perfect corn muffins Recipes

perfect corn muffins

We escaped the Frozen North this week to someplace warm and tropical and it almost feels like cheating. Shouldn’t we be shivering? Shouldn’t we be eating rib-sticking comfort food and not slurping fresh passion fruit from a spoon? How can we have the audacity to shuffle-smack around in sandy flip-flops while our arctic puffers collect dust in the closet?

goodbye, winter!my favorite viewmy second favorite view

It turns out it’s not so difficult at all. But I’m not here to gloat, promise; I, too, was bone-chilled, quietly resentful of people anywhere that their face didn’t freeze within half a block of their apartment and questioning all of the life choices that had led me to take up residence in such a place just a few days ago. Instead, I’d like to offer small packages of what passes for sunshine until real warmth returns: the best corn muffins I’ve ever made.

dry ingredients

cooked cornmeal mush
dry into wet

I have been on the hunt for a great corn muffin recipe, well, as long as I can remember. My mother made them when I was growing up and I had assumed she got her recipe from Joy of Cooking or Silver Palate, two of our cookbook bibles back then, but no, she tells me they were from the back of the Jiffy box, sending me back to the drawing board if I wanted to make them from scratch. I made Dorie Greenspan’s Corniest Corn Muffins many years ago, and while they’re lovely, the corn muffins I wax nostalgic about didn’t have fresh corn in them. I heard great things about the corn muffins from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, but found them almost too buttery and flat. I should have known after a decade-long perfect blueberry muffin hunt ended with Cook’s Illustrated that this would too.

scooped to bake

Cook’s Illustrated understands the value of a great, craggy and bronzed muffin dome. They understand that while a more dense batter may make for pretty muffins, you’re going to want a thick, creamy ingredient inside to keep the final muffin from tasting dry and floury. Often, we use applesauce or mashed bananas to soften the final crumb, but I don’t need any of that in my corn muffins. In this month’s magazine, they did something I’d never considered: cooking some of the cornmeal with milk until porridge-thick to give the muffins a tenderness that seems otherwise impossible from this volume of dry ingredients. Split and warmed with a pat of salted butter (or salted brown honey butter, I’m just saying), if cold weather could have a consolation prize, this would be it.

craggy perfect corn muffins
towering, crackly corn muffins

Thank you: For all of your good cheer and kind words about last week’s kind of crazy news. As a second kid, I always thought we were old news, but you guys have made this feel like anything but and have reminded me, once again, how much fun it is to have this little corner of the web as our own.

One year ago: Stuck-Pot Rice with Lentils and Yogurt
Two years ago: Blood Orange Margaritas
Three years ago: Double Coconut Muffins
Four years ago: Green Bean Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Fried Almonds
Five years ago: Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Black Pepper)
Six years ago: Devil’s Chicken Thighs and Braised Leeks
Seven years ago: Pasta Puttanesca and Broken Artichoke Hearts Salad
Eight years ago: Dill Bread + Lots of Breadmaking Tips

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Smoky Eggplant Dip
1.5 Years Ago: Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes
2.5 Years Ago: My Favorite Brownies
3.5 Years Ago: Hazelnut Plum Crumb Tart

Perfect Corn Muffins
From Cook’s Illustrated, January/February 2015

Maybe you didn’t grow up eating corn muffins and you’re wondering how they’re different from cornbread. I suppose from a distance they might seem similar — cornmeal, fat, leavener, baked into something of a quick bread — but true Southern cornbread would never have sugar in it and are decidedly less cakey. Given that I just learned that corn muffins the official state muffins of Massachusetts, I think we can safely presume that they’re what happens when you let Yankees near Southern staples. (I’m joking. Mostly.)

Most corn muffins are made with an equal or even greater amount of flour than cornmeal; these are 2/3 cornmeal, and seem like it wouldn’t be terribly hard to replace that last 1/3 with a gluten-free flour mix if needed. CI had set out to make a savory corn muffin, using only 3 tablespoons sugar, but I liked these with 1/4 to 1/3 cup for the light sweetness I remember growing up, but at a level that’s still anything but cloying. Finally, CI recommends Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Cornmeal, and says that you should not use coarse-ground or white cornmeal, but I used a mixture of fine yellow unfancy Indian Head cornmeal and medium-grind Bob’s Red Mill (I used this portion for the pre-cooking step, to soften it) and had no complaints about the final texture.

2 cups (280 grams) yellow cornmeal, to be divided
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea or table salt
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk, whole is best here
1 cup (240 grams) sour cream (full-fat plain yogurt should work here too)
8 tablespoons (115 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 to 5 tablespoons (35 to 60 grams) sugar (see Note up top about sweetness)
2 large eggs

Heat oven to 425°F (220°C). Either grease or line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with disposable liners.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl (if you have a microwave) or a medium saucepan (if you do not), combine milk and remaining 1/2 cup cornmeal. In a microwave, cook cornmeal–milk mixture for 1 1/2 minutes, then whisk thoroughly, and continue to microwave in 30-second increments, mixing between them, until it’s thickened to a batter-like consistency, i.e. the whisk will leave a clear line across the bottom of the bowl that slowly fills in. This will take 1 to 3 minutes longer. On the stove, cook cornmeal mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens as described above, then transfer to a large bowl.

Whisk butter, then sugar, then sour cream into cooked cornmeal until combined. At this point, the wet mixture should be cool enough that adding the eggs will not scramble them, but if it still seems too hot, let it cool for 5 minutes longer. Whisk in eggs until combined. Fold in flour mixture until thoroughly combined and the batter is very thick. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups; it will mound slightly above the rim.

Bake until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 13 to 17 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from tin and let cool 5 minutes longer. Serve warm.

P.S. You can make your own makeshift muffin liners from 5 to 6-inch squares of parchment but please, maybe test it first to see if it can reach the heat the package promises, as these, despite advertising a heat limit of 450°F, set off my smoke detector multiple times and were definitely not worth the trouble.

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205 comments on perfect corn muffins

  1. jaime

    long time reader, first time commenter. huge congrats on your exciting news! and THANK YOU for posting this recipe, I made your three bean chili last week but in Germany there are no handy Jiffy corn muffin ready mixes around and I must admit, delicious as it was, I was craving a good corn muffin to accompany it! you read my mind :)

  2. As a native Bay Stater, reading that the corn muffin is our official state muffin is news to me, but not at all surprising. I grew up in Western Mass where it can still be pretty rural. Countless roadside farms line the streets all summer long, selling bushels of all sorts of corn. Growing up, the only corn I knew and ate was purchased within an hour of being picked. Gosh, when I was a little girl, I wanted to marry a farmer to ensure I’d always have fresh corn to eat. Mmm, fresh silver queen. I’m still very curious how that came to be though, and it’s not something involving cranberries. Those are all the way from the other side of the state, though.

    Hope you’re feeling great!

  3. I’m from TN and actually grew up on sweet Jiffy cornbread, but don’t tell anyone or my southern heritage card might be revoked. I usually get disappointed because cornbread doesn’t taste like Jiffy when I make it at home, but you’ve given me hope! Our leftovers were always crumbled up and served in a bowl with milk (this makes me sound ancient, and I’m not).

  4. Dear Deb, I simply love corn in all ways, as I am Mexican. But miss it too much as I live in Madrid. So this is just perfect, as it’s easy to find good cornmeal that comes from either Colombia or Ecuador, I suppose either of these will work just fine, right? Thanks and cogratulations!

  5. The cooked cornmeal remind me of the water/flour roux that comes from those “soft as clouds” Asian bread buns. You are spot on about the moisture and bulk it brings to baked goods Deb!
    Your Cornbread muffins are sunny mountains which have brighten my day and soon will highlight my dinner table. Many Congratulations on all your wonderful news; make sure you enjoy every moment of it!

  6. Kate

    You read my mind — I was searching your page for cornbread recipes yesterday, but I wanted something super-basic. This looks perfect.

    If trying to make them gluten-free, do you have a suggestion for a flour substitute that would work particularly well here?

  7. Meghan

    Congratulations on your exciting news! I LITERALLY just read this recipe in my Cook’s Illustrated and am planning to make it today. What a coincidence when I then saw it on your site!

  8. ediakaran@gmail

    Hey Deb, try frying some of this dough…this recipe and method its very similar to a “sorullito” which is a corn fritter that I grew up eating in Puerto Rico. The only thing that we didn’t add was the egg and sour cream.

  9. Lauren

    I have been hunting for a corn muffin recipe forever too and followed that same path (Jiffy box, Joy of Cooking). I also love Cooks Illustrated blueberry muffin recipe. I can’t wait to try this one, too. Thanks for sharing it, and your process. And congrats on the exciting baby news- I like how you weave bits of your life into your notes about cooking. Your website has become a favorite. :)

  10. Tristan

    These look really yummy and look exactly how I like mine. My husband’s grandma makes her cornbread 1 part Jiffy Mix, 1 part yellow cake mix. It’s so good.

  11. Lauren

    Was thinking how nice those parchment liners looked…glad I read on…you would be hearing our collective smoke alarms going off all week even as far away (and warm) as you are. We love you for the recipe, and what’s a little smoke and noise among cooking friends?

  12. Amanda B.

    Ever read Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451? The title refers to the temperature at which paper combusts. I always remember that when I’m using parchment paper… I keep it to 425 or below. (Of course, only the exposed bits will be prone to this. Paper between the food and the pan such as the round you place under the bottom of a cake is safe until the *cake* reaches 451, which it won’t.)

  13. What a great recipe. I usually use a Jiffy mix for corn muffins but I’ll try this next time. I think this will go great with some pulled pork. I’ve got a slow cooker recipe that’s going up soon!

    .. Laura ..

  14. Kate

    Hi Deb. Long time reader, first time commenter. When I pulled up your page an hour and a half ago, I immediately went to the kitchen to check if I had cornmeal. Now I’m finishing my first muffin. These are so, so very good. I used 4 tablespoons of sugar and found it absolutely perfect. Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes! And congrats on the new addition!

  15. Heather

    These look really interesting but as someone from the UK, I have no idea when you’d eat them. You said they’re sweeter than cornbread so I’m assuming it’s something you’d have as breakfast or snack, like any sweet muffin. Is that right?

  16. Hilarious — I made these last night. But not these, exactly — the version from the CI cookbook. Forgot these were in the last issue! Regardless, toasted CI corn muffins with a schmear of butter are perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast on the way to jury duty. Very important tip from Queens. Definitely trying this higher cornmeal-to-flour ratio next! Happy corny days.

  17. Allison

    I’m from Massachusetts but live in Colorado now. I never realized that corn muffins weren’t a nationwide phenomenon until I moved. This recipe will make my uncle VERY happy. He lives in California now and misses corn muffins.

  18. When I first moved to California from Maine, I laughed at everyone wearing warm clothing in the “winter”. The temperatures can get down into the 50s compared to the possible -50 degree temperatures I was used to.

    Fast forward to now and I’m trooping around in boots and a pea coat. It’s all relative!

    Question though bout your corn muffins. Do you busy out your honey bear bottle. :) I had never seen anyone do that until I moved out here.

  19. Jess

    This is what I have been waiting for! I grew up in the town where Jiffy Mix is made, one of our small town’s two claims to fame, so Jiffy Mix corn muffins were a household staple. I have wanted to make muffins from scratch for a ling time, but nothing stood up to Jiffy. Can’t wait to try them!

  20. Earlene

    I just had to comment today, I am laughing!!! What are you saying, there is better corn muffins than from the Jiffy box, WHAT?????????? I grew up on that stuff as my grandparents lived with us for 6 years and they were from the South where you have corn bread or muffins almost everyday! Though the South people don’t add sugar as we northerners do and like it that way!!! Thanks for upgrading my muffins and I will make some over the weekend, since I ate so much growing up I love good corn muffins or bread!!! Glad you away and enjoying life somewhere else for a few days!!

  21. Mélanie

    Hi Deb,
    I had corn muffins when I traveled to the US, and loved them. I would love to make them at home, but I’m not sure of what cornmeal should look like. In France we have Polenta (which would be like corn semolina), or, at the organic store, corn flour. Which one would you recommend?
    Thanks a lot!

  22. Johanna

    When I was a girl I went to 4H and learned to make Johnny Cake. Apparently in Ontario (Canada) this was pioneer food. This recipe should taste like that wonderful Johnny Cake. We bake the batter in a square pan, serve it warm with butter and maple syrup. Heaven!

  23. Randi

    I was totally dying for a corn muffin last week and here they are! (Weird craving, I know.) I can’t wait to try them! I hate that darn smoke detector going off over nothing?!

  24. Katie G

    As a lifelong Southerner, you’re right — the idea of sugar in cornbread sounds like a sacrilege! While I’m sure these are delicious, I like my cornbread dry and not at all sweet with a thick crust. My favorite way to eat it is crumbling it in a glass of milk and eating it with a spoon. I told you I was Southern!

  25. Jane M

    Woah – these sound amazing. I’m a huge fan of more-sweet cornbread, so I’m sure these will be a hit. Going to try making them tonight!

  26. Mel

    It’s Mel again (of the failed Magnolia bakery muffins). As you can see I commented above and just after that, I made the mistake of saying to SO “Deb made corn muffins!!” (as though we know you or something). He’s gotten use to me though, so he just said (only half-jokingly) “well…where are they?”…and so I decided to make them, much to his delight. Only the Indian Head Cornmeal went in, because I don’t have the other kind and the snow outside makes it highly unlikely I will go out today. But other than that made your exact recipe.

    OMG!! So good!!! SO is in love – he says these are the closest things to his beloved NY corn muffin, and I expect they will only be better with the addition of the other type of cornmeal which I’ll buy tomorrow (for the…ahem…second attempt this weekend). Thank you so much Deb!!! (and congrats on your bun in the oven again :)

  27. Laceflower

    When I read this recipe in CI, I thought, how do I know course ground from whatever ground, and left me hanging there. All my grocery store calls it is cornmeal! Should I be using semolina? I simply don’t know how to proceed not having access to KA or other named brands.
    Enjoy your hols.

  28. JP

    I am a long time subscriber to CI, as a matter of fact, I have every magazine from its charter issue, and besides your recipes, I cook nearly exclusively from CI…I am mentioning this because the only CI recipes I ever have trouble with are their muffin recipes because always, the amount of batter fills 12 muffin cups very full and even though I thoroughly grease the cups and even the top of the pan, they often bake to the pan so that it is very difficult to remove them. I hate the time it takes and the mess it makes. Maybe I should just put less in (duh!), but it always seems to me if they suggest the batter should fit, well, drat it, it should! So I was interested in your DIY parchment liners, but not if the parchment burns. sigh. But look at your muffins! They look pretty big in the photos. I guess I could use cupcake liners, but that just does not seem right either! I have made CI cornbread, corn sticks, corn dodgers and they are all delicious, so I am betting I will try these too. I know they will be the best around. Thanks for the inspiration.

  29. Amy

    Joining the ‘how can I use polenta in this as we don’t have cornmeal in my country’ brigade! Any chance of a note in the main recipe, maybe?

  30. I can’t wait to make these. I have been thinking about corn bread, corn muffins, polenta… Not sure why! Maybe the weather. I did just make your light wheat bread again yesterday, so maybe I should wait a few days.. we are only a household of 2 with only 1 of us eating carbs!

  31. knifegirl

    Hi Deb,
    Sorry to butt in here, (OK, the vacation looks awesome; I want one.) but what I really need is a vegan main. The curried lentils and sweet potatoes look pretty awesome…and I’m thinking vegan main and veg main categories would be a great resource. p.s. Mazel tov! I’d have another in a minute if I could. Any other vegan mains you’re particularly fond of?

  32. Rachelle

    I was beyond thrilled to see this post on corn muffins! Made chili last week accompanied by Bobs Red Mill corn muffin mix and must say was disappointed by the lack of sweetness. Will try this recipe next time! Thanks for sharing!

    And congrats on baby #2 :)

  33. That’s it! I’m going to finally make some! I’ve put it off for far too long… American food is such a mystery sometimes (in Australia). A lot of it sounds familiar (because you here it on TV) but we never actually eat it.

  34. Alice

    I’m in eternal hunt for the perfect corn muffin recipe as well. Have you seen the ChefSteps recipe? I couldn’t help but be enchanted by a version that starts with cooking whole kernels in (browned!) butter and uses cake flour to complement the medium grind cornmeal.

  35. Kate

    Knifegirl- I’m not Deb but the Moroccan chickpea stew is delicious & has a vegan version. I made it for a couple vegan friends recently & they raved.

    Those of you familiar with Southern-style cornbread-do you think this would work with the sugar omitted & baked in a cake pan (I lack the proper size of cast iron skillet)? I love the idea of the smoothness but cannot bring myself to make corn cake (that’s what sweet cornbread is- cake!).

  36. I grew up 3 blocks away from the Jiffy Mix factory and their cornbread mix is the only cornbread I have ever been satisfied with because it tastes like memories.
    If you hold that as a standard too though, I’ll give this recipe a shot. ;)
    Congrats on baby number two! Our baby #2 is 13 weeks old now and it’s been crazy and fun, maddening and amazing, and (if you are one to worry about such things) still as wondrous and miraculous as the first time.

  37. Do you think these could be made substituting yogurt or buttermilk or milk kefir for the whole milk? And might you then have to adjust the amount of baking soda or baking powder? I’m glad to find a recipe that might taste like Jiffy but not be so processed. Thanks!

  38. Kim

    First time commenter. Just made these, forgot to add the butter (i was letting it cool) but they STILL turned out delicious! Now I have an excellent excuse to slather the muffins with butter lol!

  39. J.

    Traditions are all very nice, but they don’t have to be limiting! My great-grandfather was a southerner, I suppose, but he called himself a Texan ’til the day he died (not “southern” and not even “American,” but TEXAN) and he loved Jiffy cornbread. Not only did he throw leftover corn into the mix, but he added a little shredded coconut in there too. That’s how we’ve been making it for four generations. But I am very excited to try your recipe, Deb!

    Congrats on your wonderful news!

  40. Beth

    I, too, have struggled with dry and underwhelming cornbread recipes. Thank you for this inspiration with pre-cooking the cornmeal. I am off to try this now!

  41. Meredith

    Made these tonight with some turkey chili and they turned out beautifully!! The tops have a lovely rustic look. Husband and guests gobbled them up. I grew up on Jiffy as well and these were 1000 times better.. May never go back. Thanks for the recipe!

  42. kathy

    I adore the “corniest corn muffins;” I add in freshly cut white corn, minced green onions, minced serrano chile, shredded cheddar cheese. So delicious. The serrano isn’t too spicy when it’s cooked in the muffin but if you’re scared of heat, you can use a jalapeno.

  43. Dominique

    Made these tonight and they are truly the perfect corn muffins! I ended up making 14, as I was nervous to overfill the muffin tin. I used 5 tbsps of sugar and might add another tbsp the next time. Thank you for yet another winner and, of course, congratulations!

  44. Karly K

    Deb, thanks so much for this recipe! I’m excited to try these, as I too have been searching for the perfect corn muffin recipe (must admit I’ve fallen back on Jiffy as the old standby one too many times!) I’d love to have a solid homemade recipe.

    Also, I wanted to tell you how much I love your “____Years ago” list on every post. Not only does it give credit to just how long you’ve been in business here on Smitten Kitchen, but something on that list always seems to catch my eye & I end up finding some awesome post from x years ago. Thanks :)

  45. Leah

    The Settlement Cookbook has the best and easiest cornbread recipe. Made it last week with polenta for extra crunch. Would imagine it would make fantastic muffins too.

  46. Ann

    I’m also interested to know whether lower fat yogurt could be substituted AND what you’d suggest for baking pans and oven temp if I want to bake up as cornbread, not muffins. Thanks!

  47. Laura M

    Hey, as a Southerner-transplanted-into-California, these look terrific!

    However, tomorrow starts the 40 days (and 40 nights!) of Lent, when I traditionally give up processed sugar. If I were to substitute honey (and/or maple syrup), how should I adjust the rest of the recipe to balance out the increased liquid?

    P.S. Deb – I’m so very happy and excited about the imminent addition to your family. Congratulations to all three of you!

  48. Christina

    Love these muffins! Thank you for reminding me to cook them. I used to make these adding a dollop of jam in the middle. So scrummy!

  49. Charley

    These look fabulous, I have to try these. If you’re looking for a pre-made mix alternative to Jiffy…do yourself a favor and try the Bob’s Red Mill mix. It’s fabulous, and looks very much like your muffins when the muffins/cast iron skillet (my preference)/however you choose to make it comes out of the oven. The recipe calls for either melted butter or canola oil, I always go with the melted butter.

  50. Hey Polenta-girls,
    I had the same question but couldn’t wait for an answer and just tried it right away :) It worked out great, probably a bit crunchier. They’re delicious! I wanted to bring them to the kids’ carnival party today but I don’t know how to leave enough of them before I eat them all. 9th month pregnant :D Congrats to your pregnancy, Deb, and thanks for this recipe that satisfies all my needs right now!

  51. Liz S.

    Deb,
    These look fantastic. Just curious – re the organic recommendation – I agree 100% with comment #77 – what was the reason CI recommended the organic corn meal (if they gave one)?

  52. Tim in Manitoba

    You coasters and your weather stories. What a laugh. It’s 22 below this morning outside my door, with a windchill of 43 below. Fahrenheit. Thanks for this recipe Deb! Stay warm everybody …

  53. Jess

    Where did you go?? We live in boston where the snow is way past out eyeballs and we’re desperate for a little escape, but there’s so much to pick from! Recommendations?

  54. Vickie S.

    Congratulations and thank you for this wonderful post! Lol, apparently I’m not the only one who has spent many months baking various recipes for corn muffins and corn bread. Many an evening after cleaning up from dinner, I would bake a new recipe. This went on for many months and I finally found one that I loved. However, us bakers are always looking for something better so I will definitely bake this recipe! Regarding the Jiffy box mix, I never used it for corn muffins as I really prefer scratch baking, but I have used it many times for that famous corn casserole/pudding and it’s fantastic. Thanks again!

  55. Deborah HH

    Hi Deb. Corn Muffins are a delight any time. About sugar. Oh boy. How about a story.

    My family came to Texas when it still belonged to Mexico, but they started out in the South. I tell you that to establish my bona fides. The first recipe I learned by heart was corn bread (we never used a mix). In a pan or in muffin tins—makes no difference to me—but the men in my family want muffins with a nice browned crust. And I use sugar in my batter—1/4 cup in fact. It makes them moist, and makes them brown beautifully with a crispy crust. But it’s a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous: “Hi. My name is Deborah and I put sugar in my corn bread.”

    A family story: when my mother and my second father married, he used white corn meal. Insisted on it, in fact, because his mother always used white corn meal, which traditionally was more expensive than yellow corn meal. According to his mother, poor people used yellow corn meal. His family was dirt poor, and his mother was bitter because she’d married “down,” (her family included a governor of Texas), but there was no way in thunder she was going to let her standards slide so she paid more for white cornmeal.

    Eventually my mother eased him over to corn bread with yellow corn meal, and I persuaded him that sugar was a delicious addition, but my step-sisters still buy white corn meal.

  56. Jennifer

    I just made a bean casserole with a cornbread crust the other night, and it was heavenly. Of course that is not the same thing as corn muffins — but I did think that using buttermilk and stone-ground organic cornmeal from our CSA made a real difference. Deb, how do you feel about using buttermilk? (Like some others, I also question the sugar…did you try a dash of maple syrup in any of your experiments? Maple cornbread is delicious too.)

    And may I add my voice to those saying CONGRATULATIONS on the baby news!
    Your fans are thrilled and excited for you and your family.

  57. surprised @ the referral to “old news”. your site is still tops for variety, quality and creativity and all without the twenty paragraph prelude with TMI. keep it up, congratulations and can’t wait to try these muffins.

  58. Lee Ann

    I will be making these tomorrow to go with the leftover chili my friend sent home with me. I have heard great things about the Jiffy mix, but it’s not vegetarian, so I’ve never tried it. Thanks for re-engineering it! I keep trying to make the “perfect” corn muffins, but they’re always dry!

  59. Kat

    Perfect timing! I was just thinking that I wanted to make cornbread in muffin form to go with some leftover chili I have. These might just be perfect for that if I choose to go for less, rather than more, sugar.

  60. cedens

    I made these when they came out in CI. They are amazing! I tried a version with some chopped green Chile (im from NM) which was also delicious.

  61. I made chili on Monday and as I bought the blue Jiffy box to accompany, I was sad to do so because any other cornbread I’ve made just didn’t compare. Thank you for creating a comparable version!

  62. Pamela Midkiff

    I make a very similar corn muffin with brown sugar and buttermilk but no sour cream….I’m intrigued because I have truly believed the recipe I’ve used all these years is unbeatable. As usual, Deb….you have me thinking I could do better!

  63. Dianne

    Most importantly, congratulations on your wonderful news! What a blessing!

    I think it’s good to have several corn muffin recipes to use, depending on what else you are serving the muffins with. Your muffin recipe sounds delicious and I’ll definitely be trying it ASAP. Thank you!
    I live in Georgia and years ago a local restaurant had a menu item they called “Georgia Taco”. To make it, they put a serving of chili over a piece of cornbread (or a split cornbread muffin), then covered it with lettuce, tomato, chopped onion, shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream (if desired). It’s an easy and delicious supper to prepare at home, and my family loves it!

  64. Jill

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see where I can access the note (there is usually a link….). I’m from Texas and we don’t put sugar in our cornbread. (Besides, I can’t eat sugar!) What was your suggestion? Should I just leave off on the sugar? Thanks and congrats!

  65. Erika

    Ha! You’re right – I’m from Alabama, and no sugar in cornbread!! And always made in a cast iron skillet :)
    But, I dare say if you put these in front of me I would scarf them down in about two seconds ;)

  66. I too grew up on Jiffy brand corn mix. But my mother made it in a 9 x 9 brownie pan. Will this recipe work with that, or will it need temperature or timing adjustments. Thanks for another great recipe!

  67. Jen R

    These are fabulous. They worked despite a baking soda/powder mix-up for me (I tried to scoop them out of the bowl and remeasure, but it was certainly not exactly right, even ‘fixed’). I reached for my paper muffin cups and found… nothing. So I grabbed the silicone ones that I hate, hate, hate to wash and used those instead. Mine are slightly smaller than a standard muffin (Why?!?), but in case it helps anyone, this recipe filled 16 of those perfectly. I was a little nervous about how full they were, but the muffins mounded nicely and didn’t overflow at all.

    recipe note: Those reading carefully (or with baking experience) probably won’t have trouble, but I did notice that when you mention cooking the cornbread mixture someone could get confused about which cornbread mixture they are supposed to heat unless they have read the post above the recipe.

  68. Lindsey

    Was excited to see your cornbread recipe, my husband too! He loves your recipes! He doesn’t like yogurt or sour cream…any recommendations for a substitute?

  69. Erika

    The muffins look wonderful! But you must not know any of the southerners I grew up with. They would be horrified to make cornbread without a liberal amount of sugar (much like with iced tea)! I grew up on lovely unsweetened cornbread, but my mother is a transplant from the elsewhere.

  70. These look so good! I want to try the recipe, but bake in jalepenos (my favorite thing to add to corn muffins).

    As for your news – CONGRATULATIONS!!!! There is a bun-in-the-oven pun here somewhere, but I will resist :)

    Wishing you and yours all the best things!

  71. Connie

    We had these tonight with the Game Day Chili recipe from bhg.com. Fantastic! I cooked the cornmeal on the stove and used 1/3 c. sugar. I ended up getting 14 muffins, two of which I baked in custard cups. I love a crustier outside, so I never use muffin liners. The kids enjoyed these too with honey butter. Thank you!

  72. JP

    @#109 RG The note is just above the recipe ingredients where Deb explains that she likes a sweeter muffin then the original CI recipe which used 3 tablespoons of sugar. Deb suggests 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) to 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons). It all depends on how sweet you like your cornmeal muffins. Or maybe if you are from the north or the south in the U.S of A. :)

  73. Liz

    Deb, I hate to tell you this, but CI doesn’t have the best recipe for blueberry muffins…I do! Seriously I have a fool proof recipe for bakery style muffins, with big crackly tops with golden edges and tender centers. I’d be happy to share it with you in case CI ever gets you bored :)

  74. Noa

    Corn muffins are my kids’ official muffins too, so they’ll be thrilled.
    About the pecan sticky buns (also on this weekend’s menu), I must share a tip with you. Didn’t post it on the sticky bun post because, well, you are loved and it would get lost. Rather than slicing the logs with a serrated knife to get the individual rolls (which, honestly, always squish) use dental floss. What?!? Take a piece about 12-18″ long. Slip it under the rolled-log about 1 1/2″ from end. Criss-cross the ends of the floss over the top and pull until they slice off a roll. Because this basically pinches off the dough only at the exact center, no squishing! And one less knife to wash.

  75. Joni

    This is the perfect recipe! I made them in a muffin tops pan and they disappeared! I cannot wait to make them in the waffle maker to serve with our potluck soup lunch tomorrow! Thanks Deb!!!

  76. Kim Irene

    I often use a cornbread batter over a mix of ground beef, corn, black beans, onions, tomato sauce (whatever you like) in a iron skillet-making a “pot pie” so to speak. This will be perfect.

  77. Maria

    Mélanie and other “polenta people”: I make cornbread in France all the time, and I use 1/2 polenta (the instant Italian kind) and 1/2 “farine de mais”, which is much finer than cornmeal, to substitute for the cornmeal. To me it’s a great compromise: not too crunchy and not too soft.

  78. I am an index nerd, I will admit it off the bat. I have a request/question and that is have you ever thought about creating a category in your archive for fridge (not freezer) “make ahead?” I am a huge fan of what I call “culinary insurance” so that I like to have things lounging in the fridge that will be good or even better after a week or two. The insurance is great for nights where all you can make is grilled cheese but you find yourself delighted to have these morsels hanging around to round out the meal. I may be dreaming I realize since right now that category for me basically involves sweet pickled beets with onions, (with a fair bit of sugar which acts as a preservative) cabbage slaws, Yemenite chile paste (tons of garlic and jalapeño party) a garlic based fresh lemon salad dressing from Marci Goldman and a sauce for ice cream that merges espresso, Scotch and fresh orange juice. I am wondering what else might fit into the category? I would love to hear some ideas. I am making a dinner for a wedding party in a few weeks!
    Kitchen suffering is overrated. Planning is a girl’s best friend.

  79. JanetP

    As a first-generation American, I prefer my cornbread unsweet, and my corn muffins sweet. Preferably split and grilled with butter. Mmmm. And as a Rhode Islander, I must mention what some people have referred to as “johnnycakes” above — johnnycakes in Rhode Island are very, very thin pancakes made of cornmeal, served with butter and syrup. Sample recipe here: http://www.cooks.com/recipe/sr1vp59z/rhode-island-johnny-cakes.html

    Enjoy your warm weather while you can, Deb! I would be jealous except I’m going to Arizona for a long weekend soon, and that’s what’s getting me through all this snow and cold.

  80. Chad McKenna

    These look great, we make corn bread which I eat with butter and honey. My wife likes her’s the next morning with milk and sugar which she claims is Pennsylvania Dutch.

  81. Chad McKenna

    Have you ever thought about a variation of English Muffins with flax seed and flax meal added to the bread dough and flax meal added to the corn meal used before frying.

  82. Caroline

    I am not a fan of baking muffins and have been on the hunt for a cornbread recipe to make in my cast iron skillet. Alas, the best of both worlds! I lived in ATL for 20+years, now live in CA. I never thought I would taste yummy cornbread ever again. I just baked these muffins (complete with the pretty parchment paper cups) this eve and also made the mushroom farro soup. So good together. Thank you for sharing and congrats to you and your family : )

  83. Amy

    Congratulations!!! I love all your recipes. Most recently i have been devouring your favorite brownies, I think I’ll try this next. You just make it sound so yummy! I’m also geared up for the pear/oat/chocolate/raspberry crumble, do I need ripe pears for that? Or can I just cook them a little longer?

  84. Karen

    Hi Deb, long time fan! Quick question: how do you think this recipe would fair in a waffle iron? My household is very into waffles AND corn bread….how can I marry them? Thanks!

  85. Emily

    Hi Deb, these are what I have been searching for! We make your perfect blueberry muffins almost weekly in this house so I am happy to have a new recipe to try! I am also pregnant and feel a little kindred spirit towards you because I think my son is about the same age as yours. Good luck with everything!!!

  86. pjcamp

    I’m sorry, if you put flour in it, it is not cornbread. It’s a corn flavored biscuit and it’s gross. Even worse, you put sugar in it. That makes it a corn flavored doughnut which is even grosser. I don’t know why Yankees think corn meal needs help. Corn is plenty sweet. Ditch the flour and you won’t need the sugar either.

  87. JP

    @145 pjcamp, sorry to respectfully disagree, but I have made cornbread with only cornmeal and don’t particularly like the texture. Saying you can’t add flour to cornmeal and get cornbread is like saying you can’t add white flour to wheat flour and have whole wheat bread or that you can’t add white flour to rye flour to make rye bread. Just isn’t so. There are many recipes and they are not inferior just because you add a little flour or even sugar. It all depends on what you like. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a few different style cornbread recipes either. They are different but they can all be good.

  88. frances

    Well, except for the part where I left them in the oven 5 minutes too long, forgetting about them as I was washing dishes, these turned out great! Most often, by request I make your Corniest Corn Muffins (minus the fresh corn… it’s weird to me), but I love corn*bread*. These had a little more of the body I was looking for but still the tenderness my fiance prefers. I could have certainly gotten at least 14, maybe even 16, muffins, but I crammed the batter into 12. My baking powder is getting a bit old so they spread more than puffed, but in any case didn’t overflow and so despite my all-around shoddy kitchen work this evening, they were a great side to the chili I managed to not screw up too badly.

  89. BarbaraS

    I just made these Gluten-Free and they were delicious! I used a boxed GF baking mix. They took a few minutes longer than 17 minutes to bake- not sure if this is the GF or just my particular oven. Also, I’m glad I used taller disposable baking cups as they did rise up. I used all medium grind cornmeal because that’s what I had on hand; the cooking of part of the cornmeal definitely made the muffins more creamy.

  90. lorie

    My fantasy corn muffins are the ones I got while working in a Philadelphia hospital cafeteria in the early 70s. They were the only reward for having to go in @ 5:30 am to draw blood.There were so many ethnicities that worked together in that kitchen! I always suspected that lard was the secret but maybe it is cooking the cornmeal. How exciting! Can’t wait to try.

  91. Susan

    These really are perfect! The only thing I added to the method was to lightly toast the cornmeal, mush portion only, to perk up the corn flavor a bit. I did it by swirling it in the sauce pan right before I added the milk. It has the same effect as toasting nuts for baking. I got this technique from a cornbread recipe from Cooks Country (another Chris Kimbel test kitchen!) and it really did make a difference in the corn flavor. I may toast all the cornmeal next time. The texture of these muffins is exactly the way I like cornbreads; just lightly gritty. I used 1/4 cup of the sugar cuz it’s easier to scoop than measure by Tbsp’s..(so lazy!) Thanks, Deb, I’m so glad you tested this for us!

  92. deb

    Using polenta instead of cornmeal — It should work just fine, however, the end result will be grittier, from what I’ve experienced. If you have a superfine polenta, definitely use it instead here.

    Pat — They’ve got a pretty compact crumb. Most of their charm is in a crispy lid and tender center, great warmed or toasted with butter.

    Karen — I’m worried they wouldn’t because there maybe isn’t enough egg to hold them together. Cornmeal, of course, has no gluten so there’s nothing stretchy/terribly binding in them. But I don’t think it would hurt to pour one into a well-oiled waffle iron and see.

    Leslie — Welcome, index nerd. You’re among friends. :) I agree, a Make Ahead category could be great. But, I also think that just about everything can be in one way or another. (I trrrry to list at the bottom and sometimes within recipes parts that you can “Do ahead:”) I might be overthinking this. I mean, I’ve now even made fried eggs before I needed them (although, all of 20 minutes).

    Liz — OMG, send it over if you’re willing to share. We’ll have a Blueberry Muffin Throwdown! (It’s 5pm and I skipped lunch and this sounds like the best idea in the world right now.)

    Lindsey — While I highly doubt he’d taste it here — in baking, it much more about dairy with enough acidity to activate the baking soda — you could try buttermilk instead, though I suspect he may not like it for the same reason.

    Jen R — Thanks, now fixed.

    Questions about the sugar “Note” — It was up top (i.e. in the recipe head notes). I’ve clarified it now; sorry for the confusion.

    Laura — For a muffin, I wouldn’t worry about throwing off the balance — you could just use 3T or the like of honey in with the liquid ingredients. Hope you enjoy them.

    Sally — I don’t think it would be a problem to replace the milk with buttermilk or kefir.

    ATG — I mean, not at breakfast time, maybe with lunch or dinner or soup. I wanted to make a muffin that was like the ones I knew growing up. I.e. corncake, but less sweet. :)

    Abby — I think you could add berries. Usually the issue is sinkage, not flavor. But, this batter is pretty dense and I find sinking to be less of an issue with thick batters. Mmm, blueberry-corn, raspberry-corn…

    pjcamp — While I understand your argument, I don’t think these muffins were even once referred to cornbread, in fact, I make a clear distinction.

    Laceflower — Just buy the cornmeal your store has. Even if it’s a little more coarse, it should still work, it will just make for a grittier muffin. Most likely, it’s a fine grind, as that’s what most people use. Semolina flour isn’t actually a corn product (it’s from processing wheat, as far as I understand) although it can feel a lot like fine cornmeal in your hand. It would bake up differently, maybe not terribly though.

    pattyk — I agree! I was perplexed.

    Amanda — Good point. I’ll take a look at the book.

  93. E

    I have high standards for muffins but wanted to try to make these a *little* healthier so I could feel ok about serving them with your three bean chili for dinner. I subbed whole wheat pastry flour for all the white flour and Greek yogurt (2%) for the sour cream. Used 2% milk, 2.5 T sugar. Only had about 3/4 cup fine cornmeal so used whole grain coarse cornmeal for the rest and just let the batter rest for 10 mins to soften the uncooked coarse cornmeal. They were absolutely delicious. Oh and spraying the muffin tin, rather than using papers, made a delicious toasty crust on all sides. The chili was awesome too.

  94. Kristina

    These muffins are fantastic- the cornmeal cooking tip really made a difference! Also, I put blueberries in half my batter and they were delicious. Finally a corn muffin that isn’t dry! Thank you!

  95. Barbara

    Of course, being an experienced baker I just looked at the ingredients and decided to make these muffins. Of course, I did not read the directions. And I was making them with gluten free flour since I do have Celiac . So ……..of course I did not cook the cornmeal and made them as a straight up muffin recipe and they came out absolutely delish!! Wonderful recipe that I will print and keep in my gluten free binder. Only cheat was I did not have sour cream and used Greek Yogurt. I froze some knowing I was going to visit my daughter and when defrosted were just as tasty and better yet “fresh” tasting. Usually I make my own blend of gluten free flour following America’s Test Kitchen recipe but I had some Pamelas’s on hand. Next time I won’t be in such a rush and read the directions! Congrats on baby #2!!!!

  96. Wendy

    Can cornmeal get old & lose flavor? I SO wanted these to be perfect because everything else I make of yours is…but these weren’t. They were oddly not very corny and rather bland. Full disclosure: I used GF flour and yogurt so maybe that changed things? But I’d love to know if old cornmeal might be the issue.

  97. Louise

    These were the best corn muffins ever! I have never had great success making corn muffins before. That’s now behind me, so thank you!

  98. Nicole

    I don’t know if it’s the fact that I also grew up on Jiffy corn muffins, but wow! These were better than I knew corn muffins could be! They were fluffy, moist, sweet and delicious! I only substituted almond milk for mine. I am making an attempt to freeze the batter (portioned in tins, then transferred to a freezer bag). Do you think it will keep well without getting dense? I just love them right out of the oven! Thanks for the recipe! <3

  99. deb

    Nicole — I have never frozen batter before; I’m not sure how it would work at all. But, I did freeze most of this batch of muffins and they’ve been reheated very well, even defrosted/warmed inelegantly in the microwave, as we did when we got home famished from the airport at 10:30 Saturday night and were too tired/exhausted for a real dinner!

    Wendy — I suppose it could. I actually suspected that mine was pretty old before making these (I mostly use it for dusting pizza stones) and bought new stuff. I would say if you stick your nose in the jar and it doesn’t smell fresh or appealing, you can toss it. I use the sniff test for just about everything. ;)

  100. Cheryl

    These muffins are great. I am from the New England and a transplant in the state of Georgia. I started making these muffins when I discovered I was unable to buy a corn muffin. I haven’t made them for quite some time. I see an additional technique is used now by cooking the cornmeal. I will be trying this new version.

  101. Tess

    Hi there from the Netherlands. I made these with coarse semolina. No idea what cornbread or corn muffins should taste like, but these are delicious!

  102. Tess

    Haha, silly me, I am browsing through the comments and only now I notice the comment about semolina not being corn. Still, they taste amazing :P

  103. Jennifer

    This recipe came in at just the right time as I had volunteered to make cornbread for a potluck. I made them on Sunday and they were easy to make and were a big hit (as are all Smitten recipes). I got 18 nice size muffins with nicely browned tops. Even my friends who are gluten, egg, sugar, dairy free couldn’t resist those tops! My one comment actually comes from eating the leftover one in my lunch today. Several days old, it still tasted great, however as I broke the muffin apart it had wispy, stringiness between the muffin pieces – kind of like cotton candy or spider webs. It was very odd. Any idea what might have caused that?

  104. Helen

    Thank you for this! I tasted cornbread for the first time in 1995 when I was spending a year in France and met an American lady who invited some of us over for dinner. She served us chilli and cornbread and ever since then I’ve been trying different recipes to chase down the deliciousness of that meal. Finally I have found it! Not too sweet, not too bland, just perfect. And the best part is that out of all my attempts, this is the first recipe that my children have been happy to eat! Will definitely be making these again! Thank you – and congratulations on your happy news xx

  105. Daisy

    I just made these and they are incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever had better cornbread than this before. Thank you for sharing.

  106. pmm

    Outstanding. I am happy to report that I ended up with 18 muffins!!!!!!!!!! I went with the 5 tablespoons of sugar and, yes, these are perfect corn muffins.

    Thank you!

    Congrats on the new bun in the oven. My unsolicited two cents: naps, naps, naps.

  107. Betsy

    These muffins turned out fantastic! Nicely browned tops, and delicious creamy texture. Usually I find that corn muffins dry out really fast if you don’t eat them the day of. Not this recipe – they still tasted great 1-2 days later. Thanks!

  108. These were some of the best muffins I’ve ever had. The ones we get over here are generic and taste more like sweetened cornbread. Applesauce and mashed bananas works very well to keep the insides moist. And the crust (my favourite part) baked to perfect gold. I love the variety in texture. The best way to eat them for me is hot and straight from the oven. Thanks so much.

  109. Rebecca

    Wow! I am going to give these a spin in well-greased cast-iron corn stick pans..has anyone tried it this way? They are shallow cast-iron (lodge i think!) molds that are shaped like ears of corn. I bought them thinking the kids would go crazy over them. I think they also make cactus shaped pans.. Thank you for the great recipe!

  110. Panya

    Jiffy mix has lard and the non-larded brand I’d been buying is now hard to find in stores here, so I’m happy to see this recipe. I usually take the mix and add sour cream and dried minced onions to make a ‘sour cream + onion’-flavored bread to go with my vegetarian chili, so adding the onions to this recipe will work too, I’d wager.

  111. I feel like there are a weird amount of corn muffins floating around on the food blogosphere these past few weeks. Corn is in the air? (Cue John Paul Young). I am always itching for a good corn muffin recipe. Do you think the all-purpose could be subbed with white whole wheat?

    1. deb

      Maggie — You probably could but I’m not sure I would. Corn muffins, especially these, are already hearty and these are 2/3 non-flour to begin with, more than most. Maybe a half-swap with white whole wheat to start?

  112. Megan

    Congratulations Deb! Also, these muffins were really really good! I used yogurt and the smaller amount of sugar, and threw in some frozen corn kernels. We were all really impressed by the wonderful texture and taste, and I’ll definitely make them again!

  113. Jennyroo

    These look amazing. Can’t wait to try them out. Was enjoying reading the comments, too. Interesting that johnny cake means different things in different parts of the world. I am on the Canadian prairies (Saskatchewan) and here Johnny Cake is made in a pan with cornmeal and crushed graham crackers (graham flour? Is there even such a thing?). It’s served sliced from the pan warm for a not too sweet dessert, although as kids we would put maple syrup on it too. :) Thanks as always for sharing.

  114. Farmertakesawife

    This is a very good recipe. I made it with sour milk, because when I got home from vacation, no one had stocked the sour cream or yogurt. With sour milk, they don’t get such tall peaks, but were just as yummy.

    For better corn flour and corn meal, head over to Anson Mills. Where they sell the closest to milling it at home.

    I grow 4 types of corn, Flint, Flour, Dent, and Sweet. To make these I freshly ground some Flint and some Flour. Normally, I use Flint for boiling (polenta or grits) and Flour for baking. But when you either pre-soak, or boil the flint, it makes a great waffle, muffin, or Zaletti Cookie.

  115. Heather

    I accidentally sifted all of the corneal with the other dry ingredients, so I had to skip the porridge step. They still turned out delicious! (Not that I’m blaming you for my mistake, but I think it would help if the ingredients list read “2 cups cornmeal, separated.”)

  116. Heather

    These really are perfect. Fresh-from-the-oven texture is like a fluffy pudding. Out of this world.

    That said, do you think they could be cooked in a 9×12 or loaf pans if I ran out of muffin cup liners or was in a hurry? Or would they come out too heavy?

  117. Sj

    Thanks so much for this recipe! They were the best ones I’ve ever made . . . AND eaten! Used yogurt instead of sour cream and worked great. Look forward to making with chilis and cheese next. : )

  118. Ana Luisa

    Thank you for the recipe ! Will definitely try it with a bit more sugar (I like mine quite sweet;)). I have a question, though; do you think I could substitute the milk and use coconut milk instead ?

  119. Samantha

    These are awesome! Made with all Bob’s Red Mill. Slightly crunchy bits but I like the added texture. Made twice the recipe and added in 2 cups of blueberries and got 36 regular sized muffins. Delicious! Going to freeze some for later.

  120. Cheryl

    I have a CI recipe for Corn Muffins dating back to September 2002. I made them many times. It makes 12 muffins and uses 3/4 cups of sugar, more flour and less cornmeal. I imagine this new recipe would not be sweet enough for me. It also is baked at 400. I would definitely be adding more sugar. If I used the same amount of sugar for this recipe, what is your take on the final product?

  121. Lise

    Delicious, used white flour and coconut oil instead of butter, I also doubled up on the sugar Baked on convection at 400. They were golden and yummy!

  122. Erin

    Made these with Cup4Cup Gluten free flour as a substitute for all purpose flour. They are AMAZING! Thank you for yet again another WINNER!

  123. KelBer

    Made these tonight … They are great! The ingredients list doesn’t indicate what kind of cornmeal to use, and I didn’t read the narrative about it until it was too late, so I used all Bob’s medium grind. It was good but maybe overly crunchy; next time I will try using Deb’s suggested ratio of half medium/half fine grind. I used 3 tablespoons sugar and found it to be the right amount of subtle sweetness. Thanks!

  124. Cate

    These were so delicious! Perfect and absolutely the best I’ve ever had! I subbed buttermilk for the regular milk as I had some that needed to be used, but followed the rest of the recipe as is. I went for the 5T of sugar & found them just the right sweetness. Thank you!

  125. stephanie

    made these last night and they turned out perfectly – and exactly like the picture! (because sometimes a recipe is great and all, but you can’t help wondering how so-and-so got it to look like that.)

    i needed my sour cream for tonight’s tacos, so i subbed buttermilk instead which i had left over from the cornmeal pork chops last week. i also ended up using the full amount of sugar because i spaced out while prepping and used the full amount of salt as well as salted butter. next time i’ll pay attention and dial down both, but they still turned out wonderfully. even the bottoms, which are kind of the “eh” part of a corn muffin (and most muffins, but especially corn) were awesome – they had an almost crisp-then-cake nature to them and…just gonna go have another right now.

    (last night we had them with your oven baked ribs & the vinegar slaw from your cookbook. we are yankees who aren’t very into plain unsweetened dry “real” cornbread, i admit.)

  126. Kate

    Delicious corn muffins!

    I made a few adaptations based on what we had around the house:
    – Polenta instead of just cornmeal…mainly because I live in Europe and covet my stone-ground cornmeal from home
    – Subbed in buttermilk/cream instead of milk; both were close to their use-by dates
    – Regular yogurt instead of sour cream
    – Brown sugar instead of regular sugar (and I thought 5 Tbsp of brown sugar turned out quite nicely)

    Probably because of these substitutions, we ended up with about 16 corn muffins instead of 12. I’m not complaining. All ended well!

  127. stephanie

    okay, i made them again, this time dialing the salt back to a scant teaspoon to account for the salted butter, and only using 3.5 T of sugar. i stuck with the buttermilk because i had it and it’s way easier to measure, heh. they were even better than the first time. before this i was using the jiffy mix but doctoring it a bit (a little sour cream, a little sugar, etc) but no more! these will be my go-to from here on out. had ’em with frito pie while watching the game last night :) (i.e. blasphemous chili and a bag of fritos.)

  128. Alice

    Made these tonight as I celebrated a good report from the doctor on a problem. They are worth a celebration on their own! Excellent even though I had to fudge with the yogurt/sour cream mix. I would eat them all… Alas, I know better so most are now wrapped and frozen. But two are still on the counter for tomorrow~! Thanks, Deb.

  129. Danielle

    Hi Deb, I’m a first-time poster here, but your blog is one of my weekly regulars. I made these muffins last week and they were fantastic. (Leftovers, once frozen and thawed, were fantastic too–as good as fresh!) I loved them so much, I was wondering if you think this recipe would work as a cornbread, cooked in a cast iron skillet? Thanks for all your hard work and great recipes!

  130. deb

    Danielle — I haven’t made it in a loaf or other big pan, but am also curious how it would work. I think it should be just fine, however. Do report back if you can.

  131. Gina

    I just made these last night to go with some chicken chili and they were amazing. My husband claims he doesn’t usually like corn bread because it’s dry but he loved these. I had one for breakfast this morning too :)

  132. Kate C.

    I have a suggestion for cutting a step: don’t melt and cool the butter. Just cut the stick into slices and whisk it into the hot cornmeal batter. That will simultaneously melt the butter and begin to cool the batter.

  133. Molly

    I grew up eating corn muffins from a box, but have never found anyone else who knew the brand. Has anyone heard of Dromedary Corn muffin mix? They were slightly sweet, with a crumbly texture instead of cakey. Will have to try this recipe!

  134. Mrs D

    I’m a weird Australian and made these as a not-too-sweet breakfast muffin for me and my young son. My changes were to add another tablespoon of sugar plus a teaspoon of vanilla powder, then I dusted the tops with cinnamon sugar before baking. OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD! On his busy childcare (pre-school) mornings he’s been enjoying them with seasonal fruit and a hard boiled egg. Thanks for the inspiration Deb.

    When I do standard cornbread to have with chili and fixings, I never stray from Crescent Dragonwagon’s buttermilk skillet cornbread, but this recipe was just as great.

  135. Allison Stardust

    These were stellar: the pleasure of contrast from the crust and the interior, and the resonant flavor!

    My cast-iron muffin pan must be smaller-sized muffins, because the recipe filled 12 of them, and continued on by generously filling 2 aluminum micro-loaves (3 would have been wiser).

  136. jwgmom

    I’ve been eating them grilled and buttered since the luncheonette nearby did them this way in the early 60’s. Try one with a Coke with lots of ice. Neither sophisticated nor healthy but oh so good.

  137. Superfoodie

    Hi Deb, love the site, first time commenter here, though I rely on SK often for answers to the famous ‘what’s for dinner’ question. I ran out of my stock of Jiffy mixes, so I tried this recipe out and made it as a loaf instead of muffins. I did notice that the preparation was more of a thick dough (like bread dough) than a batter, though I suspect that this is in part because here in France there is only farine de maïs, which is much more finely ground than regular cornmeal. As a result, the outer crust seemed more a bit tough, but I’m not sure if thinning with more milk would fix it.
    @Danielle (189), I made this as a cornbread in a Le Creuset skillet and the only change was that I needed to add about 17-20 mins to the baking time.

    1. deb

      Superfoodie — Actually, that might have been on purpose. I find that the best muffins are a little thick in batter which gives them the ideal crunchy lid. However, if it was so crunchy that it was firm throughout, it might have indeed been too thick and thinning it with a couple extra spoonfuls of milk may have helped.

  138. Carrie

    Hi- I’m wondering if it would be okay to replace the melted butter with veg oil (I know! The horror!). I love butter but tend to prefer the texture oil lends to muffins. Naturally, I’ll slather them with LOTS of soft butter once baked… Thanks!

  139. Candice

    These are delicious and foolproof! Made these and overcooked the cornmeal so I added more milk to get the right texture. Also, used skim milk and non fat Greek yogurt as that was all I had in the house. And I was too lazy to melt butter so I used canola oil. And all those changes did not mess it up!!! Will make these again!

  140. I usually have no trouble with your recipes and have found several winners. I don’t know if I did something wrong here, but these tasted terrible when I made them. Heavy, sad little boulders with no savor, just clumps of corn meal. Back to the drawing board!

  141. I made these! Using garbanzo bean flour to make them gluten free, which I was DUBIOUS about, but seems to have worked out wonderfully. And also added blueberries, which were a nice addition. They came out tender on the inside and gently sweet (I used 1/3 cup of sugar). The only thing that didn’t work out so well is that they are sticking like crazy to the muffin liners, more than any other muffin I’ve made before. It’s weird. Like, 1/10 of the muffin gets peeled off with the liners.

  142. Alison

    I made these for the third time. Always wonderful! I made a small pan of tiny muffins and the rest standard size. Every one loves them.

  143. Laura

    TL; DR: Make this! Plus a bonus chili recipe at the end.

    Just made these for the first time. Used 2% Greek yogurt and 2% milk instead of whole and swapped out a half cup of AP flour for whole wheat flour. Also I went with the 5 tbs sugar. They came out really awesome – not dry at all (due to reduced fat content), perfectly fluffy inside and brown and crispy on top. I guess I like my corn muffins on the sweeter side, because it occurred to me that they would be super good with sugar sprinkled on top before baking. Only slight dislike was a crunchiness from the corn meal. I’ve found this with other corn bread recipes, too, so I suspect it might just be the corn meal I use. Overall, really good, will make again. Great with an adaptation of a SK chili recipe (based on the chili and cheddar biscuits, but with 2 lbs meat, double the beans, a finely diced sweet potato, a can of diced tomatoes instead of puree, some mirepoix cooked down with red wine to start, and a blend of chili powders – ancho, chipotle, cumin, cayenne, and cooked for a bit longer).