Perfect Muffins

Recently I found a jewel of a recipe tucked in my mother’s old wooden recipe box. I “borrowed” the whole box a few years back. The recipe was cut from a magazine and glued to a note card. On the recipe was a sticky note from my mom saying, “I used to make these for you and Will all the time when you were little.” The recipe is titled The Perfect Muffin. Like all cutouts of this sort, there is no attribution, so I have no idea who came up with the Perfect Muffin first. But, suffice to say it is now doing its magic for another generation of my family. My kids love them and agree that they are perfect.

They are not sweet, but more like a bread muffin and so they are a great vehicle for butter, honey, jelly or anything else you like. The original recipe called for shortening, but I always prefer butter or lard. There are no bells and whistles here. They are just good. I served them last week with a cranberry and apple curd I whipped up with some spare cranberries and it was wonderful. They take maybe 5 minutes to get into the oven, and 18 minutes to bake. So, it is a versatile bread to make last minute for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Bookmark or print this one, because I’m sure it will be a household favorite.  The key, according to the original recipe, is to stir the batter as little as possible. That is why I mix the egg into the milk before adding it to the batter. Stir only until the dry ingredients are uniformly wet and combined. There will be lumps, but that is perfectly okay.

[Top Left: This is Ford, 7, practicing his cursive and spelling words in shaving cream in the kitchen while he (not so) patiently waits for the muffins to come out of the oven.]

Perfect Muffins
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
So easy!
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour (sift, then measure)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • ¼ cup butter or leaf lard, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12 cup standard muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Sift and measure the flour and place it in a medium bowl. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt, and whisk lightly to combine. In a small glass measuring cup, combine the milk and the egg and whisk the egg into the milk. Add the milk and egg mixture, and then the butter to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. The batter will be lumpy.
  3. Using a spoon or a scoop, distribute the batter evenly in the muffin tin. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean and the muffins are golden. Remove the muffins from the oven and turn them out on a baking rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Note: This is a wonderful recipe for kids or novice bakers. You just cannot mess this up and the results are so good. If you are one of those who has ever said “I cannot bake,” here is the place to start. And if you are a seasoned pro, try something easy for a change. You will not be disappointed with the results. But like so many other quick breads, this is something to be eaten warm, just out of the oven. They don’t get better. So get out the butter early and get ready for a simple treat.

You might also like these Fresh Peach & Honey Muffins.


  1. Rosemary League Tidwell says

    Hi, Kelly, these are my favorites from childhood. (I’m Linda Dean’s sister) and knew your mom and dad “back in the school days”. This muffin recipe is still in my box and I haven’t made it in a long time. The only difference is that mine says 1/2 C sugar. We always added a heavy topping of cinnamon and sugar (not the already combined stuff) before baking. In the later years I have purchased the muffin “topper” pans and really like using those for this recipe.

    Thanks for printing that recipe this morning.

  2. Linda Maturey says

    Kelly, does the type of Milk matter? I only keep 2% on hand. I have just ordered my muffin top pan from King Arthur and can’t wait to make along with some Jambalaya!

  3. Kelly says

    Linda, I think whole would be ideal, but I use 2% and they are great. And if you make jambalaya and muffins, we’re having a block party!

  4. Terri Taylor says

    Wow, Kelly–This recipe is one of the ten in my 1963 8th grade Home Ec binder. When I saw the photo I knew exactly what it was because it was one of the few recipes my 12-year-old self mastered (and LOVED to eat). The ingredients are identical though we used vegetable oil. All else is the same. I have even written— “The batter will be lumpy.” The recipe title is “Popular Muffins.” You’re right—they’re the perfect blank canvas for a variety of jellies, jams and honey.

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