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A muffin is an individual-sized quick bread product. Muffins in the United States are similar to cupcakes in size and cooking methods. These can come in both savory varieties, such as corn and cheese muffins, or sweet varieties such as blueberry and banana.

Outside the United Kingdom, an English muffin is a flatter disk-shaped bread of English origin. These muffins are popular in Commonwealth countries and the United States.

Quick bread muffins

NCI Visuals Food Muffins.jpg
Type quick bread
Course Traditionally breakfast
Place of origin United States
Main ingredients Flour, leavening
Cookbook: Muffin  Media: Muffin

American muffins

Recipes for quick bread muffins are common in 19th-century American cookbooks.[1][2] Recipes for yeast-based muffins, which were sometimes called "common muffins" or "wheat muffins" in 19th-century American cookbooks, can be found in much older cookbooks. In her Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, Fannie Farmer gave recipes for both types of muffins, both those that used yeast to raise the dough and those that used a quick bread method, using muffin rings to shape the English muffins. Farmer indicated that stove top "baking", as is done with yeast dough, was a useful method when baking in an oven was not practical.[3]

English muffin

Main article: English muffin
English muffin
Mmm...English muffins (5393409247).jpg
Alternative names English muffin
Type leavened bread
Course Traditionally breakfast
Place of origin United States
Region or state New York City
Main ingredients Flour, yeast
Cookbook: English muffin  Media: English muffin

The English muffin is a type of yeast-leavened bread; generally about 4 in (10 cm) round and 1.5 in (3.8 cm) tall. Rather than being oven-baked, they are cooked in a griddle on the stove top and flipped from side-to-side, which results in their typical flattened shape rather than the rounded top seen in baked rolls or cake-type muffins.[4] The type of English muffin sold today was popularised in the late 1800s by English-American baker Samuel Beth Thomas (whose baked-goods company Thomas' survives to this day).


The name is first found in print in 1703, spelled moofin;[5] it is of uncertain origin but possibly derived from the Low German Muffen, the plural of Muffe meaning a small cake, or possibly with some connection to the Old French moufflet meaning soft as said of bread.[6][7]


This photo is a sequence showing the preparation of an English muffin based on a recipe by Alton Brown in The Muffin Man episode of the television cooking show Good Eats.

Muffin cups

A blueberry muffin in a paper muffin cup.

Muffin cups or cases are usually round sheets of paper, foil, or silicone[8] with scallop-pressed edges, giving the muffin a round cup shape. They are used in the baking of muffins to line the bottoms of muffin tins, to facilitate the easy removal of the finished muffin from the tin.

The advantage to cooks is easier removal and cleanup, more precise form, and moister muffins; however, using them will prevent a crust from forming.

A typical muffin pan

A variety of sizes for muffin cases are available. Slightly different sizes are considered "standard" in different countries. Miniature cases are commonly 1 to 1.25 in (25 to 32 mm) in diameter at the base and .75 in (19 mm) tall. Standard-size cases range from 1.75 to 2 inches (44 to 51 mm) in diameter at the base and are 1.25 to 1.5 in (32 to 38 mm) tall. Some jumbo-size cases can hold more than twice the size of standard cases. Australian and Swedish bakers are accustomed to taller paper cases with a larger diameter at the top than American and British bakers.[9]

Muffins as symbols

See also


  1. ^ Bryan, Lettice (1839). Kentucky Housewife. South Dartmouth, MA: Applewood Books (reprint). p. 309. ISBN 1-55709-514-0. 
  2. ^ Beecher, Catharine Esther (1871). Miss Beecher's domestic recipe book. Harper. p. 99. 
  3. ^ Farmer, Fannie (1896). Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown & Company. ISBN 1408632292. 
  4. ^ English Muffin - Kitchen Dictionary -
  5. ^ R. Thoresby in a letter dated 27 Apr. 1703 and quoted by J. Ray in 1848. vide: The correspondence of J. Ray, consisting of selections from the philosophical letters published by Dr. Derham and original letters of J. Ray in the collection of the British Museum (1848) p. 425
  6. ^ Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Ed. (1989)
  7. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 30 April 2006. 
  8. ^ "Hormel Foods". Archived from the original on 2004-01-22. Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  9. ^ Smith, Lindy (2010). Bake me I'm Yours... Cupcake Celebration. David & Charles: Newton Abbot. p. 7. ISBN 9780715337707. 
  10. ^ Minnesota North Star
  11. ^ Minnesota North Star
  12. ^ State Symbols USA