Oatmeal Muffins

oatmeal muffin

My baby bro is really funny. Last month when he came to visit, I fixed him some breakfast, a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and sliced banana, my favorite way to start the morning. I took a risk making him oatmeal — I knew that. I mean, it’s hard to compete with my mother who whips up plates of fried egg sandwiches on toasted homemade bread, slides them under her favorite child’s nose just minutes after he lounges into the kitchen mid-morning, not uttering a word but like some sort of magical magnet drawing cups of freshly brewed coffee and hot breakfast his way.

Oatmeal was a risk for sure. Even so, I expected a bit of a better reception. He took two bites, dipped his spoon in for a third, pushed it around a little bit, then scrunched up his face while nudging the bowl my direction and asked, “Will you eat it for me?” My baby bro is 25. I love him so much.

Well, like my mother, I feel this need to feed people — to make them happy with food — and when things don’t work out as planned, I feel disappointed. I felt a little depressed about the oatmeal. Next time he comes, I’m going to make him these muffins, my latest fix. I discovered this recipe in the November Bon Appetit’s RSVP section. They are delicious. After I made a batch of the batter, I baked off one a day in a paper-lined ramekin for about a week straight. What a treat!

I also made a teensy discovery. I didn’t have enough rolled oats for the recipe, so I substituted in steel cut oats for about half of the total. To my surprise, the steel cut oats added a nice crunch and reminded me of a favorite muffin I hadn’t thought about in years. Metropolitan Bakery in Philadelphia makes the most incredible millet muffins, and when I lived there, it was hard to pass by its doors without stopping in for one. I think I know which cookbook I need to add to my wishlist. A millet muffin sounds so good right now. Santa, I hope you’re reading.

unbaked muffins

Oatmeal Muffins
Inspired by this recipe in Bon Appetit
Original recipe hails from Tazzaria

Nonstick vegetable oil spray (or paper muffin liners, I like these)
2 1/3 cups quick-cooking cups (I have had success with all varieties of oats including using as much as a cup of steel cut oats)
1 cup whole wheat or white flour
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons natural oat bran (if you have it)
2 tablespoons wheat germ (if you have it)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup boiling water

Note: I made a batch of the muffin batter and baked off a muffin a day in a paper-lined ramekin. The batter tasted as good on day 8 as it did on day 1. It’s nice to know you can do this with muffin batter.

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8 large muffin cups (1-cup capacity) or 18 standard muffin cups (1/3-cup capacity) with nonstick spray, or line them with paper muffin liners. (Note: I baked off these muffins in paper-lined ramekins. It worked beautifully.) Whisk oats and next 9 ingredients in large bowl. Add buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla; whisk to blend. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and let stand 5 minutes. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

2. Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 28 minutes for large muffins and 20 minutes for standard muffins. Cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins out onto rack; cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Baby bro with baby doll. She adores her uncle. It’s so cute.

oatmeal muffins


  1. says

    firstly, your “baby doll” is so cute!

    you are speaking my language…every A.M. i eat the same thing…oatmeal with banana & fresh berries…i cannot wait to bake these oatmeal muffins…on my to bake list for monday…thanks so much!!

  2. says

    I made oatmeal scones once from leftover cooked oatmeal. Maybe it is a Joy of Cooking recipe, I’m not sure, but they were really good. If I can find the recipe again, I’ll send it on.

  3. says

    These muffins look really good! They remind me that I haven’t made my husband his favourite oatmeal muffins in ages. Must give them another go. But I also love the sound of your mum’s fried egg sandwiches!

  4. says

    I know how you feel-I’m especially disappointed when I make something that I think should knock everyone sock’s off, but it turns out only my socks are gone.
    These look like a simple, satisfying breakfast muffin. We also have a local bakery that makes a delightful millet muffin–they call it the ‘birdseed muffin.’

  5. says

    I guess oatmeal is an acquired taste :-) A bowl of oatmeal is my favorite kind of breakfast, but oatmeal muffins are a good way to sneak some wholesome oats into breakfast for those who have yet to acquire the taste for it!

    I also really like your idea of just baking off one muffin each morning, what a great way to have a fresh muffin to start the day.

  6. says

    These were delicious! I literally just ate three hot from the oven. I do like both banana and apples in my oatmeal (not at the same time though) I think next batch – I’ll add some apple to the batter.

  7. Mary says

    These muffins are sooo gooooood!!!
    I was a little scared of how they would turn out since last time I made oatmeal cake using another recipe, it turned out a disaster. 😛
    But this recipe was delicious!
    I didn’t have any oat bran or wheat germ so I substituted 4 Tb of whole wheat flour. I made my own buttermilk with skim milk and lemon juice. I reduced the white sugar to 1/3 cup. And I accidentally forgot about the salt and vanilla but they still tasted great!
    I used a large ice cream scoop to scoop them out onto a standard muffin pan. They made exactly 12 muffins.
    Great recipe, will be making more things from your website.

    • says

      Mary — So happy to hear this! I love this recipe, too, and I often am substituting various ingredients for the wheat germ and oat bran — I don’t always have those on hand. I’m making these this weekend for a roadtrip up to DC. Can’t wait!

  8. Christine says

    What an inspiring site! I now have plans this weekend to make five of your recipes. I’m saving this one for Monday. Thinking of olive oil cakes… And nutty more than sweet-fruity… And particularly with your excellent discovery of steel cut crunch… I am thinking about substituting olive oil for the canola. Any thoughts or concerns? I wonder if I do that if I should take out cinnamon…or perhaps just leave well enough alone.

    • says

      Thank you, Christine! I think olive oil will be a fine substitute for the canola oil — the orange and olive oil cake is one of my all-time favorites, so I have no objections to using olive oil in muffins, too. And if you aren’t a huge fan of cinnamon, leave it out — I don’t think it’s essential. Happy baking!

  9. says

    I keep coming back to this recipe over and over again! I have made it so many times. I’ve made it plain, with berries, in large muffins, in small muffins and today with peaches (I had a few too many on my hands). Love these muffins (and your blog as it turns out!). :) Thank you!!

    • says

      I am so happy to hear this because recently I have been doing the same exact thing. This is the base formula I used for the millet muffins, and I think it creates the tastiest, best-textured muffin ever. So happy to hear you approve. Thanks for writing in :)

  10. Chih says

    Just came out of my oven ! I replaced 1/3 cup of quick cooking oats with steel cut oats to add some lovely crunch. I also added some black raisins. Just fabulous & no guilt eating these !! They will be on our breakfast table a lot :)
    Thank you for such an amazing blog ! Love your photography as well !

  11. Param Puri says

    I tried your recipe yesterday and it turned out to be great. Everyone in my family loved it and all the muffins were gone in 10 minutes. I added brown sugar and honey instead of just plan sugar. Loved it
    Thank you very much for an awesome recipe.

  12. Linda Hoffman says

    Love these. I have been experimenting with the oatmeal. I really don’t like Quaker oats…they seem tasteless to me. So, I have arrived at this – 1 cup of steel cut oats (Bob’s Red Mill) toasted with a bit of butter (if I have time) and the rest of the oatmeal I am using Bob’s Red Mill quick cook oats. This seems to produce that ‘creamy’ texture and good flavor. I also cut the white sugar by 1/4 c and added an extra teaspoon of vanilla ( Penzey is my favorite).

    • says

      I love these too. I find the oats give so much flavor and the recipe is adaptable to so many variations/flavors. I love bob’s red mill products, and I haven’t tried their steel cut oats — I must! Love the idea of cutting back the sugar. Thanks!

  13. Kristin says

    I made these before Christmas on a whim a few years ago. They are now known as “Those Christmas Muffins” and are repeatedly requested every year beginning around mid-October. Wonderful recipe! Love the steel cut oats. We usually use about a cup of steel cut and a cup of whatever else I have — either quick cooking or old fashioned. I sprinkle a little cinnamon on top before they bake.

  14. Betty says

    I want to try these, and am wondering if I could use hot OJ in place of the boiling water. I want to try to replicate a orange cranberry cookie(store bought) that I had at a friends the other day into a muffin.

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