These cinnamon muffins are easy to make, but they pack a strong cinnamon punch! There's cinnamon in the batter, as well as a swirl of cinnamon brown sugar running through the middle of the muffin. And, there's cinnamon sugar baked on top too, of course!
Note: this post was originally published in 2021 and updated in 2022 with improved instructions and photos.
Cinnamon may be considered somewhat of a "common" flavor, but I think it deserves to be celebrated! And in this cinnamon muffin recipe, cinnamon really is at the forefront.
First, the muffin batter itself includes cinnamon. Plus, there is a nice crunchy topping of cinnamon brown sugar. And, for an added cinnamon surprise, there is a ribbon of cinnamon brown sugar running right through the middle of the muffin!
These cinnamon muffins are the perfect thing for a quick breakfast, or as an accompaniment for afternoon tea. Plus, they freeze well so you can keep some on hand when you're craving something sweet!
- Oil: you can use any neutral oil you have in your cabinet for these cinnamon muffins. I used canola oil, but any vegetable oil would work fine, or even grapeseed oil if you have it.
- Milk: I used 2% because that's what I had in my fridge, but whole milk or skim milk would also work well.
- Brown sugar: I used dark brown sugar for these cinnamon muffins because I prefer the extra molasses-y flavor. But, light brown sugar would be ok to use too.
In addition to the basics (bowl, whisk, measuring cups/spoons), a few additional pieces of equipment will come in handy for this cinnamon muffin recipe:
- 12-cup muffin tin: you just need the standard-size cupcake/muffin tin that makes 12 muffins.
- cupcake liners (optional): you can use any type - either paper, foil, or reusable silicone. If you don't have liners, you can just grease the muffin tin very well.
- kitchen scale (optional): in the recipe card, I provide both volume and weight measurements, so a scale is optional. But, if you have a kitchen scale, I prefer to use the weight measurements because it's more accurate and efficient.
Step by step photos
1. First, fill a 12-cup muffin tin with liners, or grease the muffin tin well. Set aside. Also, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
2. Then, mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar for the cinnamon sugar topping. Set it aside for now.
3. Next, whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients with the brown and granulated sugars.
5. Then, add the dry ingredients into the wet in a few batches, whisking gently in between each addition. Whisk just until the flour is incorporated - don't overmix! There will be a couple lumps still and that's ok.
6. Retrieve the prepared muffin tin. Fill each muffin tin about ⅓ of the way full.
7. Then, sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar mixture across the surface of each partially-filled muffin.
8. Now just top off the muffins with the rest of the batter.
9. Distribute the rest of the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the cinnamon muffin batter.
10. Bake the cinnamon muffins until the tops are firm, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with no wet batter. The muffin tops should look a little crackly and nicely browned, like this!
Tips and tricks
- Before adding it to the rest of the wet ingredients, inspect the brown sugar. If it has a lot of lumps, break them up first with your fingers or a fork. Once the brown sugar is in the batter it will be really difficult to break up those lumps.
- If you really like cinnamon, you can up the amount of cinnamon in the cinnamon sugar topping from 1 ½ teaspoons to a full 2 teaspoons. I made this recipe both ways, and I kind of like the lesser amount while my husband prefers the more cinnamon-y version!
- To create a pleasing "ribbon" effect of cinnamon sugar running through the center of the muffin, it helps to apply the center layer of cinnamon sugar evenly across the surface of the batter, rather than just in the center. But, it will taste amazing either way so don't sweat it too much!
- If you are measuring the flour by volume rather than by weight, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and sweep the excess off with a flat edge (like a butter knife). If you use the measuring cup to scoop the flour out of the container, the flour will compress and you will get too much flour in the recipe.
- These cinnamon muffins will keep for 2 - 3 days at room temperature, stored in an airtight container.
- After about a day, the brown sugar cinnamon topping on the muffins can lose some of its crispiness. To bring back some of that delicious crunch, you can re-heat the cinnamon muffins in a toaster oven for 1 - 2 minutes.
- If you want to keep the muffins for longer, you can freeze them! They will keep for 2 - 3 months in the freezer. I like to wrap them individually, or store them in a quart or gallon zip-top bag. Here is a good resource on how to freeze muffins.
Substitutions and additions
- I like using oil in muffins because it gives a nice soft texture to the muffins. But, if you like the flavor of butter, you can replace half or all of the oil with melted and cooled butter. If using butter, use room-temperature eggs and milk in the batter.
- If you don't like or don't have nutmeg, feel free to leave it out. Or, you can replace the pinch of nutmeg with another warm spice, such as ground ginger, cloves or allspice.
- To take this cinnamon muffin recipe to the next level, try mixing in a handful of raisins, mini chocolate chips, or chopped nuts.
For some of my baking recipes, like this one for Brown Butter Apple Muffins, I call for the eggs and milk to be at room temperature. While that certainly won't hurt anything here, I did use the eggs and milk straight from the fridge for this cinnamon muffin recipe.
Usually adding cold milk and eggs to anything with butter will cause the batter to curdle, but since oil is used in this recipe instead, I was still able to get a smooth batter that rose well, even with cold milk and eggs.
First, make sure to measure the flour accurately. Too much flour in the muffin batter can make the muffins dry. So, spoon the flour from the container into the measuring cup, rather than using the measuring cup to scoop the flour out of the container. Or, better yet, use the weight measurement provided in the recipe card.
Also, do not overmix the muffin batter. Overmixing the batter can make the muffins tough. Stop mixing once the flour is all moistened, even if there are a few lumps left.
Finally, do not overbake the cinnamon muffins. Overbaking the muffins can also make them dry.
I prefer to use liners - it takes the stress out of wondering whether you greased the tin enough for the muffins to come out! But, I have been able to remove these cinnamon muffins fairly easily from a well-greased, unlined tin (unlike my recipe for blackberry buttermilk muffins!).
If you don't want to use liners, just grease the tin well with non-stick cooking spray, including the top of the tin. This is to prevent the edges that puff up over the top of the cup from sticking.
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This muffin puts cinnamon front-and-center! There's cinnamon in the batter, plus a cinnamon brown sugar topping, and even a ribbon of brown sugar cinnamon in the center!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
- Category: dessert, breakfast, snacks
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
For the cinnamon sugar topping:
- 3 tablespoons (40 g) packed brown sugar (dark or light)
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon (see note 1)
For the muffin batter:
- 2 cups (248 g) all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled, or measure by weight)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- ½ cup (105 g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (71 g) packed brown sugar (dark or light)
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cups (158 ml) neutral oil (vegetable, canola, etc.)
- 1 cup (237 ml) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
- Place cupcake liners in the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin, or, spray the muffin tin well with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon to make the cinnamon sugar topping. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg. Set aside.
- Place the brown sugar for the batter into a separate large bowl. If there are any lumps in the brown sugar, break them apart with your fingers or a fork. Then, add in the granulated sugar, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla. Whisk together until evenly combined.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in a few batches, whisking gently in between each addition. Whisk just until combined (a few lumps are ok - do not overmix).
- Fill each muffin tin about ⅓ full with the batter. Then, sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the surface of each layer of batter. Then, top off each muffin with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly on top of each muffin.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 22 - 26 minutes, or until the top of the muffin is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (a couple crumbs are ok, but no wet batter).
- Let the muffins cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to continue cooling.
- For extra cinnamon flavor in the cinnamon sugar topping, feel free to increase the amount of cinnamon from 1 ½ teaspoons to 2 teaspoons!
- You can store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 - 3 days, or keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- The nutrition information below was calculated using 2% milk. The nutrition counts of your dish will vary based on the brand, type, and exact amounts of ingredients used. This nutrition information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: 1 muffin
- Calories: 274
- Sugar: 18.4 g
- Sodium: 122 mg
- Fat: 13.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 35.1 g
- Fiber: 0.8 g
- Protein: 3.9 g
- Cholesterol: 33 mg
Keywords: cinnamon muffins, cinnamon muffin recipe, brown sugar cinnamon muffins