Cook’s Illustrated Big, Beautiful Muffins

Cook's Illustrated Big Beautiful Muffins

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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4 teaspoon if using salted butter)
  • 10 Tablespoons (1 stick plus two tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature (if you use salted, decrease the added salt to 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole or low-fat plain yogurt
  • Mix-ins, below, optional. See PDF linked above and add in at the appropriate time.


Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 375 *F. Generously grease or spray a 12 cup muffin tin for a dozen muffins, including the level top portion. For best results, do not use liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until lightened in color and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly beat 1/3 of the yogurt into the creamed mixture. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients, beating until just barely incorporated. Stop and scrape down the side of the bowl and add 1/3 of the yogurt. Beat on low again, until just barely mixed, stop, scrape and add remainder of flour. When nearly mixed, stop again and add the remainder of the yogurt, mixing as little as possible to blend together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix with a spatula.

Portion the batter into each of 12 muffin cups. (This should be just below the rim, depending on the volume of the mix-ins.) Bake until light golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.  The only way to go wrong is to overbake, so remove them from the oven by the crumb test, not the color.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Directions are below for making 18 muffins instead of 12 and for freezing.

Note: These muffins rise higher if a cupcake liner is NOT used.

Smaller Muffins:

Portion into 16 or 18 muffins rather than 12. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, but don’t be too concerned about browning on the top. With the smaller muffins, there is a greater risk of drying with increased browning. Check with a toothpick and remove from oven when it comes out with just a few crumbs adhering.

Refrigerate or Freeze:

Batter can be made ahead of time and stored in either the fridge or the freezer.

  • For the fridge, store it in a covered container up to 24 hours. Portion into muffin tin and let sit for 30 minutes (if possible) before baking.
  • For the freezer, portion the batter into the muffin tin and place tin in freezer to flash-freeze. Once frozen, remove from tin and store in a freezer container. To bake, return to muffin tin and let sit 30 minutes while preheating the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.


For 12 muffins. plain – no add-ins or toppings, using low fat yogurt: cal 234, tot fat 9g; sat fat 5g; mono 2g; chol 63mg; sod 201mg; pot 127mg; carb 33g; fib 1g; sug 12g; prot 6g; vitamin A 6%; calc 14%; iron 7%

For 18 muffins. plain – no add-ins or toppings, using low fat yogurt: cal 156, tot fat 6g; sat fat 2g; mono 2g; chol 42mg; sod 201mg; pot 85mg; carb 22g; fib 1g; sug 8g; prot 4g; vitamin A 4%; calc 10%; iron 5%

Keywords: Big Beautiful Muffins, Breakfast or Brunch Dish, Cook's Illustrated, Muffins, Yogurt

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