Millet Muffins

millet muffin

Every time I visit Philadelphia, I have high hopes of hitting up all of my favorite spots: La Colombe for a cappucino, Cafe Lutecia for a croissant, Ding Ho for fresh rice noodles, Reading Terminal Market for a soft pretzel, Fork for brioche French toast and Metropolitan Bakery for a millet muffin.

But on a recent overnight visit I had time for neither a coffee nor a croissant, and I returned home craving all of my favorite carbs but most of all a brown-sugar, millet-studded muffin.

Having tried unsuccessfully in the past to make these muffins at home, I knew I had my work cut out for me. And to be polite to you, I’ll spare you the details of all of the various rounds and focus on the end product: a one-bowl, hand-mixed batter, made with oil not butter, a mix of brown sugar and white, buttermilk, and an astonishing amount of oats and millet, a seed that offers a delightful crunch and nutty flavor.

The inspiration for the makeup of this batter comes from Tazzaria’s oatmeal muffin, an all-time favorite and one that happens to be, as far as muffins go, on the healthy side. In the end, the millet muffins here resemble Metropolitan’s mostly by way of the ratio of millet in each bite: a full cup of raw millet goes into a standard 12-cup recipe.

If you’ve never experienced a baked good loaded with millet, you’ll likely be suspicious. I was too. I promise you, however, one bite of these seedy muffins will convince you that these teensy pearls should be relegated to the birds no more. I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful long weekend. Happy Baking!

Notes: Millet can be hard to come by if you don’t live near a health food market or a Whole Foods or something of the like, and it is often located in the bulk section of these places. It happens to be gluten free, and because oats (when noted) are also gluten free, this recipe can easily be made gluten free: just substitute one cup of your favorite gluten-free flour mix (homemade or otherwise: I’ve had success with Hodgson Mill and C4C) for the one cup of flour and be sure to use gluten-free oats: I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill. The gluten-free millet muffins will be crumbly but the flavor will still be delicious.



dry ingredients

mixing the ingredients

adding the hot water

If you find yourself without muffin liners, you can make them out of parchment paper. Filling these liners is easier if you make them before you mix up your batter and weigh them down with a tomato or anything that fits in the cup:
weighing down the parchment paper cups

unbaked muffins

pan of millet muffins

millet muffins

just-baked millet muffins

millet muffin


Millet Muffins

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


• If you don’t have millet, make these oatmeal muffins, the recipe that inspired this one and one of my all-time favorites.

• This muffin batter can be made ahead of time and baked off as you wish: the muffins taste as good on day 8 as on day 1.

• If you do want to bake off the whole recipe in one go, use a quarter cup measuring cup to fill your standard pan. You’ll have some leftover batter, likely enough for 1 jumbo muffin or a few small muffins. Try to refrain from dividing that leftover batter among the filled cups — the muffins bake more evenly when they are not over filled, and you can always bake off the remaining batter in a greased or lined ramekin.>

• You can make your own liners by cutting sheets of parchment paper approximately into 5×5-inch squares. It’s kind of a pain to do this, but they look pretty, and they work remarkably well. As noted in the photo above, it’s helpful to make the liners before you mix up the batter and to weigh down each one with anything that will fill in the cup. I also love these liners and these, too.

2 1/3 cups (230g) quick-cooking oats*
1 cup (136g) all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour if you are making gluten-free muffins
1/2 cup (114g) packed, dark brown sugar (light would probably be just fine)
1/2 cup (116g) sugar
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 cup millet**
1/3 cup boiling water

*I have the best results using the 1-minute Quaker Oats but rolled oats work just fine, too. And although I haven’t tried this, I bet you could quickly pulse rolled oats in a food processor to make them behave more like quick-cooking oats. If you want to make gluten-free muffins, make sure to buy gluten-free oats.

**If you are feeling ambitious, you can toast the millet at 375ºF for 12 minutes. It is important to let the toasted millet cool completely before using. While it’s simple enough to do this, I don’t find it adds that much more flavor, and it’s just an extra step. My vote: skip it.

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a standard muffin pan (12-cup) with nonstick spray or line them with paper muffin liners. Whisk oats, flour, sugars, baking soda and salt together. Add buttermilk, oil, egg, vanilla and millet. Whisk to blend. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and let stand 5 minutes. Batter will be on the wet side. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

2. Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 (maybe as many as five minutes longer) minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins out onto rack; cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Toasted millet: As noted above, I say skip the toasting.
toasted millet

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats and Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free Flour:
gluten-free baking ingredients

Gluten-free millet muffins:
gluten-free millet muffins

Gluten-free millet muffin top:
gluten-free muffin top

A halved gluten-free millet muffin: You can see the texture is quite crumbly.
halved gluten-free muffin


  1. I absolutely love the millet muffins from Metropolitan Bakery! I am very eager to try this recipe as I myself just moved to New York from Philadelphia. Thanks for sharing this little piece of the city with us.

    • Oh Nadia, I know, aren’t they so good? Just a warning: this recipe is only similar to Metropolitan’s by way of the millet content. They are so delicious — I wouldn’t post about them if I didn’t believe think so — but they are different than MB. I hope you like them!

  2. these look so good i am running out today to look for millet. i have a cockatiel and if his reaction to getting millet is anything like the taste of these muffins, i will say they must be fantastic. millet=bird crack

  3. Somehow I overlooked the fact that you lived in Philly for a time! I’m here now (just passed the 4 year mark) and the spots you mentioned are among those that I know I’ll crave when we leave one of these days. Though if you can believe it, we’ve never been to Fork! On another note, the muffins look divine.

    • Oh Lisa, I am jealous! I absolutely love that city. There are so many gems. Definitely try Fork sometime. I loved Fork; etc, too, but they recently closed it down for a remodeling and for an entirely new concept. I think it will be fun. But in the meantime, you should go to the main part of the restaurant. Tell Ellen Ali says hi! She is so wonderful.

  4. These look absolutely delicious, A! I love millet — the first time I tried it in a baked good was in Smitten Kitchen’s banana bread. It’s a favorite now :) I love your recipe notes and the tip on making my own muffin liners! Looks like the perfect thing to bring to work for second breakfast….. and maybe to share with a select few ;)

  5. These look scrumptious! Ali, I pulled up the blog a few days ago and saw these as the new recipe and then after that whenever I pull up the site I can only see the week before? This is happening at work and at home?

  6. Oh, Ali, stop right there! I have been craving whole grain goodies all week and these look just stunning. I can’t wait to make them. There’s a new organic market by us and they carry the most gorgeous millet. I’ve been pondering what I could buy it and use it for. I’m thinking these, and some Chinese millet porridge (just introduced to it by a native Chinese colleague in July: cook it with water and a pinch of salt, then serve with a variety of seasoned, sauteed meats and vegetables, condiments, eggs, etc. It’s a unique dining experience with every bite, and she even threw in some dates so you’d get some sweet bites, too. Millet muffins. I am so excited. Keep up the lovely work. You’ll always be my favorite.

    • Whitney you will always be my favorite! Truly. Hi. And, that Chinese millet sounds amazing. I am so intrigued. About how long do you cook it? I really want to try it. I have so much millet on hand. I was thinking about trying it with the baked oatmeal, but this Chinese dish sounds more appealing. Love the idea of the dates. Thanks so much for writing in. Big hugs!

  7. I have a confession to make. For some reason I decided to fiddle with the amount of sugar in the first batch I made. The muffins were good but the texture was heavy, so I did what I should have done the first time around– follow your instructions exactly, which I did this morning. I’m sure Harry McGee could tell us why, but reducing the sugar really spoiled both the texture and the taste of these muffins. My second batch was perfect– lovely texture, toothsome but not heavy, and sweet without being cloying. So I have learned my lesson–to follow your recipes exactly, particularly important in the case of baked goods. Oh, and also, I put 1/4 cup batter in each muffin cup, which yielded 16 muffins. They puffed up beautifully. In my oven, 25 minutes was perfect.

  8. How could I forget to say that the millet muffins are so delicious, and the millet adds a tasty crunch–no toasting necessary! I used a lovely organic millet from Shiloh Farms (, which carries wonderful organic legumes, flours, grains, meats etc. Check out their website if you don’t know the brand.

  9. born and raised in Philadelphia (still here), I LOVE METROPOLITAN BAKERY’S MILLET MUFFIN. one of my favorite and weaknesses in Philadelphia!

      • I live in Chinatown! I believe I live in the middle of the city. Access to any part of Philadelphia within a few minutes or so! Born and raised in Philly, I can’t get enough of it. I’m still discovering new and old things about Philly.

  10. I whipped these up in about 5 minutes last night and they are SO good. The texture from the millet is awesome – there is a nice crunch in each bite – and they don’t taste as healthy as you might expect them, too. These will be frequently made in our house!

    • Yes, absolutlely! Yum. I feel like I need to sub coconut oil in for everything now — someone sent me an email about canola oil and gmo’s etc, and coconut seems to be a good substitute. Will have to explore this further.

  11. Finally made these to bring to a brunch at a friend’s house yesterday. I had leftover batter so baked two biggish ones in ramekins at the same time, and my husband and I ate them after working out….I honestly debated whether to bring the dozen to the brunch or keep them for us :) but took them anyway. They were a hit! There were some leftover, so the hostess texted me this morning, saying “millet muffins make breakfast worth having!” Since it’s YOUR recipe, thought I would pass this along!

    • Oh Mama Poule! You know nothing makes me happier than to hear these things? So so happy these meet your approval and that they were a hit at the party. Yeah, this recipe yields an unusual number of muffins, but extra batter is never a bad thing I suppose.

      Also, I have been meaning to tell you that my mother received the Bulgarian Feta and is in absolute heaven. I just ordered myself a tin. I think this will be a fun item to add on the holiday-gift-guide post, if I get around to making one next month. Thanks again for the rec!

      • Awwww! awesome! Honestly, this is like the best cheese ever….and this is from a girl who lives in the land of French cheeses! I suppose there’s no place like home ;)
        So I am on a muffin kick right now but I am craving something non-fruity and non-chocolatey….any suggestions?

          • I have to see if I can find bran here…but do you have like a zucchini muffin or a carrot cake muffin or something like that?? Sorry, I am totally in that I-want -something-but-dunno-what-it-is mood! So I just whipped up scones and ate two right on the spot…so good!
            I am off for a week because I start a new job Nov 1 so cooking up a storm but I need to go work again or I will gain a zillion pounds eating all day…

          • Ohhhhh, something like that sounds so good right now. OK, i’m going to search some of my cookbooks. I have a carrot cake recipe and a zucchini bread recipe on my blog, but I’m not sure how well they would work as muffins. I will report back. Enjoy your week off!

  12. These are awesome! I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons Chia powder. The yield was 16 standard sized muffins, filling each to within 1/4 inch from the top of the liner. The texture is very crumbly and soft using all purpose flour. Thank you so much for such a delicious recipe! It will go into the all time favorites file.

  13. I had my doubts but because the recipe was posted on this website – a website that has NEVER failed me – I gave them a shot. NOT disappointed. These are unbelievably good – moist, tasty, … Making them again for the weekend. Thank you for another great recipe!

  14. Here in middle Georgia we are waiting Winter Storm Leon to arrive. So besides bread and milk we certainly need delicious warm baked goods. These muffins were just the ticket. They are delicious! I’ll definitely be making them for years to come, winter storm or not!

  15. I recently had friends for the weekend and my friend must eat glutton free. I made these with glutton free flour and they were great …and my friend, very happy!! Since then I have made these several times for my family with regular flour – they are great either way. So, for those of you that need a glutton free option this is a great one. I use Bob’s Red Mill glutton free flour.

    • Isn’t all of that millet fun? I love the crunch. So happy you were able to make a gluten-free friend happy with these — so many people are seeking out gluten-free recipes these days. Thanks for the tip on BRM g-f flour, too. I’ll look out for that.

  16. Delicious and with a nice twist to the usual muffin, a little crunch that I love, but this recipe makes more batter than 12 regular muffins. I made a side pan of minis and a couple random heart pans for good measure!!!! I even ate a couple spoons of the raw batter, also yummy!!!!

    • So wonderful to hear this Nancy! I love the crunch, too, and I love the raw batter as well… too funny. I need to edit the notes section so that people don’t try to squeeze all of the batter into 12 cups — I did that once, and they didn’t bake as evenly. So happy you liked these!


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