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Vanilla Muffins – Easy Homemade Recipe

Vanilla Muffins will fill your tastebuds with the essence of vanilla. There’s nothing plain about this simple quick and easy muffin recipe.

Top down photo of a muffin on a white plate over a multi-colored napkin next to a cup of coffee and a pat of butter. A cooling rack full of muffins sit in the background.

There’s nothing that smells like fresh muffins baking in the oven unless they’re Vanilla Muffins.

The essence fills the kitchen leaving you drooling in anticipation.

When I was young(er), we called vanilla “plain”. As an adult, I realize that the true flavor of good vanilla rivals about any other flavor and that there isn’t anything “plain” about it.

These simple muffins have just a slight sweetness from the vanilla without so much that they taste artificial.

We believe that they have a perfect balance. These muffins will go with a cup of coffee or with a bowl of soup. They can be the standalone star or a great accompaniment to your meal.

While these Vanilla Muffins are quick, easy, and simple to make, it took me 4 tries to get this vanilla muffin recipe up to the standards of what we expect of any good muffin.

Let me share with you what worked and why as well as what didn’t.

Top down photo of a muffin cut in half on a white plate over a multi-colored napkin next to a cup of coffee and a pat of butter. A cooling rack full of muffins sit in the background.

Ingredients

This easy Vanilla Muffins recipe uses simple ingredients that you probably already have so whipping up a batch is quick and easy.

  • Flour – We used all-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder and Baking soda – Leaveners that help your muffins rise as well as determine how soft or crispy your bakery is.
  • Egg – We always use large eggs for consistency in our baking
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk helps create a moist, tender softness to these vanilla muffins.
  • Sugar – white granulated sugar
  • Vanilla – Usually you can use imitation vanilla extract in baking. However, we used a quality pure vanilla for this recipe.
  • Vegetable oil – any neutral oil or even melted butter works. Oil provides a moist tenderness to this muffin. We find that they release from the muffin papers easier too.
  • Salt – We use fine sea salt in all of our baking recipes. We find it dissolves easier reducing the chance of having a pocket of salt in the finished muffin.

How to make Vanilla Muffins

A 4-grid photo showing the steps of mixing vanilla muffin batter. 1 adding milk 2 add sugar 3 add vanilla 4 add salt
Combine wet ingredients
  1. In a large bowl add a beaten egg, buttermilk, sugar, vanilla, vegetable oil, and salt.
    • We add the sugar and salt with the wet ingredients because we find it distributes and dissolves better.
A bowl full of the dry ingredients in vanilla muffins.
Combine dry ingredients

In a medium-sized bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together.

Two photo grid showing the texture of vanilla muffin batter in a bowl and of a muffin tin filled 2/3 full of batter.
  1. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. The batter will be thick.
    • Don’t overmix. That will result in a tough muffin.
  2. Fill a lined muffin tin 2/3 full.
    • Don’t be tempted to overfill the tin.

How to make the perfect Vanilla Muffins recipe at home.

Do you remember that we said it took us 4 tries to get this muffin right? Let us tell you a little bit about our previous attempts, what didn’t work, and what we did to correct it.

Muffins are not cupcakes and treating them the same is what lead us to our less than best results. Here are the biggest differences.

DifferenceMuffinCupcake
FlavorSweet or SavorySweet
Topping None, streusel, glaze Frosting
CrumbDenserLight, Soft
ServedBreakfast, with mealDessert

  • Attempt 1 – We used an incorrect balance in the baking soda and baking powder. The muffins were fluffy but very gummy.
  • Attempt 2 – We corrected our leaveners but used milk and no oil along with two eggs. Our muffins were dry and stuck to the paper liners. We could distinctly taste the egg as well. Not something that was desirable in our opinion.
  • Attempt 3 – We substituted buttermilk for the milk and added the oil.

My muffins came out of the oven beautifully domed even though some were filled a bit too full and baked over the side and then…. within about 10 seconds, they collapsed.

Cooling rack with 4 muffins showing what a proper baked muffin looks like.

The example above shows 1. collapsed muffin 3. an overfilled muffin 2. and 4. are properly filled muffins and baked at the correct temperature.

  • Successful Attempt #4 – We knew the leaveners were active so determined that the oven wasn’t hot enough. The oven needed to be hot enough so the muffins cook quickly enough to develop structure.
    • We also added MORE VANILLA, increasing it from one tablespoon to 4 teaspoons.
    • Please also note that if you allow your muffins to cool slightly, the papers will remove completely. Removing the papers from hot muffins may not release cleanly. It’s totally understandable if you can’t wait, however!

We increased our oven temperature from 350°F to 400°F and filled our muffin tins only 2/3 full using a 2-tablespoon scoop.

Love it? Pin it!

Side view of a Vanilla Muffin sitting on a white plate over a multi-colored napkin. A cooling rack filled with baked muffins sit in the background.

Are your leaveners active?

  • To test baking soda, add a couple ounces of vinegar to 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. If it fizzes, it’s active.
  • To test baking powder, add 1/2 teaspoon to about 1/4 cup of warm water. If it fizzes, it’s active.

Variations

Vanilla Muffins are deliciously simple as is. However, experimentation is always fun. Here are a few ideas to make them your own.

  • Add up to 1/2 cup of chopped nuts.
  • Chocolate chips would be delicious in this muffin recipe.
  • Jam swirled into the batter would be delicious. I wouldn’t add more than 1/4 cup, however.
  • Top the muffin with a simple glaze once it’s cooled.
  • Dust the top with powdered sugar once it’s cooled.
Close up of a vanilla muffin cut in half and slathered with butter.

If you love muffins here are a few more recipes you may like

How we serve our easy Vanilla Muffins

These muffins have a soft vanilla essence that has a slight sweetness but not as sweet as a cupcake. In our opinion that makes them perfect for breakfast or with a savory cup of soup. Here are a few more ideas.

Pin it now!

Two photo collage for Pinterest. The top photo is Top down photo of a muffin on a white plate over a multi-colored napkin next to a cup of coffee and a pat of butter. A cooling rack full of muffins sit in the background. The bottom photo is of a muffin cut in half slathered in butter.
Top down photo of a muffin cut in half on a white plate with an antique knife propped against the plate next to a cup of coffee and a pat of butter. A cooling rack full of muffins sit in the background.
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5 from 3 votes

Very Vanilla Muffins Recipe

Vanilla Muffins will fill your tastebuds with the essence of vanilla. There's nothing plain about this simple quick and easy muffin recipe.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 16
Author Julie Menghini

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt extra fine sea salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg large, beaten
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease or line 2 12-cup muffin tins or line them with cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl combine buttermilk, oil, sugar, salt, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.
  • Fill muffin tin 2/3 full using a 2 tablespoon scoop.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out with very few crumbs.
  • Remove the muffins from the tin and let them cool on a wire rack.

Nutrition

Calories: 139kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!
Recipe Rating




Marla

Wednesday 28th of July 2021

This is an easy, quick recipe for a solid vanilla muffin. Because I was serving fresh fruit, I wanted a muffin to compliment (versus compete). I did reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup and would make the reduced-sugar version again. Thank you for formulating and sharing your recipe, Julie!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 28th of July 2021

Thank you, Marla! I'm glad that the lower sugar version worked for you and am sure our community will find your comment valuable too! This muffin is perfect with fresh fruit!

Kathleen

Monday 19th of October 2020

I totally agree with you on the "nothing plain about vanilla" concept. Vanilla is one of the richest and most delicious flavors, always one of my favorites! And these muffins did not disappoint, their crumb was lovely, I baked them a few minutes less for high altitude but otherwise didn't change a thing.

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 20th of October 2020

Thank you, Kathleen!

Ann

Saturday 17th of October 2020

This looks like a total winner in my book! My kids would gobble them up.

Julie Menghini

Monday 19th of October 2020

Thank you, Ann!