Build Your Own Muffin Mix Recipe: One Million Ways to Make a Muffin by Melissa Vickers

Build Your Own Muffin Mix Recipe: One Million Ways to Make a Muffin

Muffins are a great quick bread, especially for those of us who cringe at the thought of following someone else’s recipe exactly. There are so many grains, fats, liquids, fruits and savory ingredients to choose from, and you can make them as healthy as you want – or as decadent as you dare! 

Years ago I found much of this information in a Tightwad Gazette book. Tightwad Gazette started as a newsletter, and then eventually the editor, Amy Dacyczyn, turned it into book form. It’s full of money-saving tips, though it hasn’t been updated since 1998. These recipe tips transcend any publication date, though we do have a few more ingredient options than were available 25 years ago. What follows isn’t a recipe so much as guidelines for what and how to substitute and still maintain “muffinness.” It was the basis for my Everything Muffins recipe. 

4 Basic Rules for Making Muffins

  1. There are two main groups of ingredients: dry and wet, with additions (fruits, nuts, chocolate, etc.) as a third group that sometimes acts as a wet ingredient.
  2. Generally, mix dry and wet ingredients separately, and then add the wet to the dry until just combined. The batter will be lumpy. Overmixing muffin mixes turns them into cupcakes with a finer texture than the traditional muffin has.
  3. Fold in any delicate ingredients like fresh blueberries that you don’t want completely mushed.
  4. Fill muffin tins (either greased or paper-lined) 2/3 full and bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees F.

Dry Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

  • Milk: Use 1 cup milk, soy or almond milk, buttermilk or fruit juice.
  • Fat: Use 1/4 cup vegetable oil or 4 tablespoons melted butter, or substitute creamy or crunchy peanut butter for part or all the fat. If using a “wet addition” like bananas or applesauce, you can reduce or omit the fat all together.
  • Eggs: Use 1 egg or egg substitute.

Muffin Additions (Use Your Imagination!)

  • Dry Additions: nutssunflower seedsraisinsflaked coconutchocolate chips, etc.
  • Moist Additions: blueberries, chopped apple, shredded zucchini or carrots.
  • Wet Additions: pumpkin puree, mashed cooked sweet potato, mashed banana, canned fruits (use some of the liquid for all or part of the milk).
  • Non-sweet Additions: Use only 2 tablespoons sugar, and add things like shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, grated onion, shredded zucchini, Parmesan cheese.
  • Middles and Toppings: Try filling a cup halfway and put a teaspoon of jam or jelly and top with 2 tablespoons of batter. Or sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the top.

So here’s the recipe in its most generic form:

  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups grain
  • 1 cup milk or other liquid
  • up to 1/4 cup fat
  • 1 egg
  • up to 1/2 cup sweetener
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • up to 1 1/2 cups additions

Make a couple of batches at a time and freeze one!

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Elisa Schmitz, 30Seconds
OK, this is super helpful, Melissa Vickers . I am a muffin fanatic, and I've never seen the basic recipe spelled out so clearly. Love how flexible you've made this, thank you!
Melissa Vickers
The thanks really go to the old Tightwad Gazette--I think I found that recipe at least 20 years ago and it was such an eye-opener to help understand what makes "muffiness" and what you can do with it!

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