This is an easy muffin recipe brimming with the classic flavor of vanilla. These vanilla muffins are tender and sweet, making them 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!
I know vanilla can sometimes seem like a "boring" flavor. But to me, there is something so satisfying about the classic, subtle 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!
Because the flavor of these vanilla muffins is so pure, I've made sure to amp up the texture of these muffins as well; one of the ways I did this was by baking them at a higher temperature, leading to lovely, golden brown and crackly muffin tops.
In addition, these moist 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/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
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.
2. 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.
3. Next, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk gently to combine. But, don't overmix the 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.
4. Now, scoop the batter into the cups of the prepared muffin tin. I like to use a quarter cup dry measuring cup for this!
5. 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. I used this brand of coarse white sugar crystals (affiliate link). I love them because when baked, they give a nice sparkly topping to the muffins!
Now place the muffin tin in the preheated oven and bake for 18 - 22 minutes. The 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 crumbs are ok though!).
6. 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.
7. If you are planning on making the vanilla glaze, 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).
8. 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.
9. When the 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
- 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, just reduce the amount of vanilla bean paste in this recipe accordingly. For instance, 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 you use in the muffins and glaze by half.
- 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 the muffins, a little bit will likely drip off the muffin tops as they set. 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!
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!)
This depends on whether you want to glaze the muffins or not.
The glazed vanilla muffins last for only about 1 day before the glaze starts to loose 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.
If you're not planning on glazing the 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, just 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!
The unglazed muffins freeze well, either with or without the sugar crystals on top, but 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 muffins ahead of time but really want to enjoy the delicious vanilla glaze (because of course you do!), I recommend freezing the unglazed muffins as instructed above. Then, take them out when you're ready and let them fully thaw at room temperature. Next, go ahead and glaze them as instructed in the recipe and enjoy within 1 day.
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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, snacks
- 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).
- Grease the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin, or place cupcake liners in each cup (cupcake liners are preferred if you are going to glaze the muffins, see note 6). 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.
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.
- The glaze will take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to set. See notes below for storage and freezing tips.
1) You can use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract interchangeably 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, first check the bottle for conversion information from vanilla extract to vanilla bean paste. Most pastes can be used in a 1:1 ratio with extract, but, if your vanilla bean paste is more concentrated, be sure to reduce the amount of vanilla bean paste in this 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 you use 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.
Storage instructions: room temperature
4) If you have prepared the muffins without glaze, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature once fully cooled. They will taste the best the day of baking, but you can keep them for 2 - 3 days at room temperature. To absorb excess moisture, place a paper towel on top of the muffins before sealing them.
5) The glazed muffins will stay fresh for only about 1 day. To keep the glaze looking as fresh as possible, only cover the muffins loosely once the glaze has set up. I like to simply drape a piece of plastic wrap loosely over the top of a food storage container into which I've placed the glazed muffins. If kept in an airtight container, the trapped moisture will soften the glaze much more quickly. Alternatively, if you are planning on consuming them within a few hours, you can leave the glazed muffins uncovered.
6) For the reason listed above, if you are planning on glazing the muffins I recommend using muffin liners, rather than greasing the pan. That way, the sides of the muffin will be protected from drying out by the liners even while the muffins are only loosely covered.
Storage instructions: freezer
7) The unglazed muffins freeze well, but 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.
8) 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).
9) You can also glaze the frozen and fully thawed muffins as instructed in the recipe above and consume within 1 day.
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