It took me a long time to produce a savory muffin with a good crumb and good flavor. But I'm finally happy with this recipe, with a nice sharp kick from the cheese and seasonings, and a fresh feel from the tomatoes! You can add other ingredients, like ham if you don't want it vegetarian, or maybe bacon? They freeze wonderfully, of course.
Originally posted in 2013, this post has been updated with photos, text and a much-better variation of the recipe to serve you better.
I'm a big fan of muffins in general, mostly because they are great fresh and they freeze SO well! I usually have a bunch of my favorites (Raisin Bran muffins and Morning Glory muffins) frozen at all times and eat them in the morning, warm.
The idea of a savory muffin always appealed to me, and in my mind, it always had cheese in it. Of course!
This here is a recipe that combines the chewiness of cheese with a tight but wonderful crumb. It makes a great addition to a brunch table. Can't argue with that.
Cheese - I love to use Gouda or Fontina because they have a strong flavor but not too spicy. Any semi-hard cheese you like works well. White cheddar would be another great choice. Alternatively, you can use half mozzarella cheese (or other melty cheese) and the muffins will be softer, but make sure you compensate with enough seasoning, as mozzarella has less flavor.
Tomatoes - I like that they add freshness to the muffin. Make sure they are seeded to avoid excess moisture.
Herbs - parsley goes really well with the rest of the ingredients, but basil and thyme work wonderfully also.
Seasoning - salt and pepper of course, but you can also add a dash of spice with chili powder or smoked paprika.
- Muffins are very easy to make and these are made the old-fashioned way: a bowl with wet ingredients and a bowl with dry ingredients that are mixed together swiftly and lightly (images 1 and 2).
- The add-ins (cheese, tomatoes, and parsley) are added before the dry ingredients are completely incorporated. That way the batter is mixed as little as possible to ensure muffins that are as tender as possible (images 3 and 4).
This recipe is for regular-sized muffins.
Paper liners or cups: I use them because I find it easier and less messy since I don't have to butter the pan, and then wash it! But that means that the edges of the muffins will be soft and not develop a crust because they are in contact with the paper as they bake and not the buttered metal.
If you want crustier muffins - not only on top but also on the sides - omit paper cups and butter the individual rounds.
Yield: 12 muffins when you fill ¾ of the paper cup, and 10 muffins if you fill it almost to the top. The batter holds itself well so there's little chance of overflow even if you fill it more than three quarters, which is a standard way of avoiding spills.
Image below is for half the recipe.
Storing - Freezing
I think muffins should be eaten freshly baked or a few hours later at the most.
That said, you can keep these savory ones at room temperature, wrapped, and eat the next day. They will be chewier and less tender. Warming them in the oven is highly recommended.
Freezing: they freeze wonderfully, especially if you're going to warm them before eating. I like to put them in a container with a lid or foam tray and wrap first in plastic and then in aluminum foil. Don't overcrowd them so that they don't get squashed.
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- 4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (240g) whole milk, at room t°
- 2 eggs, at room t°
- 2 cups (270g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup chopped tomato, seeded
- 4oz (about 1 cup) semi-hard cheese, such as Gouda or Fontina, grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF / 180ºC.
- Grease or spray 12 muffin molds. Or fill with paper cups.
- In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl mix butter, eggs, and milk.
- Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix lightly, some dry parts should remain.
- Add cheese, tomato, and parsley. Mix just until combined. Don’t over mix or the muffins will be tough.
- Divide evenly between the 12 muffin molds.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and a tester comes out clean. Don't overbake.
- Let cool on a wire rack but my recommendation is to eat warm.
- Cheese: you can use any combination of cheeses. I usually like a very melty one (mozzarella) and a stronger hard one, like gouda or even gruyere.
- Add-ins: substitute salami, ham or cooked bacon bits instead of the tomatoes.
- Seasoning: be sure to add enough salt and pepper. Under seasoned muffins are so dull. Spice it up with some smoked paprika or chili pepper if that's your jam.
- Yield: 12 regular medium-sized muffins when you fill ¾ of the paper cup, and 10 muffins if you fill it almost to the top. The batter holds itself well so there's little chance of overflow even if you fill it more than three quarters, which is a standard way of avoiding spills.
- Freezing: these muffins can be frozen, wrapped first in plastic and then in aluminum foil. Rewarm in a medium (170°F) oven before eating.
Keywords: cheese muffins