Here’s a great collection of easy muffin recipes that all begin with one simple master recipe that can be modified in more than a dozen different ways. This gives you lots of easy muffins from just one recipe.
I love to see recipes displayed like this. It’s much more common in old cookbooks, like my 1970s Betty Crocker, than in the popular cookbooks of today.
I think this approach is much simpler than having a bunch of different muffin recipes and helps to make you a more creative flexible cook and baker. Just looking at the list of variations spurs ideas for different easy muffins of my own and will probably do the same for you too!
What I find really interesting is the subtle and not so subtle differences that exist in recipes, as well as the ways in which they change through the years.
Take these basic muffin recipes from 3 different cookbooks from the 1990s – 2000s that all very slightly in the amounts of flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and milk they suggest. The only constants across all the recipes are the amounts of oil or butter (1/4 cup) and egg (1) specified.
It’s comforting to know that there’s no one right way to make muffins, but many different recipes that can all turn out well!
And if you’ve never made muffins, you may be shocked at the size of these muffins. They are much smaller than the gigantic ones you often see served up today. Did you know that muffins sold today in coffee shops, grocery stores, and vending machines are more than twice as big as those sold back in the 1950s?
These recipes make “normal size” muffins like those that were made and enjoyed for decades, before we began super-sizing our portions.
Master Easy Muffin Recipe (Betty Crocker, 1978)
- 2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour or a combination
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a standard 12-cup (2-1/2-inch) muffin pan.
In a large bowl, whisk tougher the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and vegetable oil or butter.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined and moistened. (The batter should still be lumpy and thick, but quite moist. If the batter seems too dry add a little more milk.)
Distribute the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let the muffins rest in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them out of the pan and onto a wire rack to cool.
Many Easy Muffin Variations
Apple Muffins: Stir in one medium peeled and chopped apple with the milk and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with the flour. Substitute packed brown sugar for the granulated sugar.
Banana-Nut Muffins: Decrease milk to 1/3 cup, stir in 1 cup mashed bananas (2 to 3 medium) and 1/3 cup chopped nuts with the milk. Substitute packed brown sugar for the sugar.
Blueberry Muffins: Stir in 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries.
Bran Muffins: Pour the milk on 1-1/2 cups whole bran cereal and let stand 10 minutes. Add this to the egg and oil along with 1/4 cup molasses. Decrease the flour to 1-1/4 cups and add 1/2 cup raisins if desired.
Buttermilk Muffins: Substitute buttermilk for the milk. Decrease baking powder to 2-1/2 teaspoons and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda with the flour.
Chocolate Chip Muffins: Stir in 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips.
Corn Muffins: (Do not use whole wheat flour.) Decrease flour to 1 cup and stir in 1 cup cornmeal with the flour.
Cranberry Muffins: Stir in 1 cup chopped cranberries and 1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel with the milk. Sprinkle the tops with sugar before baking.
Date Nut Muffins: Stir in 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates and 1/3 cup chopped nuts with the milk.
Donut Muffins: Stir in 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg with the flour. Once baked, immediately dip the hot muffins in about 1/2 cup butter, melted, then in a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Oatmeal Muffins: Decrease flour to 1 cup and stir in 1 cup quick-cooking oats, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with the flour.
Pumpkin Muffins: (Don’t use whole wheat flour.) Stir in 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and 1/2 cup raisins with the milk and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice with the flour. Sprinkle the tops with sugar before baking if desired.
Raspberry Muffins: Stir in 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries.
Spice Muffins: Stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and a pinch of ground cloves and ground nutmeg with the flour.
Zucchini Muffins: Stir in 1 cup grated zucchini (squeezed dry to remove excess moisture) and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts with the milk.
Basic Muffins (1996)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins
2 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar (or up to 1/2 cup)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter muffin pans. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg, milk and butter, stirring only enough to dampen the flour; the batter should not be smooth. Spoon into the muffin pans, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Blueberry Muffins: Use 1/2 cup sugar. Reserve 1/4 cup of the flour, sprinkle it over 1 cup blueberries and stir them into the batter last.
Pecan Muffins: Use 1/4 cup sugar. Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the batter. After filling the cups, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and more chopped nuts.
Whole-Wheat Muffins: Use 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup white flour.
Date or Raisin Muffins: Add 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates or 1/3 cup raisins to the batter.
Bacon Muffins: Add 3 strips bacon, fried crisp and crumbled, to the batter.
Muffin Recipe (2005)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 18 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 recipe streusel topping (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 12 standard (2-1/2-inch) muffin cups or line with paper bake cups and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set the bowl aside.
3. In anther bowl combine the egg, milk and oil. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. (The batter should be lumpy. Over mixing will cause muffins to be tough.)
4. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one two-thirds full. If desired, sprinkle the streusel topping over the muffin batter in the cups.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.
6. Remove from the oven and cool muffins in the cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from cups and transfer to wire racks to cool a bit more. Serve warm.
Blueberry Muffins: Gently stir 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries and, if desired, 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon zest into the batter.
Chocolate Chip Muffins: Gently stir in 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips.
Cranberry Muffins: Combine 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries and 2 tablespoons additional sugar and gently stir into the batter.
Oatmeal Muffins: Reduce flour to 1-1/3 cups and add 3/4 cup rolled oats to the flour.
Poppy Seed Muffins: Increase sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1 tablespoon poppy seeds to the flour mixture.
Banana Muffins: (Don’t use paper liners.) Reduce milk to 1/2 cup and stir 3/4 cup mashed bananas into the egg mixture and 1/2 cup chopped nuts into the flour mixture.
Cheese Muffins: Stir 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Monterey jack cheese into the flour mixture.
Streusel Topping: Combine 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Mix in 2 tablespoons butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped nuts. Sprinkle on top of muffin batter in cups before baking, if desired.
Sources: How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food; Betty Crocker’s Cookbook; 750 Best Muffin Recipes: Everything from breakfast classics to gluten-free, vegan and coffeehouse favorites; New Cook Book, 75th Anniversary Limited Edition; The Fannie Farmer Cookbook: Anniversary
I love muffins. They’re easy to make and relatively healthy. In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I can honestly say that I would rather have a muffin than a cupcake almost any day of the week. So I guess, it comes as no big surprise how many muffin recipes I’ve collected through the years…
More Great Muffin Recipes
7 Healthy Blueberry Muffin Recipe – a collection from my files and from around the web
Banana Mocha Macadamia Nut Muffins – a great breakfast muffin for banana and coffee lovers
Banana Nut Muffins – simple, moist and delicious
Basic Muffins – a richer more cake like basic muffin recipe with more sugar, butter and eggs
Bran Muffins – a collection of recipes from my files and from the web
Healthy Apple Pecan Muffins – with whole wheat flour, applesauce, apples and cinnamon
Healthy Muffin Recipes – several recipes along with muffin making ingredient suggestions and baking tips.
Healthy Company Muffins – full of wholesome ingredients including oats, apples and carrots
Irish Soda Bread Muffins – soda bread flavors in a simple muffin
Pumpkin Muffins – spicy and not too sweet with raisins and nuts
*PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT Weight Watchers Zero Points fruits and vegetables using the WW Recipe Builder.
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