These cinnamon raisin muffins are incredibly easy to make even if you aren't a baker! You can whip up a batch in about 30 minutes and your friends and family will think you are a professional muffin maker.
There are some tips and tricks to getting those perfect domed muffin tops and I'll share them with you in the recipe article, so don't skip the tutorial if you are new to muffin making.
Perfecting the streusel topping and getting the perfect texture and flavor in these muffins was my main focus, I was determined to make the perfect muffin and, after many test batches, I think you will agree that I have succeeded! I even sent this one to my friend and recipe tester, Amber, and she shared the cinnamon raisin muffins with her friends and family and everyone loved them. I know you will too!
Muffins are easy to make and they are in the quick bread family like pumpkin bread, banana bread, and zucchini bread. They use baking powder or baking soda for the rise instead of yeast which means no wait time. Simply mix the batter, fill the muffin cups, and bake. I'm super excited to share this recipe with you, but first let's talk about what you need for the recipe, the ingredients I chose, as well as the lessons I learned while perfecting the muffin recipe.
Suggested Kitchen Tools for Muffins
- standard-size muffin tin
- cupcake or muffin liners
- large bowl
- medium bowl
- whisk and spatula
- (affiliate link)3-4 Tablespoon scoop or ice cream scoop
- (affiliate link)cooling rack
Ingredients & Substitutions
This recipe uses basic ingredients, most of which you probably already have!
I chose all-purpose flour for this recipe because it is what most people have on hand and I wanted the recipe to be as easy as possible without any special ingredients. There are different flours that you can use, but you may need to make some modifications to the recipe. Here is a list of some common replacements and my suggestions for modifications. I cannot guarantee the outcome will be the same because this recipe was tested using all-purpose flour only.
Cake Flour: Cake flour contains less protein than all-purpose flour and creates a nice light texture in muffins. If you want to use cake flour, I suggest increasing the amount by 3 Tablespoons.
Self Rising Flour: Since this already contains salt and baking powder, omit those ingredients in the recipe. For each cup of self-rising flour there is about 1½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt. You can substitute this in a 1:1 ratio in this recipe and it should be just fine.
Bread Flour: I do not recommend using bread flour in muffins. The higher protein/gluten will make the muffins dense and tough.
Gluten-Free Flour: Gluten-free flour doesn't always work in baking recipes, but Bob's Red Mill has a special (affiliate link)Gluten Free Baking Flour that is a 1:1 replacement for regular flour. I would give this a try.
Alternative flours: Flours like whole grains, coconut flour, oat flour, almond flour work differently than regular flour in recipes and I strongly recommend looking for muffin recipes that have been tested with these types of flour for the best results. You can always add cinnamon and raisins to a basic muffin recipe that uses the specific type of flour you want to use.
Oatmeal: Adding some oatmeal in with the flour should not cause any problems, but I have not tested the recipe using oats. What I recommend is using ¼ cup of oatmeal and 1¼ cups of flour in this recipe. If you try it, please let me know how it works out!
Oil & Butter
These two ingredients act differently in muffin and quick bread batters and even cakes. Oil will make the muffins very moist, but they don't have the same depth of flavor as using butter. The combination of the two is what I found to produce the best results in this recipe. I tested the recipe 4 different times using different ratios of butter to oil and found that 2 Tablespoons of oil with 6 Tablespoons of salted butter was what worked best and created moist, but yummy muffins.
There isn't any problem with you using more oil or all butter in this recipe. You can also unsalted butter and, as long as you add the salt to the recipe, it shouldn't change the flavor. This is what I found when testing the recipe with different butter-to-oil ratios. I recommend using a neutral flavored oil like avocado oil or vegetable oil versus olive oil in this recipe. Olive oil will impart a different flavor in the muffins.
All Salted Butter (8 Tablespoons) produced a muffin that was absolutely delicious, but a tad on the dry side especially after the muffins were a day old.
Half salted butter and half avocado oil produced a really moist muffin but it lacked the depth of flavor that the butter brings.
Feel free to play around with the ratios and see which combination you like best!
Yes, there is a lot of sugar in the recipe. A full cup between the brown and white sugar, plus more for the crumble topping. I started off with less sugar and gradually worked up to this amount and ratio of the brown and white sugar which gave the best flavor and texture to the muffins.
I have not tested the recipe using sugar substitutes and I recommend looking for a muffin recipe that uses the type of sugar you want to use because sugar is more than just a sweetener in baked goods. Sugar is also responsible for caramelization which is super important in the topping and getting those perfect muffin tops.
I used a combination of brown and white sugar in this recipe. Brown sugar contains some molasses and provides extra moisture. I used light brown sugar, but you can use dark brown sugar if you prefer. The difference is the amount of molasses added and shouldn't make any difference in the texture of the muffin, but they will be a little darker in color.
You can also use all white or all brown sugar if you prefer. Using all brown sugar will make the muffin darker, a little moister, and since brown sugar is heavier you may not get the same rise of the muffin.
Spices & Extras
Cinnamon, vanilla extract, and raisins were my choices for this recipe to provide the main flavors in the muffins. That doesn't mean that you can't change things up. I used dark raisins, but golden raisins can be substituted 1:1. You can replace the raisins with chocolate chips, but I would decrease the amount to ¾ cup.
You could also add different types of spices that pair well with the cinnamon flavor. Cardamom would be my first choice. I did try adding some nutmeg to the recipe during one of my test batches and I was not a fan of the flavor, but you might enjoy it. Start out with just ¼ teaspoon the first time you add nutmeg. I used a ½ teaspoon and it was a little bitter and I love nutmeg.
Another combination that would be great is dried cranberries with some orange extract in place of the raisins and vanilla extract. I would only use ½-1 teaspoon of the orange extract.
How to Make Cinnamon Raisin Muffins
Muffin batters are super easy to make, but the way you mix everything together does matter. I don't recommend using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer when making muffins.
Instead, use a whisk and a spatula to gently fold the mixture. Over mixing quick bread and muffin batters can make the muffins tough and dense because working the flour develops gluten.
Mise En Place (prep)
- Gather all of your ingredients and measure them out.
- Melt the butter and let it cool slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 450℉/230℃.
- Line the muffin tins with liners or you can prepare the muffin pan with cooking spray or butter and flour to prevent sticking. I have only tested the recipe with muffin or cupcake liners.
Making the Crumble Topping
This technique for making the crumble topping may be something I just made up, but the end result is perfection!
Add the flour to a shallow container. I like to use my (affiliate link)breading trays from Pampered Chef but any shallow container, bowl or even a plate will work.
You want the crumble to be in a thin layer so it cools quickly in the fridge.
Add the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the shallow container and mix until combined.
Pour the melted butter over the top of the dry mixture and mix with a fork until a paste is formed and you can no longer see any flour.
Put it in the fridge to let it set up. This only takes 10- 15 minutes, so let's make the muffin batter!
Quick Tip: Don't Over Mix!
One of the reasons muffins become tough and dense is overmixing the batter. It is very easy to do, so folding the ingredients just until they are combined is the best practice.
Making the Muffin Batter
In some recipes, sugar is considered a wet ingredient, but in this recipe, I combined it with the dry ingredients and it worked fine.
In a medium or large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add the brown and white sugar and whisk to combine.
In a small or medium bowl combine the milk, lightly beaten egg, vanilla extract and oil. Stir to combine. Leave the melted butter in the container you used to melt it in.
What I found is if your milk is still a little cold, putting the butter into the milk can cause it to firm up and become little pebbles. This didn't affect the outcome of the muffins when it happened to me, but to avoid it add the butter last.
Add all the wet ingredients except the melted butter and fold them into the batter just once. Add the butter and fold the ingredients together until they are combined and you no longer see any of the dry ingredients.
If there are a few lumps, don't worry about that.
The batter should be loose and wet.
Add in the raisins and fold them into the batter.
If your raisins are on the older side, soak them in some hot water for about 10 minutes before adding them to the batter. We want nice plump raisins in our muffins!
Baking the Cinnamon Raisin Muffins
Make sure the oven is preheated to 450℉/230℃.
Using a scoop that is about 3 Tablespoons, fill each of the muffin cups with the batter. If there is any batter left over, I look for any that are not quite as filled as the others and top them off.
You want the muffin cups to be filled about ⅔ of the way. We have to keep room for the streusel topping!
Speaking of which, go ahead and grab the shallow container out of the fridge now.
Sprinkle the white sugar over the hardened crumble and break it up into pieces using a fork. It might be stuck to the tray and you will have to scrape a little to loosen it.
Break the crumble up with your fingers so it is the size of peas. You may wonder why the white sugar isn't mixed in with the brown sugar. Well, it's because of temperature. When you use your hands to break up the crumble, the butter can warm up and cause your crumble to be too soft.
I found that by adding the white sugar at this step prevents that from happening AND it also gives a nice look to the crumble after baking.
Scoop about 1 Tablespoon of the streusel topping onto each muffin.
Place the muffin pan (or pans if you are using 2 of the 6 muffin tins) in the center of the oven on the middle rack. Placement does matter and I do not recommend trying to make 2 batches of muffins at once.
Heat circulation is so important for even baking and getting the best rise. Pans put too close to the walls of the oven can heat the outside of the muffins too quickly and result in uneven baking.
If you absolutely must stack the muffin pans on two different racks in the oven, then stagger them so they are not directly on top of one another.
Close the oven door and set the timer for 5 minutes. We ONLY want the muffins to bake at 450℉/230℃ for a short time or they will start to burn and not cook correctly. This high blast of heat is very important for the muffins to rise and dome.
Once the 5 minutes is up, don't open the oven door, but lower your temperature to 350℉/175℃ for another 13 minutes.
Ovens can vary in the way they bake, so you might find that you need to adjust your time slightly, but this is the temperature and timing that worked for me and my friend Amber.
Once the muffins are done, remove them from the oven and place the muffin pans on a cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes then remove the muffins and let them cool completely on the rack.
If you leave the muffins in the pan to cool completely, they can become overcooked on the outside and that leaves the muffins a bit tough.
Once cooled, break one open and enjoy!
Making Mini Muffins or Large Muffins
This cinnamon raisin batter can be used to make various-sized muffins and you don't have to change the recipe ingredients or amounts, but you will need to adjust the baking time and temperatures.
Larger muffins are going to need longer time in the oven, so I would still start out at 450℉/230℃ for 5 minutes, but drop the temperature down to 325℉/160℃ and cook them for an additional 16-18 minutes.
Smaller muffins will take less time in the oven. In this instance, I would skip the higher temperature 5-minute bake and set the oven to 350℉/175℃ and bake them for 8-10 minutes.
Although I have not tried this yet, I don't see why you couldn't use this batter to make a cinnamon raisin quick bread if you like. The amount of batter should be just about right for a standard loaf pan.
I would bake for 10 minutes on 425℉/220℃ for about 8 minutes or so and then lower the temp to 350℉/175℃ for another 20-25 minutes, maybe even longer. When making a loaf, definitely check for doneness after about 40 minutes by using a knife inserted in the center (it will be clean when it comes out if the bread is done) or an instant-read thermometer should read about 200℉/93℃ when it is done.
How to Store Muffins
Muffins are fine to sit out on the counter uncovered for hours or even up to a day, but the longer they sit out the drier they will be. Unless, of course, your house is very humid and then they won't dry out, but the crumble topping won't stay crisp either.
Once the muffins are completely cooled, store them at room temperature in either an air-tight container or a bag that will zip closed or can be secured shut.
You can also refrigerate the muffins if they are in a bag or container.
Muffins freeze wonderfully! Just make sure they are completely cool before putting them into freezer containers or freezer bags.
Any steam built inside the bag from warm muffins will affect the taste and texture of the muffin.
I don't like to freeze muffins for any longer than 3 months for the best quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Just omit it and bake the muffins the same way.
I don't recommend doubling a muffin batter because it can result in over mixing of the batter and causing the muffins to be tough.
You can make up two batches of the batter and then bake them at the same time as long as your muffin pans fit on the middle oven rack without touching the walls of the oven.
Fall-Inspired Baked Goods
While cinnamon raisin muffins are good any time of the year, I especially love the warm flavors of these muffins in the fall.
Here are some other fall recipes I love!
Cinnamon Raisin Muffin Recipe
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter melted (if you use unsalted add a pinch of salt)
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 Tablespoons brown sugar packed
- 2 Tablespoons white sugar
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablepsoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup raisins
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon fine grind sea salt or kosher salt
- 6 Tablespoons melted butter salted
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil or any neutral oil
- Melt the butter and let cool slightly.4 Tablespoons salted butter
- In a shallow tray combine the flour, ground cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter and stir to make a paste. Spread the paste out on the bottom of the shallow tray and refrigerate.½ cup all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
- Once the muffin batter is mixed and in the muffin tray, remove the tray from the fride. Sprinkle the white sugar over top and using your fingers crumble the mixture into small pebble size.2 Tablespoons white sugar
- Preheat the oven to 450℉/230℃.
- In a bowl that is at least 2 cups, add the milk, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Add raisins and set aside.¾ cup whole milk, 1 large egg, 1 Tablepsoon vanilla extract, 1 cup raisins
- In a medium size mixing bowl combine flour, white and brown sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine so all the ingredients are well combined.1½ cups all purpose flour, ½ cup white sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon fine grind sea salt
- Pour the melted butter and oil to the bowl with the flour mixture and fold to combine. Add in the milk mixture with raisins and fold until the batter is a uniform consistency. Don't overmix the batter.6 Tablespoons melted butter, 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- Line a 12-well standard muffin pan or two 6-well muffin pans with paper liners. Add 3 Tablespoons of muffin batter to each well. The batter should fill the liners about ⅔ full. If there is any leftover batter, equally divide it between the muffins. Top with 1 Tablespoon of the crumble.
- Place the muffin pans in the preheated oven on the middle rack and bake at 450℉/230℃ for 5 minutes. Without opening the door of the oven, decrease the temperature to 350℉/175℃ for another 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan and then remove and finish cooling on a cooling rack.
- Don't over mix the muffin batter or it can develop too much gluten which results in a denser and tough muffin.
- If your raisins are older and a little dry, soak them in hot water while you make the muffin batter.
- Start out with a hot oven so the muffins get that perfect done. Don't forget to turn it down after 5 minutes though!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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