Basic Buttermilk Muffins with Variations

basic-buttermilk-muffins-with-additionsI am always surprised at how many people buy those cakey muffins at coffee shops to take back to their desks, either in the morning or at break times. Or the people who buy them in packs from the supermarkets – you know the ones full of preservatives and correspondingly long sell by dates. Muffins are so easy to make with the added bonus of being fresh and with ingredients that you are able to control and can pronounce the names of. In less than 45 minutes you can be sitting down to a warm freshly baked muffin and a cuppa, smug in the knowledge that you have 11 more to pack into lunch boxes or dish up as an after school snack with a glass of milk for the kids. They can be as healthy or as sinful as you like. It’s entirely up to you and what you have in your larder/pantry. I haven’t tried to freeze them, mainly because they don’t last that long – I used to always pack extra for Jake to share with his lunchtime gang. If you try freezing them, let me know in the comments and I will edit this post to include your thoughts, with a credit to you of course!

basic-buttermilk-muffins-with-additionsI haven’t made muffins recently but I had three very ripe bananas that needed using up and found myself pulling out the muffin pan…these ones are banana, cinnamon and chocolate chip.

This recipe is one that I have been using for many years – I have tweaked it and tweaked it over time to suit all the ingredient changes that I have made. Adding buttermilk or the more easily available yoghurt keeps the crumb really moist.

All you need by way of kitchen equipment is;

  • a regular 12 hole muffin tray and cupcake liners
  • two mixing bowls plus a smaller heatproof one to melt the butter in
  • electronic scales – if you don’t have one, please, please add it to your wish list as it is the most accurate way to measure out ingredients, especially for baking. If you set your mixing bowl on the scales and set it to zero then you can just keep adding your dry ingredients to it (re-setting to zero each time) which keeps the washing up to a minimum too.
  • a small hand whisk
  • a measuring teaspoon
  • a rubber spatula
  • a large spoon to scoop out the dry ingredients with and then to fill the muffin cups with.

The basic premise is to put all the dry ingredients into the larger mixing bowl and whisk well to aerate and combine. I add any dried fruit or chocolate chips at this stage too as the flour coating helps them not to sink to the bottom. Use a smaller mixing bowl for the wet ingredients. I mash my very ripe bananas straight into this bowl after whisking the egg. The buttermilk comes in a 300ml carton, and if you decide to use a yoghurt pot then just use that to fill the milk up in it – no need for a measuring jug! Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients. Stir lightly – streaks (but not large pockets) of flour are desirable. Scoop into muffin cups. Top with seeds or nuts if using. Bake. Cool and enjoy!


I am taking these over to the friendliest party around – Angie’s Fiesta Friday #26. Today we have two talented co-hosts who are not only fabulous and creative cooks but who can also spin a yarn or two. Prudy @ Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs and Jess @ Cooking Is My Sport.  Let’s party!!

Basic Buttermilk Muffins with Variations

  • Servings: 12 Muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 250 g plain/AP flour
  • 150 g golden caster/superfine sugar – you can just use the normal white version too
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 300 ml buttermilk (or 125 ml yoghurt/creme fraiche/ sour cream plus 125ml milk)
  • 80 g melted unsalted butter

Delicious variations- not ALL at the same time!!

General additions and subs:

  • sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans- as a topping
  • 125 g blueberries/raisins/ chopped dried apricots/chopped dates etc
  • 25 g coconut flakes – reduce flour by 25 g
  • 100 g spelt or buckwheat flour – reduce flour by 100 g
  • 50 g jumbo oats – reduce flour by 50 g

Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 80 g chocolate chips

Blueberry, Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins (Lovely with a little lemon and icing sugar glaze)

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 125 g blueberries

Carrot Cake Muffins (Delicious with a little honeyed cream cheese topping)

  • 125 g grated carrot
  • 80 g soaked and drained sultanas or raisins
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • Replace butter with 80 ml of oil

Coconut, Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 125 g raspberries
  • 25 g coconut flakes – reduce flour by 25 g
  • 80 g white chocolate chips


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/. Prepare a 12 hole muffin tin with liners or grease them well
  2. Pop the butter in a heat proof bowl and place in the oven for 5 minutes (set the timer!!) while it is heating up.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, hand whisk the egg. If you are going to add bananas, add them now and mash with a fork – I like to leave them a little chunky . Add the buttermilk or yoghurt/creme fraiche/sour cream and milk mixture and whisk to combine everything.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, measure out the flour, the oats and or coconut if using, the sugar, the baking powder , the  salt and chocolate chips or raisins or cinnamon or lemon zest and poppy seeds if using. Whisk well to aerate and to combine all the ingredients. Make a well in it and set aside.
  5. Slowly pour in the melted butter onto the egg/buttermilk mixture, whisking all the while to mix in the butter evenly which will begin to solidify as it hits the cold liquid.
  6. Pour in the wet ingredients onto the dry and stir to mix. Do not over mix – leave some streaks of flour but not huge pockets of it!
  7. Stir in any delicate berries at this point.
  8. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cups and top with the seeds or nuts if using.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Test with a wooden skewer (or a piece of uncooked spaghetti!) – if there is any batter clinging to it, pop the tray back in for a 2 or 3 minutes.
  10. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool off completely.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



74 thoughts on “Basic Buttermilk Muffins with Variations

      • You and me both! I also get upset when I see people buying ready made meals etc. to me, they look awful and very unappetising! Today I saw a video on how processed hotdogs, sausages & chorizos are made and it made me gag..seriously.


        • Yes – it’s quite disgusting what goes into processed meats – for too long we have chosen convenience and ignorance – but I think that people’s attitudes are changing. There is more interest in animal welfare and husbandry but there are a lot of mouths to feed in this little old world of ours and not everyone is lucky enough to have choices. It’s just when people do have choices and they choose crap…


  1. When I finally knew how to bake, I never bought muffins again coz I know I could make them at home. Banana and chocolate chips in muffins? I’d take three with a cup of tea, Selma! :) Also, we are grateful to you for providing these additions. Happy FF to you and I missed co-hosting with you! :D


  2. Lovely Selma! I couldn’t agree more about the store bought ones verses homemade….of course I didn’t realize that until I started mKing them myself. 😃Love muffins, and yours sound delicious!


    • Thanks Lori – this is such a basic recipe that I hesitated to post it but then I remembered that originally, I started blogging so that Jake would be able to cook for himself when he goes to Uni or leaves me (sob!)…


  3. Very true, when I didn’t know how to bake we used to get it from bakery and super markets. Now that I know to bake I do it myself and always tell to myself is it so easy, why did I get it from bakery so long. Totally agree with your point on preservatives :( Your muffins are very lovely Selma :)


    • How funny, Sonal – I do the same thing – I know that I will use a few in smoothies and cut up over cereal or porridge (int the winter) but there are always a few which are too ripe to do anything except make bread or muffins. I am happy that you like the variations too :)


  4. From now on, I will be a good girl and make my own muffins always, all the time! Promise! :-) Especially with these guidelines you’ve provided. Couldn’t be any easier. Thanks, Selma!

    P.S. Talk it over with Jhuls when you dynamic duo would like to co-host again. I always need help! <3


    • Now that Ramadan is over, Jhuls will be in a good place (not hungry – ok – not prone to fainting from hunger from looking at hundreds of delicious photographs and recopies of gorgeous food….) to co-host. I have a busy couple of weekends coming up – email me the dates you have free and I will discuss with Bubbles x


        • Oh, that’s the 15th right? I am hopefully meeting Loretta on the Friday – it will be an all day affair but I can certainly start to co-host later that evening and the rest of the weekend is no problem at all – let me talk to Jhuls – you have a wonderful trip xx


    • Hi Sandra – lots of us have a no-fail recipe -especailly if there have been children around but there are so many who still buy them! I wrote this post more for Jake really – hopefully he or his friends will have a go when they are away in Uni…though it’s more likely that I will be sending care packages – sigh…


  5. Pingback: Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie | Fiesta Friday #26 | The Novice Gardener

  6. Fabulous, Selma! You are completely right – a little time and effort and you can have a quick breakfast or snack for days. I won’t buy muffins out anymore because I know I can make them better and tailored to my taste preference. I love all your additions suggestions and have varied my muffins with some of those options too. Banana and chocolate chips sound great right now. :)


  7. Happy Happy Fiesta Friday, Selma!! Yep. We are in complete agreement!! Homemade is always better!! These are the perfect treat to bring to our table today… I love the fact that they can be made in less than an hour, and like you said…enjoying a warm muffin fresh from the oven…fresh ingredients…and so much better than the store bought! Bananas, cinnamon and chocolate chip. Now that’s what I’m talking’ about!
    I absolutely love your photos. Love the colors, and love how you coordinated it all! So pretty.. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us… <3 Awesome post. Wonderful recipe. Beautiful photos!


    • Thank you so much for co-hosting Prudy – and leaving such a lovely comment too. I’m feeling a little burnt out when it comes to styling and taking the photos – need a new toy to play with….xx


  8. I am very with you, Selma! Those muffins always seem to turn up at staff functions too and I just can’t do them anymore! Way too many preservatives! Yours look like the muffins we should be eating! So yummy and healthy! :D


    • I said in an earlier reply that I do understand the convenience and the immediacy of the commercial ones – and your scenario is a case in point. Staff meeting/function – someone goes out and gets bags full of cakes, biscuits, sandwiches etc – I’ve done it myself! But when it’s for you, you should really try and make it yourself – so much better than shop bought! x


  9. Selma, I think it’s great that you posted this, as the more people who see how fabulously simple it is to bake beautiful fresh muffins from scratch, the better! I made muffins yesterday, ready for after school treats… though I’ll have to try out your buttermilk version next time – sounds wonderful!


  10. Happy Fiesta, Selma! Being a fan of making muffins at home, I agree with you and love the different adjustments you have shared. I think it is time for another batch of muffins at home – this time, your carrot cake muffins :)


  11. Great looking muffins, Selma! I agree that cakey muffins from cafes or ones from supermarkets just aren’t the same as freshly home made. Banana, cinnamon and chocolate sounds so delicious together! Thank you got sharing with Fiesta Friday!


  12. How wonderful is this post! You’ve given us so many options. I so agree with you when I see people buying muffin packs at the grocery stores. I’d rather have a home-made sugar laden treat exactly for the reason that I know what I put in it. I am bookmarking this recipe and will definitely give this a try. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!


    • Thanks Aditi – sometime, I daydream that I have replaced the muffins in someones trolley with flour, blueberries, eggs and a recipe. They get home, make delicious ones and never buy ready made again…that’s quite weird really…Yes, thanks, had a lovely weekend – you must have seen the picnic on Instagram and Facebook – such special people. Hope you had a good one too!


  13. Nothing beats a fresh homemade muffin!I have to admit I am guilty of buying them at coffee shops though, usually only when I’m eating in and don’t have the opportunity to make my own, but sometimes it is just pure laziness too! These look amazing though :)


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