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Perfect Corn Muffin Recipe (Plus 6 Runners-Up)

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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

Perfect corn muffins hot from the oven are easy to make

Perfect corn muffins hot from the oven are easy to make

The North thinks it knows how to make cornbread, but this is a gross superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern cornbread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite as bad as the Northern imitation of it.

— Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

I Had to Step Up My Game

I was born and raised in the northwest corner of the continental United States. (I say “continental” because Alaska looms big and proud even more north and west). I can honestly say that I never tasted cornbread in my "growing up" years. My parents were both first-generation American—Dad’s parents were from the United Kingdom and Mom’s family was Volga-Deutch. Nope, no cornbread here.

Then, I happened to meet and fall in love with a man whose daddy was a Southerner. Texas. He loved his cornbread. So, I had to step up my game and learn how to make the best cornbread.

Carb Diva's perfect corn muffins

Carb Diva's perfect corn muffins

Carb Diva's Perfect Corn Muffins

Ingredients

IngredientsAmountsWhy?

All-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups

Corn meal does not contain gluten, so AP flour is needed to provide structure and lift

Yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup

Use whole grain stone-ground cornmeal for best corn flavor

Baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons

Baking powder is baking soda + cream of tartar. It begins to act when it becomes wet and hot. It gives an immediate lift to your batter, but there’s another, sustained “push” when that batter goes into the oven. This is what you need for fluffy muffins.

Baking soda

3/4 teaspoon

Baking soda reacts with acid to begin creating carbon dioxide bubbles which make the batter rise

Salt

1/2 teaspoon table salt (not Kosher salt)

Salt strengthens the gluten so the muffins won't deflate and improves flavor

Eggs

2 large

Protein in eggs binds the ingredients together , adds structure and moisture

Sugar

2/3 cup

Does more than add sweetness; sugar holds onto water, it provides structure for gas expansion in the oven, promoting lift and rise

Unsalted butter

1/2 cup, melted and cooled

Adds richness. Always use unsalted butter so that you will know precisely how much salt is going into your baking

Sour cream

3/4 cup

More richness, and the acid for the baking soda lift

Milk

1/2 cup

Moisture and tenderness

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan by spraying each cup with non-stick cooking spray. Don't use paper liners because it's the batter contacting the hot pan that creates the crisp edge.
  3. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a large mixing bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs until the whites and yolks are well-blended. Add the sugar and whisk until light and thick, about one-half minute. Gently pour in the melted (cooled) butter.
  5. Blend together the sour cream and milk; whisk into the egg/butter/sugar mixture.
  6. Make a well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients all at once. Using a rubber spatula, quickly blend the wet and dry together just until moistened. Don't overwork the batter. Too much stirring will work the gluten and make your muffins tough.
  7. Divide evenly to fill the muffin tins; bake in preheated oven 15-18 minutes. A wooden toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean.
  8. Let muffins sit for 5 minutes and then remove from the pan. (If you try to remove them immediately they will tear; but if you let them sit for too long they might stick and the bottoms will steam and get soggy).
Creamed corn muffins

Creamed corn muffins

Creamed Corn Cornbread Muffins

I'm not a fan of creamed corn—I think it's one of those "love it or hate it" food items. However, I always keep a few cans in the pantry because it works great in casseroles, stuffing, and these extra rich, extra moist and corny creamed corn cornbread muffins.

Cheesy zucchini cornbread muffins

Cheesy zucchini cornbread muffins

Cheesy Zucchini Cornbread Muffins

If you are ever overwhelmed by a summertime explosion of zucchini this recipe for cheesy zucchini cornbread muffins will help solve that dilemma. They're moist (of course), cheesy, and have a little zip from a bit of chili powder.

Sourdough Cornbread Muffins

If you maintain a sourdough starter, one of the unfortunate tasks is the discarding of excess starter—I hate that (but it's a necessary evil). What if instead of throwing that cup of starter away, you use it to make these sourdough cornbread muffins?

Bakery-style jumbo blueberry corn muffins

Bakery-style jumbo blueberry corn muffins

Bakery-Style Jumbo Blueberry Corn Muffins

April's bakery-style blueberry corn muffins are full of plump fresh blueberries, topped with a sweet crunch of turbinado sugar. Don't use frozen berries in this recipe; although they'll taste just as good, they will bleed and turn your muffins an odd purplish-blue color.

Healthy maple sweet potato cornbread muffins

Healthy maple sweet potato cornbread muffins

Healthy Maple Sweet Potato Cornbread Muffins

I like the concept of adding sweet potato to muffins. Sweet potatoes are one of the superfoods; they're packed with vitamin A, vitamin B5, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and carotenoids due to their naturally orange color.

These maple sweet potato cornbread muffins are sweet and moist but don't just serve them for breakfast. They would go great with chili, lentil soup, or even as the foundation for knife-and-fork sloppy joes. By the way, if you don't have sweet potatoes cooked butternut or acorn squash would work just as well.


Sweet potato white cheddar cornmeal muffins

Sweet potato white cheddar cornmeal muffins

Sweet Potato and White Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

Here's a different idea for sweet potato cornbread muffins; these are sweet and savory with bits of melted white cheddar cheese in every bite. I recommend an Irish cheddar if you can find it.

Another great addition would be a small can of minced mild jalapeños. If you add those to the batter, reduce the amount of buttermilk by two tablespoons.

© 2020 Linda Lum

Comments

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 18, 2020:

MizB I knew you'd find me, and I hoped this article would please you. It sounds like you and Larry are a mixed marriage when it comes to corn muffins. Your Texas-style muffins with creamed corn, chiles and cheddar sound amazing! I make something similar (omitting the chiles) for Thanksgiving and it's baked in a ceramic dish--we spoon it out and it's so rich and moist and cheesy. Ooh, just one more week!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on November 17, 2020:

So glad I discovered that we can still comment in the feed. Linda, we grew up on southern cornbread, so Larry and I have developed a recipe suited for our specific tastebuds. To wit, we don't like so much flour and no soda atall. And we both agree that bacon fat (horrors!) is the best fat to use in cornbread. Sugar, but not so much as to make it sweet as a cake. Of course I have to use gluten-free flour. We experimented with corn flour. Larry loved the cornbread, but I thought it had too strong a flavor. My mother, the true Southern Bell made some of the worst tasting cornbread I've ever eaten, but that was what my daddy liked. NO sugar and lots of baking soda, Ugh! Even she agreed that mine was better than hers.

I did experiment with using yogurt instead of milk. Larry hated it (too smooth), but I loved it. Also I got a great recipe for Mexican cornbread when I lived in Texas. It used cream style corn, canned chilies or Jalapenos, and cheddar cheese (No sugar). But it is almost a casserole in itself and has to be refrigerated if you have any leftovers. It inspires me to try your fruit added versions. I think they will make great breakfast muffins. Who says cornbread is limited to dinner and supper. Not me!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

Thanks Flourish. I'll try to use that format more often. When's dinner?

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 17, 2020:

Your recipe is a definite try and I like your explanations next to each ingredient. This is the perfect accompaniment to the soup I will be making later this week. Yum!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

Peggy, Thanksgiving is just one week away. That would be the perfect time to serve some corn muffins, don't you think? Let me know which one(s) you try.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 17, 2020:

Like you, we did not eat cornbread muffins in the midwest, at least when I was a youngster. We saw them first when moving to Texas. Your recipe and the other variations sound really good. I happen to have some of the ingredients on hand and think that I will make some soon. Thanks!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

Eric, it hurt my heart to think that you've spent 60 years without a corn muffin. Oh what you've missed!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

Ann, whenever I can I try to find a vegan, dairy-free, and gluten free option for my friends. Thank you for commenting my friend.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

Oh Pamela, I've barely scratched the surface. You might want to give the blueberry ones a try.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

Hi Rebecca, yes for someone who grew up never knowing what a corn muffin was, I've grown quite fond of them. I hope you get a chance to try them.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

Miss Dora, I'm so happy to see you here. I thought I'd try that new approach to presenting recipes. I'm glad you like it.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

Good morning Manatita. I'm glad you are able to comment. Have a blessed day.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

John, since you live in Australia I'm not surprised that these are new to you, but I thought I'd better post these in time for America's Thanksgiving Day (corn muffins are a must, or at least in my house they are). I will try to find your comment on the Q&A. Thanks so much for your support.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 17, 2020:

Bill, of course they're moist you silly. I like the ones with (believe it or not) zucchini. The zucchini doesn't have any flavor, but it makes them extra moist and light.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 17, 2020:

I hope these are moist, because I don't think I've ever had corn muffins that weren't dry. Silly me, it's you making them. I'm sure they are perfect. If I tried it, my mouth would replicate the Sahara!

I'm tired of the rain and it's only November.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 17, 2020:

Wow I had no idea. Maybe I have eaten a plain muffin, I eat it in those little squares. But I don't think I have ever had any of the others. Amazing what one can learn from the Diva.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 17, 2020:

I love muffins and these look great, especially as some are gluten free and I can use the recipe for everyone. I don't like to say 'well, you can eat those, but not those'!

Lucky to get here in time today.

Hope you're safe and well, Linda!

Ann

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 17, 2020:

I never knew there were wo many corn muffin options. I have never tried anything but the traditional recipe. Thanks for all this great information, Linda.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on November 17, 2020:

Oh, they look divine!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 17, 2020:

Thanks for these recipes and instruction. I appreciate the "Why" column under "Ingredients" and the potato cornbread muffins appeals to me. They all look great and I'm sure they all are.

manatita44 from london on November 17, 2020:

A lot about corn bread here and life life itself, it has so many different shades. I like your bit of history, as well as to why you had to learn ... to 'step up your game.' Zucchini? interesting! I love sweet potatoes, but I don't think I've tried the muffins as yet. Stay well and blessed.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on November 16, 2020:

Linda...yay I got in to comment before it moved. I have never tried cornbread but these recipes sure look tempting. Oh, I commented on your last Q and A but I guess you may not have seen that due to the move. Thanks for sharing.