Home » breakfast » (For Real!!) ‘Apple’ Muffins 🍏 gluten free & keto

(For Real!!) ‘Apple’ Muffins 🍏 gluten free & keto

These. Are. Pure. Witchcraft! You’re likely not to believe that zucchini can impersonate apples to-a-t, but these (insanely tender!) low carb and keto apple muffins are proof that they definitely can!

Keto apple muffins with maple glaze
Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Muffins with Zucchini

Low Carb & Keto ‘Apple’ Muffins

The Real Deal!

Turns out zucchini might just give apples a run for their money! This is a recipe from our brand new Keto Speedy Comfort Food eCookbook; and tbh, it’s one I’ve been dying to shout from the rooftops! So to celebrate yesterday’s launch, I’m sharing with your guys these legit keto ‘apple’ muffins.

Because even though I know zucchini impersonating apples isn’t a new thing, with a few solid tips and tricks you won’t even need the help of an apple extract! (Which is for instance needed in our apple ‘chayote’ crumble).

And yup! I’m fully aware you guys won’t believe me that these actually taste like apple muffins; no questions asked! But they do, they truly do! Also according to 5 non-keto peeps I fed them to… “Whaaaat?!” was the general answer when faced with the truth: nope, they’re not apple muffins… they’re zucchini impersonating apples-to-the-t!

The Brown-Butter ‘Apple’ i.e. Zucchini!

As I said in the book, my (keto) life will never be the same guys! I’ve always been a big time apple lover and this is just too ideal. Can I say apple pie?!

The essential trick? The acidity punch! You need to be sure to add enough lemon and give the zucchini ample time to absorb the brown-butter lemony juices.

So I cannot recommend enough that you whip up a large batch. Enjoy as is, lightly warm with pecans and Greek-style yogurt (or vanilla ice cream!!)… and of course be sure to make these fabulous muffins. Witchcraft indeed!

A bowl of keto apple zucchini with yogurt
Low Carb & Keto Apple Zucchini

The Sweetener

You’ve got good options here.  Lakanto Golden and Xylitol (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!) are my top choices (no aftertaste at all!).

Pyure is also a good one for muffins and quick breads, particularly if you’re trying to limit your sugar alcohol consumption (it’s added stevia makes it twice as sweet as sugar… i.e. you add half!).

Oh, and if not restricted by sugars, simply sub 1-to-1 with coconut or regular sugar.

If you’re opting for the maple glaze, which comes highly recommended, your best options are again Lakanto Golden (lovely maple notes!) and xylitol. But they must be powdered.

So get your blender out, make sure it’s completely dry, and process your sweetener of choice until powdered. Just make sure you wait a few moments for the dust to settle before opening the blender or food processor.

And if using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup (or kitty!) around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys!

Freshly baked keto apple muffins with zucchini
Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Muffins with Zucchini

The Flours

These keto muffins use a mix of super fine almond flour, psyllium husk, golden flaxseed meal and a touch of xanthan gum.

Just keep in mind that for best texture and rise, you’ll always want to regrind your golden flaxseed meal in a dry blender or bullet. And be sure you’re either using either very finely ground psyllium powder or to regrind your husks!

Oh, and golden flaxseed isn’t the same as normal flaxseed (which results in gummy and dense baked goods).

In terms of brands, for the almond either Anthony’s or WellBees work great and for coconut Anthony’s is my forever favorite. And for the psyllium husk you’ll want to use the NOW brand, as others may stain your muffins purple.

Freshly glazed low carb & keto apple muffins with zucchini
Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Muffins with Zucchini

A Little Preview of Our Cookbook!

Keto apple muffins with maple glaze

Low Carb & Keto Apple Muffins (i.e. Zucchini!)

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free, grain free, keto, low carb
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 muffins
Calories: 221 kcal

You're likely not to believe that zucchini can impersonate apples to-a-t, but these low carb and keto apple muffins are proof that they definitely can!

Oh, and if baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cups for an instant conversion.



For the brown-butter 'apple'

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large zucchini diced (about 300g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice *
  • pinch salt
  • 1-3 tablespoons golden erythritol or xylitol, to taste
  • 1-3 tablespoons lemon juice to taste

For the 'apple' muffins

For the maple glaze (optional)


For the brown-butter 'apple'

  1. Heat up the butter in a skillet or pan over medium/low heat. You want to use a skillet (or wide-base pan) as opposed to a saucepan so the juices get absorbed evenly by the zucchini. Continue to cook the butter for 2-4 minutes until brown in color.

  2. Add in the zucchini, spices, salt and mix everything together. Add in the lower amounts of sweetener and lemon juice, cover, lower heat to low, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lid and taste for sweetness and acidity; you’ll most likely need to add more of both (don’t be afraid of the lemon juice, as it’s acidity is what will give it that apple kick once it’s thoroughly absorbed).

  3. Cover once again and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove the lid, taste again, and allow to cook uncovered for 3-6 minutes longer to thicken up the juices. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and enjoy (or allow to cool and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days).

For the 'apple' muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line (or grease and flour) a muffin pan, set aside.

  2. Add almond flour, flaxseed meal, psyllium husk, baking powder, apple spice, xanthan gum and salt to a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined, set aside.

  3. Add sweetener and eggs to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes until airy and lighter in color. With the mixer on, add in the vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar and butter.

  4. Add in the dry flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the water. Continue to mix for a couple minutes until fully incor-porated and elastic, the batter will thicken as you mix. Fold in brown-butter zucchini.

  5. Scoop the batter onto the prepared muffin pans, smoothing out the tops with wet fingertips.

  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Watch out after minute 15, and tent with aluminum foil as soon as they begin to brown (around min 25 for me). The muffins will collapse a tad post bake as they're weighed down by the zucchini, don't sweat it!

  7. To make the glaze, sift the powdered sweetener into a small bowl. Add in the cream and maple extract, and whisk to combine (adding a teaspoon of water at a time if need be).

  8. Store them glazed in the fridge for 3-4 days, or unglazed at room temp (my top choice).

Recipe Notes

*1 tsp apple pie spice = 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger and a dash of all-spice

**Golden Lakanto has some lovely maple notes, so I highly suggest just grinding it up until powdered in your bullet or spice grinder!

Please note that nutrition facts were estimated per muffin, with 1 cup of the 'apple' zucchini. 

Nutrition Facts
Low Carb & Keto Apple Muffins (i.e. Zucchini!)
Amount Per Serving (1 muffin)
Calories 221 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 80mg27%
Sodium 208mg9%
Potassium 178mg5%
Carbohydrates 7.5g3%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 460IU9%
Vitamin C 9.3mg11%
Calcium 54mg5%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

What’s Trending! 🏆

Share the yummy-ness! 📷💨

If you made this recipe (or got a question!), be sure to simply comment below!

And do share your photo with your favorite Facebook group or tag @gnomgnom.yum on Instagram (I love seeing them all!!)

For The Holidaze!


  1. Bob says:

    I was intrigued by the idea of zucchinis masquerading as apples, but they did a great job. I can’t have eggs at the moment, so I used a different muffin mixture, but they were still delicious! Thank you. Now I’m thinking of all the different ways I can use this trick in other recipe creations…

    A tip for others making these though. The zucchini mixture started to burn quickly even checking every few minutes, so keep a close eye one them 🙂

  2. Leslie says:

    Paola, these are hands down one of the very best keto recipes I’ve ever made! You are as amazing as these muffins! Thanks for such an easy recipe that actually works keto and tastes delicious!! 🙂

  3. Leslie says:

    These were absolutely amazing. One of the best low carb recipes I have ever tried. My husband could not believe it wasn’t apple. Genius!!! I can’t wait to make them again!

  4. Susan says:

    It’s 1am here and I just made these. I used Pepita (pumpkin) seed flour as I’m allergic to nuts. They turned out really yummy. I had to convince my sister to use a fork since they were still super hot.
    We’re loving your recipes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.