Baking Tips for Quick Breads

Make the Perfect Muffins and Other Sweet Breads

Cranberry muffins on wooden cutting board

Eugene Mymrin / Getty Images

There is nothing like greeting your family in the morning with the aroma of freshly baked muffins. It is always such a treat. It's a treat to the baker, too. Muffins and other quick breads are so easy to make. After cookies, these should be the next baked goods kids can easily learn how to make.

I love to keep several different kinds on hand. I display them in a glass cake container on my kitchen counter. Muffins and other quick breads freeze wonderfully. Just tightly wrap them in plastic wrap and then put them in a freezer bag. They should keep for several months.

Quick breads (I'm going to only deal with the sweet breads - not to be confused with veal) are made without yeast. So there's no waiting for dough to rise. Most quick breads are prepared the same way:

  • Preheat the oven.
  • Grease the pan.
    • I prefer to use shortening. Butter or cooking spray can also be used. Remember butter does have a tendency to burn, so watch your cooking times. Muffin cups can also be lined with paper cups. Use two cups if you plan to freeze the muffins.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • If shortening is used, cut into the dry ingredients.
    • Use a pastry blender or two knives in scissor fashion to mix in the shortening.
  • Mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir only until combined.
    • This is the most important information for successful quick breads: DO NOT OVER MIX. Mix only until combined. The mixture will contain some lumps. An over mixed batter creates tough and rubbery muffins/quick breads.
  • Put batter into pans or muffin cups.
    • For 12 small muffins: Fill the cups only 2/3 full.
    • For 9 medium muffins: Fill almost to the top.
    • For 6 huge muffins: Completely fill muffin cups. Be sure to also grease top of pan as muffins will expand making large tops.
    • Very important: Fill any empty muffin cups 1/2 way with water. Muffins tend to burn faster in a pan with empty cups.
  • Bake.
  • Test for doneness with a toothpick.
  • Immediately remove from pan and cool on racks.
  • Muffins can be eaten warm. Most other quick breads taste better the next day.