How to Make Muffins, Step by Step

 

Learn how to make perfect muffins every time with tips from Cooking Channel.

 

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Photo By: Tara Donne

Learn How to Make Mini Spiced Carrot Muffins

Filled with freshly grated carrots, raisins and sweetened coconut, these mini muffins are the perfect bite-sized pick-me-up for any carrot cake lover.


Find out how to make them — and get tips for making any kind of muffins — when you click through.

Get the Recipe: Mini Spiced Carrot Muffins

Muffin Basics

For any basic muffin recipe, your procedure is going to be the same. First, preheat your oven, grease or line your muffin tin, and get all your ingredients measured out and ready to go. Sift your dry ingredients together in one bowl, adding in any fruit or nuts, and mix your wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour the dry into the wet and mix just until combined. Pour the batter into your prepared muffin tin, bake and enjoy!

Muffin Liners: How to Choose

Nothing is worse than a muffin that sticks to the pan. Stronger muffin liners made out of tin are best for batter made ahead of time, and they won't pull off that delicious muffin crust as paper liners sometimes do. If you don't have any liners, you can make your own with parchment paper cut to fit the size of the cups. If you're going to grease, use nonstick cooking spray, or rub generous amounts of softened butter on all sides. Extra tip: If you're not baking a full muffin tin, fill the empty cups with water and you'll add extra moisture to the muffins in the rest of the tin.

Mixing Up Your Muffin Ingredients

While many muffin ingredients can be substituted to change consistency and flavor, many of them don't measure up cup for cup. The one exception is butter; just swap in the same amount of margarine for a dairy-free option. If you want to use butter instead of oil for a richer flavor, measure 1/3 cup butter for every 1/4 cup oil. Buttermilk and sour cream are also interchangeable; just measure 1 1/4 cups buttermilk for every 1 cup sour cream. Mix and match until you find your perfect muffin!

Give Your Muffin a Healthy Makeover

Some of your favorite muffin recipes may be loaded with sugar and fat. The good news is that it's easy to "healthify" your muffins with a few simple tweaks. For a whole-grain fix, swap out half of the all-purpose flour and use buckwheat or whole-wheat flour instead. Cut back on sugar by substituting agave syrup for half of the sugar; for less fat, use apple juice in place of half of the oil. For the ultimate health boost, swap 1/2 cup flaxseed for every egg. Throwing in some extra dried and fresh fruit won't hurt, either!

The Lumpier the Batter, the Better

When mixing your muffin batter, ignore your instinct to mix until it's smooth — lumps are your friend! Combine the wet and dry ingredients together with no more than a few turns of a whisk or wooden spoon, and for no longer than 15 seconds. The lumps will come out during the baking process, whereas a smooth batter will leave your muffins with unappetizing hollow spots.

Making a "Just the Right Size" Muffin

To achieve professional-looking, uniformly sized muffins, look no further than your favorite ice cream scoop. A 1/4-cup ice cream scoop — or a measuring cup or ladle — will help you avoid a gloppy, uneven mess when spooning the batter into the muffin tin. For thicker batters, make sure to fill all the way up to the top of the liners; for thinner batters, about three-quarters of the way up will prevent overflows.

Test Whether Your Muffins are Done

About five minutes before the end of the baking cycle, insert a toothpick near the center of a muffin, and when you pull it out, make sure the stick is clean. If the toothpick is covered in batter, add additional baking time.

Muffins vs. Cupcakes

While they're both single-serving baked goods that look the same, muffins and cupcakes actually do have their differences. Frosted, cakey muffins may look like breakfast cupcakes, but muffins are actually small-sized quick breads, while cupcakes are miniature cakes. Muffins have more flour, less fat (unless they're frosted) and shorter shelf life. A lumpy muffin batter is crucial to making the perfect consistency, but butter and sugar are creamed together in cupcake batter to ensure a smoother texture.

Get the Recipe: Apple Muffins

Hint: The Muffin Tin Is Double-Sided

Right-side up, it's pretty much just a muffin tin (that can also be used for cute miniature desserts), but upside-down, your muffin tin doubles as a cooling rack. If you don't have endless wire racks to spare, balancing a hot pan on your flipped-over muffin tin will cool your food much faster than leaving it on the stovetop.

To Freeze or Not to Freeze?

While it is universally acknowledged that muffins are best eaten the same day they're baked (or the minute they come out of the oven), if you can't eat them right after baking, it's possible to freeze them (unless they have icing). Wrap your freshly baked muffins in an airtight container; up to 2 months later, you can take them out and either split and toast, or reheat the muffins for 5 to 8 minutes in a 350 degrees F oven.

What's the Right Way to Eat a Muffin?

Fresh, toasted, halved, quartered — there are endless ways to eat this rather small baked good. Do you take off the top first, or do you take a big bite out of the bottom and save the top for last? Cut into two pieces? Or four, for more butter-spreading surface area? Toasted in a toaster or on a stovetop? Straight out of the oven and not a minute after? That, dear fans, is up to you.


Now check out our favorite muffin recipes:

See More Photos: Sweet and Savory Muffin Recipes