Filed Under: Breakfast | Dessert | Muffin | Videos

Ultimate Muffins

By Tessa Arias
  |  
March 1st, 2021
4.89 from 393 votes
4.89 from 393 votes

This Ultimate Muffin recipe is THE master muffin base that is perfectly flavorful, tender, and moist. The flavor and add-in options are limitless!  Download my free Ultimate Muffin Guide here! 

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The muffins themselves are sweet, but not too sweet, and surprisingly flavorful thanks to the buttermilk and butter. Of course, they’ll take on the flavor of whatever you add to them!
Texture: Soft, tender, and moist. Perfect!
Ease: These babies are so easy, anyone could make them. Whatever you do, just don’t overmix the batter.
Appearance: A plate of these on your breakfast table is bound to make anyone a morning person, at least for a few minutes.
Pros: This is the master basic ultimate muffin recipe that you can turn to time and time again and customize with whatever you have on hand, or whatever you’re craving!
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Oh yes. Over and over.

A few years ago I posted my Ultimate Guide to Muffins where I made eight (!) experimental batches of muffins. I did it to figure out what exactly makes them moist, crumbly, tall, flat, tender, or tough.

Like I’ve done with my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie and Ultimate Brownie recipes, I knew I had to take the experimenting insights to create the Ultimate Muffin recipe!

blueberry muffin batter in a glass bowl with a spatula

So, here it is! This is my version of the *ultimate* muffin. They’re tender, moist, and fluffy. If you want to know the whys behind the recipe, such as why I love using buttermilk, check out my free Ultimate Muffin Cheatsheet.

Otherwise, just relish in the fact that you’ve found an easy homemade muffin recipe you can turn to over and over and know it’ll work. I love this base muffin recipe because you can literally add WHATEVER you want to it. The flavor and add-in options are endless. Lots of ideas below and more are included in that free cheatsheet!

homemade blueberry, lemon and crumb cake muffins

I really hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I do. I know I just love having the ultimate version of any beloved recipe treat – it makes baking that much more fun when you know you’ll be successful in the kitchen. When you have tested and trusted recipes in your repertoire!

If you’re interested in learning more about the science of baking and getting all of my best baking secrets in one place, I think you’ll love my online class, The Magic of Baking.

How to Make
ULTIMATE Muffins

chocolate chip, lemon, blueberry and coffee cake muffins on a marble board

The BEST Muffin Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour – measured correctly
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar – for a little extra moisture and flavor
  • Salt
  • Baking powder – a hefty dose for tall fluffy muffins
  • Buttermilk – no substitutes!
  • Butter – more flavorful than oil.
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Add-ins and flavorings of your choice – get as creative as you want!

How to Make Muffins from Scratch:

  1. Whisk together your dry ingredients.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, beat together your wet ingredients. Pour into the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix or you’ll have rubbery muffins.
  3. Add your toppings or flavor variations.
  4. Divide among muffin tin, bake, and enjoy!

How to Bake TALL Muffins:

I recently experimented with the science of muffins and how to achieve beautiful, TALL muffins that look like they belong on the shelf of a fancy bakery. Check out my 3 tips for baking tall muffins here!

Hint: Chilling your muffin batter overnight makes for the BEST ever muffins!!

comparison of muffin batter rested vs baked immediately

How to Prevent Blueberries from Sinking in Muffins:

When fruit sinks to the bottom it gets soggy and can stick to the paper liner. The old trick of tossing your berries with flour to prevent them from sinking doesn’t always work all that well. Not to mention it can disturb the ratio of wet to dry in the recipe.

There’s an easy way to prevent that from happening in three steps. I learned this tip from Stella Parks for Serious Eats.

  1. Hold off on adding your fruit or mix-ins to your muffin batter.
  2. Take your plain batter and scoop a tablespoon into the bottom of each muffin cavity to fill just the very bottom.
  3. Gently fold in your mix-ins to the remaining batter. Scoop the batter over the plain muffin batter, dividing evenly between all the cavities. Bake as directed by the recipe!

comparison of muffins baked with and without the fruit sinking trick

How to Store Muffins:

Muffins are best served the day they’re baked. If you have leftovers, store them for up to 1 day in an airtight container at room temperature. Refresh in a 300°F oven for 5 minutes or reheat in the microwave for 10 seconds.

For best results, freeze leftover muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight at room temperature or reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Ultimate Muffin Customization Options:

Muffin Size Directions

Jumbo muffins: Bake at 450°F for 5 minutes, then reduce to 400°F and continue baking for about 16 minutes. Makes about 6 jumbo muffins.

Mini muffins: Bake at 350°F for about 12 minutes. Makes about 24 to 28 mini muffins.

Muffin Flavor Variations

Mix-ins: Add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, dried fruit, candy, etc. to the batter. Be careful not to overmix.

Flavorings: For flavorings add anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons depending on your desired intensity of flavor. Flavorings include extracts, fresh citrus zest, or espresso powder.

FRUIT MUFFINS

Add: 1 1/2 cups fruit (such as berries, apples, etc.), finely chopped and well drained

Directions: To prevent your fruit from sinking to the bottom, spoon a little bit of plain batter (before adding in the fruit) to the bottom of each muffin cavity. Then, mix in the fruit to the batter and spoon it into each cavity.

Note: If chilling your batter overnight, add fruit to the mixture just before baking. The juice of your fruit will more than likely bleed into your muffin if you put it in too early.

the best moist homemade blueberry muffins

CHOCOLATE MUFFINS

Add: 1/3 cup (28 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Directions: Add the cocoa in with the other dry ingredients. Increase buttermilk to 1 1/2 cups.

BANANA MUFFINS

Add: 3/4 cup mashed overripe banana (from about 2 small bananas)

Directions: Add in with the wet ingredients.

LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon zest

Directions: Add the poppy seeds with the dry ingredients and the lemon zest with the wet ingredients.

glazed lemon poppyseed muffin on a plate with the wrapper being removed

Toppings, Icings, & Fillings:

STREUSEL TOPPING
  • 1/2 cup (64 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons (71 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions: In a small bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture using the back of a fork until it is coarse and crumbly. Sprinkle over each muffin, gently pressing into the batter, before baking as directed.

moist muffins with a cinnamon crumb topping

CINNAMON SUGAR TOPPING
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions: Combine all ingredients until mixture looks like wet sand. Sprinkle over every muffin before baking.

MUFFIN GLAZE
  • 1/3 cup (42 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon milk

Directions: In a small bowl whisk together ingredients until a thick but pourable icing forms. Add more milk to thin, or more sugar to thicken, if needed. Use fresh citrus juice in place of milk, if desired. You may also added in fresh citrus zest to taste.

homemade lemon muffins

I share LOTS more muffin flavor customization ideas in my *free* Ultimate Muffin Cheatsheet. Get yours here!

More Muffin Recipes:

4.89 from 393 votes

How to make
Ultimate Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
This Ultimate Muffin recipe is THE master muffin base that is perfectly flavorful, tender, and moist. The flavor and add-in options are limitless!  Download my free Ultimate Muffin Guide here! 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups (286 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if desired)
  • Add-ins and flavorings of your choice
  • Coarse or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (if desired)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Position an oven rack to the upper third of the oven. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup beat together the buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until a few streaks of flour remain. Stir in any desired add-ins, such as fruit or chips.
  4. If time permits, cover the muffin batter and allow it to rest in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight. This will produce more moist, tender, and tall muffins.
  5. Divide evenly among the muffin tin cups. Sprinkle each with coarse sugar, if desired.
  6. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 16 to 18 minutes.

Recipe Video

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: muffin recipe, muffins

(This post was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2021 with new photos by Ashley McLaughlin, a new video, and a new PDF guide.)

March Baking Challenge

This recipe was the selection for the March 2021 monthly baking challenge! Every month you can join a challenge by baking the recipe and snapping a photo for a chance to win PRIZES. Click here for full details. Check out everyone’s muffins:

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Hebatallah — December 23, 2021 at 1:03 am

    I have been making this recipe nonstop for about 2 months now….
    Every week my husband requests blueberry muffins to take to work! I top mine with turbinado sugar too

    The best muffin recipe ever

    • #
      Emily — December 23, 2021 at 9:29 am

      That’s amazing! Sounds like such a delicious treat, so happy he loves them! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  2. #
    Nikolett — November 12, 2021 at 1:45 am

    Hi,

    Can I bake it in silicone mold ?

    • #
      Emily — November 12, 2021 at 10:55 am

      We haven’t tried that, but it should be fine 🙂 Let us know how it goes!

  3. #
    Jenny — October 26, 2021 at 8:50 am

    This is the best muffin recipe ever! they were so moist and delicious, I highly recommend chilling the batter overnight. Will be making again. Can’t wait to try a pumpkin version!

    • #
      Haley Wehner — October 26, 2021 at 12:14 pm

      Woohoo! So glad you loved these muffins as much as we do.

  4. #
    Xiu — September 24, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Hello! Can I replace all purpose flour with cake flour ?

    • #
      Emily — September 27, 2021 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Xiu! We actually never use cake flour with muffins-we found that they end up being a bit too dry and crumbly.

      • #
        Xiu — September 28, 2021 at 8:54 am

        Ah icic! Thank you! I was wrong, thought that cake flour has a lower protein and would make it softer 🙂

  5. #
    Kara — September 6, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    The best.
    I’ve made these every weekend for the past 3 weeks. We do lemon blueberry and let them “marinate” overnight. In the morning, we pop them in the oven for breakfast.

    • #
      Emily — September 7, 2021 at 2:43 pm

      Amazing, Kara! So happy to hear this recipe is such a hit, lemon blueberry sounds fantastic!

  6. #
    Irma — July 27, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    About 50 years ago I learned how to make Surprise Muffins in Home Economics class. I still make them, but now i use Tessa’s muffin recipe and I follow her advice. I fluff the flour with a fork before i measure it in grams on my food scale. I let the batter sit overnight in the fridge. The “surprise” is strawberry preserves. I put some batter at the bottom of the cup, add a tsp of strawberry preserves, cover it with more batter and then bake. It makes 18 small surprise muffins and I bake six at a time so we can have fresh hot muffins with coffee for two or three days. We love this recipe!

    • #
      Emily — July 28, 2021 at 10:00 am

      Sounds absolutely delicious, Irma! The surprise of strawberry preserves would be lovely! Thanks so much for letting us know 🙂

  7. #
    Cyndi — July 3, 2021 at 3:54 am

    I made the ultimate muffin recipe and I had fresh blueberries from my yard and zest of a lemon. I did let the batter rest overnight in the fridge and topped these with a lemon glaze. OMG, they are tender and moist and so DELICIOUS!!! Thank you for all your hard work so I can look like the best cook to my family and friends!!!

    • #
      Tessa — July 5, 2021 at 10:01 am

      Wonderful! You just made my day, Cyndi! I’m so happy everyone enjoyed them 🙂

  8. #
    Ling — June 24, 2021 at 6:27 am

    Hihi I came across your recipe and I tried making the chocolate chip muffins and they tasted great! I have made the chocolate based muffin batter by adding 28g of cocoa powder and 1.5 cup of buttermilk. However, I noted the batter was super watery! I have placed them in the fridge for baking tomorrow, hopefully it turns out fine.

    • #
      Tessa — June 24, 2021 at 10:05 am

      Let me know how they turn out!

      • #
        Ling — June 25, 2021 at 5:12 am

        Hihi, I have baked it and it turned out to be great! Was so afraid that it would not be successful as the batter was watery

        • #
          Tessa — June 25, 2021 at 8:30 am

          Great! I’m so happy to hear they turned out well 🙂

  9. #
    Susan Poolarea — June 11, 2021 at 12:52 am

    Excellent recipe. I’ve never been able to make good muffins before I tried this recipe
    I made them with Lind curd, delicious!

  10. #
    Annie Papazian — May 8, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    Hello,

    I just cam across your website – I could not be happier. I have made many types of muffins – love baking so I am happy to hear all the different suggestions. I will definitely try to refrigerate overnight the muffin batter. Question:when would you add frozen blueberries to the muffin batter – before you refrigerate or the nect day just before baking?

    Thanks for such an amazing website!!!

    Annie

    • #
      Tessa — May 10, 2021 at 2:20 pm

      Welcome 🙂 If you’re chilling your mixture, add the blueberries just before baking; otherwise the blueberry juice will bleed into the batter. Enjoy your muffins! I’d recommend baking up a couple the night before so you can compare them to the chilled ones the next morning!

  11. #
    Erin — April 17, 2021 at 3:56 am

    Hi Tessa, I was wondering when you add the fruit to the batter for storing over night? The recipe instructions are a little confusing – you advise to add some batter to the paper before fruit, however you add the fruit to the batter to let it rest overnight. Do you separate when you rest it overnight? Appreciate the clarification. Thanks 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — April 20, 2021 at 9:38 am

      Hi Erin, I would recommend adding the fruit after letting the batter rest. Your fruit will more than likely bleed into your muffin if you put it in too early. Adding plain batter to the liners before adding in the rest of the muffin batter (with fruit) prevents your fruit from sinking to the bottom as well as making the muffins easy to remove from the liner 🙂

  12. #
    Maryam jama — March 31, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    Soft and delicious

  13. #
    Ava Paziuk — March 31, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    Awesome

  14. #
    Rebekah Thorne — March 31, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    Super moist and such good flavor!!!

    I didn’t have actual buttermilk, because I forgot to pick it up at the grocery store, but I made some with milk and vinegar (had both of those) and it still tasted delicious. I’ll have to make them again with actual buttermilk to see if it will change the texture and flavor!

  15. #
    Carmen — March 31, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Such Delicious Muffins!!! They were super moist and yummy would definitely recommend to make! Love how Tessa makes this recipe sooo customizable Would recommend adding salted butter but other that that it’s perfect!!!

    • #
      Tessa — April 1, 2021 at 9:46 am

      So glad you loved this recipe, Carmen!

  16. #
    Brittney — March 31, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    Loved the trick of putting the mix in the fridge!!!

  17. #
    Edzen Cortez — March 31, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    These were incredible! Read the pink box and all her tips. The muffins were tall, tender, and so IG worthy haha. Will be making these over and over.

    • #
      Tessa — April 1, 2021 at 9:55 am

      Hooray!!!

  18. #
    Megan — March 31, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    Clear and easy instructions with lots of tips! Love it! Thanks for the great recipe! I made chocolate chip muffins this time but can’t wait to try other toppings! Delicious!!!!

    • #
      Tessa — April 1, 2021 at 9:54 am

      Thrilled you hear you loved this recipe, Megan!

  19. #
    Yira Fernández — March 31, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    Loved these muffins, my lemon poppy seed muffins were so tender and yummy! Can´t wait to try them in others flavors!! This is a must do, so delicious!

    • #
      Tessa — April 1, 2021 at 9:56 am

      Wonderful to hear!!

  20. #
    Carrie Hoey — March 31, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    Resting overnight is a total gamechanger!!

    • #
      Tessa — April 1, 2021 at 9:57 am

      If I could add a dance emoji to this comment, I would LOL! So happy you tried chilling your muffin mixture!

  21. #
    María Navarro — March 31, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Perfect with berries and white chocolate.

  22. #
    Gwen I — March 31, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    Love, love, love this muffin recipe! I do enjoy how it adapts to the filling combination of your choice. I have made glazed blueberry muffins, cinnamon muffins which I glazed with Tessa’s gooey cinnamon roll glaze recipe, and chocolate chip muffins with the same glaze that I lightly brushed over the tops. I did follow Tessa’s direction to refrigerate the batter overnight. They domed beautifully! Also, her tip to cool in the pan for only a couple of minutes gave me a gorgeous naked muffin when I removed the liner to devour. I could go on and on, but I’d hate to be a review hog . Enjoy making these delectable treats … it will become your go-to muffin recipe that will be appreciated and loved by all

    • #
      Tessa — April 1, 2021 at 9:58 am

      Thank you SO MUCH for your glowing review, Gwen! I’m thrilled you love these muffins! <3

  23. #
    María Navarro — March 31, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    The perfect present for my sister who loves fruit in the cakes, half with blueberries and half with raspberries and white chocolate.

  24. #
    Lesley Shaw Walsh — March 31, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Yummy, yummy, yummy! These blueberry-strawberry muffins didn’t last very long in our house!!!

  25. #
    Trish DiRaimo — March 31, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Made this muffin recipe several times using different variations. So moist and tender everytime.

  26. #
    Bake.it.off — March 31, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    So tall and moist!!!

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