How to Make Perfect Muffins

For the longest time none of the muffins I made ever looked like the ones sold by a baker or handed to me by the local barista at Starbucks. Mine were the Ugly Betty of baked goods. Growing up, as well, I didn’t live in a house of positive muffin role models; we used to buy the Quaker muffin mix where all that was needed was water, like sea monkeys, and voila….a runt, mini-me version of a muffin would emerge.

I’ve since come across a muffin recipe in the March 2006 issue of Fine Cooking that makes bountifully large, delicious muffins every time. I’ve included it below with a few minor  tweaks of my own.


3 1/3 cups all purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and then cooled slightly

1 cup milk – let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes beforehand to warm up

1 cup creme fraiche – you can usually find this in small glass jars in the dairy section of the grocery store

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack in the centre of the oven.

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter, milk, creme fraiche, eggs and egg yolk until well mixed.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold gently with a rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are mostly moistened. It’s okay if the batter looks lumpy. You’re doing it right if there a still a few remaining bits of dry flour. **Note: this step is what separates the real muffins from the runts. Make sure you don’t overmix the batter.

4. Add fruit or berries of your choice (roughly 1 cup) or chocolate chips (1/2 cup or so) and gently stir mixture for another few strokes.

5. Lightly oil a 12-cup muffin tin with oil or use cooking spray. Line with paper baking cups.

6. Using two spoons for lifting, gently fill each muffin cup. Don’t be stingey here. The batter should form mounds higher than the rim of the cup by about 3/4 inch.

7. Bake until golden brown, 30-35 minutes. A good way to test if they’re done is to gently press on the muffin top – when they’re done they spring back.

8. Let the tin cool for about 15 minutes before removing the muffins.


About gentlemangourmet

My name is Mike and even though I’m not always a gentleman, it’s safe to say I am in love with food. Like my more famous namesake, the kid on the cereal commercial from the early 80′s, I had an ability to eat just about anything and “like it.” I’ve become a tad more discerning since my toddler phase: I prefer Pinot Noir to the customary Shiraz my parents liked, I no longer eat parmesan cheese sprinkled from a container, and can pick out which ingredients I like or don’t in a recipe by smell alone. I blame my Lebanese heritage, my large Lebanese nose (all the better for smelling with) and exposure over the past few years to some exquisite ethnic cooking styles and cuisine, as well as to some stunning, inspiring cooks who are family or friends. I’ve included a lot of their favourite recipes on this site, as well as a few of my own that have become my staples over the years. I hope you find something here that you like. Happy cooking! View all posts by gentlemangourmet

4 responses to “How to Make Perfect Muffins

  • tearknee

    I’m *so* glad you posted this! I think you’ve broken our family muffin curse, because I’ve also never been able to make muffins that look like this. I’m going to try it out and I’ll report back on how successful I am.

  • Foo Dee

    I came across your blog while looking for new food sites (I’m always looking for new food sites). I wish more of your posts were like this (and the previous one on Thai food and elephants). Any one can post recipes, and believe me it seems like everyone does. Only you however can post interesting anecdotes about you. (And make someone like me wonder about your mother’s muffins). I’m glad I found you at these posts and not at the earlier ones without stories. Earlier I wouldn’t have come back, now I will. At least I will if I get more than just another recipe. Bring on the elephant searches and slagging of mom’s baking. Oh… And throw in some recipes with that.

  • Moo Vee

    Wow its a whole family of bloggers.

    Funny, muffins should be no big deal but my household never did muffins well either.

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