Apples are meant for baking during autumn months. Here is a recipe that you will surely love! Apple spice cupcakes have diced apples and seasonal spices in every bite. They are topped with a luscious cinnamon buttercream frosting. They are the perfect cozy fall dessert!

apple spice cupcake with cinnamon buttercream frosting and apple slice on top.

Anything apple related is my favorite kind of dessert especially during the fall (sorry pumpkin). Add apples and some spice to a cupcake batter and soon you will have the most delicious fall cupcake. They are super moist and perfectly spiced. You won’t believe how easy they are to make from scratch!

Why you will love this recipe

These apple cupcakes are full of fall flavor. The apples are subtle, but delicious, and the spices truly enhance the apple taste! This recipe only takes 30 minutes and makes the perfect dessert for entertaining this autumn. You may also like applesauce spice cake.

Ingredient notes

apple spice cupcakes ingredients and cinnamon buttercream frosting ingredients in bowls with text.
  • Apples: Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Braeburn apples are the best apples to bake cupcakes with. Northern Spy and Pink Lady apples are also good options.
  • Spices: Cinnamon and nutmeg are classic apple pie spices. I added a pinch of cloves for even more flavor, but if you don’t have them on hand you can omit them.
  • Unsalted butter: Make sure your butter is at room temperature so it blends smoothly with the other ingredients and creates a consistent batter. Same goes for the butter in the frosting.
  • Sugars: A combination of brown sugar and regular sugar makes the perfect sweet and moist cupcake.
  • Milk: Whole milk or low-fat milk will provide the best flavor. I do not recommend skim milk or dairy-free milks.

Recipe variations

These cupcakes are a delicious as is, but if you prefer you can add a 1/4 cup of chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts into the batter. To make apple pie cupcakes, try scooping out the center and filling with sautéed apples like I did in my fireball cupcakes.

I prefer cinnamon buttercream frosting, but you could also try using the cinnamon cream cheese frosting from my pumpkin cupcakes recipe. Another option is the caramel frosting from my brown sugar cupcakes or brown butter frosting.

How to make apple spice cupcakes

photo collage demonstrating steps to make apple spice cupcakes in mixing bowl.
  1. Whisk together the drink ingredients: Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  2. Mix wet ingredients: Beat butter, brown sugar and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, then mix until incorporated.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients: Add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, then mix in the milk followed by the remaining flour mixture. Stir in diced apples by hand.
  4. Bake cupcakes: Transfer batter to prepared muffin tin and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
photo collage demonstrating steps to make cinnamon buttercream frosting in a mixing bowl.
  1. Make cinnamon buttercream frosting: Beat butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add dry ingredients: Add confectioners sugar and cinnamon, then mix until combined.
  3. Add wet ingredients: Mix in vanilla followed by milk. Use more milk if a thinner frosting consistency is desired.
  4. Frost cupcakes: Transfer frosting to a piping bag with a frosting bag and frost cupcakes. Garnish and serve.

Expert tips

Choose the right apples. You want tart, crisp apples for baking. I prefer Granny Smith or Honeycrisp. Soft, sweet apples will make the cupcakes mushy. Use room temperature ingredients. This guarantees a consistent and smooth batter so all the cupcakes rise properly.

Let the cupcakes cool outside the pan. After a couple minutes, transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack. This will prevent a soggy bottom! For the frosting, make sure your butter is softened, but not greasy. If the butter is too warm, the frosting will not frost well and melt.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my cupcakes dense?

Either the apples were too soft and moist or the batter was over-mixed. Use crisp, tart apples and mix your dry ingredients with your wet ingredients just until combined.

Can I make mini cupcakes with this recipe?

Yes, absolutely! Fill each mini cup about two-thirds full. Check after 8 minutes of baking to see if they are done.

Can I freeze apple cupcakes?

Yes, after the cupcakes have completely cooled, store them in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before frosting (you can freeze the frosting as well).

Can I use applesauce in these cupcakes?

Yes, try substituting the milk with an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce.

apple spice cupcake with a bite sitting on open paper cupcake liner.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

apple spice cupcake with frosting and apple slice garnish next to more apple slices.

Get the Recipe: Apple Spice Cupcakes

Apple spice cupcakes have diced apples and seasonal spices in every bite. They are topped with a luscious cinnamon buttercream frosting.
5 (32 ratings)


Apple Spice Cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups (188 g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice , (optional)
  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • cup (80 ml) milk
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated or finely diced (about 1 cup or 125 g)

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (226 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups (300 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk


Apple Spice Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), mix together on medium-high speed the butter, brown sugar and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, then mix until combined.
  • Add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Mix in the milk until combined, then add remaining flour mixture. Stir in diced apples by hand. Avoid over-mixing the batter.
  • Transfer batter to prepared muffin tin and fill each cup three-quarters full. Bake cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), whip the butter on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners' sugar until completely incorporated. With the mixer on medium speed, add the vanilla and cinnamon, and beat for a minute, until fluffy. Add milk until desired consistency is reached.
  • Transfer to a frosting bag with desired tip and frost cupcakes. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and apple slice if desired.


Apples: Granny Smith, Honeycrisp or Braeburn apples are best for baking.
Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freeze cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 338kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 89mg, Sodium: 281mg, Potassium: 106mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 771IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 1mg

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