Savory yet sweet, this homemade cornbread muffin recipe is the perfect side. Packed with fresh corn flavor in every bite, these muffins are perfect to pair with a bowl of chili, fresh BBQ, or a warm serving of soup, you truly can’t go wrong!

Top down photo of a muffin tin with 6 cornbread muffins on a white counter with two muffins in the top right and a towel in the bottom right.

I’ve made a ton of great cornbread recipes over the years, but a few years ago I was in the mood to try something different and sent out an SOS on Friday for recommendations.

Many thanks to Amanda for linking out to the Smitten Kitchen version of the corn muffins by Cook’s Illustrated – they had been in one of my binders for months and I had forgotten about them!

These corn muffins are basically the corniest of corn muffins out there! If you’ve ever made cornbread, you know that you typically use much more flour than cornmeal, but in these muffins, the ratio is reversed.

I balked at it at first because I thought that they could be a little dry and dense, but thanks to the addition of things like milk, melted butter, and sour cream, the muffins are wonderfully moist and full of flavor.

A close up of a pile of cornbread muffins on a wire rack with a jug of milk in the back right.

Why We Love These Cornbread Muffins

  • Ultra moist. With milk, sour cream, and butter, these cornbread muffins are a far cry from a slice of cornbread.
  • Sweet. Without being too sweet, these muffins strike the right balance of savory and sweet.
  • Pairs with everything. This easy side dish is perfect for potlucks, picnics, warm bowls of chili, and more!

Ingredients You’ll Need

A top down photo of the ingredients for cornbread muffins labeled with purple tags.
  • Cornmeal: Gives the muffins an authentic corn flavor.
  • Flour: Provides structure to the muffins and keeps them from getting to crumbly.
  • Baking Powder + Baking Soda: Adds air to the cornbread muffins allowing them to rise.
  • Milk: Cooks with the cornmeal to trap moisture in the muffins.
  • Sour Cream: Gives the bread a little tang and more moisture.
  • Butter: Gives color and flavor to the corn muffins.
  • Sugar: Used to sweeten the muffins.
  • Eggs: Binds the batter together.

Step-By-Step Directions

The preparation method for these muffins is a little unconventional. You start by cooking some of the cornmeal with the milk to create almost a polenta or grits-like consistency, then combine all of the other ingredients.

Cook’s Illustrated explains that this is done to trap the water and keep the corn muffins nice and moist – my favorite!

  • Prepare for baking: Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  • Mix together dry ingredients (#1): In a medium bowl, whisk together 1½ cups of the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Heat cornmeal and milk (#2-#3): In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup of cornmeal and the milk. Microwave for 1½ minutes, then whisk thoroughly and continue to microwave, whisking every 30 seconds, until thickened to a batter-like consistency. (The whisk will leave a distinct trail in the bottom of the bowl that slowly fills in).
Three side by side photos of the steps for making cornbread muffins.
  • Add wet ingredients (#4): Whisk in sour cream, melted butter, and sugar until combined.
  • Add the eggs (#5): Then, whisk in the eggs.
Two side by side photos of bowls with dry and liquid ingredients for making cornbread muffins.
  • Fold in dry ingredientes (#6-#7): Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined (the batter will be very thick).
  • Pour in muffin tins (#8): Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (the batter will mound slightly above the rim).
  • Bake until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 13 to 17 minutes, rotating the muffin tim halfway through baking.
Three side by side photos of the steps for making cornbread muffins with the ingredients in a bowl and unbaked muffins in a tin.
  • Cool: Let the muffins cool in the muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from the muffin tin and let cool 5 minutes longer.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Helpful Tips

  • Grease the muffin tins. I used paper liners and the muffins stuck a bit, so I would recommend greasing the pan as well.
  • If you do not have a microwave, whisk the cornmeal and the milk in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat until thickened.
  • Using coarse-ground or white cornmeal is not recommended in this recipe.
A silver muffin tin with cornbread muffins on a white counter with a light beige dish towel to the left.

Mix-In Ideas

If you want to get creative with these corn muffins, here are a few different ways to mix in some additional flavor:

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Jalapeñoes or diced green chilies
  • Chopped bacon
  • Green onion
  • Corn kernels
  • Cheddar + jalapeño combo

Serving Suggestions

These corn muffins are fabulous plain, but they would also be fantastic with a smear of butter (or honey butter – even better!). You can easily serve these up as a side to:

Storing, Freezing, and Making Ahead

  • Storing: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Wrap cooled cornbread muffins in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Thawing and Reheating: Remove the muffins from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature. Take out of the plastic wrap and warm in the microwave for about 30 seconds before serving. You can also re-heat the muffins in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.
A wire cooling rack with cornbread muffins in a stack with a stack of plates in the back topped with a cornbread muffin and a milk jug to the right.

Cornbread Muffin FAQs

Why are my cornbread muffins so crumbly?

Crumbly cornbread tends to come down to too much cornmeal or too little moisture. These cornbread muffins have a higher ratio of cornmeal to flour which might result in crumbly muffins but since the cornmeal is cooked with the milk at the beginning, the moisture is locked in making them tender and delicious.

What is the difference between cornbread and corn muffins?

There are two main differences between cornbread and corn muffins- shape and flavor. Cornbread is typically made in a pan and cut into squares while corn muffins are made in muffin tins. The flavor difference is that corn muffins tend to be sweeter than cornbread.

Do you have to put eggs in cornbread?

While you can make cornbread without eggs, the resulting bread will be very crumbly. I have not tested this recipe without eggs and do not recommend making these cornbread muffins without them.

If You Like These Muffins, Try These Recipes Next:

Fresh cornbread muffins on a wire rack with the front muffin missing a bite and a jug of milk in the back.

Fresh, tender, and ultra-moist, these homemade cornbread muffins are the ultimate side. Make them for your next bowl of chili, fresh BBQ off the grill, or a warm bowl of soup, they are sure to be a hit!

If you make this recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

A close up of a non-stick muffin tin with cornbread muffins on a white counter with a light beige towel to the right.

Cornbread Muffins

Moist, tender, and bursting with flavor these easy, homemade cornbread muffins make the perfect side for a warm bowl of soup, a fresh batch of chili, or to serve with your summer bbq.
4.8 (5 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (312 g) cornmeal, divided
  • 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoons salt
  • cups (300 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (227 ml) sour cream
  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • cup (66 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions 

  • Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin (I used paper liners and the muffins stuck a bit, so I would recommend greasing the pan).
  • In a medium bowl, Whisk together 1½ cups of the cornmeal, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup cornmeal and the milk. Microwave for 1½ minutes, then whisk thoroughly and continue to microwave, whisking every 30 seconds, until thickened to a batter-like consistency (the whisk will leave a distinct trail in the bottom of the bowl that slowly fills in), 1 to 3 additional minutes. [Note: If you do not have a microwave, you can do this step in a saucepan on the stovetop.]
  • Whisk in the sour cream, melted butter, and sugar until combined, then whisk in the eggs. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined (the batter will be very thick). Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (the batter will mound slightly above the rim).
  • Bake until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 13 to 17 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through baking. Let the muffins cool in the muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from the muffin tin and let cool 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months.

Notes

  • Equipment: 12-cup muffin tin
  • Cornmeal: Using coarse-ground or white cornmeal is not recommended.
  • Storing: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Wrap cooled cornbread muffins in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Thawing and Reheating: Remove the muffins from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature. Take out of the plastic wrap and warm in the microwave for about 30 seconds before serving. You can also re-heat the muffins in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.
Nutritional values are based on one serving
Calories: 292kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 372mg, Potassium: 217mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 435IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 81mg, Iron: 1.5mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Photography by Dee Frances.