This is an easy muffin recipe brimming with the classic flavor of vanilla. These vanilla muffins are tender and sweet, and would make a great addition to a weekend brunch! You can bake them up as-is, or dip them in the optional vanilla glaze for even more sweetness and vanilla flavor!
Note: this post was originally published in February 2022 and updated in November 2022 with new photos and improved instructions.
I know vanilla can sometimes seem like a "boring" flavor. But to me, there is something so satisfying about the classic, delicate flavor of vanilla. And a tender and sweet muffin flavored with vanilla is the perfect backdrop for dollops of raspberry jam or pats of creamy butter!
In my opinion, this vanilla muffin recipe is the be-all and end-all of vanilla muffins, and here's why:
- The muffins are baked at a higher temperature (400 degrees F), giving them delightfully crackly and golden brown tops.
- This vanilla muffin recipe is made with oil, which gives a moist and tender crumb to the muffins.
- By using oil rather than butter, there is no risk the batter will curdle, so no need to wait for the ingredients to come to room temperature. (Muffins in a hurry - all right!!)
- These moist vanilla muffins come with an optional (but highly recommended!) vanilla glaze, taking the flavor and texture of these muffins to a whole new level!
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Vanilla muffin ingredients
Vanilla glaze ingredients
- Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract: I really love using vanilla bean paste for recipes that showcase vanilla flavor. They add those beautiful specks of vanilla bean to the muffin and glaze. My favorite one is the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste (affiliate link).
- Oil: you can use any neutral oil that you like to bake with; some good options are canola oil, vegetable oil, or grapeseed oil.
- Milk: I used 2% milk, but feel free to use whole milk or even skim milk if you prefer.
- Coarse sugar crystals: this is an optional extra ingredient if you are not planning on making the vanilla glaze. If you like, you can sprinkle coarse sugar crystals overtop the muffin batter before they bake. This will give some extra crunch to the tops.
Step by step photos
Here's a quick breakdown on how to make these vanilla muffins. For the full vanilla muffin recipe, please see the recipe card down below.
1. The first step is to prep a 12-cup muffin tin. You can either grease each cup of the muffin tin with oil or butter, or use cupcake liners.
Now is also the time to preheat the oven - set it to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Next, mix together the all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
3. After mixing together the dry ingredients, now turn to the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, add the sugar, two eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract). Whisk the wet ingredients together until smooth.
4. Next, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk gently to combine. But, don't overmix the muffin batter or it will become tough. Just stop when all the flour is moistened. There will be some lumps in the batter and that's ok.
5. Now, scoop the vanilla muffin batter into the cups of the prepared muffin tin. I like to use a quarter cup dry measuring cup for this!
6. If you like, you can also sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of coarse sugar crystals on top of each unbaked muffin. This is a fun way to top the muffins if you aren't making the vanilla glaze. It adds a lovely sparkle, crunch, and a touch of extra sweetness!
Now place the muffin tin in the preheated oven and bake for 18 - 22 minutes. The vanilla muffins are done when the tops are set, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out with no wet batter (a few moist crumbs are ok though!).
7. Let the muffins cool down in the tin for about 10 minutes. Then, remove them to a cooling rack to finish cooling down all the way.
8. If you are planning on making the glaze for the vanilla muffins, start the glaze when the muffins are almost fully cooled.
All you need to do is place the powdered sugar into a small bowl, along with the vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) and a pinch of salt. Drizzle in about 1 ½ tablespoons of milk. Whisk the glaze together - I love using my favorite mini whisk for jobs like this (affiliate link).
9. If the glaze is still too stiff, drizzle in a few more drops of milk and whisk to combine. The glaze shouldn't be watery, but should flow freely to make it easy to dip the muffins in the glaze.
10. When the vanilla muffins are cooled, dip the tops in the glaze. Let the glaze run off for a few seconds before turning them right-side up.
The glaze will firm up in about 30 minutes to 1 hour. So, just let them sit out, untouched, until the glaze is no longer wet. (Or, go ahead and eat them right away, they are hard to resist I know!)
Tips and tricks
- Measuring the flour by weight will give the most accurate result. If you don't have a kitchen scale, use the "spoon and level" method. This is where you spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level off the top with a straight edge, like a butter knife. If you use the measuring cup to scoop out the flour, you may end up with too much flour in the muffins.
- If using vanilla bean paste, be sure to check the bottle for conversion information from vanilla extract to vanilla bean paste. Most can be used 1:1 with extract. But, if your vanilla bean paste is more concentrated, reduce the amount of vanilla bean paste in this recipe accordingly.
- If the glaze is ready but the muffins still need a little more time to cool down, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid so the glaze doesn't dry out.
- When glazing each vanilla muffin, a little bit will likely drip off the top as the glaze sets up. For easier cleanup, you can place the freshly-glazed muffins on a tray or plate to catch any drips.
- If you like the look of the little pearl-like sprinkles I added for decoration to the glazed muffins, the product is called Wilton White Sugar Pearls (affiliate link). Just be sure to add them before the glaze sets fully!
These vanilla muffins taste great all on their own, but if you would like some serving suggestions, try one of these delicious ideas:
- Split the muffin and add your favorite topping. Try whipped butter, preserves, a drizzle of honey, apple butter, or cream cheese!
- Serve the muffins as a part of a breakfast or brunch spread. They would serve well as the "sweet" element, paired with other savory breakfast foods, such as bacon, scrambled eggs, and home fries.
- Transform these vanilla muffins into the ultimate vanilla dessert! Gently warm a split muffin in the microwave and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- These muffins would also work really well as a base for strawberry shortcake! Split the muffin horizontally, then stuff with a generous dollop of whipped cream and chopped strawberries (or your favorite type of berry).
If you would like to add a little something extra to your vanilla muffin recipe, try one of these variations:
- For more sweetness, gently fold in a handful of mini chocolate chips to the finished batter.
- Or, add in one cup of blueberries, chopped strawberries, or chopped apple for a fruity finish (again, gently fold in any add-ins to the finished batter; avoid overmixing!).
- Try adding in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice with the dry ingredients as a nice complement to the vanilla flavor in the muffins.
Storage and freezing instructions
Storing glazed muffins
- The glazed vanilla muffins last for only about 1 day before the glaze starts to lose its shine and smoothness.
- To preserve the glaze for as long as possible, once the glaze is set, store the muffins at room temperature, only loosely covered. I just place the muffins in a single layer in a food storage container and drape a piece of plastic wrap loosely over the top. (If you store them in a sealed, airtight container, the trapped moisture will cause the glaze to soften much faster.)
- This is a good reason to use cupcake liners, because they will help keep the sides of the muffins from drying out even when not tightly covered. Alternatively, if you are planning on consuming them within a few hours, you can leave them uncovered.
Storing unglazed muffins
- If you're not planning on glazing the vanilla muffins, they will of course taste best the day they are baked, but will last at room temperature for 2 - 3 days stored in an airtight container.
- To store unglazed muffins, wait for them to fully cool and place them in a single layer in a food storage container or gallon zip-top bag. You can place a sheet of paper towel on top of the muffins before sealing the container or bag to help wick away excess moisture. Check out this helpful article for more tips on storing muffins!
Freezing and thawing instructions
- The unglazed muffins freeze well, either with or without the sugar crystals on top. I do not recommend freezing the glazed muffins.
- To freeze the unglazed muffins, just place them into an airtight container or gallon zip-top bag in a single layer and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To enjoy the frozen muffins, you can thaw them at room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Or, remove the muffin wrapper, split the muffin in half while still frozen, place it on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 7 - 8 minutes at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
- If you want to make the vanilla muffins ahead of time but really want to enjoy the delicious vanilla glaze (because of course you do!), you can freeze the unglazed muffins as detailed above. When you're ready, let them fully thaw at room temperature before glazing them as instructed in the recipe. Enjoy within 1 day.
For this recipe, I used the eggs and milk straight from the fridge. This recipe uses oil, rather than melted butter, so there is no risk of cold eggs and/or milk causing the butter to seize up.
Side note: I like using oil in muffin recipes because it makes the muffins moist and is super easy to use (no need to melt and cool the butter first). But, if you like the flavor of butter, you can replace half or all of the oil with melted and cooled butter if you prefer. In that case, use room-temperature eggs and milk in the muffin batter.
(And, if you like brown butter (I mean, who doesn't?!), then try my recipe for brown butter apple muffins!)
Because this vanilla muffin recipe uses oil instead of butter, the only dairy ingredient is the milk. To make a dairy free version of this recipe, you can replace the regular milk with an equal amount of soy milk.
Yes, you can freeze the vanilla muffins, but only the unglazed version (either with or without the sugar topping). Please see the Storage and freezing instructions section above for more info.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or review in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And sign up for my weekly newsletter to get recipes delivered straight to you!Print
Vanilla muffins that are tender and sweet, the perfect option for weekend brunch. You can bake them up as-is or dip them in the optional vanilla glaze for even more sweetness and vanilla flavor!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Total Time: 32 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
- Category: breakfast, dessert
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: American
- 2 cups (248 g) all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled, or use weight measurement)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (215 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (177 ml) milk
- ½ cup (118 ml) neutral oil (canola, vegetable, grapeseed, etc.)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract, see notes 1 - 2)
- coarse sugar crystals (for the tops of the muffins - this is optional if you aren't making the vanilla glaze)
Vanilla glaze (optional):
- 1 cup (110 g) powdered sugar
- 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- pinch salt
Make the muffins:
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Place cupcake liners in each cup of a 12-cup muffin tin (preferred), or generously grease each cup. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons baking powder. Set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the eggs, ¾ cup milk, oil, granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract). Whisk together until evenly combined.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and gently whisk just until all the flour is moistened. Don't overmix the batter or it will become tough. There will be some lumps in the batter and that's ok.
- Scoop the batter into the cups of the prepared muffin tin. If you are not making the vanilla glaze for the muffins, instead you can sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of coarse sugar on top of each muffin to create a crunchy topping. (This is optional - the muffins taste great all on their own too!)
- Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 18 - 22 minutes, or until the tops are firm and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean (meaning, there is no wet batter on the toothpick - a few moist crumbs are ok).
- Let the muffins cool down in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes. Then remove the muffins to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling to room temperature. Unglazed muffins can be stored in an airtight container for 2 - 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Make the vanilla glaze:
- While the muffins are almost fully cooled, make the vanilla glaze (if using). Add the powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) and a pinch of salt to a small bowl.
- Drizzle in about 1 ½ tablespoons of milk into the bowl. Whisk until combined.
- If needed, continue to add a few drops of milk at a time, whisking in between each addition, until the glaze is free-flowing but not watery (up to about 2 tablespoons milk in total). (See note 3.)
- When the muffins are fully cooled, dip the tops into the bowl of glaze, letting the excess run off back into the bowl, before flipping the muffin right-side up. If you notice the glaze is too thick after dipping the first muffin, you can mix in a couple more drops of milk. Likewise, if the glaze is too thin for your liking, mix in a little bit more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
- Allow the muffins to sit, uncovered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the glaze is set. Store glazed muffins, loosely covered, for up to 1 day.
1) You can use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract in this recipe. I prefer vanilla bean paste if you have it, because it provides those pretty vanilla specks in the muffin and glaze.
2) If using vanilla bean paste, check the bottle for information on the strength. Most pastes can be used in a 1:1 ratio with vanilla extract, but, if your vanilla bean paste is more concentrated, reduce the amount of vanilla bean paste in the recipe accordingly. (For example, if the bottle says to replace 1 teaspoon vanilla extract with ½ teaspoon of the vanilla bean paste, reduce the amount of vanilla bean paste in the muffins and glaze by half.)
3) If the glaze is ready but the muffins still need a little more time to cool down, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid so the glaze doesn't dry out.
The nutrition information below was calculated using 2% milk and including the optional vanilla glaze. 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: 1/12 recipe
- Calories: 285
- Sugar: 28.9 g
- Sodium: 214 mg
- Fat: 10.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 45.4 g
- Fiber: .6 g
- Protein: 3.7 g
- Cholesterol: 32 mg
Keywords: vanilla muffins, vanilla muffin recipe with oil