This is an easy muffin recipe that can be used as a base recipe for a variety of muffin flavors. These basic muffins are delicious as is for a side dish or dessert. The simple batter can be flavored with extracts or spices and all kinds of mix-ins can be added.
Basic Muffin Recipe Overview
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Techniques Used: The Muffin Mixing Method
This is a basic easy muffin recipe that can be used as a base recipe for a variety of flavors. These plain muffins are delicious as is and are a great side dish alternative to traditional bread. They can also be flavored with various extracts, spices, and add-ins.
The thing I love so much about muffins is that they are incredibly quick and easy to make and they are portable! Perfect for on-the-go breakfasts or snacks and this base recipe can be made an endless number of ways!
What is a Muffin?
Have you ever truly thought about what makes a muffin a muffin? Or how a muffin is different from a cupcake? Well, if you know me then you know I’ve definitely thought about this question in depth!
A muffin is in the category in the baking world called “quick breads.” Quick breads get their name because they are bread-like products that are chemically leavened (with baking powder or baking soda) instead of leavened with yeast. This means that they can be made very quickly and easily. Other quick breads include biscuits, scones, quick loaves, pancakes, and waffles.
A muffin is different from a cupcake in that it is much less sweet and more dense in texture. Cakes tend to have a higher sugar and fat ratio than muffins and, of course, tend to be covered in frosting!
How to Make Basic Muffins
The method used to make muffins and many other types of quick breads is called the muffin mixing method. This mixing method is very simple in that the dry ingredients are mixed in one bowl, the wet ingredients are mixed in a separate bowl, and then they are combined. This method serves to keep quick breads tender and to reduce the amount of gluten formation.
- Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl by sifting or whisking together.
- Step 2: Combine all of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk together.
- Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon or a rubber spatula until just combined.
- Note: The batter will be lumpy. Do not stir too much or the muffins will become tough.
- Step 5: If using any add-ins, fold them into the batter here.
- Step 4: Divide the batter evenly in a muffin tin and bake immediately.
Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
- Technically any liquid fat can be used for these muffins, however, fat that stays liquid at room temperature (such as vegetable, canola, or olive oil) will produce muffins that stay the most tender when cooled.
- If you want to add a bit of a tangy flavor to your muffins, substitute the regular milk for buttermilk.
- These muffins can easily be made vegan by substituting the egg for 1/4 cup of applesauce or mashed banana. These muffins also work well with a standard gluten free flour blend such as Bob’s Red Mill’s Baking Blend or Cup 4 Cup Flour.
Basic Muffin Ingredient Functions
- Flour is the main structure for the muffin.
- Sugar sweetens the muffin slightly. Muffins are much less sweet than cupcakes so the amount used is less than in a cake recipe.
- Baking Powder is the leavening agent for the muffins and makes them rise.
- Salt rounds out the flavors of the muffin.
- Egg binds the muffin together.
- Milk moistens the flour to create the muffin batter. It also adds some tenderness.
- Oil adds tenderness and prevents the flour from developing too much gluten.
Basic Muffin Recipe (Vegan and Gluten Free Options)
This is an easy muffin recipe that can be used as a base recipe for a variety of muffin flavors. These basic muffins are delicious as is as a side dish or dessert or the batter can be flavored with extracts or spices and all kinds of mix-ins can be added.
- 2 cups (8.5 oz, 238 gr) all-purpose flour (*see note for gluten free option)
- 2/3 cup (4.6 oz, 130 gr) granulated sugar
- 1 TBSP (0.5 oz, 14 gr) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt or table salt (use 1 tsp if using Diamond kosher)
- 1 large egg, room temperature (*see note for vegan option)
- 2/3 cup (5.3 oz, 148 gr) whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112 gr) liquid fat (oil or melted butter, shortening, lard, or coconut oil)
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C). Line a muffin tin with muffin liners or spray with nonstick spray.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Alternatively, the ingredients can be whisked together well. Any spices you might be adding would be added into the dry ingredients.
- Mix the Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, stir together the egg, milk, vanilla, and oil until well combined. If using any extracts they would be added into the wet ingredients.
- Combine Wet & Dry Ingredients: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. The batter will be lumpy. Do not over-mix or the muffins will become tough. If using, fold in any add-ins.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
- Bake at 400 F (205 C) for about 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
- Blueberry Muffins: Fold in 2 cups (10 oz, 300 gr) fresh or frozen blueberries.
- Cinnamon Raisin Muffins: Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 cup (5.3 oz, 150 gr) raisins
- Chocolate Chip Muffins: Fold in 2 cups (10 oz, 300 gr) chocolate chips.
- Cranberry Orange Muffins: Add 1 TBSP orange zest and 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries. Top with an orange powdered sugar glaze.
- Cheddar Bacon Muffins: Fold in 4 strips of crumbled cooked bacon and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Sprinkle more shredded cheddar on top of the muffins before baking.
- Vegan Muffins: Substitute the egg for 1/4 cup applesauce or mashed banana.
- Gluten Free Muffins: Substitute the all-purpose flour for a gluten free baking blend.