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(Totally Legit!) Keto ‘Apple’ Muffins 🍏 gluten free

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

On an updated note, many of you have since whipped up these muffins (and ‘apple’ pie!)… so feel free to read through your comments and reviews below for proof 😉  

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! Allulose is my favorite for no aftertaste now (you do need to add 30% more though), Lakanto Golden (barely any cooling aftertaste here), xylitol (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!). 

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 the same- 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

(Totally Legit!) Keto Apple Muffins

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

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

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

Print

Ingredients

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 allulose or xylitol, to taste
  • 1-3 tablespoons lemon juice to taste

For the 'apple' muffins

For the maple glaze (optional)

Instructions

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
(Totally Legit!) Keto Apple Muffins
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.

80 comments

  1. Cassandra says:

    I cant believe I am the first person to ask this (I read all of the comments.. twice!), but is the butter in the muffin mixture meant to be melted? Thanks!

  2. RQ says:

    I had to make those and my verdict is
    they aren’t unpleasant to eat, but does not tastes like apples, so sorry.
    Love your fudge brownies and congrats for your website.

  3. Kathy Cooke says:

    For the zucchini “apples”, I used 1.5 tsp apple pie spice, 2.5 tbsp Lakanto golden, and 2 tbsp lemon juice. I chopped the zucchini into about 1/4” cubes. I had 1/5 less zucchini than called for, so I might need to up the sweetener and lemon next time. I let the “apples” sit and cool for an hour or two after cooking to absorb all the juices, which they pretty much did. For the muffin batter, I used close to a half cup of Lakanto golden, as some reviewers thought the muffins weren’t sweet enough. The baking time was 33 minutes, and I didn’t need to tent the muffins with foil. I did powder some granulated Lakanto golden to make the glaze using my food processor; worked great!

    Oh my gawd, these are the best muffins I’ve ever had, particularly with the glaze! Yes, they do taste like apple muffins rather than zucchini. I’ll have to whip up a batch of the ‘apples’ next time I have some extra zucchini. Damn! So good. You would never know these muffins weren’t made with regular flour either, as the crumb and flavor is so similar. The muffins take a while to make, since you have to do the apples first and then wait, but they’re worth it. I made a double batch and got 18 muffins. Like to eat them with some strawberry chia jam on top too.

  4. Beth Cotter says:

    just made and ate one of these, they are fantastic. I made the apple(chayote) pie first it was good, but the zucchini definitely soaks up the flavours better. I will be making these again very soon. Excellent

  5. Shona says:

    Had some zucchini to use so tried this. Wonderful as always and a real treat because apples are something we just assume will be on the never eat list! Yeah! My real surprise came with the frosting. Followed instructions exactly with golden lankato and had a taste off the spoon and my eyes went wide. Frosting was exactly like the maple candy I used to love and truly missed on trips to canada or maple farms. I know it’s not “keto” to maintain a sweet tooth but I think it’s just the way it is for some of us. When I am really missing my maple candy I will pull out your frosting recipe with a smile for a taste or 2. Your site is my go-to for all recipes. Tried almost every dessert/ bread or cereal. Truly- thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and recipes. You really help those of us who need to replace not remove with the keto lifestyle – I’m down 90 pounds- keto for life because I just feel better. Feel like your recipes were critical piece of my success. Thank you so very much!

  6. Teri says:

    Hi Paola,
    I want to make a double batch of these muffins but I’m confused on how much zucchini to use. For 12 muffins it says 2 zucchini diced (about 300 grams) . But for 6 muffins is says 1 zucchini dice (about 300 grams) too. Are you talking about what Each zuchinni should weight in at?? Thanks!

  7. Judy says:

    I made apple pie from a Hawaiian cookbook. Except they used mangoes, instead of apples. Spiced like apple pie, you couldn’t tell they were mangoes ( which are plentiful in Hawaii, but pricey in CA)

    So really looking forward to seeing how this works. I have no doubt that it will be wonderful for breakfast!!

  8. 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 🙂

    • Alyssa says:

      Hi, Bob! I’m really intrigued with your recipe that doesn’t call for eggs. I have recently identified an allergy to eggs myself but I absolutely love baking so this can be quite tricky to measure. Do you mind sharing the recipe? Or a solid substitute to eggs within the baking realm? Thanks!

  9. 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!! 🙂

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

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