Perfect Vanilla Muffins

Vanilla muffins in a baking tin
The Spruce
  • Total: 39 mins
  • Prep: 19 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings

These vanilla muffins are a deceptively simple combination of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs along with a generous amount of vanilla extract. (For a richer, more decadent vanilla flavor, try using 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.) You might not think much of them upon first glance, but the results are tender, moist, and lightly sweet muffins that need little to no embellishment.

If you like, however, you may serve these muffins with raspberry or strawberry preserves, marmalade, or your favorite jam. You can also drizzle the cooled muffins with a tablespoon of vanilla glaze if you want a fancier look and a little more sweetness. Serve as a simply delicious breakfast, as the perfect partner for a cup of coffee or tea, or even as a dessert.


  • 4 cups/18 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vanilla muffins
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  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease 24 muffin cups or line them with paper cupcake liners.

    Paper cupcake liners in a muffin tray
    The Spruce
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir to mix thoroughly.

    Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl
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  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract or paste until combined.

    Whisk together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla
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  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Use a spoon to mix thoroughly.

    Pour milk mixture into dry mixture
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  6. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin tins.

    Spoon muffin mixture into muffin tins
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  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. A dark pan will take less time than a light colored pan. The muffins are done when a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a muffin.

    Finished vanilla muffins
    The Spruce
  8. Remove the muffins from the tin and let cool on a cooling rack. Serve and enjoy!

What Is the Difference Between a Muffin and a Cupcake?

Although it's tempting to think of them interchangeably, cupcakes aren't simply muffins with frosting. The differences stem from how the ingredients come together, which results in texture differences. Muffins are typically made by incorporating wet and dry batters that aren't beaten together. Cupcakes are usually brought together by creaming butter and sugar and then slowly adding the wet and dry ingredients to that mix. The easiest way to think of it? Cupcakes are basically like mini-cakes and muffins are like mini-quick breads.


  • To keep your muffins uniform in size, use a 1/4-cup measuring cup or scoop to measure an equal amount of batter into each muffin cup.
  • When divvying out the batter, if there's an open muffin space, add water to that space so that the cupcakes/muffins on either side don't overcook too quickly. Just be cautious when removing the pan from the oven after they are finished baking.
  • This recipe can be halved easily.

Recipe Variations

  • Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cinnamon sugar or maple flakes before baking or immediately after taking them out of the oven.
  • Fill the muffin cups with a few tablespoons of batter and then add about 1 to 2 teaspoons of your favorite fruit preserves. Top the preserves with the remaining batter.
  • If you crave more texture in your muffins, add 1 cup of mini chocolate chips or chopped pecans, or add 1/2 cup of each.