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Home » Breads » Quick Breads » Base Muffin Recipe (Ultimate Basic Muffins for Endless Flavors)

Base Muffin Recipe (Ultimate Basic Muffins for Endless Flavors)

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This base muffin recipe is the key to homemade muffin magic. Use a single muffin batter to make endless flavor variations. 

Sprinkle in chopped herbs and cheese for a savory breakfast muffin. Toss in chopped pecans, dried fruit like cranberries, spices, or even citrus zest for unique flavor twists.

This ultimate muffin recipe is so adaptable, that the possibilities are endless!

A muffin pan filled with twelve different types of muffins.

 

Why You Will Love This Basic Muffin Recipe

Think beyond the expected basic muffin recipes like blueberry and banana. These muffins crave adventure! Fold in juicy berries, tangy citrus zest, or warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Swap out some of the flour for cocoa powder and unleash your inner chocoholic. Craving savory? Sprinkle in chopped herbs and cheese, or toss in caramelized onions and roasted peppers. The options are as limitless as your imagination.

You’ll love the variety this basic muffin recipe gives you, as well as:

  • Tender and Moist: Each bite explodes with moist crumb and subtle sweetness, waiting to be slathered with butter or spread with jam.
  • Versatile: This basic muffin recipe is a chameleon, adapting to any flavor you desire. From classic blueberry to decadent double chocolate, from spiced pumpkin to savory zucchini, the possibilities are endless.
  • Perfect for any occasion: Enjoy these muffins as a quick breakfast, a satisfying snack, or a delightful dessert. They’re also great for packing lunches, potlucks, or gifting to your loved ones.

If you love this recipe, try our banana bread with blueberries or spelt banana bread. They are essentially muffins made into sweet bread recipes.

And if you’re in the mood to explore another delightful baked good with a fruity twist, be sure to check out my Banana Lemon Cake recipe.

Ingredients for a Basic Muffin

You probably already have everything you need to easily make several varieties of these tender, moist muffins.

From a cinnamon sugar topping to grated carrot with raisin, you can pull from whatever you have on hand in the fridge or pantry.

  • Pantry: All purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract.
  • Dairy: Yogurt or sour cream.
  • Other: (protien): Eggs
Four photos showing how to make muffins using a base recipe.

How To Make This Ultimate Muffin Recipe

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with the recipe. You will see more details if you scroll down to the printable recipe card below.

  • Preheat the oven and line a 12-cup muffin pan with greased paper cups or use baking spray. 
  • Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a second bowl. 
  • Fold the dry mix into the wet mixture until just combined. Fold in any add-ins, if using. 
  • Fill the muffin cups to the top and bake. 
A freshly baked muffin in a muffin tin using our base muffin recipe.

 

Muffin Variations

Use this basic muffin mix to make muffins with any flavor combination you can dream up.. Your family will be just as delighted with Pepperoni Pizza muffins as they will be with Cinnamon Streusel Muffins!

  • Cranberry Orange Muffins: Stir in the zest of one orange and ½ teaspoon of orange oil or extract to the wet ingredients. Fold in dried cranberries to turn the basic muffin recipe into a Christmas morning treat.  
  • Double Chocolate Muffins: Whisk ⅔ cup of cocoa powder into the dry ingredients. Fold in chopped chocolate or mini chips.
  • Lemon Poppyseed: Toss in 3 to 4 tablespoons of poppyseeds to the flour mixture. Combine the zest of one lemon and ½ teaspoon of lemon oil or lemon extract to the wet mixture. 
  • Savory Breakfast Muffins: Combine 1/4 cup diced cooked sausage, bacon, or even pepperoni with 2 tablespoons diced green onion and chopped bell pepper, and 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese. Fold in lightly and fill the muffin cups. If you want to add a little heat, stir in a diced jalapeño.
  • Carrot Raisin: Add 1-½ teaspoons cinnamon to the dry mixture. Fold in 1-½ cups of shredded carrots, and 1/4 cup of raisins. 

After trying these variations, if you’re looking for another tried and true favorite, don’t miss out on the best banana blueberry muffins. They combine the sweetness of bananas with the burst of flavor from fresh blueberries, making them a crowd-pleaser!

Serving Suggestions

Slather your muffins with butter and jam, drizzle them with honey or maple syrup, or dust them with powdered sugar for a delicate touch.

Enjoy them warm from the oven, pack them for on-the-go goodness, or freeze them for a later muffin fix.

Several muffins in a pan made from a base muffin recipe.

 

Storing Muffins

  • Store cooled muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  • Freeze muffins individually in airtight bags for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or reheat in the microwave for a few seconds. You can also reheat muffins in a preheated oven for a crispy exterior and warm center.

Tips For The Best Muffins

Baking the perfect muffins is both an art and a science, and the success of your recipe often lies in the details. These essential tips will help ensure your next batch of muffins turns out wonderfully!

  • Use room-temperature ingredients.
  • Don’t overmix the batter, or your muffins will be tough.
  • To prevent sticking, grease your muffin tin well or use paper liners.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of mix-ins to your taste.
  • Get creative with mix-ins! Try pistachios, diced dried apricots, and even grated zucchini or carrot!

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my muffins don’t rise?

If your muffins didn’t rise as expected, it can be a bit frustrating, but there are several common reasons for this issue. Here are some reasons: Expired leavening agents. Incorrect oven temperature. Opening the oven door too early. Filling muffin each cup too full or not full enough. Incorrect measurements. The muffin batter rested too long (causing the leavening to lose effectiveness).

Can I use frozen fruit?

Yes, you can use frozen blueberries in this recipe, but frozen strawberries will be too large unless you cut them smaller.

Can I use milk in this recipe?

This recipe works best with fermented milk products like sour cream or yogurt. The acidic pH in these products contributes to a more tender crumb in the muffins and the cultures in these milk products help act as emulsifiers. If you substitute with whole milk, the muffins won’t be as tender. The same goes if you make a “homemade” buttermilk because you will not have the benefits of the tenderizing cultures.

How do I make mini muffins?

Follow the recipe, scoop into a smaller cavity muffin tin, and just reduce the baking time slightly.

 trey dkdls

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Several different muffin variations made from a basic muffin recipe.

Basic Muffin Recipe

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Unlock the potential of countless muffin flavors with this master muffin recipe – a single batter that adapts to your every craving. This base recipe is easy, fast, and delicious.

From the tangy zest of Cranberry Orange to the the refreshing twist of Lemon Poppyseed, your options are limitless.
These muffins are freezer friendly and perfect for any occasion.

Ingredients

Dry Mixture

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (240 grams) (or 212 grams pastry flour)
  • 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Wet Mixture

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • ¾ cup sour cream or plain yogurt (170 grams)
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil (66 grams)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (57 grams)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Extras (see notes)

  • Course sugar for garnish
  • Spices, Extracts, Nuts and seeds, Fruit (dried, fresh, or frozen)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper cups and grease the papers.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a whisk to blend the ingredients together and remove lumps. 
  3. In a larger mixing bowl, combine the sugar, yogurt (or sour cream), oil, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. 
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Use a wide rubber spatula to gently fold the ingredients until just combined. Don’t over mix. The batter will be thick and it should look a bit lumpy but there should not be any dry flour. 
  5. Use an ice cream scooper or a large spoon to fill the muffin cups to the top. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired. 
  6. Bake the muffins for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  7. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack. 

Notes

Ideas for spices: Use up to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and up to ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and allspice. 

Ideas for crunch: Add approximately 1 cup of toasted, chopped nuts such as pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, and almonds. 

Ideas for seeds: Add approximately 3 tablespoons of small seeds such as poppyseeds, sesame seeds and chia seeds. Add up ½ to ¾ cup of larger seeds like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. 

Suggestions for Variations:

Cranberry Orange: Add the zest of one orange and ½ teaspoon of orange oil or extract to the wet ingredients. Fold in 1-¼ cups of dried cranberries. 

Chocolate Chip Muffins: Add one teaspoon cinnamon to the flour mixture. Fold 1-¼ cups of mini chocolate chips into the batter. 

Double Chocolate Muffins: Whisk ⅔ cup of cocoa powder into the dry ingredients. Fold in 1-¼ cups of mini chocolate chips. 

Lemon Poppyseed: Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of poppyseeds to the flour mixture. Add the zest of one lemon and ½ teaspoon of lemon oil or lemon extract to the wet mixture. 

Any Berry Muffins: Add the zest of a lemon or orange to the wet mixture. Fold in 2 cups of fresh or frozen berries. Blueberries, raspberries, and huckleberries can be added whole. If the berries are much larger than that, chop them into smaller pieces. 

Spiced Nuts and Seeds: Whisk 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon allspice into the flour mixture. Fold ½ cup toasted, chopped pecans and ½ cup toasted sunflower seeds into the batter.

Carrot Muffins: Add 1-½ teaspoons cinnamon to the dry mixture. Fold in 1-½ cups of shredded carrots. 

Zucchini Muffins: Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon cardamom to the dry mixture. Fold in 1-½ cups of shredded zucchini. If the zucchini has a lot of liquid, drain the liquid first. 

Sweet Potato: Add 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg to the flour mixture. Replace ½ cup of the granulated sugar with brown sugar (½ cup of each). Reduce the yogurt to ½ cup and add ¾ cup of cooked, mashed sweet potato to the wet mixture. 

Buttermilk muffins: Swap the yogurt our sour cream for buttermilk (Bulgarian style is my favorite). The mixture will be thinner but makes equally tender muffins. You can make homemade "buttermilk" by stirring a tablespoon of vinegar into a cup of whole milk.

Whole Wheat: Replace half or all of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Increase the yogurt to 1 cup. Let the batter sit for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours to hydrate prior to baking. Make sure you use double acting baking powder if you let the batter sit. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 359Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 399mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 21gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandson or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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