Easy Apple Chai Streusel Muffins Without White Sugar
Breakfast Recipes, Sweet Recipes

Easy Apple Chai Streusel Muffins Without White Sugar

Cooks in 25 Minutes Difficulty Easy 0 comments

This easy apple chai streusel muffin recipe is perfect for a sweet breakfast on the go. It’s made simply without white sugar with plenty of chai spice. The streusel topping is infused with lots of Watkins chai spice to boost that great flavor! The easy apple streusel muffins use chopped apples to bring fresh baked apple flavor. Make a dozen beautiful domed apple chai spiced muffins for your next breakfast or brunch. 

It may be the cold weather, the fact that apples taste so wonderful in baking, or maybe a combination of the two that made me think of making apple muffins. I am happy I did whatever initially got me on the path of making these tasty muffins. 

The sponginess they have is incredible, freshly baked from the oven. Of course, the chai-spiced apple muffins have a fantastic aroma, filling the home with a winter sensory treat. 

​It’s a beautiful blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves if you are unfamiliar with chai spice. I used Watkins Chai Spice blend, which also has a mix of sugar,  cinnamon, organic black tea, cardamom,  ginger,  nutmeg, and cloves. I like this blend because it offers a sweet complexity to baking, which using straight spices doesn’t. It brings a softer, spiced flavor to many cookies, cakes, and drinks. I can quickly go through this bottle in a month or two. Yeah, it’s that good. 

If you love muffins, try our Tangy Raspberry Mini Muffins With Oat Streusel or our Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Muffins. Be sure to subscribe because I am always making muffins around here and you don’t want to miss out.

These apple chai spiced muffins would be great to make in apple season when you find yourself with a surplus of apples after apple picking. Or during the winter to enjoy the warmth of the spice.

baked apple chai spice streusel topping (4)

What you will love about these apple muffins

It’s a great way to use up older apples. Baking, in general, is the easiest way to use up old apples. Those bruised apples or apples you bought that are punk and not so hot for eating raw. 

​They’re easy to make. These muffins aren’t any more difficult to whip up than any other. The two steps of preparing the apples and streusel can be done in minutes. 

They make the best sweet breakfast. Grab one of these beauties and enjoy it with your morning cup of coffee for a tasty breakfast treat. Or add to the brunch table for the whole family to enjoy.

You don’t need special tools. There is no need for a stand mixer when making simple muffins. In fact, because we are folding the apples into the batter, it’s easier to mix with a fork or spoon. Yes, I said fork. Growing up, working with minimal kitchen tools meant learning to make do. Forks are ideal because the batter can easily pass through the tines while mixing, removing the lumps in the batter.

How do we make these tasty apple chai streusel muffins?

First, we gather our ingredients: flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, egg, milk, oil, and chai spice. Remember also to gather the streusel topping’s butter. It is easier to work with when softened, so room temperature butter or put it in a microwaveable dish for a few seconds to soften. Be careful not to melt it, though. Melted butter tends to saturate the dry ingredients more thoroughly, resulting in a denser, less crumbly topping. Since I was looking for a crunchy streusel, I made it with softened. 

Once that is all gathered and we have the bowls needed, we will use three bowls for this recipe: one large bowl, one medium bowl, and one small bowl. We can get started by peeling and chopping the apples. We want to save this step for prepping last because chopped apples can brown fast. Yes, it will be fine if they oxidize before being added to the batter. Still, it’s nicer if they don’t brown too much, as it can make a subtle difference to the flavor when the chemicals in the apples themselves react to the air. 

Next, mix the oil and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl because you will add the other ingredients to it afterward. Due to the amount of oil to sugar, this won’t be creamy like you may expect at first, but once you add the egg, which is now, it will mix up creamy smooth. 

In another bowl, measure your remaining dry ingredients. Blend the flour mixture together well before adding the wet ingredients. You can start to stir this together but it will be dry as you still need to add the milk. This is where most cookbook recipes will say to add alternating between the milk and the dry ingredients. That’s necessary for certain things like properly mixing cakes. However, in this recipe, you can add all the milk now and continue blending the ingredients.

Once they have blended together well, it’s time to add those fresh-cut apple chunks and chai spices. If you use a different chai spice, reduce it to half a teaspoon, depending on its strength. I used two tablespoons of the Watkins blend because it is a subtle spice blend. 

Fold the apple into the muffin batter and prepare your muffin pan. Personally, I wouldn’t say I like using muffin paper liners. They aren’t great for peeling off muffins and always leave too many tasty crumbs behind on the wrapper. They are an added waste, and I reduce it wherever possible. So, what do you do if you are using something other than muffin papers? I use a cooking spray or oil to ensure I have prepared muffin cups for the prepared muffin batter. You can use a clean paper towel to remove excess oil when oiling pans. 

Fill the muffin pan cups to full, and then mix the streusel topping in a small bowl. The topping is simple enough with brown sugar, butter, flour, and more chai spice! This tasty topping will crisp up while baking, making a sweet, sugary, spiced, crunchy topping on the soft apple spiced muffin bases. I didn’t add any vanilla extract to the recipe because it uses Watkins Chai Spice Blend, which already has vanilla flavor. 

Now you can slip the whole thing in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until they test for done. I grew up old school, so I still stick things with a butter knife to test for doneness. If the knife comes out clean, it’s cooked. If the butter knife has gummy batter left on it, you need to bake a minute or two more. If it’s wet, obviously, it needs a lot more time. You can use whatever cake tester method you are most familiar with. When baking these muffins, the tops will be a nice golden brown, and you can remove them from the oven and turn them out right away onto a wire rack. Be careful not to burn your fingers; they’re very hot!

Let them cool, and then enjoy! These freshly baked apple chai spice muffins go great with a glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee or tea. 


White flour: This processed flour has a neutral flavor, making it an excellent base for many baking products. It is also economical as it generally costs less than less processed alternative or alternative flour choices. 

Brown Sugar: Our recipe uses brown sugar for a few reasons. It gives the muffin a denser consistency to the crumb of the muffin base. Brown sugar also adds depth and complexity, providing a warm, toasty sweetness that pairs well with the natural sweetness of apples.

Baking Soda: This leavening agent used here because the acid in the apples activates its properties, making it the best choice to help the muffins rise and become light and fluffy.

Salt: This not only brings out the flavors in this recipe more, but it also strengthens the gluten structure.

Egg: Is not only added for moisture and binding in the recipe, but it also helps with emulsification. This contributes to a more uniform and consistent texture in the final product.

Oil: Oil is my preferred muffin ingredient because it’s cheaper than butter. It also brings a softer texture to muffins over butter. 

Apples: Any apple is suitable for this recipe, except for harder apples like Granny Smith. 

Chai Spice: Watkins chai spice blend was used in this recipe. It contains a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, black tea, and vanilla. It’s perfect for pairing with apples. 

baked apple chai spice streusel topping (2)

Substitutions and add-ins for these chai spiced apple muffins.

White flour: This can easily be replaced with another flour; it’s vital to note switching the flour out to any other flour will have varying end results. For example, cake flour is lighter and will likely need to have some adjustments to the amount used. If you use whole wheat flour for added nutrition, you will want to use a ratio of whole wheat to white. Subbing out to straight whole wheat flour would not work well. You can switch to oat flour, which has a slightly nutty flavor. Or, if you want to make the muffins gluten-free, try using your favorite almond flour blend. 

Brown sugar: The caramel flavor of the brown sugar brings warmth to the baked apple chai muffins, but you can switch to white sugar if you have no brown on hand. The result will have a slightly different flavor profile.

Baking Soda: If you are substituting baking powder for baking soda, you’ll generally use about three times the amount of baking powder. 

Salt: It can be omitted if you are on a low-sodium diet, but be aware it will result in different results. Alternatively, you can use your salt alternative in the recipe if you think it won’t result in changing the flavor too much. 

Egg: Good egg alternatives for those with allergies are applesauce; use 1/4 cup of applesauce for each egg. Or mashed ripe bananas can replace eggs in recipes, use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of mashed banana for the egg. Alternatively you can use flaxseed or chia seed gel. Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water to create a gel-like consistency. Let it sit for a few minutes until it thickens, then use it as a substitute for one egg.

Oil: I used vegetable oil in this recipe; however, any neutral (flavorless) oil will work. 

Apples: I purchased naturally imperfect apples for this recipe, which are available at Canadian Independent Grocery stores. Any apple can be used so long as they aren’t overly crisp like granny smith apples, which may not soften enough during baking. 

Chai Spice: As I stated above, I used the Watkins Chai spice blend. However, if you don’t have it in your spice cabinet, you can make your own chai spice blend using 2 Tbsps cinnamon, 1 Tbsp ground ginger, 1 Tbsp ground cardamom, 1 tsp ground cloves, and 1 tsp ground nutmeg. Again, taste a bit before adding to the muffin recipe. If you find it strong, consider reducing the amount used. If you don’t like chai spice or want to avoid making your own blend, consider switching it out for cinnamon. Reduce the measurement in the muffin batter to a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Apple cinnamon streusel muffins would also make perfect muffins for snacking on. 

As an alternative suggestion for these muffins, consider switching the brown sugar streusel out with an oat streusel. If you want to add raisins to the muffins, feel free to do so; alternatively, some dried currants would also be delicious! 

​Expert Tips and Serving Suggestions:

Tip #1: Prepare your muffin tin. With over 40+ years of baking experience, I have found that spray oil is the best solution. Even when working with liners, you will want to ensure your non-stick pans have oil on the surface because you never know when the muffin tops will spill over and stick. In fact, I have had to cut muffins out of pans when I failed to follow this simple step.

Tip #2: Test the muffins before removing them from the oven to be sure they are baked. Whenever baking with fresh fruit and using my butter knife trick for testing, you want to check more than one muffin. Just in case you stab baked fruit, which can create a bit of stickiness to the knife. If you use the toothpick method again, test more than one muffin. The worst thing is removing those fluffy muffins too soon and having damp spots. It’s always better to air on the side of caution when in doubt and bake a few minutes extra. 

Tip #3: Store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature. This helps prevent exposure to air and slows down the staling process, as air can actually draw moisture right out of your hard work. 

​If you need more time to enjoy these freshly baked apple chai streusel muffins, consider storing them in your freezer. When properly wrapped and stored in a sealed container or freezer bag, these muffins can stay fresh for up to 2-3 months in the freezer. A general rule of thumb is that baking can be frozen in the proper storage container/packaging for three months. To enjoy these muffins from frozen thaw them at room temperature when you’re ready to enjoy. 

If you enjoyed these easy apple chai streusel muffins we would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below the recipe card if you test this recipe. As always, we love hearing from you, our readers!  

Easy Apple Chai Streusel Muffins Without White Sugar (1)

Easy Apple Chai Streusel Muffins Without White Sugar

Amber Bondar
This easy apple chai streusel muffin recipe is made without white sugar. The fresh chopped apples pair beautifully with the chai spice blend making a crunchy topped muffin perfect for your next breakfast or brunch. This muffins freeze well too so you can make ahead and thaw only as many as needed for your work or school lunch!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 11


  • 1 Large Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Medium Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Small Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Cups
  • 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 Teaspoon
  • 1 Fork or other mixing tool
  • 1 12 Cup Muffin Pan


Muffin Batter

  • Cup Flour
  • Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Lrg Egg
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • ¼ Cup Vegetable Oil Or Other Neutral Oil
  • 2 Cup Apple Peeled and Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Chai Spice Blend

Chai Streusel Topping

  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • Cup Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Chai Spice Blend
  • 2 Tbsp Butter Softened


Making the Apple Chai Muffin Batter

  • In a large mixing bowl measure and blend the oil and sugar.
  • Add the egg and mix until creamy.
  • In medium mixing bowl measure the flour, baking soda, salt and blend well.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Start mixing.
  • Measure and add the milk once mixing dry is no longer possible.
  • Blend until lumps are removed.
  • Fold in the chopped apple and chai spice blend.
  • Fill the prepared muffin tins to full.

Making The Chai Spice Streusel Topping

  • Put the streusel topping ingredients into a small bowl.
  • Mix together well so that all the sugar, spice and flour binds with the butter creating small lumps like peas.

Assembling and Baking

  • Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the streusel mixture and bake in preheated 400℉ oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • Test the muffins for doneness before removing from the oven.
  • Cool for five minutes before serving and enjoy.


Muffins can be frozen in freezer bags for 2-3 months. Simply thaw for fifteen minutes to eat. 
Keyword apple, breakfast, brunch, chai, fruit muffins, streusel, sweet snacking

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