Cheddar Corn Muffins


Cheddar Corn Muffins

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A few weeks ago I had brunch at a restaurant that had generally amazing food, but before any of that came out the server brought out some stale corn muffins that were kind of dry and bland and just not worth the chewing effort honestly.

When I got home I was itching to make some really good corn muffins. I went a little crazy and spiced them up with some chili powder and gave them some extra flavor with a few handfuls of cheddar cheese.

Turns out that both of those additions were good ones for corn muffins.

When making corn muffins one of the most important things to decide, shockingly, is what kind of corn meal to use. You can use a really finely ground corn meal and your muffins will be smooth and almost like a corn cupcake or you can use a more medium grind and your muffin will be much more sturdy.

I went with the sturdy version because I figured it would hold up to the cheese and stuff a little better.

Cheddar Corn Muffins

12 muffins
Prep Time:
Total Time:
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muffing tin

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Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe.


1 Cup All-purpose flour
1 Cup corn meal, stone ground is good
6 Tablespoons sugar
2.5 Teaspoons baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1 Cup buttermilk
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons corn, canola, or veg oil
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


1) Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl.

2) Mix your wet ingredients separately and then add them to the dry ingredients.

3) Quickly fold in your corn and cheese if you are using those.

4) Line 10-12 muffin tins with paper cups or you can just grease or butter the tins.

5) Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes. They are done when a toothpick comes out of the center of a muffin clean or they look golden brown and delicious.

6) Let cool briefly before serving.

Making the batter

This is a no-sweat batter to pull together. You’ll need the standard dry ingredients. Like I said, you can play around with the corn meal choice I think.

The usual suspects.
The usual suspects.

You’ll also want the standard wet stuff for corn muffins. I’m a pretty big fan of not substituting buttermilk. It gives such a richness to the final product. Just go with it. I forgot the oil in this photo but don’t forget it in the recipe.

You'll need these also.
You’ll need these also.

Then there are the sort of optional ingredients. Ok. The salt isn’t really optional, but I forgot to add it to the normal dry stuff. I was kind of spacing some of the photos on this day. My apologies.

Anyway, you may want some or all of these things. If you wanted your muffins to have even more of a kick you could use cayenne pepper instead of chili powder. I was going for more of a savory taste than a spicy taste.

Hello flavor.
Hello flavor.

Throw all your dry ingredients in a bowl. Seriously, how easy is this?

The chili powder gives some good color.
The chili powder gives some good color.

Mix your wet ingredients separately and then add them to the dry ingredients. It’s okay if the batter is a little lumpy. It’s kind of a rustic deal. Then quickly fold in your corn and cheese if you are using those. I highly recommend both.

A lumpy batter is okay.
A lumpy batter is okay.

Baking the muffins

Line 10-12 muffin tins with paper cups or you can just grease or butter the tins obviously. I used the paper cups because I had them.

Bake these guys at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes. Mine definitely needed 20, but I believe that my oven is pretty much horrible.

Almost to the top!
Almost to the top!

You know they are done when a toothpick comes out of the center of a muffin clean or they look golden brown and delicious like this:


I thought this was an awesome savory muffin. The flavor is good, but the texture is really good. The medium corn meal has a lot of bite to it and the cheddar and corn kernels give it even more texture.

Next time you are in the mood for some savory muffins, these are definitely worth the very minimal effort.

10 Responses to “Cheddar Corn Muffins” Leave a comment

  1. I totally agree, there is nothing worse than a stale corn muffin. That would totally put me off to that restaurant. On the other hand, your muffins look amazing.

  2. Just made them for dinner tonight! Really delicious, the whole pieces of corn and touch of cheese really made them awesome. Ben was thinking perhaps a fun addition might be just a pinch of chipotle seasoning?

  3. Any chance you can provide alternate baking instructions for a corn bread version? I don't have a muffin tin, but I love making corn bread in my cast iron skillets and think this would be a great recipe for that!

  4. @Claire, Sure. I think you could add some chipotle for some more kick. Sounds good to me!

    @nvalley. Hmm… I'm pretty sure that you could just pour the batter into a hot cast iron skillet and it would cook up nicely. Probably would need an extra 10 or 15 minutes in the oven. Just check it regularly.

  5. MMMMmmmm!! I think I'll definitely be trying this, hubby LOVES cornbread! :-)

    FTR, I don't think your oven can be that horrible, considering it bakes up such wonderful-looking food! :-)

  6. oooh these look great! I made something just like this last week. I agree on the buttermilk, too, it adds a certain i-don’t-know-what to corn muffin numminess. I also added a few tblp of honey and minced pickled jalapenos. Yum! I use the sturdier corn meal too. Definitely complements the rustic feel of cornbread.

  7. How long will these keep you think? I was thinking of making them the night before an after-work event (can’t make them before work. not enough time).

    1. Hey Amy,

      I think they would keep fine for a day or so. I’m not sure I would push them past that point though. They will start to dry out after a day or two.

      Good luck!

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