Taste: The muffins themselves are sweet, but not too sweet, and surprisingly flavorful thanks to the buttermilk and butter. Of course, they’ll take on the flavor of whatever you add to them! Texture: Soft, tender, and moist. Perfect! Ease: These babies are so easy, anyone could make them. Whatever you do, just don’t overmix the batter. Appearance: A plate of these on your breakfast table is bound to make anyone a morning person, at least for a few minutes. Pros: This is the master basic ultimate muffin recipe that you can turn to time and time again and customize with whatever you have on hand, or whatever you’re craving! Cons: None! Would I make this again? Oh yes. Over and over.
A few years ago I posted my Ultimate Guide to Muffins where I made eight (!) experimental batches of muffins. I did it to figure out what exactly makes them moist, crumbly, tall, flat, tender, or tough.
So, here it is!! This is my version of the *ultimate* muffin. They’re tender, moist, and fluffy. If you want to know the whys behind the recipe, such as why I start baking at a hotter temperature or why I love using buttermilk, check out my Ultimate Muffin PDF guide. Otherwise, just relish in the fact that if you have similar muffin preferences to me, you’ve finally found the muffin recipe! The one you can turn to over and over and know it’ll work.
I love this recipe because you can literally add WHATEVER you want to it. The flavor and add-in options are endless. You can see a few of them in the photos. I’ve included a bunch of mix in and flavor options in the actual recipe below to give you some measurements and ideas, but feel free to go crazy!
That Ultimate Muffin PDF guide. I mentioned has even more flavor options, as well as pictures and insights into the science of muffin baking.
I really hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I think you’re going to love it. I know I just love having the ultimate version of any beloved recipe treat, it makes baking that much more fun when you know you’ll be successful in the kitchen.
I put a lot of time and energy into creating all my recipes, but especially on these Ultimate Guides and ultimate recipes. I believe baking doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated and learning how it all works (and why it doesn’t work sometimes) is the key to having baking successes instead of fails. I’ve done all the fails for you! I’ve turned everything I learned from culinary school, writing a cookbook, and doing endless kitchen experiments into recipe wins for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about the science of baking and getting all of my best baking secrets in one place, I think you’ll love The Magic of Baking. It’s my new online baking class and the feedback I’ve gotten from the first students has been incredible! Check it out here.
(This post was originally published in 2014 and recently updated with new photos, a new video, and a new PDF guide.)
4tablespoons(57 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1teaspoonvanilla extract (if desired)
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners or coat with nonstick cooking spray (or both).
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
In a liquid measuring cup beat together the buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir JUST until combined, do not overmix. Divide evenly among the muffin tin cups.
Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400°F (don’t forget this!!). Continue baking until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about another 12 minutes.
Add about 1 cup chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, candy, etc.
For fruit muffins:
1 1/2 cups fruit (such as berries, apples, etc.), finely chopped and well drained
If using fruit, add in with the dry ingredients to make sure the fruit stays evenly distributed and doesn’t sink to the bottom.
3/4 cup mashed overripe banana (from about 2 small bananas)
Add in with the wet ingredients.
Lemon Poppy Seed
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 large lemon, zested
Add the poppy seeds with the dry ingredients and the lemon zest with the wet ingredients.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #handletheheat so we can all see!
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
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