Learn everything you need to know to make light, moist, and fluffy vegan muffins with these tips and tricks. Then browse through these delectably sweet vegan muffin recipes to find the one that calls your name!
Muffins are warm, comforting, delicious, and such a satisfying snack or breakfast! They are quick and easy to make, and really, just so much fun to eat and enjoy.
A Brief History of Muffins
When you say muffin, what comes to mind is very different depending on where you live.
English muffins are yeast bread that is cooked on a griddle. They date back to the 10th or 11th Century. We enjoy them here in the United States toasted with a bit of butter spread.
The type of muffins we are familiar with in America, is a type of quick bread. Quick bread uses a chemical agent, baking powder to rise, instead of yeast. This type of muffin was first seen in cookbooks at the end of the 18th century. However, baking powder wasn’t created until 1857.
The very first muffins were made using pearlash which produces carbon dioxide in the dough. The first muffin recipes were quite simple with few ingredients, and not as sweet.
As muffin recipes have changed throughout the years they have become sweeter, although there are also savory muffins, and include numerous types of mix-ins.
Muffins saw a soar in popularity in the 1950s as brands began to box muffins mixes.
There is a wide variety of muffins out there with blueberry, chocolate chip, and banana being some of the most popular varieties.
Muffins vs. Cupcakes: What’s the difference?
There is some debate regarding the difference between a muffin and a cupcake.
A few distinct differences:
- Muffins can be both savory and sweet, while cupcakes are always sweet!
- Cupcakes use a cake batter, while muffins use a quick bread batter.
- Cupcakes always have frosting, while muffins usually don’t (however they do sometimes have a glaze).
A few of their similarities:
- Both muffins and cupcakes use a mold to create an individual confection.
- They both use a batter, not a dough like other breads.
- They are small individually packaged sweet treats.
Basic Ingredients Needed to Make Vegan Muffins
- Leavening Agent
- Dairy-Free Milk
- Oil or Oil Free Alternative
- Vanilla Extract
- Fresh Berries or Other Flavorings
Types of Flour to Use for Vegan Muffins
These types of flour are typical gluten flours that you will find in many muffin recipes. Gluten is a protein that acts like glue that holds the muffin together.
- All-Purpose Flour is a variety of flour that uses a combination of hard and soft wheat. It comes both bleached and unbleached. Unbleached is recommended because it provides more structure for baking recipes. This type of flour has been processed to create a fine texture. It is the most common type of flour used in baked goods.
- Pastry Flour makes baked goods lighter and fluffier than all-purpose flour. It is often used to make pastries, cookies, and pie crust.
- Whole Wheat Flour is ground from the whole grain. All types of wheat flour are made from hard wheat. They produce a denser bake. This type of flour has added fiber, and is used often in whole food plant-based baked goods for it’s health benefits.
- White Whole Wheat Flour is similar to whole wheat flour but instead of using red wheat like whole wheat flour it is made from white wheat. It bakes similar to all purpose flour but has the health benefits of whole wheat flour.
- Spelt Flour has a light reddish brown color and a nutty flavor. Spelt is a whole grain, but it does not produce as dense a bake as whole wheat flour does, yet it still has the same health benefits.
Gluten-Free Flour Options
If you are sensitive to gluten then you’ll need to use gluten-free flour. Using a combination of gluten-free flours yields the best result in baked goods. Below are a few of the common types of gluten-free flours you’ll find used to create vegan muffins.
- Buckwheat flour provides a rich, earthy flavor and is good for baking quick breads such as muffins. It can have a crumbly texture. When using buckwheat flour it is best to combine it with another flour, such as brown rice flour, to create a quality bake.
- Brown Rice Flour is made from ground brown rice. It has a nutty flavor. It is best when combined with flours in baked goods. It has a high protein and fiber content.
- Oat Flour is made from ground oats, and gives baked goods a chewy, more crumbly texture.
- Almond Flour is made from blanched almonds (skins removed) and is ground into a fine flour. If using almond flour creates a denser bake.
How to measure flour:
Baking is a science. As such, it is important to be sure to get your measurements as exact as possible to create the best bake.
In America, most of us use measuring cups for baking. However, using a scale to measure out in grams will yield the most precise results.
However, most American recipes don’t include the measurements in grams and instead use cups.
When measuring using cups, refrain from scooping the flour with the cup out of the flour bag. Instead, spoon the flour into the cup, and use a butter knife to level it.
Don’t shake the flour, or push it down. You will end up using more flour than you need.
Should you sift the flour:
Some muffin recipes call for sifting, while others do not.
Sifting removes unwanted lumps, debris, and helps to “unpack” the flour from the bag.
When you sift the flour with the other dry ingredients it helps to evenly distribute them which helps blend the ingredients together.
Even if a recipe does not call for sifting, it cannot hurt a recipe.
Types of Sugar to Use for Vegan Muffins
There are so many different types of sugars out there. Different recipes call for different types of sugars because they will have different results on the texture of your muffins.
When you are making vegan muffins it is important to follow the recipe and use the sugar that it calls for. Substituting sugars will result in a different bake.
Here are some of the sugars you will often find in muffin recipes.
- White Sugar is the most common type of sugar, also known as granulated sugar. This is a refined sugar that has gone through processing. If a recipe calls for sugar, with no other explanation, it is referring to white sugar.
- Brown Sugar is another common type of sugar. Brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses added to it. There is light and dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has more molasses. When using brown sugar in a recipe the color of the bake will be darker. Brown sugar gives a chewy texture and a caramel flavor. If a recipe calls for brown sugar, it is likely calling for light brown sugar unless otherwise specified.
- Turbinado Sugar, also known as raw sugar, is less refined than cane sugar, but still is partially refined while retaining some of the molasses.
- Coconut Sugar is less refined than white, brown or turbinado sugar. It is often used in whole food plant-based recipes as a substitute for white sugar. It is a natural sugar made from coconut palm sap. It is brown in color and will create a darker crumb for your muffins or baked goods.
- Muscovado Sugar is an unrefined sugar cane sugar that contains natural molasses. It is a good whole food plant-based substitute for brown sugar.
A leavening agent is what allows the muffins to rise. In muffins and quick bread baking powder, or a combination of baking powder and baking soda are used to leaven the muffins.
What is baking soda?
Baking soda is a white crystalline powder that is naturally alkaline, or basic. It becomes activated when combined with an acidic and a liquid.
When activated it creates carbon dioxide which allows baked goods to rise and become light and fluffy.
What is baking powder?
Baking powder is a complete leavening agent. It contains both the base and the acid to create the carbon dioxide necessary to allow baked goods to rise. It contains baking soda, cream of tartar, and cornstarch.
Oil vs. Oil Free
Oil is a perfectly acceptable ingredient to use in vegan muffins. There are many different types of oils a muffin recipe may call for. Oil adds moisture to a muffin recipe. Without oil or an oil substitute, your muffins will have a dry, crumbly texture.
Types of Oils Used in Muffin Recipes
- Canola Oil is made from rapeseed oil. There has been some controversy surrounding canola oil and whether or not is healthy. Most canola plants are genetically modified (GMO). I prefer not to use canola oil in my baking recipes for this reason
- Safflower Oil comes from the seeds of the safflower plant. It is a tall plant with yellow or orange flowers. Safflower oil is a good source of unsaturated fatty acids, with a neutral flavor. It can be heated to higher temperatures than other oils, making a good choice for baking.
- Vegetable Oil is a blend of different types of oils such as sunflower, corn, soy or safflower. It has a neutral flavor like canola oil and safflower oil making it a good choice for baking recipes. However, it is difficult to know what is actually in this type of oil. For example, what plants, how the oil was extracted and processed.
- Coconut Oil is made by pressing fresh coconut meat or dried coconut meat. Virgin coconut oil uses fresh meat, while refined coconut oil typically uses dried coconut meat. Virgin coconut oil can be heated to 350 degrees F, while refined coconut oil can be heated to 400 degrees F. Virgin coconut oil has the smell and taste of coconut, while refined coconut oil has a neutral flavor.
- Olive Oil comes from pressing the oils out of olives. There are many different varieties of olive oil, and the taste and quality can differ immensely, as well as the cost. It has a distinct flavor which can have an effect on the overall flavor of your baked goods.
Oil-Free Alternatives for Muffin Recipes
If you prefer to make your muffins oil-free which makes them whole food plant-based, then choosing an oil-free substitute is important.
- Sugar Free Applesauce can be swapped at a 1:1 ratio for oil in most baking recipes.
- Pumpkin Puree is another fruit puree that works well as an oil substitute. However, depending on the type of baked good and the flavors you’re looking to achieve you may want to opt for applesauce.
- Banana when mashed creates a puree, but similar to pumpkin it adds a banana flavor to your baked goods.
- Dairy-Free Yogurt adds fat and moisture to muffins, and has a more neutral flavor.
- Nut Butters can also be used for oil, and make a good substitute due to their fat content. Depending on the type of nut butter you can have different results in your baking. I prefer raw almond butter in baking recipes.
How to Bake Vegan Muffins Step by Step
Now that you know all about the ingredients you need for a basic muffin recipe, here are the fundamental steps to create muffins. It is a simple and easy recipe to follow!
Step 1: Combine Wet Ingredients-Mix together the wet ingredients with the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Step 2: Combine Dry Ingredients-Sift the dry ingredients which include the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Step 3: Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients-Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
Step 4: Add Flavoring-Fold your mix-in or flavoring (blueberries, banana, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.)
Step 5: Fill Muffin Cups-Line muffin tins with liners. Fill muffin cups ¾ of the way full.
Step 6: Bake-Place muffins in preheated oven at 350 F. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow them to cool.
How to Store Vegan Muffins
Allow muffins to completely cool before storing them in an air-tight container. They will keep when stored at room temperature for 3-4 days. You can also store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How to Freeze Vegan Muffins
Wrap each muffin individually before placing it in an airtight container such as a freezer bag. Muffins will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to enjoy, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature.
How to Serve Vegan Muffins
Serve warm or at room temperature. Add a pat of vegan butter or a drizzle of maple syrup for added sweetness.
20 Light, Moist, and Fluffy Vegan Muffin Recipes to Try!
Without further ado, here are 20 spectacular vegan muffin recipes! There is a large variety, from your classic blueberry and banana muffins to the more unique matcha and morning glory muffins.
This collection is curated by some of the best food bloggers around, who really know what they’re talking about when it comes to baking!
I hope these tips, tricks, and a variety of recipes have helped you create a light, fluffy and moist vegan muffin!
More vegan round-ups!
If you’ve tried any of these vegan muffin recipes, let me know how they turned out. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more plant-based family recipes your whole family will enjoy!