Baking Muffins 101

It’s official.  I will never buy pre-made store-bought muffins again!  They are so simple and quick to make at home. In fact, they often taste better than store-bought muffins.  If you’re familiar with my blog, I like to bake muffins…a lot of muffins.     🙂  Along the way, I’ve learned some easy but important tips to baking awesome muffins and I wanted to pass them on to you.

Baking Tips:

1.     Do not over mix the muffin batter.  If you over mix muffin batter then you will likely end up with dense rubbery muffins.  When baking muffins you want to mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients and stir only until they are just combined.  This step should literally take a few seconds.  A thick and lumpy muffin batter is good.  The lumps will go away when they bake.  I recommend mixing by hand, using a spatula or wooden spoon because it’s easy to over mix using a hand or stand mixer.  Most normal baking it’s okay to mix until the batter is smooth, but this should be avoided with muffins.

Like with the Chocolate Banana Muffins.  Look at those beautiful lumps.     🙂

02Chocolate Banana Muffins

2.     If you are using fresh fruit in the muffin batter, very lightly coat the fruit in all-purpose flour.  This will help prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the muffin.  Also, this will help minimize (though not prevent entirely) the fruit from bleeding its color into the muffin batter if that particular fruit tends to do that.

Like with my Lemon Blueberry Loaf (granted, it’s a loaf and not a muffin, but the same principle applies).

02Lemon Blueberry Loaf

3.     Grease the sides and bottom of each muffin cup in the baking pan or paper liners.  If you aren’t using paper liners, spraying the cups of your muffin pan is obviously so the muffins will come out of the pan at all.  (If you’ve ever torn a muffin in half by accident you know what I mean here.)  If you are using paper liners, spraying the insides of them with cooking spray before adding the batter means no one has to wrestle with tearing the paper into confetti to get at your delicious muffins.

4.     Scoop even amounts of muffin batter into each muffin cup.  This will allow for all of the muffins to bake evenly.  I recommend using a cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop (depending on the size of the muffins) to help scoop equal amounts of the muffin batter into the number of muffins that the recipe yields.  If you are making larger muffins, just make sure all of the cups are full to the same level.

I always use my cookie scoop, like with the Raspberry Spice Muffins With Crumb Topping.

03Raspberry Spice Muffins

5.     Fill each muffin cup of the baking pan about 3/4 full.  This will help prevent the muffins from spilling over the edges while they bake.

Like with my Raspberry Spice Muffins With Crumb Topping.

04Raspberry Spice Muffins

If you are getting the muffin recipe from a trusted source then follow the recipe to their specifications.  Since the leavening ingredients (baking soda, baking powder, etc.) will vary for each recipe, the recipe will help guide you on how high to fill the muffin cups according to how high the muffin batter is expected to rise in the baking process.

Like for example, if you are going for the high domed effect, then you would fill the muffin cups to the top of the muffin tin (instead of the usual 3/4 full) and bake them in two stages.  First, at a high temperature for some initial short period of time.  Then at a lower the temperature for the rest of the baking time.  The initial high temperature allows for steam to be released quickly and thus lift the top of the muffin high.  Afterwards, the lower temperature is for them to bake evenly.  If you left them at the initial high temperature for the whole baking time you will end up with a hard crust and raw center.

My Banana Muffins use the two temperature approach and are filled right to the top.

04Banana Muffins

6.     If you have empty muffin cups then fill each empty cup 1/2 full with water.   Not all muffin pans are created equal and inexpensive ones can warp in the oven as they heat.  To help prevent this, they just need something in every cup.  Fill each muffin cup according to the recipe directions (or the 3/4 full tip, if the recipe does not specify) and if you have empty muffin cups then fill the remainder muffin cups 1/2 way up with water.

Like with my High Domed Chocolate Chip Muffins.  The recipe is for 6 standard size muffins.  I used a 12 space muffin tin so I spread them out.

10High Domed Chocolate Chip Muffins

7.     Once the muffins are baked, let them rest 5 to 10 minutes in the baking pan and then remove to a cooling rack.  This resting period will help prevent the muffins from breaking when you remove them from the muffin pan.  Allowing them to cool on a rack will prevent the muffins from getting soggy.  Keep in mind, the muffins don’t need to cool completely in order to eat them.   😉

My High Domed Chocolate Chip Muffins are chilling out in the baking pan.  Mmmm!

01High Domed Chocolate Chip Muffins


My Banana Muffins are cooling on a rack.  They look so pretty in their polka dot liners.     🙂

01Banana Muffins

8.     Store the cooked muffins in an air tight container at room temperature or wrap them individually with plastic wrap, and place them in a freezer friendly zip lock bag in the freezer.  Muffins stay fresh tasting for only a few days so if I’m baking them for just me and my husband I prefer to freeze them.  Frozen muffins are perfect to grab on the go.  They are usually defrosted by the time you want to eat them.  If you want to eat one right out of the freezer then simply microwave it for 15 to 30 seconds.

I hope these tips help you like they have me!

Happy muffin baking!


  1. Kellie says:

    I have a query, I have a perfect banana muffin recipe, but I’m wondering would it be possible to swap the banana for raspberries? Many thanks if you can help me!

    1. Tina says:

      I think the first thing to keep in mind is that if the whole thing goes horribly wrong, the only thing you’ve really lost is one batch of less than desirable muffins. In other words this may or may not work correctly, but you should try it anyway. 🙂

      On the specific note of replacing bananas with other things, you may find other tweaks will be needed to make it work properly. Bananas tend to offer flavor and moisture so when you swap in something else you may need to adjust the moisture levels of the rest of the batter accordingly.

  2. Leese Vee says:

    Your muffins look beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing your tips I shall try…..

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  3. Sara says:

    Can I used equal substitution of apple sauce instead of eggs? I use 1/3 cup apple sauce per one egg in baking and it typically works but it didn’t work in my blueberry muffins tonight! Muffins turned out to be liquid. Would it have been too much steam from the water I put in the empty cups? Should I dry the blueberries before adding to the mixture?

    1. Tina says:

      Sara, I’ve not tried to substitute apple sauce instead of eggs so I’m not sure. I recommend trying to find an eggless recipe online so that you know the correct measurements.

  4. Heath Lynn Silberfeld says:

    A quick Google search and I found the answer to my question here (Why are my muffins a bit rubbery?), along with the answer to a question I hadn’t yet formulated (Why are the bottoms of my muffins wet?). Thanks for providing such clear and helpful information!

  5. Ross says:

    Thanks for all of your tips, answered a lot of my problems. I am about to make several different mini muffins for a brunch, including using your banana muffin recipe. So how do I do the 2 temperatures for mini muffins. Any other tips for turning recipes for regular muffins into mini muffins. Looking forward to your response.

    1. Tina says:

      I’ve not used the 2 temperature approach on mini muffins, but I assume it work the same but require less baking time.

  6. Nancy says:

    I made the mistake of over-beating my muffins today and they came out rubbery. I saw on your site what I did wrong, but wonder if there’s a way of making them less rubbery? If not, I’ll make a new batch. Live and learn.

    1. Tina says:

      Nancy, if my muffins don’t come out that good after they’ve baked, sometimes I cut them in half & pop them in the toaster oven. It’s not ideal but I find the texture is better when they act like toast. I hope that helps!

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