Muffins are simple to make, but there are a few techniques that will help ensure every batch of muffins bakes up tender and delicious. Choose a muffin recipe you want to try and follow the steps below.
Grease muffin cups by brushing the bottoms and sides with shortening or softened butter, or spraying them with nonstick cooking spray. Or use paper liners, which don't require greasing.
Stir together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Use a wooden spoon to make a hole or well in the center.
Stir together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then pour the mixture (all at once) into the well.
Tip: The well ensures that ingredients will combine quickly so you don't overmix the batter.
Use a wooden spoon to stir together the wet and dry ingredients just until they are combined. The batter will look lumpy with little bits of flour.
Tip: Overmixing the batter can cause peaks, tunnels, and a tough texture.
Tip: Muffin batter shouldn't be made ahead (unless specified by the recipe). Batters that use baking powder and baking soda need to be baked right away so that their leavening power (what makes baked goods light and tender) isn't lost.
Spoon the muffin batter into the prepared muffin cups using two spoons. Fill the cups 2/3 to 3/4 full, depending on the recipe directions.
Tip: If the cups are filled too full, the muffin tops will be flat instead of domed.
After filling the muffin cups, sprinkle any toppings, such as streusel, over the batter.
Tip: Sprinkle topping evenly so it stays on top instead of sinking into the muffin.
You'll know the muffins are done by the color of the muffin tops -- they should be golden, rounded, and have firm edges. Let the baked muffins cool on a wire rack for a few minutes or until they're cool enough to handle.
Tip: Use a butter knife to lift the muffins from the cups so you can place them on the wire rack to finish cooling.
Tip: To freeze muffins, place the cooled muffins in resealable plastic bags for up to three months. However, streusel topping will not retain its crunchiness when stored in the freezer.