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.
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!
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.
Hint: Chilling your muffin batter overnight makes for the BEST ever muffins!!
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.
Hold off on adding your fruit or mix-ins to your muffin batter.
Take your plain batter and scoop a tablespoon into the bottom of each muffin cavity to fill just the very bottom.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Toppings, Icings, & Fillings:
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.
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.
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.
1stick (113 grams) unsalted butter,melted and cooled
2large eggs, at room temperature
1teaspoonvanilla extract (if desired)
Add-ins and flavorings of your choice
Coarse or turbinado sugar,for sprinkling (if desired)
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.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
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.
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.
Divide evenly among the muffin tin cups. Sprinkle each with coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 16 to 18 minutes.
muffin recipe, muffins
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #handletheheat so we can all see!
Recipe byTessa Arias
(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:
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!)