Apple and butternut squash muffins are a great, healthy fall treat - delicious for breakfast or packing in school lunches!
Happy Friday, friends! I'm waving to you from Kansas City, where I'm so excited to be at the Chopped conference for food bloggers.
I came last year, had an absolute blast and am back again! So many new and old friendly faces, so many laughs and so much learning! I'm gonna be exhausted all weekend from all this excitement 😀
But of course I still wanted to bring you something tasty: these apple and butternut squash muffins!
I'm also thrilled to share again about a Produce for Kids campaign with Publix that launched last week and runs through Oct. 26. It will raise funds for local Feeding America® food banks and offer Publix shoppers healthy meal solutions, recipes and tips.
Eight fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers are participating: Avocados from Mexico, Crunch Pak® Sliced Apples, Del Monte Foods® Fruit Naturals® Cups, Eat Smart® Fresh Cut Vegetables, Fresh Express® Packaged Salads, Michigan Apples, Suja® Juice, Marie’s® Dressings.
You can support the campaign by shopping at Publix and purchasing some great fresh fruits and vegetables from the supporting sponsors! (And you get fresh produce coupons totaling more than $4 at ProduceForKids.com/Publix.)
And since you know I love all things muffins, I of course wanted to come up with a new healthy muffin recipe for fall! (Other fall baking favorites include our beloved whole wheat pumpkin muffins and almond butter zucchini muffins.)
These apple and winter squash muffins were big winners! They are soft and super moist - that fruit puree really keeps them light and tender.
They have a warm cinnamon flavor and a hint of apple and squash. Both are such mild flavors that they really blend well together. (And are unlikely to be detected if you have a "selective" eater. 😉)
Plus these muffins are whole wheat and naturally sweetened, so that's a win. ✋
I plan on packing these for school lunches, but they’d work for breakfast as well!
A few notes on these apple and butternut squash muffins:
- I puree my apple and squash mixture until smooth, but you could leave yours a little chunky if you prefer. M, strangely, will pick out apple chunks from her muffins even though she loves all things apple.
- I like using the fresh fall foods here, but you could also substitute 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce and 1 cup of canned or frozen winter squash puree.
- These muffins would be great served with a spread of butter, or even peanut or almond butter.
M’s reaction when I let her and J split a muffin that afternoon, as a taste test. “Really yummy, Mommy! Really yummy."
J: “I have more?” Haha 😀 I promised I’d pack these for lunch that week.
I hope you give these healthy squash muffins a try. And be sure to shop at Publix and stock up on produce! You can also visit ProduceForKids.com/Publix for more information on how to support the campaign. And you can visit their website and follow them on Twitter and Instagram for more recipe ideas and healthy eating info.
Apple and butternut squash muffins
Apple -squash muffins are a great, healthy fall treat, perfect for school lunches!
For the apple and squash puree:
- 1 (32 oz.) container Eat Smart cut butternut squash
- 2 small Michigan apples (such as Red Delicious or Gala)
- Yield 2 cups squash and apple puree
For the muffins:
- 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or sub canola oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. (You’ll need two tins, since this recipe makes about 14 muffins.)
- To make the apple and squash puree: Steam 2 ½ heaping cups each of butternut squash and apples for about 10 minutes, or until tender.
- Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree. (I puree mine until smooth but you could leave it a little more chunky if you prefer.)
- Measure out 2 cups of the puree mix to use for this recipe.
- To make the muffins: Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add eggs, honey, butter, vanilla and the 2 cups of apple-squash puree.
- Stir the wet mixture together in the well and then mix to combine with the dry ingredients.
- Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins. (I like to spray my paper liners with cooking spray since there’s not much fat in this recipe. It prevents the muffins from sticking to the liners.)
- Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely. Store on the counter for 2-3 days, in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for up to 5 months.
You can serve these with a spread of butter, peanut butter or almond butter.
To freeze: wrap each muffin in aluminum foil then place in a freezer bag.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 186mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g
I was compensated for participating in this campaign, but the content and opinions here are my own.
Dawn @ Girl Heart Food
Wow! Chopped conference for Food Bloggers! How exciting!!! I'm sure you'll have a blast! That Publix campaign sounds really great! Unfortunately, we don't have a Publix around here, but I have been to one before when travelling. Oh my goodness, M's reaction was TOO cute! You must have been delighted 🙂 Love that these muffins are naturally sweetened. I never would have thought to pair apple and squash together for muffins, but it makes absolute perfect sense to me. I bet these are super moist. Gonna have to give these a try for sure. Great way to change up breakfast!! Have a super fun weekend, my friend. xoxo
Thanks Dawn! Apple + squash is definitely a good combo, especially in the fall 😉 Hope you're having a wonderful weekend! XO
These came out perfectly! Used purée of carrot because I had that on hand. Made into mini muffin that were cooked at 12 minutes. Also used whole wheat flour. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed them Amanda! 😊
These muffins look so tender and flavorful! My boyfriend is working on his PhD dissertation and keeps coming home from work starving (all that thinking burns a lot of energy!), so I've been looking for extra healthy snacks to send with him. This recipe looks like a winner!
A dissertation definitely sounds draining - he needs fuel! These are great for packing up and taking with you - hope you give them a try!
I will definitely try these as well, they are so 'in season' right now!
Yes, they are perfect for fall! Hope you try them!
Hey Kathryn if I want to buy the butternut squash, how many do I buy to have 32oz?
Hi Peter! I buy a container of pre-cut butternut squash that is 32 oz. If you're buying a whole butternut squash, you should have enough with 1 large squash.
This is considerably a very healthy food. Do you think I can give this to my dog? Same Peter as above . Thank you.
Hi again! They are very wholesome, but I don't think they'd be good for a dog since they have butter and honey in them.
I can't wait to make these! Our butternut squash did excellent in the garden this year so I've got lots tucked away for winter! Thank you!
Awesome! I hope you try them Erica!
Just made these... I wonder what I did wrong. I used all ingredients, measured correctly. After 20 minutes, had to pop them back in the oven since they were incredibly mushy. Going on 30 minutes now, no change. Yielded 10 muffins instead of 14.
Hi Knox, I'm so sorry to hear that. Did you make sure to use only 2 cups of the apple-squash puree and not the full amount? I'm not sure what else would have caused them to be mushy.
I made these today and they're delicious! They needed to bake for 22 minutes in my oven. I ate two while they were still warm.. mmm.
I'm so happy to hear you loved them Jilly! Thanks so much for sharing! 😊
Do not use this recipe! Tried it two separate times and BOTH times muffins NEVER cooked.... even made a tray of Mini muffins in hopes it would cook and EVEN squished excess water from squash purée with a cheesecloth. I bake often and have never had such a major fail. Waste of time and ingredients! Sorry to be so bold, but maddened by this.
Hi Andrea. I'm so sorry you've had problems with this recipe - I know that's really frustrating. I've made these as written 4 or 5 times now and they've always come out perfectly for me. I'm happy to help you troubleshoot if you want to email me at kathryn @ familyfoodonthetable.com.
Without having scrolled through ALL the comments, so maybe someone said this, I bake my squash in the oven. 400 for 40 minutes had it almost purée already. Then I scraped it out and mashed it with the steamed apples with a potato masher. Might help the moisture problem 🙂
Thanks so much for the input and feedback Brit - I appreciate it and bet it will be helpful for others too!
So if you use the pureed baby foods you add 1 cup of each apple and butternut squash or 2 cups or each
Hi Amanda! You'll need two cups of puree total for this recipe, so you can do one cup of each of the baby food purees. (And if you're looking for other ways to use up purees, I've got a whole post about that! https://www.familyfoodonthetable.com/ways-to-use-leftover-baby-food/) Hope that helps!
Can you use regular unbleached flour instead of whole wheat flour?
Hi Deana, yes, you should be able to substitute regular all-purpose flour here in a 1:1 ratio without any issues. Hope you enjoy these muffins!
Made these today, a big hit with my toddler. I substituted most of the honey with puréed dates (because I had a bunch to use up).
I'm so happy to hear your little one loved these muffins! And great substitution idea - thanks so much for sharing!
These were a flop for me unfortunately as they haven’t cooked in the centre and have been in the oven for 30mins and counting. So disappointing. I’m guessing my squash was too wet and would’ve probably worked if I’d used 1 cup of squash.
I'm so sorry to hear that Kama. I know it's disappointing when a recipe doesn't turn out. I always use a full 2 cups of the squash and apple puree, but if yours was really wet, that definitely might have been the issue.
I made these this weekend and they were delicious! I roasted the squash in the oven until it was super soft and I could just scoop it out. I used applesauce instead of apples since that’s what I had. I used 100% whole wheat flour and avocado oil. I also added chopped pecans. What a great muffin recipe! Will definitely make again.
I'm so happy to hear you loved them! And thanks so much for sharing those substitutions - very helpful! Have a great week! 😊
Do you melt the butter first??
Yes! As it states in the ingredient list, the butter should be melted. (I usually pop mine in the microwave.) Hope that helps!
Hello! If I would like to use this recipe to make a cake instead of muffins (in the loaf pan probably) to save time, what changes should I make? Sounds delicious and I’ve got lots of squash from my garden 🙂
Hi! You could make this in a bread pan, like a 9x5 loaf pan, but that would actually take longer. These muffins bake in about 20 minutes, while a bread loaf would probably take 40-50 minutes. Otherwise, the rest of the recipe would be the same. Hope that helps!
I tried baking in a cake pan but unfortunately failed! I did substitute the whole wheat flour with homemade oat flour. I baked for at least 45 mins—the outside started to brown but the inside was mushy. The taste is amazing (added extra cinnamon and some clove and nutmeg) so I will definitely try again!
Hi Jess, curious what size pan you used? A bread loaf pan like an 8x4 or an 9x5 or was it a larger pan like a 8x8 or something? Anyway, glad the taste was great and hope you give these a try as muffins or in a smaller pan where they might cook through better. 😊
What would you use to replace both the egg and honey? I want to make these for my 8 month old (he's allergic to eggs and cow's milk protein and too yound for honey.
Hi there! You could use flax eggs in place of the eggs. For the honey, you could just substitute some applesauce or mashed banana. That'll give the liquid and a bit of sweetness, and for babies that young, they don't need things to be very sweet anyway. Hope that helps! You might also like baby banana cookies for your son (they are dairy free, no eggs and no honey): https://www.familyfoodonthetable.com/baby-banana-cookies/
I made them them today and ran into the same issue as several people above have mentioned: they remained moist and mushy inside, with a toothpick not coming out clean, after much more than 22 minutes...I kept adding time and then ended up just cutting one and trying. It tastes delicious but the baking time is unclear... i think they remain moist because there is so much puree but it's hard to determine when they are done. I didn't sue more than 2 cups of puree (i had less than 32 oz of squash), so it came out to be almost exactly 2 cups. I substituted honey with maple syrup because i didn't have honey but i don't the that's the reason...
I'm glad they tasted great, Bella, but I'm sorry they didn't cook through for you. (And I agree, using maple syrup in place of the honey shouldn't have been an issue.) It must have to do with different moisture levels for the pureed squash for different people, and I'm not sure how to trouble-shoot that -- or advise on whether your mixture is too wet, for instance. I'll plan to test these again in the next week and see what other tips or notes I can add to the recipe card to ensure success. Thanks for commenting!
These look yummy! Could I substitute gluten free all purpose flour? Equal amount?
Hi Meghan! I haven't tested it that way and I don't do much gluten-free baking, but I think that should work to sub a gluten-free flour if it's a 1:1 sorta mix. I'm not sure if the muffins would need any other adjustments or how they might turn out. Would love to hear if you try it though!
I see a lot of people complained of mushy or under baked .I find sometimes the position of the rake in the oven makes a difference. Or the altitude. I always though the was crazy until we moved to the mountains. Lol
I have to tell I had a little bit of batter left to do the last two muffins my try only holds 12 so I put the batter in a dessert cup and bake it with the muffins. Had to bake 5 minutes more it turned out sort of like a dense custard which I found to be good . Lol not sure if the is the mushy . Just my opinion
Thanks so much for sharing that perspective Sally - that's so helpful and really appreciated! 😊
I used leftover sweet meat squash that had been baked then frozen. I drained the squash, squeezing out most of the liquid. I used two ambrosia apples. I substituted brown sugar for the honey, omitted the cinnamon, and added some apple pie spice with a bit of ground ginger and cardamom. Baked for 20 minutes. These were heavenly muffins!
I'm so happy to hear you loved these Maggie! And thanks for sharing your substitutions - so helpful!