How to Make Muffins That Turn Out Perfectly Every Time

Make a batch of muffins with these step-by-step baking tips. We'll also tell you how to customize your bake with your favorite toppings or add-ins.

Muffins have long held a place in culture as a breakfast staple and are one of the most wonderful ways to start the morning. Though similar in appearance in many ways to cupcakes, muffins are not iced or decorated after they are finished baking. They are always baked in formed pans or sturdy baking cups, and a basic batter almost always contains a flavorful addition, such as fruit or chopped nuts, and is often topped with crumble. With a few basic instructions, making a homemade batch of muffins is a breeze.

The process of creating a muffin batter is quite simple. Using two bowls, combine your dry ingredients in one bowl and your wet ingredients in another, then add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix only until the batter comes together. In culinary terms, this mixing process is called the Muffin Method (yes, that is the technical term!). The process is fast and easy; However, the common downfall is that the batter can quickly become overmixed, resulting in a tough, coarse texture. Below are the essential steps of how to make muffins that will ensure success every time. To begin, let's start with a classic basic muffin recipe and discuss the Muffin Method in detail.

Chocolate-Cherry Muffins
Carson Downing

Step 1: Prepare the Pan

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.

Step 2: Mix Ingredients

In a mixing bowl, sift all your dry ingredients together. This would include your flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Once the ingredients have been well blended, create a well in the center of the dry mixture and set the bowl aside.

In a separate bowl, combine all liquid ingredients, including any melted fat or oil. For this basic recipe, the liquid items would include an egg, milk, and oil. To help make ensure there is minimal mixing in the next step, make sure to whisk these liquid items together completely (including the egg).

Step 3: Add Liquid Ingredients to Dry Ingredients

Add your liquid mixture into the well of the dry ingredients and mix all ingredients lightly just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The most important factor is that there should be as little mixing as possible. Resist the urge to create a smooth batter; It is normal for the batter to look lumpy. If the batter is mixed for too long, the gluten in the flour will develop and create a tough texture when the muffins are baked.

Spooning batter into cups
Kritsada Panichgul

Step 4: Fill Muffin Pan

Spoon the muffin batter into the prepared muffin cups, about ⅔ full. If you have chosen to add a topping, such as a crumble or a streusel, sprinkle this over the tops of the muffin batter before baking.

Step 5: Bake Muffins

Bake in an oven for about 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. You'll also know the muffins are finished baking when they have a golden color, the tops are rounded, and the edges of the muffins are firm. Let the baked muffins cool on a wire rack for a few minutes or until they're cool enough to handle.

Serving and Storing Muffins

Muffins are ideally served the same day they are baked, but if you have extra muffins, be sure that they have cooled completely before storing. Most muffins will store best in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days. Consider adding a paper towel under the muffins and another lightly on top of the muffins to help absorb any moisture to help prevent the muffins from becoming stale quickly.

If you want to freeze muffins, place the cooled ones in resealable plastic bags; these will freeze well for up to three months.

Now that you've mastered the basics and can confidently create a perfect batch of muffins, consider trying one (or a few!) of these 25 delectable muffin recipes. With an array of variety and exciting flavor combinations, they will soon become some of your favorite go-to muffin recipes for your next brunch or early morning gathering.

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