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Sep 27, 2021

Whole Wheat and Sunflower Seed Muffins

These whole wheat sunflower seed muffins are spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. They are sweetened with brown sugar and grated fresh apple. 

Whole Wheat and Sunflower Seed Muffins on a cake stand.

These may look like traditional whole wheat muffins, but with the grated apple, sour cream, and spiced batter, these muffins are anything but. They are a sweet addition to breakfast, a midmorning snack, or afternoon tea, and the addition of salty roasted sesame seeds adds a little bit of crunch. 

Even though the predominant flour in these muffins is whole wheat, they are not at all heavy. In fact, they are light and fluffy! 

These muffins are wonderful warm from the oven with or without butter or jam. The tops are slightly crunchy and the crumb is tender and moist. Pair these with tomato muffins for a savory afternoon treat. 

Whole Wheat and Sunflower Seed Muffins on a cake stand.

I''ve been posting a new muffin recipe just about every month for about six years, so figuring out a new combination of flavors had gotten more and more difficult. I've even accidentally remade the same recipe. 

I'm excited about the flavors in these muffins, plus, they are filled with salted and roasted sesame seeds. They add a little crunch and saltiness to these sweet and spicy muffins.  Plus, the mild spiciness and sweetness in these muffins is such a nice surprise. 

Ingredients in these sunflower seed muffins:


Whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, corn meal, and wheat germ. 


Cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt. 


Dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, and grated apple. I used a grated Envy apple but any apple will work with this recipe. 

Wet ingredients:

Eggs, sour cream, milk, and canola oil. 

Additional flavorings:

Pure vanilla extract and lemon zest, lemon oil, or lemon paste (which is what I used). Plus, salted and roasted sunflower kernels, which you incorporate into the batter and also use to top the muffins. 

Whole Wheat and Sunflower Seed Muffins on a cooling rack.

To make these muffins, just follow the standard muffin method. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, along with the grated apple, and combine everything with a rubber spatula. 

Use a #16 cookie scoop (1/4 cup cavity) to portion the batter among the muffin tin cavities, filling them almost to the top, and sprinkle them with a few extra sesame seeds. 

These muffins take about 22 minutes to bake. Serve them warm or at room temperature. Leftover muffins can be individually wrapped and frozen. 

Whole Wheat and Sunflower Seed Muffins in a basket.

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Whole Wheat and Sunflower Seed Muffins.

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Whole Wheat and Sunflower Seed Muffins

Whole Wheat and Sunflower Seed Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 40 Min
These whole wheat sunflower seed muffins are spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. They are sweetened with brown sugar and grated fresh apple.


  • 5 3/8 ounces (1 1/4 cups) whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/8 ounces (1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons salted and toasted sunflower seed kernels
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest or lemon paste
  • 1 (5 to 6 ounce) sweet apple, peeled, cored, and grated with a box grater (about 2/3 cup of grated apple)


  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a 12 cavity muffin tin with paper liners. 
  2. Whisk together the flours, sugars, 1/3 cup of the sunflower seeds, cornmeal, wheat germ, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg in a large bowl. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, milk, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest or paste. 
  4. Add the liquid ingredients, along with the grated apple, to the dry ingredients and combine with a rubber spatula. 
  5. Portion the batter with a #16 cookie scoop among the 12 muffin cavities. 
  6. Top each with a scant 1/2 teaspoon of additional sunflower seed kernels. 
  7. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack. 

Nutrition Facts



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Muffins, sunflower seeds, whole wheat
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Recipe adapted from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins, & More. Published in 2007. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. You sold me at grated apple and sour cream but I especially love the addition of the sunflower seeds for crunch!

  2. Using apple as a sweetener is so smart! I love sunflower seeds, and we're going to love these muffins!

    1. It really surprises me how great the apple works out.

  3. What a great flavor profile for these muffins. Perfect for fall. Thanks Karen.

  4. Delicious Whole wheat muffins with sunflower sound yummy and perfect.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Sally!! These turned out so nicely! I was so pleased.

  6. These muffins are perfect! Love them!


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