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Caramel Apple Sourdough Muffins

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These muffins are bursting with apple flavor! They bring a healthy punch of oatmeal, sourdough, whole wheat flour and yogurt as well. Start your day off deliciously!

close up of muffin on cooling rack with melty caramel showing.

Take your sourdough and turn it into delicious muffins. These babies are loaded with fresh apples and bits of caramel. 

The best part is you can use sourdough starter from the fridge or discard.  You’ll love the balance of flavors, textures and just the right amount of sweet!

I am really starting to get excited about fall baking. The days are still feeling like summer but there is definitely a hint of fall in the evening breeze.

Plus our favorite local apple orchard is picking the early varieties of apples. Fresh cider is a little ways off still but they have the best cider slushies from last year’s pressing and the frozen cider is perfect for the still warm days.

We’ll be celebrating apples at the end of the month with #appleweek. Last year’s week of apple treats was a lot of fun and this year will be even better. You didn’t hear it from me, but there will be a chance to win some great prizes!

I really considered saving this recipe to share then, but I just couldn’t wait that long! One of my favorite parts about blogging is meeting people with similar interests.

I have a whole new group of friends that I’ve never met in person but I really value and cherish each relationship just like I do the friends I see in person.

freshly baked muffins on wire rack.

So now I have a virtual muffin friend! We bonded over the chocolate chip sourdough muffins I posted way back when and have been bouncing ideas off each other ever since.

She was the inspiration for adding cherries  and almond extract for the cherry chip muffins. She made a version with fresh strawberries too that I can’t wait to try in the spring (in the mean time you can catch a glimpse of her muffins in this Facebook feed!) They are her husband’s favorite.

She mentioned wanting to try subbing applesauce for the oil and I couldn’t wait to try that as well. Honestly I wasn’t quite sure how they’d turn out.

While I love the idea of saving a few calories, sometimes you run the risk of a heavy dense muffin. Since I already use some whole wheat flour and a bunch of oatmeal I wasn’t sure if this would be too much.

Throwing caution to the wind, I went ahead and made them anyway. To really drive the apple flavor home I not only added the applesauce, I added apple juice and a chopped up apple as well.

To even out all the healthiness, I went ahead and stirred in some caramel bits… because, well, caramel! (And I’m sure we all know by now sometimes I just can’t help myself. I didn’t frost them and let’s be thankful for that bit of restraint.)

Of course you could leave the caramel out and have yourself a pretty virtuous apple muffin.

So what’s the verdict? They baked up beautifully just like the muffins with oil and they smelled so good.

I was so excited that I immediately messaged a picture to my muffin baking pal. They were still hot, hadn’t been tasted and it was a bit premature for celebration, but I couldn’t help myself.

Sourdough muffins with apple chunks, bits of caramel and brown sugar goodness on cooling rack, ready to eat.

You know what? The celebration was warranted! These muffins were so moist and full of apple flavor. They also were beautifully soft and not too dense.

I could have probably gobbled them all up in a sitting or two if I would have allowed myself. As it was I had to taste test one right away.

Then I took a couple in my lunch bag each day for the next few days. One for a mid-morning breakfast and one for lunch! I reluctantly shared a few as well.

If you are looking for a new fall treat, these should definitely be on the list! What are your favorite apple recipes?

close up of muffin on cooling rack with melty caramel showing.

Caramel Apple Sourdough Muffins

Servings: 12 Muffins
Author: Carlee
These muffins are bursting with apple flavor! They bring a healthy punch of oatmeal, sourdough, whole wheat flour and yogurt as well. Start your day off deliciously!
4.80 from 5 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup sourdough starter*
  • cup brown sugar
  • cup applesauce I used unsweetened, but any should work
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium apple cored and diced
  • ½ cup caramel bits


  • Preheat oven to 400°F and grease enough muffin tins for 12 muffins
  • In a large bowl, mix together oatmeal, apple juice, yogurt and sourdough starter. You may continue immediately, but I prefer to let this step sit for about 10 minutes to let everything soften a bit if I have the time.
    1 cup rolled oats, ½ cup apple juice, ½ cup plain yogurt, ½ cup sourdough starter*
  • Stir in the brown sugar, applesauce, egg and vanilla extract.
    ⅓ cup brown sugar, ⅓ cup applesauce, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • In a small bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into wet ingredients until just mixed.
    1 cup all purpose flour, ½ cup whole wheat flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fold in the diced apple and caramel bits and then spoon into the prepared muffin tin. (A large cookie scoop makes this process quick and easy.)
    1 medium apple, ½ cup caramel bits
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick tests done.
  • Cool in muffin tin for about 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container for a few days on the counter or freeze until ready to eat.


Unfed starter fresh from the refrigerator or discard works great for these muffins.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 4gFat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 238mgFiber: 2gSugar: 17g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4.80 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Friday 3rd of December 2021

These are delicious. I use muffin papers. They stuck . But they are great breakfast grab and go.


Monday 25th of September 2017

I have been looking to add more muffin recipes! So I can grab and go in the mornings!THis will be on my must make asap! THanks for sharing on our appleweek link party!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Monday 25th of September 2017

I love your sour dough recipes, they all sound so good. Now, why haven't I got some starter going yet???

Grandma in Illinois

Thursday 14th of September 2017

I am new to a sourdough starter and have no recipe or guideline. I would appreciate if you would share. I am looking for recipes with lower sugar content and this sounds delicious, I am prediabetic. I have 3 apple trees that are loaded. Retired 2 years ago and love to bake for others. Thank you..


Friday 15th of September 2017

Do you already have a starter? If not, I made my own using just flour and water. It takes about 5 days but is really easy. Otherwise you can order some or a local baker may sell you some. Either way, I love making muffins like these with the discard when I feed my starter. While the muffins are sweet, they are only lightly so and there isn't a ton of added sugar. I also make a lot of sourdough pizza crust.

These muffins would be a great way to use some of your apples. My brother has some apple trees as well and we just got done making a TON of applesauce from his trees. I don't can, so I froze a bunch in jars and we should be set for the winter. I don't add sugar, so that may be a good choice as well.


Tuesday 12th of September 2017

They were a great way to kick off apple season! Thanks, Helen!