(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.

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 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
Low Carb & Keto Apple Muffins (i.e. Zucchini!)
Amount Per Serving (1 muffin)
Calories 221 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 28%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 80mg 27%
Sodium 208mg 9%
Potassium 178mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 7.5g 3%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 2g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 9.2%
Vitamin C 11.3%
Calcium 5.4%
Iron 0.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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For The Holidaze!

46 comments

  1. Grecia C Pena says:

    So I made my zucchinis and they turned out great but when it came to the muffins I flopped 🙁 was i not supposed to add the sauce from the zucchini into the muffin? I baked to 45 mins and my middles were still really wet 🙁 and can i salvage my muffins? I have them in the fridge and i am thinking of just cutting them up and tossing them into my toaster over to see if i can salvage them 🙁 any ideas would be great

    • Paola says:

      Hi Grecia! If you had a lot of leftover liquid that would’ve been the reason (try reducing it further next time so it’s all thick rather than watery). And yup, I would just try toasting them (I do that all the time with my fails 😂!). I do it in a skillet over low heat so it dries out a bit more! xo!

    • Paola says:

      I do! I mean, you can see them a bit… but can’t taste them texture wise so I skip the extra work 😉

  2. Holly says:

    These are SO GOOD! Just made them today. The use of zucchini here is genius and even better than my own go to recipe for cinnamon apples.

  3. Tamara says:

    I left my zucchini unpeeled and I told everyone they were green apples!! This recipe was great. Loved all the spices and the sweetness was perfect if you added the icing. If you don’t do the icing…then maybe add some more sweetener. I find that all your recipes are a little less sweet than other keto recipes which I really appreciate…and it minimizes the impact/afternotes (if any) from the sweeteners. I made an icing glaze using the Lakanto maple syrup. Looking forward to getting a traditional flan/creme caramel recipe from you one of these days! Your recipes make me happy! 😍

    • Paola says:

      😂!! So awesome to hear they worked for you too Tamara! And yup on the sweetness! For the past year I’ve been including a range for the sweetener in the recipes as keto palates really are all over the place (so the lowest amount is for how low I think you can go and the upper for a more traditional sweetness level- sometimes I get it right, other times you guys call me out on it 😂).

      Oh and definitely working on a creme brûlée soon (flan is a bit more tricky because of the way it’s cooked in the caramel, but there should be a workaround to it) xo!!

  4. Sophia says:

    This is a great recipe for the fall!

    Just noting – I did peel my zucchini for more of an “apple” look. And I did find that I needed to cook them down a lot to get that crunch out of them. Even after about 20 minutes, they retained a little too much crunch for a baked “apple” texture. Next time, I will cook additional time.

    Also, perhaps just personal preference, but I felt that the sweetener measurements were a little light. I nearly doubled the golden erythritol and added some liquid sucralose drops to my “apple” mixture to bump up the sweetness. I added a little extra erythitol to the muffin as well and still felt it was a little lacking in sweetness. Maybe I just like a sweeter apple muffin. I opted not to do a maple glaze and instead did a “caramel” sauce with some erythritol, heavy cream, xanthan, and some caramel coffee flavoring.

    Suggestion to all on the apple pie spice – go light. Next time, I will definitely just use nutmeg and cinnamon. The all spice in the mixture is very strong and I felt overpowered since it’s called for in both the “apple” mixture and the muffin.

  5. Cindy Vuto says:

    I love your recipes and your videos, but I was wondering if you had hard copy cook books as opposed to ebooks?

  6. Lexi says:

    I’m pretty sure I’m your biggest fan. Each recipe I try seems to better and more magical than the last! I only made the ‘apple’ filling as I couldn’t wait to experience the alchemy. I’m now planning to make apple muffins, apple pie and apple pancakes! I’m also going to experiment with adding some citrus zest, diced almonds and suet to make ‘mincemeat’ for low carb mince pies with your fabulous pastry this Christmas. A million thanks.

  7. Hope says:

    These look SO delicious! I am going to have to make them for a fall treat. (I’m not a big baker AT ALL, or cook for that matter, but I made your Super Fudgy Brownies & you made it so easy for me with your detailed instructions, so thank you! The brownies turned out absolutely DELICIOUS so I’m really looking forward to another of your recipes!)

    One question… Does the nutritional info include the maple glaze? If so, how much of it?

    Thanks so much for all the hard work you do to provide us with these amazing recipes!!

  8. Denise says:

    Made these yesterday, but only used the 1 cup of apple butter and then doubled the recipe to make 12. Also added 2 T. oat fiber for extra structure. They didn’t fall at all, guess since I spread one cup of apple butter over double the recipe.

    Trick now is to only eat one. I prefer the muffin plain, cut in half, and spread with plenty of grass fed butter. They freeze really well too. Just remove one and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Delish.

    • Paola says:

      Oooooh good to know Denise thank you! I’m also baking at ridiculously high altitude, so things tend to collapse on me more than for you guys 🙈

  9. Francesca says:

    Omgomgomggmogmogmoggmogmggmogmogmggmgomgmg. Apple pie is something I still dream about I just ordered golden flaxseed meal so will be making this tomorrow.

    Cannot wait, if anyone else told me courgettes would mimic apples I would scoff, but you’re a magician and I just trust in the process. Also gonna pick up your second cookbook to add to my collection. Thanks as always!

    X
    Francesca

  10. Teila says:

    This may be a stupid questions but I’m really wanting to make these. I have a question about the 1 cup Brown-butter apple. What is this and where do I get it? I looked it up and all that comes up is recipes for making apple butter. Thanks in advance

    • Paola says:

      Hi Teila! Right above the instructions and ingredients for the muffins you have it (it’s ‘apple’ ie zucchini 😜)

  11. Nakeya Thompson says:

    I made these tonight for me and my hubby for a light dessert. I absolutely loved them. And they were also husband approved. Thank you for giving apples back to me. 😍

  12. emery says:

    I haven’t made the muffins, but I made the zucchini and boy oh boy they do actually taste like apples!!! how?!!!!!!!!!!! the skins give them away but who cares?!!! will your crust work for apple pie?!!! i’m making these tomorrow as a coffee cake 🙂

    • Paola says:

      Emery so awesome to hear 😂!! I know about the skins right?! I mean you could peel them but… too lazy and they even add some bite 😉

      And DEF on the pie crust! Just be sure to cook down the zucchini so they’re not very soupy (could even add a touch of konjac or arrowroot) xo!

  13. Lourie says:

    Wondering if you can substitute something for the gum, that doesnt agree with me and it’s in so many of these recipes.

    • Shannon T. Ayres says:

      I just bought a packet of “Not Xanthan Not Guar” by Pamela’s. It’s a gluten-free gum-free baking binder. I guess it does the same add Xanthan or Guar. I haven’t actually tried it yet. I got it at a “health food type” supermarket. Good luck!

  14. Sharon says:

    I too have issues with flax meal & flax seed & also chai seeds. . Do the recipes in your new ebook use flax?

    • Elaine says:

      I didn’t have flax on hand, so I used a total of 25g of psyllium husk powder, and increased the xanthan gum by 1/8t.

      Also, my eggs chilled my butter (make sure everything is room temperature!), So after whipping the eggs & adding butter, I waited an hour, which of course meant I lost the loft of the whipped eggs. No matter — poured into 6 greased ramekins, baked on a try for 20 mins (convection), and they turned out great! With all the changes, they weren’t crumbly, but closer to a bread pudding texture, which I love. Topped with a bit of cream cheese icing.

      Definitely don’t scimp on the lemon juice and sweetener when making the ‘apple’, since you first need to mask the zucchini flavour. Great apple substitute!

  15. Tamara says:

    Have already downloaded your new book and am so excited to try these apple muffins. Your pumpkin muffins and your chocolate muffins are dynamite and on constant rotation! So I have no doubt these will be relish!! So looking forward to new Christmas recipes!! No pressure though! Take care!

    • Paola says:

      Tamara so awesome to hear thank you for your support!! You guys will be getting some Thanksgiving heavy-hitters next week and then we start with Christmas (my favvvvvv!) 😜

  16. Denise says:

    Can’t wait to try this. When you say 1 large zucchini, how large is large? If diced, perhaps a cup or gram measurement would be great. Thanks so much for this preview from your book.

  17. Yvonne says:

    Can I substitute something else for the flaxseeds? I tend to avoid recipes with it because I just don’t like the taste. Thanks!

    • Paola says:

      It’s a tricky one here Yvonne as it helps the texture be nice and not wet (you honestly can’t taste the golden variety) xo!

  18. Ana says:

    Hi Paola!
    I’m always excited to try anything apple!

    I do have a question on the size of the zucchini, since where I live, a large zucchini can easily be the size of my forearm. Or bigger! Could you give us a hint in grams?

    Also wondering if I can replace the flaxseed meal with psyllium? Or some almond flour? I cannot tolerate flaxseed at all.

    I can’t wait to try this!

    Thanks

    • Paola says:

      I completely missed this Ana! Three of you already commented 😂. For me a large zucchini (as in the types you get at the store) weigh around 300g

  19. patricia says:

    These look delicious. when you say large zucchini……how much diced? 1 cup? It could make a big difference in the final outcome.
    Thanks

  20. Christina says:

    Wow, never heard about the zucchini/apple sub before! I love apples so this I will try for sure. And I am soooo excited you made another book with new recipes. 😍 Bought it within one second after reading there is a book! Thanks for all your work!

    • Paola says:

      I’m so obsessed! Apples are one of those things I’ve found painful to let go of 😂 And THANK YOU so much for your comment Christina, means so much you would buy the second book right away! 😘!!

  21. Michelle says:

    I’ve made an “apple” pie with zucchini before, but for some reason, I never thought to make muffins! These look divine!

    • Paola says:

      I need to get on that apple pie! You can probably tell, but I’m obsessed with these (favorite muffin on the site right now!) 😘

  22. mary anne s says:

    I definitely don’t believe you but I trust you lol can’t wait to try these and congrats on the book it’s beautiful gnomgnom!

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