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overhead image of a variety of muffins

What Is a Master Muffin Recipe?

This is 1 muffin batter that can produce all sorts of different muffin varieties and flavors. These muffins are soft and buttery where the chunks and chips are just as mouth-watering as the muffin crumbs themselves. I’ve been using this base recipe for a few years already including for:

  1. Cranberry Cardamom Spice Muffins
  2. Blackberry Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
  3. Peach Streusel Muffins
  4. Apple Crumb Muffins
  5. Blueberry Muffins
  6. Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins
  7. Cranberry Orange Muffins

And in addition to those 7 muffin recipes all stemming from the same starting point, I have 5 more variations pictured for you today. Plus 10 more variations listed out under the recipe.

That’s 22 muffin flavors that all start from the same exact place.

overhead image of various ingredients for muffins including chocolate chips, raspberries, blackberries, lemon, apple chunks, and blueberries

What You Need

The muffin batter starts with basic dry ingredients like flour, baking powder + soda, and salt. More often than not, I add ground cinnamon. The only time I don’t add it is when we’re preparing a citrus-y flavored muffin. The wet ingredients are just as simple. Creamed butter and sugar, plus 2 eggs, vanilla, sour cream/plain yogurt, and milk. That’s it. Based on the flavor of the muffin, I use brown sugar or granulated sugar. I use either plain Greek yogurt or sour cream based on what I have. Same with milk– whole milk, 1% milk, buttermilk, almond milk– honestly, it all works in this master muffin recipe.

  • That’s 11 ingredients total including the cinnamon. And all 11 ingredients are baking staples, nothing new or difficult to find plus you have wiggle room with the sour cream and milk depending on what is convenient for you.

The Best Muffin Trick

I’ve been using this muffin trick for years and SWEAR by it. Fill your muffin cups/liners all the way to the top. Bake the muffins for just 5 minutes at a high temperature. Reduce the temperature for the remaining bake time. This initial hot burst of air lifts the muffins straight up, creating a solid dome. The rest of the time at a normal baking temperature cooks the center of the muffin.

NOTE: This only works with certain muffin batters. Muffin batter has to be thick and sturdy, like most of the muffin recipes on this site including today’s.

mixed berry muffin batter in a muffin pan

overhead image of a variety of muffins

Today’s New Muffin Flavors

Details for making each are in the recipe notes below.

  1. White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins
  2. Apple Cinnamon Muffins
  3. Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (with lemon glaze)
  4. Mixed Berry Muffins (with lemon glaze)
  5. Chocolate Chip Streusel Muffins

WHITE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY MUFFINS:

stack of 3 white chocolate raspberry muffins

APPLE CINNAMON MUFFINS:

apple cinnamon muffins with a bite taken from one

LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS:

lemon poppy seed muffins on a blue plate

MIXED BERRY MUFFINS:

mixed berry muffins

CHOCOLATE CHIP STREUSEL MUFFINS:

chocolate chip streusel muffins on a white plate

PS: 10 more flavors below the recipe! And if you’re looking for a chocolate base, try these double chocolate muffins.

Print
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overhead image of a variety of muffins

Master Muffin Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1214 muffins 1x
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Use this master muffin recipe to make any muffin you love! They’re basic, easy, delicious, and freezer friendly.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (115g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar (or granulated)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk (any kind), at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on high until creamed, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until just about combined. Add the milk and continue to beat on low until combined. Fold in add-ins. (See flavors/details in the notes below.)
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into each cup or liner, filling each all the way to the top. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 22-23 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  6. Glazed muffins stay fresh stored in the refrigerator for 1 week, unglazed muffins stay fresh stored at room temperature for a few days– then transfer to the fridge for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins – Fold 1 cup raspberries + 3/4 cup white chocolate chips into the batter as instructed in step 4. Sprinkle muffin tops with coarse sugar before baking.
  2. Apple Cinnamon Muffins – Mix an additional 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg with the dry ingredients in step 2. Fold 1 cup peeled chopped apple + 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts into the batter as instructed in step 4. Sprinkle muffin tops with oats before making.
  3. Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins – Leave out cinnamon and use granulated sugar instead of brown sugar. Mix 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds into the dry ingredients in step 2. Add 2 teaspoons lemon zest and the juice from 1 medium lemon (about 3 Tablespoons) into the batter when you mix in the milk. Sprinkle muffin tops with coarse sugar before baking. Drizzle lemon glaze onto warm muffins after baking.
  4. Mixed Berry Muffins – Fold 1 and 1/2 cups mixed berries into the batter as instructed in step 4. Drizzle lemon glaze onto warm muffins after baking.
  5. Chocolate Chip Streusel Muffins – Fold 1 and 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips into the batter as instructed in step 4. Press crumbs slightly down into muffin tops (so they adhere, but aren’t submerged) before baking.
  6. Make Ahead Instructions: For longer storage, freeze muffins for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or warm up in the microwave if desired.
  7. Jumbo Muffins: 425°F for 5 minutes, then reduce to 350°F for 22-25 minutes for a total of 27-30. Makes about 6.
  8. Mini Muffins: 350°F for 12-14 minutes. Makes about 36-40.
  9. Chocolate Muffins: If you’re looking for a chocolate base recipe, use these double chocolate muffins.

Keywords: Master Muffin Recipe

10 More Muffin Flavors

  1. Cinnamon Pecan Muffins: master muffin batter + 3/4 cups toasted chopped pecans + 3/4 cup cinnamon chips. With this crumb topping.
  2. White Chocolate Nectarine: master muffin batter + 1 heaping cup peeled chopped nectarine + 1/2 cup white chocolate chips. With brown sugar nut streusel.
  3. Blueberry Lemon Muffins: master muffin batter + zest and juice of 1 lemon + 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (leave out cinnamon)
  4. Pear Spice Muffins: master muffin batter + 1 and 1/4 cups peeled chopped pear + 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, ground cloves, + allspice
  5. Crumb Cake Muffins: master muffin batter + extra 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + this crumb topping
  6. Banana Nut Muffins: master muffin batter + 3/4 cup mashed banana + leave out sour cream + 1 cup chopped walnuts. Cheesecake filling would be delicious in these.
  7. Ginger Peach Muffins: master muffin batter + 1 and 1/4 cups peeled chopped peaches + 2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger. With brown sugar nut streusel.
  8. Pineapple Coconut Muffins: master muffin batter + 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut + 3/4 cup finely chopped pineapple (fresh or canned)
  9. Birthday Cake Muffins: master muffin batter + 3/4 cup rainbow sprinkles + 1 teaspoon almond extract (leave out cinnamon)
  10. Cranberry Apple Muffins: master muffin batter +  1 cup peeled chopped apple + 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries. This crumb topping would be great.

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Would these work with
    1) chocolate chips and raisins?
    2) sweet cherries and dark chocolate drops?
    I’ve tried this recipe so far with blueberries, strawberries, strawberry cheesecake, dark + white chocolate chips, they worked out every time!

    1. Hi Ana, you can definitely try these muffins with those add-ins. Sounds delicious!

      1. I like to freeze my muffin batter. Do I bake them the same way as fresh.

  2. WHERE HAS THIS RECIPE BEEN MY WHOLE ADULT LIFE???!! This recipe is EXACTLY what I have been searching for! The recipe itself, plus all the additional notes and tips make these the BEST! My teacher friends/coworkers will be pleased, also!!

  3. WOW!!! These are absolutely amazing, light, fluffy and full of flavor. Absolutely perfect!!! I kept it simple by doubling the cinnamon, that’s it. Can’t wait to try different variations. Thank you

    1. This is a staple in our house. So far made blueberry, choco chop and apple versions . Need to start doubling the recipe bc they go way too fast

      1. Can I use oil or some other substitute for butter in these recipes? Butter is so pricey right now and I’m trying to save where I can

      2. Hi Lauren, we don’t recommend oil for this recipe. We would use this Master Bakery Style Muffin Recipe instead – the melted butter can be replaced with the same amount of oil in that recipe since it doesn’t need to be creamed.

    1. I made these and only ended up with 11. I didn’t sift the flour. Could that have been why I didn’t end up with 12-14 muffins?

      1. Me too! Only 11. I’m waiting in them to finish baking cant wait. Cranberry raisin, strawberry, cranberry raisin banana strawberry banana and banana banana . I’m excited

  4. Is white sugar missing from this recipe? I made the muffins as instructed and added blueberries. They tasted like something sweet was missing. Then I compared the ingredient list here with the ingredients for your blueberry muffins, and I saw that 1/2 cup sugar is part of the blueberry recipe but not this “universal” recipe. What gives?

    1. Hi Darcidee! This recipe calls for 3/4 cup brown (or granulated sugar) and our Blueberry Muffins recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar – they both call for the same amount total of sugar. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

  5. My daughter is having exam tomorrow and her task is to bake muffin. She came across your recipe and bake it to let everyone in the family to try and Everyone love it. It’s her first time baking on her own and your recipe and tips absolutely make baking easy and fun. She will be using your recipe for her exam and is excited to share it with her teacher . Thank you for your wonderful recipe and tips.

    1. Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Sue! So glad your daughter enjoyed this recipe.

  6. Thank you so much for this – I have been looking for a good muffin recipe forever. This is so perfect.
    If I want to make orange muffins instead of lemon (I am on a super orange/cardamom obsession at the moment) how much juice should I add? I’m assuming not the whole orange?

    1. Hi Jessica, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients, and many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients. However, there are many great online calculators where you can plug in your exact ingredients like this one: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

  7. Do you also put the 1/4 cup milk in before you combine dry ingredients? I do not see it listed beside the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Just wondering if it supposed to be mixed in at the same time as those other wet ingredients?

    1. Hi Amanda! See step 4 for when to add the milk. Enjoy!

  8. When using frozen berries, should they be thawed and at room temperature? Also should the milk and yogurt be at room temperature? Also can you freeze the batter then bake as described? Can you bake them frozen or should they be thawed first?

    1. Hi Rudy, All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information. If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw. You can freeze baked muffins for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or warm up in the microwave if desired.

  9. Hi there,
    Love the recipes you’ve posted that I have tried so far! Thank you!
    I am looking for a master muffin recipe that I can I always have in my back pocket and can change up with different flavours for my picky eaters at home. I would like to try this one but would also want to make it a bit healthier as we have some food sensitivities and very young children at home.
    Can you help with the below:
    1. How to substitute the all purpose flour preferably for something gluten free? Would using oat flour or half oat/half almond flour blend work at all while keeping the integrity? I would still use 1 and 3/4 cup total.
    2. Is there a way to sub out some of the butter? For example I would like to use a nut butter if possible. What quantity should I use and can I fully sub the butter; if not what might be an optimal nut butter + butter ratio/quantity?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Karina! We haven’t tested this muffin recipe with those changes, it may take some testing to get this recipe to work for your needs – let us know wha you try!

    2. Karina, you might look at this master gluten-free muffin recipe: https://meaningfuleats.com/gluten-free-muffins-master-recipe/

    3. I cannot attest to the second point, but I have made the apple cinnamon variation of these muffins with 1 to 1 GF flour and they were so good! I made half with GF flour and the other half with regular AP flour and you could not tell difference.

  10. If I wanted to add chopped dates and raisins to this recipe, how much should I add? Thank you for this recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

    1. Hi Brenda, We recommend using about 1.5 cups total of your add-ins. Enjoy!

  11. Hi, I’ve read that muffins turn out better when the batter is made and refrigerated overnight. Does the same work for this recipe as well?

    1. Hi Vandana! We don’t recommend it. The raising agents can activate too soon causing the muffins to not rise properly when baked.

  12. In the apple cinnamon recipe is there a way to include oats in the batter rather than just sprinkling on top?

  13. Do you recommend any substitutes for the eggs?
    Could I use applesauce?
    Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Trina, we haven’t tested any egg substitutes in this recipe. Let us know if you do!

    1. Hi Jane, in a pinch you can substitute BOTH the sour cream/yogurt and milk for buttermilk.

  14. Hello! I just made the raspberry and white chocolate muffins, and they took forever to be done towards the bottom. I ended up having to cover the top with aluminum foil and put them back in the oven for around 21 minutes (in 7 minute increments). Do you know why this would happen? Could it be that I used fresh raspberries?

    1. Hi Emma, Thank you for trying this recipe. How did the muffins turn out? There are many factors that could have resulted in a longer bake time. Did you start the muffins off at the higher temperature for the first 5 minutes before lowering it? Did you get about 12-14 muffins? If you got less you could simply have overfilled them. All ovens are different and it’s very possible that your oven temperature is off (most are!). If you don’t already own one we suggest an oven thermometer. It’s the number one item in this post on Tools Every Baker Needs!

  15. Hi Sally,
    I love this master muffin base. I have used it for a few different varieties.
    This is my latest adaptation.

    Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Marscarpone Cheese.

    I made your muffin base for Lemon Poppyseed – I do add a teaspoon of lemon extract to get added lemon punch. After baking I let the muffins cool completely. I then use a small (baby) spoon to hollow out a small hole in the center of the muffins. I make a mixture of marscarpone cheese & lemon curd, and put it in a piping bag & pipe the filling into the muffin. Afterwards I top them with a simple lemon glaze.
    My family loved them.

    Thanks for all your great recipes and baking tips! Your site is always my go to when I want inspiration & to try something new.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Mindy — we’re so glad you enjoy experimenting with this muffin recipe. We appreciate you making and trusting our recipes!

  16. This recipe is totally AMAZING. Every variety I’ve tried is delicious, I’ve also had people ask for the recipe. I’m a pastry chef this is the only recipe I want to use.

  17. Hi! Has anyone tried using margarine instead of butter for this recipe? Thanks!

  18. Sally, I have a question. My oven temperature sensor does not work, so I have to keep a digital thermostat in the oven. Can I make the muffins at just one even temperature instead of 425 down to 350 degrees?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Shami! Yes, you can bake your muffins without the initial high heat blast, but they may not get quite as tall. Still tasty!

  19. Looking forward to trying this recipe tomorrow! I was at the grocery store tonight getting ingredients and the only plain yoghurt I could find was plain greek yoghurt, is that correct? I bought sour cream to use instead, but wanted to make sure. Thanks!

    1. Hi Becky, plain greek yogurt will work just fine. Happy baking!

  20. We love this recipe! I’ve made 6 different varieties of muffins with this base recipe, referring to the other suggestions for my modifications (like I used the banana amounts but used pumpkin and raisins instead). I’m hoping to make a nice carrot muffin (I try to hide as many veggies and fruits as I can), but I know carrot cooks a little different if you don’t pre-cook and mash it. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Ranndie! For a carrot muffin, we recommend using this recipe for Morning Glory Muffins. If you want all carrots, you can replace the apple with more shredded carrot (the raisins and pecans are optional). Hope you enjoy it!

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