Top | The Best-Loved and Brand-New Joy of Cooking


(recipe, Ethan Becker, Marion Rombauer Becker, Irma S. Rombauer)

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You can substitute up to 1 cup whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour for an equal measure of all-purpose flour. Note that the liquid ingredient is your choice, from low-fat milk to cream. The flexible amount of butter or oil allows control of the richness with the following advice: Muffins made to be eaten warm from the oven are perfectly delicious with ¼ cup butter or oil. If muffins must be made hours before they will be consumed, or even the day before, you are wise to use ½ cup butter or oil.


  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  3. ½ tsp. salt
  4. ¼ tsp. ground or freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1 cup milk or cream
  7. ⅔ cup sugar or packed light brown sugar
  8. ¼ to ½ cup (½ to 1 stick) butter, melted, or ¼ to ½ cup vegetable oil
  9. 1 tsp. vanilla


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard 12-muffin pan or line with paper or silicone liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together thoroughly the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg (if using). In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or cream, sugar, butter or oil, and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together with a few light strokes, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix; the batter should not be smooth. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in 1 or 2 of the muffins comes out clean, about 12 to 18 minutes depending on how big the muffins are. (Muffins with fruit in them will take longer.) Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the pan. If not serving hot, let cool on a rack. Serve as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours of baking.


Culinate editor's notes: This recipe actually makes about 16 muffins, not 12. Substitutions: You can replace some or all of the milk/cream with plain yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream; just add ½ teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients. Variations: For nutty or fruit-chunky muffins, add ½ cup to 1 cup chopped nuts, dried fruit, or chopped fresh fruit, such as apples. For more evenly fruity muffins, add 1 cup of soft, pulpy fruit, such as mashed banana, cooked pumpkin, or pulped mango. For berry muffins, add 1½ cups fresh or frozen berries; for a pretty effect, fill the muffin trays ⅔ full with plain batter, then drop berries into each muffin cup. (Fresh blueberries usually float on top of the muffins, while frozen berries will sink into the batter.) You may need to add ⅓ cup extra sugar to the batter if the fruit you're adding is not supersweet. Fresh minced lemon or orange zest is a nice last-minute add-in, too. For extra-citrusy muffins, replace the vanilla with 2 teaspoons lemon extract.