Plain Muffins

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (3 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups flour

In a large bowl combine the oil, egg, milk, sugar and salt. Mix it very well with a fork or wire whisk. Measure in the baking powder and flour. Mix again until all of the dough particles are moistened. Do not over mix. The whole thing should take about 20 to 30 strokes. Spoon the batter into a dozen well oiled muffin cups. Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before removing from the pan.

This is the basic recipe. I used to make it every night when I was young and poor. It is so easy and so cheap and so down right good to eat, that it almost seems a shame to expand on it. Notice I say almost, because one of the glorious things about muffins is that this recipe, is only the starting point. I will list several easy variations now, and you can go from here in any direction you like.

Cereal Muffins: After preparing the above recipe using 1/4-cup of sugar, add 1-cup of cooked cereal. You may add oatmeal, or grits, or rice, or farina, or whatever you have left over. This makes about 18 muffins. Rice is my favorite.

Whole Wheat Muffins: Use half or all whole wheat flour instead of the white flour called for. Use 1/3-cup brown sugar for the sweetener.

Rye Muffins: Replace 1/2-cup of white flour with Rye flour. Add 1-teaspoon caraway seeds to the batter. Use 1/4-cup of brown sugar for the sweetener.

Cornmeal Muffins: Replace 1-cup of white flour with cornmeal. Use 1/3-cup of white sugar for the sweetener.

Here’s another frugal bread recipe for you: Quick and easy garlic bread sticks.

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Jennifer - May 7, 2009

My kids love these muffins, especially when I add a few extras. We use to be able to afford to go out and get those mini-chocolate chip muffins at those gourmet shops. Now, I make these muffins at home and add a teaspoon of vanilla and some mini chocolate chips. They taste even better than the ones that cost $2.50 a piece and I can make them and freeze them for snacks. We have added butterscotch chips, cinnamon chips, apple chunks, just to name a few things, and my family loves them!

lisa - May 15, 2009

hey i wqas just wondering if you think this would work for savery muffins i am thinking it will be a good snack for my todler and it is healthyer then most actual snack food pluss alot cheeper

lachlan - June 16, 2009

thanks I’m a kid and i love making them and there so easy and yummy thanks!!!

Kathy - November 1, 2009

Your basic muffin recipe is also great when you add 1 cup of cranberries and 1 cup of orange juice instead of the milk. =o)

amanda - December 19, 2009

These muffins are wonderful! I made half plain and the other half with vanilla and chocolate chips. Fantastic! Thank you for the recipe.

Jessica - February 14, 2010

These muffins are great! I made them once with whole wheat flour. Today I’m going to add chocolate chips:)


Miss J - February 15, 2010

I love this recipe. I made my second batch yesterday, sweetened with 1/3 cup brown sugar, and I added some cinnamon, and a handful of raisins. You can’t go wrong with a dozen moist, fluffy, delicious muffins for under $2.

gem - February 19, 2010

I have made these muffins A LOT! I like to add some vanilla extract for plain ones or coco powder to make chocolate ones … they always turn out so lovely. I like to eat them the next day when they have gone denser! I’m making them at the moment and have cream cheese icing in the fridge waiting to top them off!

Lisa - April 10, 2010

yum yum yum!! Basic but so tasty..I added a bit of vanilla essence and some chocolate chips. I will definately be using this recipe again :)

Kim - May 14, 2010

So sad that you took out the sausage version of these!!!!! I just made them today (from an old printed copy) and they are SO good. Shame they aren’t here.

Walt - July 7, 2010

Great and easy recipe. I particularly like made them with 50% whole rye flour. I use about 1 tbsp of caraway, the grated rind of an orange and 1/2 tsp of ground fennel and use brown sugar instead of white. It yields a flavor similar to Swedish Limpa bread. Also, I fill the muffin pans very full and bake at 425 F which gets me a maximum crown a crisp crust. I get about 8 muffins out of the recipe.

hanna - September 11, 2010

hey I made these for my mum tday and sheloved them!:)

    Nolie - May 21, 2012

    Mhmmmmmm I mde plenty of muffins yesterday I added 3mashed Bananas and Raisins very Yummu thanx again;

Marie - September 14, 2010

Sausage version of these sounds good for breakfast. My husband loves theses. I really don’t like them much, I just make them for him. But when I saw the reply Kim gave about the sausage version I thought we bought would enjoy that. Please would you post that recipce. Love you sight by the way. <3

Dana - September 18, 2010

Recently, mere male and I stopped for a coffee at Childers, Qld., and each selected a muffin: I, the date muffin ($4.50); he, the banana muffin ($5.50). Our bill came to about $17.00. Now, we make our own muffins from your recipes!

Ann M - October 1, 2010

I make these and freeze them individually so that I can take one to work with me for lunch. It is so easy to really go wild with this recipe. Thanks so much.

Mischelle40 - October 3, 2010

I don’t have to be frugal, but I love your website. Let’s face it, a great basic muffin recipe is a great basic muffin recipe. I add vanilla and chocolate chips, just like some of your other readers, and my whole family just loves these. I’m from a family of country cooks, and have looked for a good recipe in books and even on websites boasting the best recipes from bed and breakfasts all over the USA. I think this recipes is just plain better. Not too sweet, but just sweet enough, soft and tender, and so easy to vary! I’ve made these with fresh and with frozen blueberries, too. Yum!

P.S. You basic bread recipe and your dinner roll recipe are to die for, too.

Nitalynn - November 1, 2010

Thanks so much. This is actually the second time I have used the cornmeal recipe. We used to love Jiffy cornmeal muffins but when hubby was diagnosed as a diabetic he could no longer have them. Occasionally when he was out of the house all day I would make me a batch but I always felt guilty. Now I can make these with Splenda and we both can have them.

Liz Mason - December 18, 2010

I am on the computer everyday including weekends and holidays, so you can imagine I find many websites during the day. I have found this website and the Muffin recipe to be one of the best on the world wide web. My husband is an Englishman, who never eats sweet things and I have a hard time getting him to try different things that I make, but he did try these muffins and he said it was very good, so getting this type of response tells me to stick with this one and make more. Thank you kindly and I look forward to more.

Justine - December 30, 2010

Im a teen and I love baking cookies,muffins you name it. I wanted to find a recipe for just plain muffins so i could created new and flavourful muffins to try and explore. I found this recipe thought it was quick and simple,but i wanted a twist so i peeled and cut 2 apples and put them in a pan with butter,cinnamon,sugar and sautaed them then added the apple and sauce mixture to the batter and then made muffins.
They turned out wonderful.:) soon im gunna try orange saffron muffins.

    SusanH - January 28, 2011

    The apple muffins turned out lovely. Thanks. I’m looking forward to your attempt at orange saffron. 😀

Lyla Gahagan - January 7, 2011

This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

Cherry Davis - March 22, 2011

I had a recipie simular to this one when my now adult children were small. My son had a sweet tooth
and ask how putting jelly in the muffins would work. I was just getting ready to put a pan of plain muffins
in the oven and grabbed a jar of jelly puttin about 1/2 tsp on top, They were all eaten soon as they came out of the oven.

LisaE - March 25, 2011

I baked a batch of these yesterday and added in sliced strawberries since thay is what I had. They turned out well and quick and easy to make-will make another batch soon and try the apple-cinnamon suggestion-yum.

Andrea from Canada :) - April 13, 2011

I have made these muffins over and over. My mom used to make them when we were young and poor!!! Now I make them for my son as he loves them and they are a great alternative to the toddler snacks on the market today! My Mom calls them Sally-Lund Muffins and she still makes them, though she is no longer poor! :)
Thanks for sharing with us!

Larry - June 3, 2011

Praise God, thank you Jesus and pass the muffins! Tasting these absolutely glorious plain muffins is nothing short of a religious experience and has renewed my faith in the Almighty. I made mine with a freshly layed egg and my muffins were very light, fluffy and rich So good, in fact, that I hesitate to try any additions in fear of breaking the spell This recipe (and web site) makes me glad I’m poor. Thanks to your corn meal, flour and dry bean recipes on this site and in your $45 menu, my family is living large for pennies. All of this good eating is having a funny effect on me though. I have a strange urge to learn to read the Bible and whittle sticks. In fact, I have started collecting pocket knives from that hoppin mad hillbilly fella on the TV and took the whole family to church last Sunday. No kidding. Thanks again for the great recipes.

    Laura - August 9, 2011

    I love it!!! Thanks for the chuckle, you made my day and I can’t wait to try the recipes!

Amanda H - November 1, 2011

I love finding simple recipes like this and tweeking them to make them my own. heres what i tried
replace milk with 2/3 cup plain yogurt (i used greek) and 1/3 orange juice. Replace sugar with honey. but because my mom struggles with her health to make them a little healthier i also added 2 tbsp wheat germ and substitued the flour for a combo of whole wheat and rice flours. They were light, fluffy, and a big hit :)
if people that want to try this recipe are gluten free try the rice flour, it has virtually no flavor so is great to substitute with.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - November 1, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your “tweaks” Amanda. I agree; this is a great recipe to play with. Glad you found it.

gina - November 3, 2011

This recipe is the recipe I go to most often of all times! I love doing variations with this recipe. I substitute one cup of four with one cup of oatmeal. I add blueberries, apples, chocolate chips. These are always a win!

Also I highly recommend the “cornbread muffin” variation of this recipe. Better than Jiffy! I make these in those little rectangle shaped tins (like twinkies) and they mae great cornbreads for serving with beans! Yum! If we have any leftover and I’m not eating them, I individually wrap and freeze for later.

This is just a perfect recipe!

Thank you!

Love the poster who posted about whittling wood and going to Church. Definitely all of us would embrace basic cooking and good living with just a small taste of this “good life”. I think they should use your site and books for curriculum in Home Economics classes and make it required for all U.S. graduates. Eating out of a box has not served us well and we need to all get back to the basics!

Diane - December 4, 2011

I’m doing this for a science fair project and it seems wonderfully simple! Great, and easy to make. Not expensive, thanks.

amina - January 9, 2012

tried this mixture it was absolutely wonderful kids loved it and my husband. so did i. someone mentioned ther making orange saffron if anyones tried making these please let me know as well as everybody else this recipe

Grace - January 15, 2012

Hi, I’m going to try this recipe this afternoon. By the way, do you think I can pre-measure and mix all the dry ingredients in advance, then we can just add oil, egg and milk later?

    The Hillbilly Housewife - January 15, 2012

    Hi Grace – You most definitely can mix all the dry ingredients first. As a matter of fact, if you do that several times with the same recipe, just put each dry ingredient “ready mix” in an air-tight sealed container and store them in your pantry or refrigerator. Be sure to label the container, and include the recipe on the label as well and you won’t even need to go find the recipe before you bake them. This becomes your very own Homemade Instant Muffin Mix – just add oil, egg, and milk – mix and bake! No more store-bought muffin mix needed. Good luck with your baking!

      Grace - January 25, 2012

      Thanks for the tips! I mixed all the ingredients last night, left them in the fridge and made a note with simple instruction for my husband to bake the muffins. So, we have freshly baked muffins this morning! I definitely will try the “ready mix” method next time. I hadn’t made muffins for a long time as my old recipe requires sour cream. Your muffins recipes is the best because all the ingredients are simply just pantry staples in most families.

Kristi Lovelace - June 17, 2012

This was just what I needed – a starting point, to use up what I had on hand. I used whole wheat and spelt flour – 1 c each, 1/4 c honey instead of sugar, and stirred in 1-2 cups shredded parsnips and celeriac (what I had on hand). After spooning half the batter into muffin tins, I decided to stir 1/2 c dates into the other half. In both cases, the batter tasted wonderful. I’ll know about the muffins in about 15 minutes.

sandi - June 21, 2012

I soak dried cherries in some hot water with a little rum. I drain the cherries and refrigerate the juice to reheat for the next batch. I add the grated rind of an orange. My family calls them my drunken sailor muffins

Deborah - February 6, 2013

these muffins were amazing! Will make again!

crystal - February 15, 2013

I make these muffins at least once a week. My boys love them I sometimes throw some fruit and chocolate powder in the mix they go nuts

Vanessa - April 9, 2013

I tried a plain muffin recipe recently and did not like the results. I want to make and freeze some so that my kids can have some for breakfast, snack, etc. After reading the reviews of this recipe I will be making these soon!

Beth - August 22, 2015

Delicious. I added vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Then ate half. Will definitely make again.

Nette - February 27, 2016

I have made this recipe before with raw apple a little cinnamon and nutmeg, they were delicious, this time I made them with crasins and pecans, a little vanilla and they were equally delicious.

Sandy - April 17, 2016

Great recipe.. I only added a bit of cinnamon.. The kids loved them.
Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes.

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