Hot and delicious muffins. You were about to bake a batch. Then you realize you don’t have the ingredients for your go-to muffin recipe. Or maybe you usually start with a box of store-bought muffin mix, but you forgot to grab the mix from the store. Perhaps you’ve never baked anything at all. Your level of experience isn’t important. It’s easy to learn how to make muffins with what’s in your pantry.
To make muffins, you need flour, a rising agent, sweetener, a binder, and moisture. Choose what you have on hand from each category.
Baking traditional muffins calls for about 2 cups of flour to get 12 muffins. Picking one flour is ideal. But we don’t live in an ideal world. It’s ok to combine flours to get enough flour to reach two cups.
- All-purpose flour
- Self-rising flour
- Oatmeal (Run it through the blender to create flour. Yes. Really.)
Gluten-free bakers can use 1 and 2/3 cups of a homemade gluten-free flour blend. (Most gluten-free flours don’t perform well on their own. ) In case you don’t have a homemade gluten-free flour blend, here’s one to make.
- 1 and 1/3 cups brown rice flour plus 1/3 cup tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
You can adjust to the amount of sweetener to suit your taste. Choose one.
- 1/3 to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar (It’s okay to use white and brown sugar if you don’t have enough of one.)
- 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon stevia powder
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 mashed banana
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
Choose one fat and one liquid.
- Fat: 1/4 cup canola oil, vegetable oil, or melted butter
- Liquid: 1 cup milk, dairy alternative beverage, or water
These ingredients aren’t must-haves. But your muffins will be tastier with one or two of these.
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of fresh berries, dried fruit, or nuts
We could have added many more examples to each category, but you get the idea. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line or lightly oil a 12 cup muffin tin. And grab two mixing bowls.
Mixing Your Dry Ingredients
To get started, add your flour into a large mixing bowl. If you’re using self-rising flour or self-rising cornmeal, you can skip adding a rising agent. For everyone else, it’s time to add one rising agent. Then put in your sweetener. If desired, finish off your dry ingredients by adding an optional spice or two. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly and set aside.
Finishing Your Muffin Batter
In another mixing bowl, beat the egg or use a different binder. Then add your fat and liquid. If you’re including an extract, add now. Stir well. Next, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. If desired, now is the time to fold in optional ingredients like nuts, fresh berries, or dried fruit.
As you put the batter in the muffin tin, each cup should be about two-thirds full. Bake about 18 to 22 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick or knife into the center of one muffin. The muffins are ready when your tester comes out clean.
Baking Your Yum
Once you’ve mastered making basic muffins with what you have on hand, it’s easy to make adjustments to change the flavor, to make healthier muffins, or to find a substitute for a “necessary” ingredient. For example, you could try replacing some or all of the fat with a fruit puree. You could create flavor profiles based on other dishes you love. If sweet potato pie were your favorite dessert, you might try mashed sweet potato, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract for your muffin batter. Now that you know how to make muffins with what’s in your pantry, the possibilities are endless.
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