Orange-Spiced Whole Wheat Muffins

Lightly sweet with orange and spices, these Orange-Spiced Whole Wheat Muffins are good for breakfast, lunch, or snacks. Cut them open and slather them with honey or butter, and you're in muffin heaven.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins


For the muffin topping:

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/2 cup (195g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (164g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (from about 1 large orange)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts


1 Prep the pans and oven: Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Make the muffin topping: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 walnuts, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.

Whole Wheat Nut Muffins make the topping

3 Combine the flours and spices: In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg, and orange zest.

Whole Wheat Muffin with Buttermilk combine the flours Whole Wheat Muffins with Nuts combine the flours with spicesWhole Wheat Nut Muffins add the zest

4 Make the batter: In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, applesauce, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. The batter should be mostly combined with a few streaks of flour.

Add 3/4 cup walnuts, stir until incorporated. Do not overmix the batter; it will result in dense muffins.

Whole Wheat Muffins with Applesauce add the buttermilk

5 Fill the muffin cups: Fill muffin cups to the top with batter—don't worry, this is exactly how full you want them. Sprinkle with walnut and cinnamon sugar topping.

Whole Wheat Nut Muffins fill the muffin cups Whole Wheat Muffins with Applesauce top the muffins

6 Bake the muffins: Bake for 18 minutes until the muffins have crested over the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. They may show a combination of loose sugar and melted sugar.

The muffins should release from the just fine, but they may touch in a few places on the sides. Not to worry. Just use a knife to cut them apart before lifting them out of the pan. If the muffins are difficult to release from the pan, run a knife horizontally between the muffin top and the top of the muffin pan, taking care not to cut through the body of the muffin.

Serve warm with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey. Or just eat them. Either way.

Store in an airtight container on the countertop for up to five days or freeze in a zip-top plastic bag. They will keep in the freezer for up to three months.

Whole Wheat Muffins with Applesauce bake the muffins