Quick and Easy Designer Muffins

Tired of high-fat, high-cost fast-food breakfasts? I’ve got a fantastic solution: Quick and easy designer muffins.

With a little improvising, you can make and serve scrumptious muffins in a variety of flavors to make use of (and use up) ingredients you have on hand. Use this basic muffin recipe to get started then refer to the options that follow.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped fresh orange

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray or with paper liners. (Look HERE to learn how to make your own Tulip muffin papers from parchment paper.) In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, honey, butter and applesauce. Mix well. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, add the oranges and stir to combine. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Yield: 12 muffins.

Optional Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, or as needed

In a small bowl, whisk sugar with orange zest and orange juice until smooth. Spread on muffins while still warm.


Instead of all-purpose flour: Use a combination of flours such as whole-wheat flour or cornmeal. You can also substitute up to 1/2 cup cooked bran or rice cereal for an equal amount of flour.

Instead of buttermilk: Use low-fat buttermilk, soy milk, regular or nonfat sour cream, whole or skim milk, regular or nonfat plain yogurt, orange juice or apple juice.

Instead of honey: Use maple syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, molasses or frozen apple juice concentrate (may increase up to 1/2 cup if you like a sweeter muffin).

Instead of butter: Use reduced-calorie butter, oil or margarine.

Instead of applesauce: Use any pureed fruit or nonfat plain yogurt.

Instead of chopped oranges. Use chopped apples, mashed bananas, dates, drained and chopped canned fruits, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, raisins, pumpkin puree, mashed cooked sweet potatoes, shredded carrots or zucchini, nuts or shredded cheeses. As long as you stay under 1/2 cup, the wetter ingredients won’t throw off the wet-dry balance of the recipe.

Save yourself time and make double or triple batches of your favorite muffins to freeze and reheat later. Bake and cool the muffins, freeze them on a baking sheet, then quickly transfer them to tightly sealed plastic bags. They’ll keep frozen for up to two months without losing flavor. Thaw muffins in the refrigerator overnight then reheat individually in the microwave on high power for 30 seconds or so, or until steaming hot.


Keep a batch of this dry muffin mix in the pantry and you’ll be able to turn out hot, homemade muffins in just 20 minutes flat!

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix in large bowl and store in air tight container. To bake muffins, place 2 cups mix in a large bowl. Add 2/3 cup water, 1 slightly beaten egg and 1/4 cup oil. With a fork, mix only until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill paper lined muffin cups 1/2 full. Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes until muffins are puffed and pass the toothpick test.


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1 reply
  1. Gratefully Frugal
    Gratefully Frugal says:

    Thanks for offering excellent recipes. Would you please add some delicious and easy gluten-free options now and then?


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