Zucchini Applesauce Muffins

By Sally Cameron on August 17, 2014

Appetizers & Snacks, Baked Goods, Breakfast, Gluten-Free, the daniel plan

Zucchini in muffins? Yes! Zucchini applesauce muffins. If the thought of that throws your family, don’t tell them. Once they have gobbled down one of these soft and moist golden goodies, then tell them.

Zucchini Applesauce Muffins | AFoodCentricLife.com

What to do With Too Much Zucchini: Make Muffins!

So I got a little carried away buying zucchini at the market. Then I realized I would be the only one home for the next week. Ooops. How to use too much zucchini? While I grill it and sauté it to eat over brown rice (a vegetarian dinner when I am alone), and even turn it into noodles, I wanted to do something else. Baking sounded good.

Zucchini Applesauce Muffins

While I enjoy baking, I don’t do it often so the temptations are not around. But once in awhile, you just need to bake a batch of muffins as a treat. And that’s where this recipe came from, inspired by my overload of zucchini.

Zucchini, like all vegetables, contain a lot of water. To bake with zucchini, grate it on the large holes of a box grater, then place grated zucchini in layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and squeeze it dry.

Zucchini Applesauce Muffins|AFoodCentricLife.comInstead of refined white sugar, I used applesauce and honey to sweeten the batter and provide moisture.

For spice, I used Chinese Five Spice, a blend of China cassia cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger and clove. You can also use standard cinnamon or another warm baking spice blend. A pumpkin spice blend would be great too.

About the Flours

We eat gluten-free, so I used GF flours for these muffins. I baked several batches using both an all-purpose gluten-free blend (Bob’s Red Mill) and a do-it-yourself blend from Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies. It’s a great reference tool for gluten-free baking. It taught me about the differences in the wide variety of gluten-free flours and the best way to work with them.

While the book taught me to blend my own flours, this time I used one of their recipes. It’s the whole grain flour mix, a good substitute for whole wheat flour in many recipes.

The original recipe makes 14 cups. I cut it the recipe by quarters to try it out and it worked great. The blend uses brown rice flour, sorghum flour, millet flour and sweet rice flour.

Working With Gluten-Free Flours

When baking with gluten-free flours, weigh them using a digital kitchen scale. Weighing dry ingredients (especially gluten-free flours) gives you the best results and is faster, too. Metric measure (grams and kilos) is more accurate than Standard American Measure (cups, ounces and pounds). Digital scales allow you to do both. And a  scale is an inexpensive and terrific investment if you don’t have one.

Zucchini Applesauce Muffins|AFoodCentricLife.comA Few More Tips

  • Use light colored metal muffin pans to bake, not the dark ones. It makes a difference.
  • Skip paper liners and spray wells with non-stick or oil with coconut oil
  • Remove the baked muffins from the pan right after baking. They will be soft, so handle gently. You do’t want them to steam in the pan. Cool on a wire rack.
  • To easily remove muffins from pan, try a mini off-set spatula. It is a handy and inexpensive too for many things in the kitchen. Find them on Amazon and at cooking stores. Link above.

Zucchini Applesauce Muffins

These golden, moist gluten-free muffins are hard to resist. Smear them with coconut butter and enjoy. For the flour blend I used the whole-grain flour mix recipe from Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies. It’s a good substitute for whole wheat flour in many recipes. I also tested these muffins with Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour blend with good results.
Servings 12 muffins


Gluten-free flour blend (see notes below)

  • Yield 1 pound of gluten-free whole wheat flour
  • 150 grams brown rice flour 1 cup + 2 teaspoons
  • 150 grams sorghum flour 1 1/3 cups + 1 tablespoon
  • 100 grams millet flour 2/3 cup + 3 tablespoons
  • 70 grams sweet rice flour 1/3 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons


  • 285 grams of the flour blend 2 cups, or use an All-Purpose Gluten-free blend, above
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice or cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon aluminium-free-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce 13 ounces
  • 1/2 cup mild honey I use orange blossom
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large orange zested
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil melted if solid
  • 1- 8 ounce zucchini 1 1/3 cups after grating a squeezing dry
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts


  • Pre-heat oven to 325º.
  • Blend flours: Weigh flours in a bowl on a digital kitchen scale. Whisk together well to combine completely. Place in an airtight container and label.  You will use part for the muffins and extra for another project.
  • Add 285 grams (2 cups) of the flour blend to the bowl, then add in salt, spice, baking powder and soda. Whisk well to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, stir applesauce honey, egg, zest, vanilla, and oil. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Using a hand electric mixer, beat on medium high for 1-2 minutes.
  • For zucchini, trim off ends and grate on the large holes of a box grater. Place grated zucchini on layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. You want dry zucchini. Next, fold zucchini and walnuts into batter.
  • Spray a light colored standard size muffin pan with non-stick spray. Portion batter evenly into the wells. Bake for approximately 32 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and firm to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove pan from oven and carefully remove each muffin to a wire rack to cook as quickly as possible. Don’t let them sit in the pan and steam. Enjoy warm or cool completely and store at room temperature in a zip bag. Muffins will keep for a few days.


Gluten-free Flour and Tool Tips: Because you get the best results weighing gluten-free flour, I’ve listed the flour blend in grams for the best accuracy. Use a digital kitchen scale. They have both metric and American Standard measurements, plus what is called a “tare” function. This makes for faster measuring. Place a bowl on the scale and zero out it’s weight. Add a flour to the correct amount, then zero out it’s weight and repeat with the other flours.


Serving: 1g
  1. Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon - August 17th, 2014

    These look delicious Sally. Love the use of 5 spice.


  2. Sally - August 18th, 2014

    Five spice is so fun and just a little different. Great affinity for chocolate too! Ever tried that?

  3. Marion Tinney - August 22nd, 2014

    Instead of grams, how many cups of flour are needed?

  4. Sally - August 22nd, 2014

    Marion, I did not list cups because gluten-free flours really need to be weighed, or you might not get the same results. Do you have a scale? They are such fantastic tool, and inexpensive too. I have to make them again Sunday for a client. I will figure it out and make a note, ok?

  5. Sally - August 25th, 2014

    HI Marion. I’ve updated the recipe with cups! Made a batch this morning. Hope this helps. Happy baking, Sally.

  6. Ordinary Blogger - August 23rd, 2014

    I have SO MUCH zucchini right now and this looks like a lovely alternative to zucchini bread. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Sally - August 23rd, 2014

    Try the grilled zucchini and the zucchini gratin. I love zucchini too!

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