 4, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I know it has been a labor of love but a stressful time I am sure. How exciting when you see the finished product and hold it in your hand.

    Thank you for allowing me to be a recipe tester. I had fun and the family enjoyed the benefits.


    • Erin replies to Charlotte Moore
      October 5, 2014 @ 3:23 pm

      Thanks for your kind message, as always! It was difficult but I’m sure it’ll be super exciting when I get to hold the book in my hand. :) Thanks again for all your help!

  • Carla says
    October 3, 2014 @ 1:57 pm

    Making ’em!

    • Erin replies to Carla
      October 3, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

      I hope you’ll enjoy them!

  • Melissa @ Bless this Mess says
    October 3, 2014 @ 5:04 am

    These look perfect and congrats on turning in your manuscript! That is such a big deal!!

  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl says
    October 2, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

    I am drooling over this!

  • sam @ PancakeWarriors says
    October 2, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

    congrats on the manuscript! Love the abundance of flavors in these! And that frosting. Yum!!

    • Erin replies to sam @ PancakeWarriors
      October 3, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

      Thanks, Sam! :)

      • Patti replies to Erin
        August 11, 2017 @ 9:55 pm

        This sounds amazing. Can you make this in a bread pan or bunt pan. If so what would the temp be and cook time. I can’t wait to make this. The cream cheese icing sounds great also. How would you make this.

        • Patti replies to Patti
          August 11, 2017 @ 9:58 pm

          I also wanted to tell you. I have made your chocolate chip cookies so many times and my neighbors are crazy for them.
          Thank for all the great recipes.

        • Erin replies to Patti
          August 12, 2017 @ 8:38 am

          Aww, yay! So happy to hear that. Thanks for letting me know! :)

        • Erin replies to Patti
          August 12, 2017 @ 8:38 am

          Hi! I haven’t tried in a bread pan (and am doubtful that it’d work) but check out the paragraph after the first picture concerning a bundt pan. I’m not sure which cream cheese frosting you’re referring to but I have a recipe here for that – healthier cream cheese frosting. :) Hope you’ll enjoy the cake!

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