Culinary Arts

One Easy Muffin Recipe, Endless Muffin Variations

Written by MasterClass

Jul 17, 2019 • 3 min read

Homemade muffins make for a great breakfast on-the-go, as an appetizer at brunch, or packed as a lunchbox treat. And with a master muffin mix recipe, you can add any flavors or mix-ins to suit any of your muffin cravings.


What Is a Muffin?

A muffin is an individual-sized quick bread that rises using baking soda or baking powder instead of yeast. It is usually sweet, with a texture that is more dense than cupcakes, and can contain mix-ins such as fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips. Muffins are often enjoyed as a breakfast treat, side, or snack.

How to Customize a Muffin Recipe

A master muffin recipe is a basic muffin mix that can be customized with flavored extracts, speciality flours, puréed fruits and vegetables, and various other mix-ins. Just remember this very basic tip for adding in ingredients: combine like with like.

  1. If you're subbing in a small amount of whole-wheat flour or oat flour, whisk it into the dry ingredients.
  2. If you're adding liquid extracts, pumpkin purée, or mashed bananas, add it to the wet ingredients.
  3. And finally, add any small, but solid, mix-ins (think coconut or chocolate chips) at the end with a gentle folding motion. You never want to overwork a muffin batter!

12 Popular Muffin Flavor Combinations

For the best results, add no more than 2 cups of mix-ins to the basic muffin recipe below.

  1. Blueberry Muffins: Fold in 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries and zest from 1 lemon. Can be finished with a streusel topping.
  2. Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins: Leave out cinnamon and swap out brown sugar for white granulated sugar. Mix in 2 tablespoons poppy seeds and the zest from 2 lemons into the dry ingredients. Add juice from 1 lemon into the wet batter. Drizzle with lemon glaze after baking.
  3. Banana Nut Muffins: Fold in ¾ cup ripe, mashed banana and 1 cup chopped toasted pecans. For a healthier version swap out half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour or replace entirely with gluten free flour.
  4. Cranberry Muffins: Fold in 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries and 1 teaspoon orange zest.
  5. Carrot-Raisin Muffins: Fold in ¾ cup shredded carrots, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and ½ cup raisins.
  6. White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins: Fold in 1 cup fresh raspberries and ½ cup white chocolate chips.
  7. Apple Cinnamon Muffins: Fold in an additional ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 cup peeled and chopped Granny Smith apple, ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts. Sprinkle muffin batter with some oats before baking.
  8. Spiced Pear Muffins: Fold in 1 cup peeled and chopped Bosc pear and 1/2 teaspoon allspice.
  9. Birthday Cake Muffins: Fold in 3/4 cup rainbow sprinkles and leave out the cinnamon.
  10. Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins: Fold in 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons espresso powder.
  11. Jalapeño Cheddar Muffins: Fold in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeños. Skip the cinnamon.
  12. Spiced Pumpkin Muffins: Fold in 1 cup pumpkin purée and 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice.

Easy, Customizable Master Muffin Recipe

Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
45 min

Make a big batch of these homemade muffins and freeze the extras to enjoy any day of the week.

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 12-count muffin pan with butter or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3–5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat starting on medium speed, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is well combined.
  4. Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Add the milk and continue to beat on low until well combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling all the way to the top. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425ºF then, leaving the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. This will give them browner tops. Bake for an additional 15-18 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely.
  6. Unglazed muffins stay fresh stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days; to store longer transfer to the freezer and defrost before eating.

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