6 Tips for Making Muffins Better Than Ever

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Making muffins is pretty simple, but there are a few tricks you can use to make this favorite morning bake even better.

Need an easy breakfast treat that feels like home? You can’t do better than a tin of muffins topped with a bit of butter. While making muffins is a pretty straightforward process, there are a few techniques you can use to make your next batch better than ever.

Mix by Hand

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Yep, you can leave your stand mixer in the cupboard for this recipe. According to Taste of Home Culinary Assistant Mark Neufang, muffins are best mixed by hand.

Mixing up muffin batter this way helps prevent overmixing, which can cause your bakes to become tough or rubbery. Instead, Mark recommends folding in the flour until just incoporated. “You may still see some lumps of flour, and that’s a good thing,” he explains. “This will ensure tender, lofty muffins.”

Don’t Thaw Frozen Fruit

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When it comes to muffin recipes, you can easily substitute frozen fruit for fresh. There is one caveat, though: Do not thaw the fruit before mixing it into your batter.

Letting the fruit come to room temperature can cause your batter to become runny. And in many cases, especially with blueberries, defrosted fruit can really change the appearance of your batter. Suddenly that golden batter can turn into a blotchy mess as the berries run.

So, for best results and amazing blueberry muffins, keep that frozen fruit in the freezer until you add it to the batter.

Fill Empty Cups with Water

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When making muffins, it’s common to not fill an entire pan. If you’re left with a few empty spots in your tin, fill them up halfway with water. This will help the muffins bake more evenly in your oven. Just be careful inserting and removing the pans so you don’t slosh any liquid into your batter.

Make the Perfect Crumble Topping

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There’s something that makes streusel- or crumb-topped muffins extra tempting. For the best results, Senior Food Stylist Shannon Norris recommends chilling the crumbles until firm, then sprinkling on top of your muffin batter. This will help them keep their shape instead of melting right into the batter or looking sandy.

And if your muffin recipe doesn’t include a tasty streusel topping, you can always add one. Just mix together 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Coat Mix-Ins with Flour

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Just like with quick bread, it’s important not to just toss your mix-ins into the batter and call it a day. Additions like berries, nuts and large pieces of chopped fruit should all get a quick dusting of flour before being added to the batter.

Toss these extras with just a tablespoon or two of all-purpose flour, then fold into your batter. This will prevent these heavy ingredients from sinking to the bottom of your muffins. It takes just an extra 30 seconds, but this step ensures you get even distribution of all those tasty tidbits.

Swap Your Pans

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You don’t need to make any adjustments to your batter if you want to switch out the pan sizes when making muffins. That muffin recipe you’ve been craving can just as easily be made in a mini or jumbo muffin pan as it can be in a standard-size muffin pan.

All you have to do is use the appropriately sized liners and adjust your bake time. Shave off a few minutes for the minis and let jumbo muffins stay in the oven an extra five minutes or so—until a toothpick comes out clean.

Put These Tips to Work

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.