How to Make the Best Muffins Ever

“A bad muffin is as memorable as a good muffin is unforgettable.” Br. Peter Reinhart

The true sign of a good muffin is that it elicits a reaction.

It can be a sigh, a pause, or maybe a closer inspection followed by a question or comment–usually made with a full mouth. Every time I serve these Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Muffins, still warm from the oven, I watch out of the corner of my eye for the reaction.

No matter how chatty a group of girlfriends get over their coffees, one bite into these muffins and the conversation slows to a crawl; for the moment, attention is diverted from boy talk and baby names to a perfectly moist, flavorful muffin.

Occasionally, I’ll get a “I usually hate muffins, but…”

And oh, I have been there. I don’t think I ate a decent muffin for the first twenty years of my life, and I had resigned myself to a reality where muffins were dry, tasteless (or overly sweet), and no match for a good scone or sticky bun.

The summer I was twenty, I worked a job in a kitchen where muffin-making was mandatory, and I faced a challenge: the dry muffin. Many hockey pucks, exploding volcanoes, and moon craters later, I had a few recipes worked out that actually brightened up my mornings.

Here are a few things I learned along the way…

10 Tips to Making the Best Muffins Ever

  1. Start with ingredients at room temperature, eggs, milk, etc.
  2. Take care not to over mix the batter; use a flexible spatula to gently fold ingredients together.
  3. Batter should be stiff enough to hold a spoon upright; if it seems runny, gently fold in a few extra tablespoons of flour.
  4. Use the freshest spices as possible when they are required.
  5. Grease the entire muffin tin, not just the holes. More often than not, the muffins expand over the sides, and if those sides have not been properly greased, you’re going to run into trouble when you try to remove the muffins.
  6. Fill muffin tins three-quarters full; the tops are the best part, so don’t be shy with the batter.
  7. Slide a baking sheet under the muffin tin to help prevent the bottoms from getting too dark in the oven. This also helps with cleanup in case there is overflow.
  8. Take care not to over-bake the muffins.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before removing them, especially if they contain soft fresh fruit.
  10. Enjoy them fresh. If you must, freeze them, although I prefer to freeze the batter (without add-ins), then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake the muffins fresh in the morning.

Recipe: One-Bowl Oatmeal Muffins

Now the art of making muffins will never garner the solemn respect that bread baking and yeast-work deserves, still every one should have a solid muffin recipe in their repertoire.

The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. It is a base muffin recipe that can happily accommodate almost any add-in you like, and believe me, with the picky eaters around my table, I’ve tried quite a few variations.

One-Bowl Oatmeal Muffins: Flavor Combinations

  • 1 cup Raspberries, fresh or frozen & ½ cup Dark Chocolate, chunked or chips
  • ¾ cup Diced Apple (Granny Smith or Russet) and ½ cup toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup Dried Cranberries & ½ cup toasted Pecans, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup White Chocolate, chopped or chips & 1 cup Blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup toasted unsweetened Coconut & ¾ cup Peanut-Butter Chips
  • 1 cup diced Rhubarb, fresh or frozen & ½ teaspoon Green Cardamom, freshly ground
  • ¾ cup Dates, pitted and chopped & ½ cup Pistachios
  • ¾ cup Golden Raisins & ¾ cup grated Carrot

One-Bowl Oatmeal Muffins: Basic Recipe

Oatmeal is one of the constants in the recipe and provides, in my opinion, necessary texture.

Be sure to read the recipe all the way through before getting started. You will note that the oats soak in the milk 1 hour prior to assembling the rest of the ingredients, so take that into consideration before starting out.

Makes 12 medium muffins

  • 1 cup milk*
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
  • add-ins of your choosing (see above suggestions)

Combine milk, vinegar and oats in a large bowl and let stand one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a twelve-cup muffin tin and line with cupcake papers.

Crack the egg into the oat and milk mixture; add brown sugar and mix to combine. Stir in melted butter.

Sift remaining ingredients into the bowl: flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, & spices. Gently fold into batter, taking care not to over mix.

Sprinkle add-in and flavorings of your choice and combine muffin batter gently.

Use a large ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake until light brown and tops spring back when gently touched, about 10-12 minutes. Note: Muffins will take slightly longer to bake if you are adding fresh fruit such as blueberries or rhubarb.

Remove from oven and cool in tins. To remove, run a sharp knife around the edges and pop muffins out. Enjoy!

*You may also substitute 1 cup buttermilk, and then omit the vinegar from the recipe.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Zina Taylor says

    Thank you so much for sharing this outstanding oatmeal recipe. The muffins came out delicious, moist and flavorful. I am on a Paleo diet. These are some substitutions I used.
    Instead of
    Milk …. I used almond milk.
    Butter…I used coconut oil.
    White flour…. I used almond flour.
    I love all of your suggested add-ins. This way I will have many choices to try for my family.

    • thank you soooo much. My granddaughter is away at college and I wasn’t able to send her cookies like the others since she is on Paleo….this will help me make her special too!

  2. Kristin P. says


    Would grated zucchini work as an add in for these? If so, how much would you recommend using? Or if I just wanted to use blueberries, would I still just use one cup even though I’m not also adding any nuts?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Kristen,

      I do grated zucchini sometimes, but just be sure to squeeze some of the water out first. 1/2 cup would be about right and they will take a few minutes longer to cook.

      1 cup of blueberries is good, yes.

  3. Kutlwano Semela says

    Thank you so much 4 this recipe 🙂 I love it!!

  4. I am making them now for the first time. 🙂
    I am excited to see how they turn out, your logic and use of oatmeal is spot on!

    I did have one question the oats as they are sitting in the vinegar and milk ( because of the need for ingredients to room tempiture) I assume are left out of the refridgarator for the hour of soak time, should they be covered? Uncovered? Or does it matter?

    Thank you again for your lovely story and recipe I hope they turn out!

    Buon appetito!

    P.S. have you ever thought about posting your recipes with mesrurments of grams, ounces and ml? It would be super helpful to get your recipe spot on the first time because the Internet conversion charts always contraindicated one another 🙂 just a food for thought! Thanks again!

  5. Hi, could you please verify the cook time in the recipe? thanks!

  6. Hi Aimee. Would it be OK to soak the oatmeal overnight and then finish and bake the muffins in the morning?

  7. Ginette Cosgrove says

    I love this variation myffin recipe:)
    Using up all of my Christmas cupboard left over ingredients and playing with new flavors
    Have a new one that I made yesterday
    1 cup frozen mango chopped 1/4 cup chopped almonds 1/2 cup coconut, worked well and had great absolute favorite would have to be the white chocolate blueberry!!! Amazing!!
    Also have used 1 cup mixed frozen berries chopped up the strawberries a s 1 cup chocolate chips.
    When I make them I double the recipe then divide the batter and make 2 variations then freeze for scattered brain days:)

  8. Best muffins ever! I make 3 or 4 batches a week. I use olive or coconut oil in place of butter and half whole wheat flour. Dried fruit works perfectly as well as apples or carrots. Breakfast is often shredded carrot or zucchini with shredded apples, nuts and wheat germ but my favorite is dried cherry, walnut and semi sweet chocolate chips. I generally use powdered or almond milk since I don’t use “real” cow milk (gross) but Greek yogurt is the best. You simply can’t fail with this absolutely marvelous recipe. I’ve had countless hours of fun “messing it up” to see where it could go wrong and I win every time with deliciousness!

  9. Kristina says


    I baked these muffins today and the flavour was wonderful. I made a few plain ones to see what the base would taste like and the others were pear and fig. I did make a few additions to the recipe because I like a bit of a sweeter muffin- sugar 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup honey (scant)
    ½ cup+ 2 Tblsp whole wheat flour, ½ cup flour, 1-2 Tblsp wheat germ, ¾ tsp cinnamon
    ¼ tsp ginger , 1 tsp vanilla

    Love the recipe. I look forward to trying new combos. Soaking the oats really helps soften and plump them up, just like a good bowl of oatmeal.

  10. These were great! I have never commented on a recipe before but these were so good. I used half cup whole wheat flour/half cup plain flour and 1/2 cup honey instead of sugar and filling of frozen blueberries and raspberries. Hoping to try and freeze some to see how they go defrosted for school lunches. Thankyou!

  11. These muffins are fabulous! Just finished making them. My two year old, keeps bringing his stool up to the counter and grabbing more. I stopped him at 2 muffins, but he would eat all of them. I used fresh picked blackberrys and white chocolate chips which is what I had on hand, and whole wheat flour. The texture is so moist and the flavors are perfect. I swear this is the best muffin recipe and its pretty easy as long as you plan ahead. thank you!

  12. I made these tonight with blueberries and they were excellent! Subbed honey for the sugar and coconut oil for the butter, white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose, and yes, I’m as crunchy as I sound…

    Anyway, the whole family loved them!

  13. I made the blueberry and white chocolate chips muffins last week and my boys loved them. Yesterday, i soaked enough oatmeal in milk for 2 batches, but never had time to make the actual muffins! How long can the oatmeal/milk/vinegar mix stay in the fridge? I’d hate to have to throwbit 🙁

  14. I stumbled on this recipe in a quest to find a moist muffin.
    I made a batch with apples and a plain batch and both were moist and delicious. Wanted to give you the feedback. will be making these often.

  15. Delicious!
    Stumbled on this recipe in a quest to find a moist muffin. These were amazing. Made a batch with apple and one plain. Thanks.

  16. You have a virus of some sort on this page.

  17. Lynn in northern Vermont says

    Has anybody tried substituting unsweetened applesauce for the melted butter ? I do this in most baking recipes without problems … think I’ll try it and report on my results.

    FYI: Just trying to make these healthier for my specific medical needs. I’ve made these several times already and they were great … but more fat than my Dr is happy with. Thank you for all the great recipes.

  18. I love the One Bowl Oatmeal muffins – wow are those good! I made some today and they disappeared!
    Have you ever tried these?
    I really like the pumpkin and oatmeal combination.
    Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  19. I must say that I was in the sceptical camp with regard to the cooking time for these BUT… excellent outcome! Made a double batch because I was trying to use up leftover strawberries… put in two cups of chopped QLD strawberries and a 1/2 block of chopped 70% Dark Choc… baked for15mins (as suggested with wet addits)… and hey presto… delicious. So glad that I stumbled across your blog… I’ll be back…

  20. I made these muffins tonight so I could have some quick snacks and breakfast for the next couple of days. I bake quite a bit but have never made muffins because I was scared they would come out like dry, tasteless bricks. Your tips at the beginning of the post made me optimistic enough to try out the recipe. I used 1 cup of frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup of walnuts as add-ins.

    I also wanted to comment in case this is anyone else’s situation. I only had steel cut oats on hand, so I soaked the oaks in the milk longer (about 2 hours). Other than soaking them longer I did not change a thing. The muffins can out delicious! Such a nice balance of a hearty, slightly sweet treat. I look forward to trying more combinations.

  21. Daniel Puig says

    I spotted a typo: where it says “best muffins ever”, it should say “worst muffins ever”.

  22. I have made this recipe many times, each with different variation of mix-ins (choc chip/raisins, choc chip/walnuts, coconut/choc chips) and I have to say that it is a very very flexible recipe! I have used quick cook and rolled oats (note: blending the rolled oats doesn’t work so well!), replaced some part of the flour with whole wheat, replaced butter with oil and they all worked out fine.

    One question though, has anyone tried making it a savoury muffin (i.e. omitting sugar and cinnamon/nutmeg, then adding savoury mix-ins like ham/cheese/maybe extra egg)? We’re trying to reduce sugar in the house, and while this is a fairly healthy recipe, turning it savoury would be very useful!

  23. someone wants me to make this into 2 loaves instead of muffins. Has anyone tried this?

  24. My husband has entered a muffin contest at our small church and he selected your recipe with add ins rhubarb and green cardamon for the more sophisticated palet. (We are hoping) also providing my hubby doesn’t eat all the rhubarb! I will let you know how he fares 🙂

  25. I absolutely adore your one bowl oatmeal muffins!!! They are so easy, versatile and have an amazing taste and texture.
    My previous attempts at muffins yielded rock cakes. This recipe has never let me down.
    I love that you can make it as healthy or naughty as you like.

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  27. Great recipe because the oatmeal muffins were very light and moist. I added carrot, hazelnut and cranberries which was a delicious combination. However I used buttermilk for the first time ever and I really hate that flavor sadly. Hopefully company coming today likes them with their tea!

  28. Amazing, thanks for sharing such a great recipe, looking forward to trying this recipe for tomorrow’s breakfast.

  29. Wow, it looks so delicious, looking forward to make this recipe tomorrow.

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