Cornmeal Muffins with Apple

Simple cornmeal muffins studded and garnished with slivers of fall apples, barely sweet, perfect for a morning meal throughout autumn.

Fresh & Seasonal, Perfect for a Relaxed Fall Breakfast. Autumn Comfort Food. Great for Meal Prep. No Mixer Required.
Cornmeal Muffins with Apple, another seasonal muffin ♥, studded with apple with a pretty sliver on top. Perfect for Fall Breakfasts. Autumn Comfort Food. Great for Meal Prep. No Mixer Required.

I Looked a Hot Mess.

Emphasis on HOT, given that it was early-September still-summer-steamy here in Eastern Missouri. And triple emphasis on MESS. Ratty exercise gear. No makeup. Two-day hair.

But no matter, St. Louis' largest grocery chain's brand-new flagship store had just opened, the lure was too strong. In I walked, steamy, sweaty and did I mention? #OneHotMess.

And who did I run into, instantly? The company CEO.

And oh my. This new store was his b-a-b-y and was this guy ever one proud papa. Elated, he was! Every detail was pointed out with linguistic exclamation points!!! "Just loooook at those strawberries!" he blurted with pride.

I'd already seen the strawberries. There was no missing them, plastic clamshells neatly loaded onto wagon-style stands up front and center, right smack at the entrance to the enormous new produce area. If he hadn't been so blinkin' proud – so expecting praise – I might have kept quiet, letting him bask in strawberry-tinted glasses of self-adulation.

But no.

Hot mess and all, I couldn't help myself. There was no hiding my horror that strawberries – strawberries! – were the featured fruit in September in the Midwest. In September, people. September!!

I Was Polite But Direct.

Strawberries in September? No! No! No! ♥

"Where are the apples?" I asked. "It's apple season! You're the biggest grocery in St. Louis and you're telling your customers that it's strawberry season." At first, he was non-plussed, unprepared for someone to object to those perfect specimens of Driscoll strawberries.

Then he brightened. "We have apples, lots of apples!"

And of course they did, plenty of the typical year-round supermarket varieties plus several interesting kinds of apples because, you know, it was apple season.

But The Thing Is ...

How is it that the head of the largest grocery chain in all of St. Louis – a good set of stores, wonderful, even – doesn't by instinct recognize the ludicrousy of September strawberries? And if the CEO didn't know, why didn't the head of produce speak up? And anyone else down the chain? Was there no one who understood that fruits and vegetables are seasonal?

And yes, I understand that our global food distribution system masks the seasonality of produce. Thank goodness it does, really, because who wants to cook without eggplant and cauliflower and yes, even apples, year-round?

Maybe Seasons Are My Sprinkles?

Cornmeal Muffins with Apple, another seasonal muffin ♥, studded with apple with a pretty sliver on top. Perfect for Fall Breakfasts. Autumn Comfort Food. Great for Meal Prep. No Mixer Required.

Two years ago, I declared that "spices are my sprinkles" when sharing the recipe for Spiced Honey Cake. But maybe it's really seasonal ingredients (plus spices!) that drive my food sensibility? I've long known this but perhaps didn't realize how ingrained it's become.

And What About You?

And you, are you thinking about the season, the temperature, the length of the days when you're planning meals? Do you notice, does it matter to you, strawberries in September? Both the reality and the metaphor? I'd love to know how (and especially if ...) seasons matter to you when you're feeding yourself and those you love ...

Learn More

Apple Hanging in Apple Tree ♥

You'll Like Cornmeal Muffins with Apple If ...

Cornmeal Muffins with Apple, another seasonal muffin ♥, studded with apple with a pretty sliver on top. Perfect for Fall Breakfasts. Autumn Comfort Food. Great for Meal Prep. No Mixer Required.

  • apple season is a time for celebration!
  • you like muffins barely sweet, more morning bread than cupcake
  • simple pantry ingredients inspire your baking
  • muffins make your mornings


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 12 usual-size muffins

A sliver of apple on top is all show business, the muffins themselves are filled with apple. Don't forget to add the chopped apple to the batter!
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons, 4oz, 114g) salted butter
  • 1 cup (222g) buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon (yes, so much) vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, recommended but optional
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
  • 1 cup (170g) finely ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 large apple, cut into 12 small wedges (for garnish), the remainder chopped small (no need to peel)

Heat oven to 400F/200C. Spray a twelve-cup muffin pan with baking spray.

Melt the butter, then use a hand whisk to stir together the butter and and buttermilk in a large bowl. Then whisk in the egg, vanilla and almond extract. In another smaller bowl (I use a cereal bowl), whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and baking soda, salt and spices.

Add the flour mixture and chopped apples to the wet ingredients and stir together with a large spoon, just until mixed.

With two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, divide the muffin batter among the muffin cups. Top each muffin with an apple wedge.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean; start checking at about 15 minutes.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Best on the same day but still good for another couple of days. Because of the fruit, do store in the refrigerator after the first day.

ALANNA's TIPS To melt the butter, I cut the stick into 8 pieces, then melt it in the microwave in a microwave-safe glass bowl, the one I'll use to mis the muffin batter's wet ingredients; run the microwave just 10 or 15 seconds at a time, until the butter melts. This saves a dish and prevents the butter from exploding in, hmm, let's call it One.Hot.Mess. It's important that the cornmeal is very finely ground. Here, that usually means the "yellow cornmeal" that comes in cardboard tubs at the grocery store. It's hard – though not impossible – to find stone-ground cornmeal that's ground finely enough. It's easy to turn this into a "One Bowl Muffin" to mix. Start by understanding why many recipes specify a second bowl for separately mixing the dry ingredients: frankly, it's easier to get the job done with the second bowl. That "job" is to completely mix the flour, the leavening (that's the baking powder or baking soda), the spices and the salt – and especially to distribute the ingredients with smaller volumes evenly throughout the ingredients with higher volumes. This is my effective but unconventional one-bowl technique. Mix the wet ingredients as directed. Then dump each of the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients – but don't mix them into the wet ingredients yet. Once the dry ingredients are all on top, use a fork to lightly toss them all together right on top of the wet ingredients but not yet mixing them into the wet. With this recipe, the cinnamon and nutmeg are a good indicator that the dry ingredients are fully mixed and ready to then combine into the wet ingredients.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Muffin: 184 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 39mg Cholesterol; 281mg Sodium; 24g Carb; 1g Fiber; 12g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 5 & SmartPoints 8 & Freestyle 7 & myWW green 8 & blue 7 & purple 7 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = half muffin (3g protein).
Adapted from my own recipe published in 2017, Cornmeal Muffins with Peaches. You thought it looked familiar, right?!

Because Peaches, Too!

Cornmeal Muffins with Peaches ♥

You can use the very same recipe for peaches, too, see Cornmeal Muffins with Peaches. But only during peach season, okay?

Celebrate Apple Season, One Apple Recipe at a Time

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Healthy Waldorf Salad Roasted Applesauce with Raspberries Mulled Apple Cider
Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples Chicken Cider Stew
~ My Best & Favorite Apple Recipes ~
~ more apple recipes ~
~ more muffin recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ buttermilk recipes ~
~ cornmeal recipes ~
~ apple recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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2019 & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Judith Freedman9/18/2019

    Good for you, Alanna. It's a disgrace that grocers in the US and in the UK, where I now live, don't sell seasonal and local apples.

    1. Judith ~ So it’s true in the United Kingdom too? Another disgrace? Mealy apples during fresh-apple season! Nice to hear from you!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna