Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

These fluffy and moist bakery-style cornbread muffins are a perfect side dish for chili, barbecue, or any other family meal. Best of all, you can stir together the batter for the sweet, tender muffins in just 10 minutes!

Square image of hands holding a basket of homemade buttermilk sweet cornbread muffins

Buttermilk Corn Muffins

Most nights of the week, you’ll find a bread basket on our dinner table full of either buttermilk biscuits, skillet cornbread, pumpkin bread, garlic bread, no-knead bread, blueberry muffins, or these moist cornbread muffins. We rotate through our favorites, and one thing is certain: my Southern cornbread muffins always disappear fast! They’re one of those great sides that only requires about 10 minutes of effort, but everyone loves them. Served warm and slathered in honey butter, they are entirely irresistible! Skip the boxed mix of Jiffy corn muffins from here on out, because nothing compares to the classic, made-from-scratch variety.

Close up side shot of cornbread muffins on a white tray

What is the difference between cornbread and corn muffins?

A classic Southern skillet cornbread will always have my heart; however, sometimes the convenience of individual muffins wins out! Plus, the kids go crazy for these old fashioned cornbread muffins that taste like a treat from the bakery.

There isn’t much of a difference between cornbread and corn muffins, beyond the type of pan that they’re baked in. Muffins are obviously baked in individual portions in a muffin pan, while cornbread is typically baked in a square dish or a round cast iron skillet.

These particular corn muffins differ from my classic skillet cornbread in a few ways:

  1. They’re lighter and fluffier. Instead of a more traditional 1:1 ratio of cornmeal to flour, this muffin recipe calls for slightly more all-purpose flour than cornmeal — giving them a softer, lighter texture.
  2. The muffins use butter rather than oil (for rich flavor), and have more sugar for a sweeter, bakery-style muffin.
  3. The soft muffins don’t have those crisp edges that you get from baking cornbread in a preheated cast iron skillet.
Whisking together dry ingredients in a white mixing bowl

How to Make Corn Muffins Moist

Unlike some cornbread muffins that can be crumbly and dry, these muffins stay moist thanks to a couple of key ingredients.

  1. The butter adds fat, flavor and moisture, while the buttermilk also keeps the muffins incredibly moist and tender.
  2. Another trick for moist cornbread muffins? Don’t over-mix the batter. Fold together the ingredients just until everything is combined, and then stop stirring. Over-mixing will yield dry, tough baked goods.
  3. Finally, cool the muffins on a wire rack (not in the pan). If they’re left in the pan, they can continue to cook and therefore become dry.
Mixing a bowl of cornbread muffin batter with a wooden spoon

Ingredients for Old Fashioned Cornbread Muffins

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of cornbread muffins. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step baking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Buttermilk: for its acidity, as well as its fat and liquid content. In conjunction with the leavening agents, the acidity helps the muffins rise. The buttermilk also gives the muffins a nice, subtle tanginess and a tender crumb. Use whole buttermilk for the best flavor and texture.
  • Sugar: for just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Butter: melted butter adds fat, flavor, and moisture to the batter.
  • Egg: gives the muffins structure.
  • All-purpose flour: the base of the muffins.
  • Yellow cornmeal: use a finely-ground cornmeal for a soft texture.
  • Baking powder: the leavening agent that helps the muffins rise.
  • Salt: to enhance the other flavors in the muffins.
Overhead image of southern cornbread muffins in a vintage tin

How to Make Cornbread Muffins

Stirring together this corn muffin batter only requires about 10 minutes! You don’t have to cream together butter and sugar or pull out an electric mixer. Just grab your wooden spoon and a couple of bowls!

  1. Combine Wet Ingredients. Whisk together the buttermilk, sugar, melted butter and egg.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
  3. Stir Batter. Use a fork or wooden spoon to gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, just until combined.
  4. Bake. Divide the batter evenly among paper muffin liners or a muffin tin greased with cooking spray. Bake in a 375°F oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, then serve warm!
Side shot of a bowl of cornbread muffins on a table with apple butter

What to Serve with Sweet Cornbread Muffins

Enjoy the cornbread muffins for breakfast or as a side dish with just about any homemade family supper. They’re also a great addition to a Thanksgiving dinner table.

Spread the warm muffins with butter, drizzle with honey, homemade honey butter, or add a dollop of homemade blueberry jam or apple butter. They pair nicely with savory dishes like soups, stews, chili, and meat. Here are a few ideas to add to your table:

Square image of sweet cornbread muffins on a white platter

Storage

Cornbread muffins are best when freshly baked and warm from the oven, but you can prepare them up to 8 hours in advance and leave them on your countertop until ready to serve. To extend the life of your corn muffins, store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

How to Freeze

Wrapped tightly in an airtight container or large Ziploc freezer bag, you can freeze sweet cornbread muffins for up to 3 months. Thaw on your countertop or in the refrigerator before enjoying.

How to Reheat

Warm individual muffins in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, or until heated through. To reheat multiple muffins at once, wrap the muffins in foil and heat in a 350°F oven until warmed through (about 5-10 minutes).

Hands serving a bowl of cornbread muffins on a table

Recipe Variations

  • If using unsalted butter instead of salted butter, add a little bit more salt to the batter.
  • Jumbo Cornbread Muffins: double the ingredients and bake the muffins in a Jumbo muffin tin at 375°F for at least 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cornbread Muffins with Corn: stir in 1-2 cups of fresh corn or canned corn kernels (drained). You’ll have more than 10 muffins with this addition.
  • Jalapeño and Cheese Cornbread Muffins: add 1-2 chopped jalapeño peppers to the batter, along with 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese. Cut the sugar back to just 2 tablespoons. Some cooked, chopped bacon is also a nice addition.
  • Green Chile Corn Muffins: stir 1 small can of diced green chilies into the batter. Add some cheese, too! To make the muffin more savory, cut the sugar to 2 tablespoons.
  • Blueberry Corn Muffins: fold 1 ½ cups of fresh or frozen blueberries into the batter.
  • Cranberry Corn Muffins: add 1 cup of dried sweetened cranberries or 1 ½ cups of fresh cranberries into the batter. For a hint of orange, try adding the zest from 1 orange, too!
Homemade buttermilk cornbread muffins on a white plate

Tips for the Best Cornbread Muffins Recipe

  • Use a finely-ground yellow cornmeal. Coarse cornmeal will give the muffins a more grainy (rather than soft) texture.
  • Let the batter rest for 5-10 minutes before baking, if you have the time. This allows the baking powder to activate and incorporate more air.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter or it will become too dense, and you’ll end up with dry muffins.
  • To check if the muffins are done, insert a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean. Don’t cook them for too long, or they can dry out.
  • Use full-fat buttermilk rather than regular milk. It adds a subtle tangy flavor, it keeps the muffins moist, and it yields a tender crumb. If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, you can make your own at home by placing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and adding enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes.
Hands holding a bowl of cornbread muffins

More Cornbread Recipes to Try

Square image of hands holding a basket of homemade buttermilk sweet cornbread muffins

Cornbread Muffins

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 17 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 27 minutes
Servings 10 muffins
Calories 203 kcal
These fluffy and moist bakery-style cornbread muffins are a perfect side dish for chili, barbecue, or any other family meal!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup whole buttermilk, well shaken
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 10 cups in a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and egg.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  • Use a fork or wooden spoon to gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Do not over-mix.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup to the top. Put water in the empty cups (this will help the muffins bake evenly). Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Notes

  • Use a finely-ground yellow cornmeal. Coarse cornmeal will give the muffins a more grainy (rather than soft) texture.
  • Let the batter rest for 5-10 minutes before baking, if you have the time. This allows the baking powder to activate and incorporate more air.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter or it will become too dense, and you’ll end up with dry muffins.
  • To check if the muffins are done, insert a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean. Don’t cook them for too long, or they can dry out.
  • Use full-fat buttermilk rather than regular milk. It adds a subtle tangy flavor, it keeps the muffins moist, and it yields a tender crumb. If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, you can make your own at home by placing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and adding enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffinCalories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 186mgPotassium: 213mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 205IUCalcium: 87mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: buttermilk corn muffins, corn muffins, cornbread muffins
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in September, 2020. The photos were updated in October, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. These are good. But to me they seem a bit more like a cornbread cupcake. I like a little more cornbread style muffin. I’m sure adding a touch more cornmeal would do it.

    1. Yes, I totally agree, LeAnn! That was my goal in creating these — to make them softer and more cake-like than a classic cornbread. They remind me of the corn muffins that you get at bakeries and in restaurants, which my kids really love. If you want a more coarse texture, you would want a ratio of more equal parts cornmeal and flour.

    2. 5 stars
      Made these tonight for dinner, they are very good but my dough was clumpy but I guess if they tasted good that’s all that matters . Will definitely be making them again.

  2. 5 stars
    I purchased some cornmeal from a gristmill and was anxious to try making corn muffins. Your recipe was great. It was easy and they were light, moist and tasted delicious. I did add few more steps:
    1. I made the batter the night before then baked them in the morning. (grandchildren coming for breakfast and wanted that wonderful warmth and flavor you get when they come out of the oven). Did not disappoint me or my guest.
    2. Instead of 12 muffins I made 10 and filled the 2 remaining empty cups with water. I wanted larger muffins. Not sure what the water added to the cooking process but again was not disappointed. Can’t wait to make the cornbread skillet.

    1. Thanks, Kate! Filling the 2 empty cups with water is supposed to help the rest of the muffins bake more evenly. So glad that you enjoyed the muffins! 🙂

    1. Hi, Jaye! I use salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter if that’s what you have on hand, or if you prefer a slightly less-salty muffin.