I love these delicious from-scratch Low-Sugar Apple Bran Muffins that only uses one apple and includes healthy walnuts! With a mix of almond flour and whole wheat pastry flour, this recipe is a splurge on carbs, but I do have to make them once every year when it’s apple season.

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Square image for Low-Sugar Apple Bran Muffins shown on cooling rack.

When I saw a recipe years ago for made-from-scratch pear bran muffins (with no bran cereal) in the The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook, it turned into one of those baking experiences where I have to make the recipe several times before I’m happy with it. Right away I switched pears for apples (because I never have pears in the house, but almost always have apples.)

I made these three times, with quite a few changes from the inspiring recipe, but I thought the final version was just right.  These muffins are just slightly sweet with no added sugar and only one apple, and to my taste they’re much better than all those bran muffin recipes that use bran cereal as one of the main ingredients.

And this is a low-sugar muffin that I bet the whole family will like. And if you’re someone like me who just has to splurge on carbs a few times when it’s apple season, I hope you will give them a try!

What ingredients do you need?

(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)

What makes the Apple Bran Muffins lower in sugar?

Apples have natural sugar of course, but this recipe only uses one finely-chopped apple. I originally made the muffins with a mixture of sweetener and a little brown sugar, but now I’m a fan of Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (affiliate link) to get that brown sugar flavor in baked goods, and that change makes them even lower in sugar.

What flour did I use for the Apple Bran Muffins?

I used a mix of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (affiliate link) and Almond Flour (affiliate link) in my muffins. If you don’t have Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, I’m guessing white whole wheat flour would also work. I wouldn’t use regular whole wheat flour, which is denser.

What Muffin Cups Did I Use:

In my post on Low-Carb Muffins and Breakfast Muffins I show the three sizes of silicone baking cups I have. For these Apple Bran Muffins I used my smallest size (affiliate link), which are about 2.75 inches across and hold about 1/3 cup. If your muffin cups are bigger you’ll get fewer muffins and may need to increase the baking time.

Low-Sugar Whole Wheat Apple Bran Muffins process shots collage

How to Make Low-Sugar Apple Bran Muffins:

(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Mix together whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, wheat bran, Golden Monkfruit Sweetener, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs, then add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine.
  4. Make sure the apple is very finely diced before you add it to the liquids.
  5. I also toasted the walnuts in a dry pan before I chopped them, which also adds flavor.
  6. Mix finely chopped apples and walnuts into the wet ingredients.
  7. Then add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just enough that all the dry ingredients are moistened.
  8. Spray muffin cups or muffin pan with nonstick spray or oil, then divide the mixture among the muffin cups.  (If you use the small muffin cups like I did, they will be pretty full.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean. 
  10. Let muffins cool a little before eating. 
  11. You can keep the Apple Bran Muffins in the fridge for quite a few days, and I’m sure they will freeze well, although I haven’t frozen any yet because I keep eating them!

Cropped image for Low-Sugar Apple Bran Muffins shown on baking rack.

More Muffins You Might Like:

Low-Sugar Whole Wheat Apple Bran Muffins finished muffins on cooling rack
Yield: 12 small muffins

Low-Sugar Apple Bran Muffins

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

I love these delicious Low-Sugar Apple Bran Muffins! And this is a splurge on carbs for me, but I do make them at least once every year when it's apple season.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 6 T Golden Monkfruit Sweetener
  • 1 1/2  tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 T grapeseed oil (or any neutral flavored oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut into very small dice (1/4 inch or less)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Spray muffin cups or muffin pan with nonstick spray or oil.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together whole wheat pastry flour, almond meal, wheat bran, Stevia or Splenda (or sugar), brown sugar (or more sweetener), ground cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Beat eggs in smaller bowl, then stir in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
  5. Remove apple core and peel the apple, then finely chop apple pieces and add to liquid ingredients.
  6. Toast walnuts for 1-2 minutes in a dry pan over high heat, just until they start to become fragrant.
  7. Then finely chop walnuts and add to liquid ingredients.
  8. Add the wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just enough so that all the dry ingredients are moistened.
  9. Use a large spoon to divide the batter among the muffin cups.
  10. Bake at 350F/180C for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out completely clean.
  11. Let muffins cool for a few minutes before eating.  These muffins will keep well in the fridge for quite a few days.  I am sure they would freeze well, although I haven’t frozen any yet.  To reheat, microwave for about 30 seconds.

Notes

Use any nuts of your choice if you're not a fan of walnuts.

Recipe adapted with quite a few changes from Pear Bran Muffins in The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook (affiliate link).

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 249Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 36mgSodium 195mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 6gSugar 5gProtein 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

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Low-Sugar Whole Wheat Apple Bran Muffins finished muffins on cooling rack

Low-Carb Diet / Low-GlycemicDiet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
These Low-Sugar Apple Bran Muffins are pretty low in sugar (even though they have apple) and I’d eat them for phase 2 or 3 of the original South Beach Diet. Using almond flour and Golden Monkfruit Sweetener makes these muffins lower in carbs, but at about 25 net carbs per muffins, they’re probably too high in carbs for someone who’s strictly limiting carbs.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Desserts and Baking to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
The Apple Bran Muffins made without added sugar were first posted in 2011 when I was following the original South Beach Diet. The recipe has turned into something I still make once almost every year, and it was last updated with more information in 2023.

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