How to Make Muffins: Baking Tips and Recipes

How to Make the Best Muffins from Scratch

October 13, 2017
Muffin Tips

Here are some tips for baking muffins, including how to use muffin pans, making moist muffins, and spicing up your muffins. If you bake them right, there’s nothing like a fresh-baked muffin!

Using Muffin Pans

  • Most muffin recipes use a 12–cup muffin pan, each cup having a capacity of about ⅓ cup. This has become a standard size for the new, non-stick muffin pans and most aluminum pans for sale. If your pan has larger or smaller cups, adjust the baking time by about five minutes more for the larger muffins, five minutes less for the smaller ones. If muffins in the small cups get too brown, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
  • Grease muffin pans well before adding the batter. Save paper from sticks of butter for this, or use an oil spray. (After experimenting with paper baking cups and with greased pans, I’ve come to prefer the greased pans. Sometimes baking cups cause the bottoms of the muffins to get soggy, or the muffins will stick to them.) If you do prefer to use the paper baking cups, grease them with vegetable oil spray before putting the batter in.
  • If you end up with too little batter in your batch for the number of cups in your pan, put a little water in the empties to keep the greased surfaces from scorching in the oven.

How to Make Muffins Moist

  • Depending on what ingredients you’re using, the batter will range from runny (like thin cake batter) to very thick (like drop-cookie dough). As a general rule, the thinner the batter, the lighter the muffins will be when baked. But don’t be afraid to bake thick, gloppy batter. It can yield moist muffins with extra keeping power.
  • Buttermilk gives muffins a special moistness and flavor. You can buy it fresh in most supermarkets, or look for dry, powdered buttermilk, which will keep for weeks and is the next best thing. Add the powder to your dry ingredients, and add the amount of water needed to the wet ingredients. (Note: Whenever you add buttermilk to a recipe, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda per cup of buttermilk.)


Tips for the Best Ever Muffins

  • Most muffin recipes offer dire warnings: “Don’t overmix! Fill muffin cups only a fraction of the way—from ½ to ⅔.” Ignore all this and use common sense. Don’t be afraid to stir the ingredients together until they look like batter. Just remember not to use an electric mixer, since beating the batter will produce hockey pucks. And fill the cups as much as you want to. The idea is to bake some muffins, not worry about what fraction of space the batter should occupy. I confess that I spoon the batter around in my 12–cup pan as evenly as I can, usually filling each cup right up to the top, and the muffins come out fine. Try using a small ice cream scoop to fill the cups!
  • Keep your pantry stocked with imaginative additions for muffins: raisins, nuts, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, canned pumpkin or squash, applesauce, and pineapple tidbits. You can also add dry or cooked breakfast cereal, wheat germ, and granola to the batter.
  • For a special effect, before baking muffins, sprinkle them with sugar or cinnamon sugar. Or use this Crumb Topping: In a food processor, combine 1 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup rolled oats or granola, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 stick cold butter (cut into small bits). Pulse together until the mixture forms fine crumbs. Store in a covered jar in the freezer and use as needed.
  • Best Ever Leftovers: To jazz up leftover muffins, split them in half, butter each half, and place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Be careful reheating them in a microwave; they can quickly get soggy.

Muffin Recipes

Now that you have all these tips, try some of our favorite muffin recipes:

Oat Bran–Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Oat Bran–Banana-Blueberry Muffins. Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner.
Photo Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

French Morning Muffins

french-morning-muffins. Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner
Photo Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Apple Cider Muffins

Photo Credit: Amallia Eka/Shutterstock

Happy baking! Whats your favorite type of muffin to make? Let us know in the comments!

Want to try your hand at pie? See How to Make Pie: Crusts, Fillings, and More.

Reader Comments

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Plain muffins

What kind of breakfast muffin is good with syrup? When I went away to school we had muffins for breakfast that everyone ate with syrup over them. They were really good and I have always wished I had the recipe.

Flat vs raised

Any tips on what to do when you want your muffins either flat or raised, for aesthetics or practical purposes. I like my cornbread muffins spongy but flat, as well as muffins that are going to be put together and frosted over like a single cake. But most of the times they raise too much.

Muffins baking

While baking muffin I add granulated white sugar which (I think results in ) making the muffin rock solid n it caramels n make the muffin brown in colour n it also hardens what to do for this??

Lemon Muffins;

Lemon is one of my favorites; the Lemon Zest is what make the muffins or cake "the best"; to zest a lemon; use a fine grater on the whole lemon with the peel; then use the lemon juice with the zest; :);

All articles I enjoy all the information you share.

I especially like the recipes. Do you have one for lemon muffins? My M.i.l. had one that was the best ! Unfortunately, back in the day, I didn't save it. Thank you.

Lemon Muffins

The Editors's picture

Thank you, Ruth!  We have several lemon muffin recipes. I hope one of these works for you:
Lemon Muffin
Lemon Poppy-Seed Muffins


Hey, I found a recipe that

Hey, I found a recipe that requires heating up some of the ingredients in a saucepan, which I didn't because like a dolt, didn't read the full insteuctiins.

My question, though, whats the difference in heating up the ingredients first before baking? I've seen some recipes for Brownies that are similar.

Often it is to help

The Editors's picture

Often it is to help ingredients incorporate better and more uniformly.

Why would my bran muffins

Why would my bran muffins crumble to pieces instead of holding shape? Should I soak my bran in the liquid for 10 min. before baking?


Not knowing anything about

The Editors's picture

Not knowing anything about the rest of your recipe, yes, soaking the bran would be a good idea.

I have and use several types

I have and use several types of silicone baking products, including the Silicone bake ware and I love them.The directions that came with all of them said to spray them with non-stick spray prior to first use.I did and had no problem cleaning them. About every third use I give them a quick spray again.I think in over 3 years I have only had one section an my mini-loaf pan that the batter stuck and I had to scrub it clean. The cupcake liner have never stuck.I don’t have a dishwasher, I just put them in hot soapy water, give them a quick wash, rinse, and air dry in the dish strainer.

My mother always flipped her

My mother always flipped her biscuits. & muffins to stop sweaty bottoms. Usually 10 minutes cooling time before flipping works. Cornbread. Same, same. Must post due to suspect this knowledge is becoming extinct.

We flipped our bread loves

We flipped our bread loves also, then when I started working, I found out they would flip out the large connected (6 to 8 loaf) pans onto the board and leave them, 5 - 10 min later walk thru and turn them again. Evens out the moisture!
Old ways are best, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Some great hints and tips!(I

Some great hints and tips!(I especially like the one about adding 1/2 tsp. baking soda for each cup of buttermilk -- or, as I like to call it, bettermilk -- used.) Buttermilk gives extra moistness to a lot of baked goods, not just muffins, and it's great for just drinking, too. :)

However, I do agree with filling the muffin cups no more than 2/3 of the way because they need room to rise when baking. (I've learned that from messy experience!) I would never fill them to the top.

My tip ….After lining the

My tip ….After lining the muffin tin with baking cups spray them with a light coat of non-stick cooking spray and the muffins want stick to the baking cups.