Brown sugar muffins are classic breakfast muffins that are sweetened with a delicious dose of brown sugar and have a rich butter flavor. A great option for breakfast or snacking, these cinnamon muffins come together in 15 minutes and bake up in 20 minutes.
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Cinnamon brown sugar muffins
Brown sugar muffins are a delicious and indulgent breakfast treat and taste like they’re straight from a bakery. Muffins always come to mind when I need a quick, make-ahead breakfast or tasty afternoon snack. And this brown sugar version is so easy to mix up!
You’re going to love these muffins! They are tender and moist with the perfect sweetness and crunch from the brown sugar. Buttermilk brings on a slight tanginess, and spices add a warming note. So yummy!
Why you’ll love brown sugar muffins
The easy muffin recipe features brown sugar in different ways:
- Batter: The batter is sweetened with brown sugar. You don’t need much since brown sugar is used for the filling and topping as well.
- Topping: And finally, coat the muffins with melted butter and brown sugar. I’ll also show you how to prepare a simple brown sugar icing that you can use instead of the topping.
Plus, the muffins come together quickly with just 9 ingredients and 20 minutes in the oven. I usually bake them the night before to have breakfast all set the following day.
I love muffins that are easy and delicious. You can bake these muffins with brown sugar from scratch in under 1 hour with just a handful of staple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Brown sugar: The only kind of sweetener you’ll need for these easy breakfast muffins is brown sugar. It will deepen the flavor, add a delicious toffee note, and keep the muffins super moist.
- Butter: You’ll need 1 stick (1/2 cup) browned butter for this brown sugar muffin recipe. I recommend using salted butter. Of course, you can also use unsalted butter and add a pinch of salt. Browning the butter keeps the muffins super soft and adds incredible flavor.
- Eggs provide structure and hold the muffin batter together. To get chewy, soft brown sugar muffins, you’ll need 2 eggs. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature to help them mix in the batter.
- Buttermilk adds a hint of tang to balance out the sweetness from the brown sugar in the muffins. If you don’t have buttermilk, use regular milk or light yogurt.
- Flour: All-purpose flour works great in this recipe. You could also use a 1:1 gluten-free blend if you’re looking to make gluten-free sugar muffins.
- Baking powder will give the batter enough rise to get nicely domed tops while still staying moist inside.
- Spices: I used a combination of vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg to make this sugar muffin recipe perfectly cozy and bring out the brown sugar aroma. Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste.
What kind of brown sugar should I use?
I tested the muffins with light brown, dark brown, demerara, and muscovado sugar. All of these options work well, but dark brown sugar is the winner, in my opinion.
Dark brown sugar creates a stronger toffee aroma as it contains more molasses than light brown sugar. It also dissolves better than demerara and muscovado sugar.
That being said, use what you have on hand… the easy cinnamon muffins will still be delicious. Of course, you can also use a blend of different sugars.
How to make brown sugar muffins
You can make these muffins in 40 to 50 minutes, and that includes the baking time. I know that it seems like a long recipe, but each step is pretty straightforward.
Step 1: Prep
- Adjust a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4.
- Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
Step 2: Brown the butter
- Add the butter to a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Whisk constantly as the butter melts to ensure it heats evenly.
- The butter will become foamy and start to brown. You know that the butter is ready when it gives off a toasted nutty smell. Remove from the heat and pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Allow cooling for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Combine dry ingredients
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined. Set aside.
Step 4: Mix liquid ingredients
- Add the 3/4 cups brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract to the bowl of browned butter. Using a mixer, mix until well incorporated.
- Add the buttermilk. Once again, beat the mixture on low to combine.
Step 5: Make muffin batter
- Dump the flour into the bowl of the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to gently mix everything together until just combined. The batter will be thick and lumpy.
Step 6: Fill pan
- Using a cookie scoop, fill each muffin cup with 4 tablespoon muffin batter.
Step 7: Bake muffins
- Place the muffin tin in the preheated oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the muffins have risen and look golden brown.
- Once the muffins are golden, remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Step 8: Coat muffin tops (optional)
- Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan.
- Brush each muffin top with melted butter and sprinkle immediately with the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
Step 9: Cool
- Transfer the muffins from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 10: Serve
- Enjoy your brown sugar muffins warm or at room temperature.
- They taste delicious with soft butter and fruit compote.
Tips for the best cinnamon muffins
These brown sugar cinnamon muffins are super easy to bake, and my 6 tips will guarantee you perfectly tall and scrumptious muffins every time!
- Use room temperature ingredients. Make sure that cold ingredients (like eggs and buttermilk) are at room temperature, so they mix evenly into the batter and create a soft texture.
- Brown the butter carefully. Butter can go very quickly from lightly browned (the goal) to burnt (not what you want), so be sure to take it off the heat as soon as it turns brown.
- One-bowl muffins. If you want to cut back on dirty dishes, measure the flour and baking powder right into the bowl of the wet ingredients.
- Don’t overmix the muffin batter. Overmixing the batter can overwork the gluten and result in dry, dense muffins.
- Fill the muffin pan: The recipe instructs to fill each muffin cup with 4 tablespoons batter, which seems a lot. Please trust the process. This is the correct amount to get tall, domed muffin tops. I used a 1-tablespoon cookies scoop to fill the pan with batter.
- Don’t skip the brown sugar coating. It adds extra sweetness and a nice crunch to every bite. I’ll also show you a simple brown sugar glaze below.
Brown sugar glaze
Try this tasty brown sugar glaze if you’d prefer glazed cinnamon muffins instead of the brown sugar sprinkle. It’s a simple icing recipe, sweet, buttery, and with the perfect hint of cinnamon.
- 1/4 cup / 50 g / 1.8 oz brown sugar, packed
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup / 120 g / 4.2 oz powdered (confectioners’/icing) sugar
- Add the brown sugar, butter, and milk into a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from the stove once boiling.
- Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Then whisk in the powdered sugar and cinnamon.
- Dip the top of each muffin in the glaze.
The icing sets quickly, so you want to dunk the muffins fast. If the glaze becomes too thick, simply rewarm it. You may have to add an extra tablespoon of milk to thin it out a bit.
How to store sugar muffins
- Room temperature: Cinnamon brown sugar muffins keep well on the counter for up to 5 days. Store them in an airtight container with a lid.
- Fridge: I don’t recommend storing these muffins in the refrigerator as they will become dry and stiff.
- Freezer: Cinnamon muffins freeze very well! Once cooled, place them in a large airtight container or zip-top bag and press out as much air as you can before sealing. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, simply let them sit at room temperature, or warm gently in the microwave until heated through.
More muffin recipes
If you like this brown sugar muffin recipe, you might also enjoy some of these other muffin recipes:
- Pistachio Muffins
- Butter Rum Muffins
- Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins
- Blueberry Muffins
- Vanilla Muffins
- Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Blackberry Muffins
- Pumpkin Muffins
- Egg Muffins
- Pancake Muffins from Chenée Today
- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins from Christy Irene