How to make muffins from a quick bread recipe: an easy transition

Did you ever stop and wonder to yourself, as you were stirring together your favorite recipe for pumpkin bread, or banana bread, or zucchini bread

Hey, how can I make muffins from a quick bread recipe?

Wonder no more – it’s both quick, and easy.

1. Choose a recipe that makes about 4 cups of batter.

Notice that word “about”? There’s no foolproof formula that will allow you to determine if you can make exactly 12 perfectly shaped muffins from any particular quick bread recipe. But if you’re willing to just go with the (batter) flow, you’ll be confidently making muffins from quick bread recipes over and over again.

Perhaps your quick bread recipe makes two loaves. In that case, the entire recipe should yield about 8 cups of batter, from which you can make either two dozen muffins, or one loaf and 12 muffins.

A typical muffin uses about 1/4 cup of batter. Fill each well in your muffin pan about 3/4 to nearly full. If you have batter left over, make more muffins. If you don’t have enough batter for 12 muffins – so be it.

Our Easy Pumpkin Bread recipe yields two loaves. Let’s see what happens when I divide the batter in half, and make one loaf and a dozen muffins.

How to make muffins from a quick bread recipe via @kingarthurflour

I fill the muffin cups quite full, using about 83g batter in each of the wells.

I always bake with a scale, and it really helps when you’re making muffins or cupcakes. Portioning batter by weight is much easier than using a measuring cup; no scraping sticky batter out of the cup and into the pan a dozen times.

How to make muffins from a quick bread recipe via @kingarthurflour

2. Oven temperature and time can be flexible.

If you’re making a loaf of quick bread + 12 muffins (from a recipe that would ordinarily make two loaves), you might as well bake the muffins right along with the bread. Most quick bread recipes call for baking in a 350°F oven for about 45 to 60 minutes. Baking muffins at this temperature will take about 30 minutes.

Can you bake the muffins at a different temperature? Sure. For quicker results, bake for about 20 to 25 minutes in a 400°F oven. Or for about 23 to 28 minutes at 375°F.

While time is a good guide, the best way to see if a muffin is fully baked is to test it. Stick a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached, the muffins are done. If any wet batter shows, continue to bake.

If you always thought baking was an exacting science, you’re partially right: e.g., using the correct ingredients, and measuring them carefully.

But once your dough or batter is prepared, the science is less important. For instance, turning a quick bread recipe into muffins…

How to make muffins from a quick bread recipe via @kingarthurflour

…or transitioning from an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan to a 9″ x 4″ pain de mie pan.

Same recipe, same baking time – different shape.

Quick bread, muffins…

How to make muffins from a quick bread recipe via @kingarthurflour

…all delicious, however you slice it!

And what about going the other way – turning a muffin recipe into a loaf of quick bread?

No problem. Spoon the muffin batter into your lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ or 9″ x 5″ loaf pan; the pan should be about 2/3 to 3/4 full.

For the best-shaped loaf, try to match pan size to the amount of batter; but if you don’t care overly much about whether or not your loaf is tall vs. squat, default to a 9″ x 5″ pan. That way you’re guaranteed to avoid overflows.

I chose my favorite muffin recipe, Famous Department Store Blueberry Muffins, to test this out. Since I know the recipe makes 12 rather large muffins, I went right for my 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

Quick bread to muffins-6A

Bake your bread for 45 to 75 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven, testing for doneness the same way as you do for muffins: with a toothpick. Moist and larger loaves (like this one) will need to bake longer than smaller loaves and those that are lighter textured. Just make sure that the toothpick comes out clean.

Quick bread > muffins. Muffins > quick bread. It’s a straightforward swap – once you see how it’s done.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Laurel, I know the weight of my mixing bowl. So I simply weigh bowl/batter, then subtract the weight of the bowl, and divide the remainder by 12 to get the weight for each muffin. I then scoop the batter into the pan with a muffin scoop (which looks like a big ice cream scoop). Hope this helps – PJH

    2. christi

      so are you constantly weighing your batter/bowl on the scale as you scoop into the muffin tin for each portion?
      that’s a lot of math for muffins!

  1. vicki

    I’ve just started using a scale to measure ingredients after 50 years of using cups and enjoying it immensely. I was fascinated by the idea that you can portion muffin batter by weight but I couldn’t imagine how you go about that. Could you please explain to an “old dog” who is always willing to learn new tricks?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      You bet, Vicki – from one “old dog” to another, here you go! I always use the same mixing bowl, and know its weight: 1124g. So when I make muffin batter, I weigh the batter/bowl; then subtract the weight of the bowl to get the weight of the batter. I divide the weight of the batter by 12 (which is easy, if you’re weighing in grams), and that’s how much batter to put in each muffin cup. Bob’s your uncle! 🙂 PJH

    1. TheWildOlive

      Me too! I have an “army” of them in different sizes to use for muffins, cupcakes, meatballs, cookies of different sizes, truffles, etc. Quick, easy and nice-looking uniform results!

  2. Patti Simpson

    Oh my gosh! I make these muffins all the time! I git the recipe about 30 years ago from a co-worker who moved from the Boston area to the Jersey Shore! I’ve been baking these ever since much to the happinessof my family & friends!

    Reply
  3. Jessie

    What is your technique for weighing out muffins? I have wondered about it and this seems a bit messy. Great article, answered some questions for me.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jessie, depending on what kind of scale you have you may be able to put the whole muffin pan on it and tare in between filling each muffin cup. Or you could put the papers on the scale and weigh individually. And we’re big fans of muffin scoops around here! Barb@KAF

  4. Kayler

    How do you use the scale when you measure the batter into the pan? Do you have the bowl of batter on the scale and subtract? Do you somehow balance the muffin pan on the scale?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Kayler, if you have a wide enough platform you could place the muffin pan on it and tare between weighing each muffin, or you could fill the paper cups on the scale and then transfer to the pan, although this might get messy! Barb@KAF

    2. Kayler

      Thank you! I was wondering how PJ did it! I don’t know if my platform is wide enough but I’ll look. It’s a Salter scale. I think I bought it from you folks!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ginnie, depending on the type of scale you have you may be able to put the muffin pan on the scale and weigh out each muffin, taring in between. Or you could put the paper cup on the scale and weigh each individually before putting them in the pan. And we’re big pans of muffin scoops here! Barb@KAF

  5. Debbie

    Thanks for this great tutorial on converting a recipe for bread into muffins. I wanted to do just this a couple of weekends ago, but was pinched for time, I was unsure of the specifics on how many muffins a loaf would make and the temp and cook time, so I opted for something other than what I wanted, now I don’t have to make that choice again.

    Reply
  6. Candy C.

    Nice article! I switch back and forth between regular muffins (12), jumbo muffins (6) and a loaf all the time. Figuring out the time can be a bit tricky and I like to cook my muffins at a little higher temperature. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  7. Bev

    Love the idea of weighing batter to get the amount in each cup. I usually use a scoop. I have many different pans that I use (small loaf pans, mini Bundt pans, etc). When i use a new pan with a recipe I’ll write on the recipe which pan and time/temp. Saves me from experimenting each time!

    Reply
  8. brackney

    Thanks for the great post! I often want to make muffins (or cupcakes) out of a recipe, and have always just winged it. I will use this for my pumpkin bread and my banana chocolate chip cake. Once again, PJ for the win!

    Reply
  9. Lori Felber

    I also weigh my ingredients and when making bread I use a instant read thermometer, and are normally done at 190+ degrees. But I was told that quick breads and muffins are not done until they are at a higher temperature than yeast bread. Is this true and what should the temperature be?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Lori, quick breads can vary quite a bit in moistness and density, so while 200 degrees is a good “rule of thumb” temperature, I would still recommend looking for rich color, solidity, and a clean toothpick. Barb@KAF

  10. eileen

    I would like to know how to make the kind of muffins that come from a bakery – they are so HIGH and Light. when I make them ,they are good, but small and dense- They are probably called jumbo muffins because I think they use a bigger muffin tin to begin with but they are also lighter in texture than mine- thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Eileen- there are hundreds of formulas for muffins out there- it’s possible that they’re made with cake flour for a lighter texture. Laurie@KAF

  11. Pam

    I plan on baking 100 mini pumpkin muffins for my daughters bridal shower. . I have a tried and true recipe that makes 2 loaves. Will I have to double that recipe for 100 mini muffins? Thanks..:)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      100 mini muffins, what a task! The answer depends on how large you make your mini muffins, and what size loaves the recipe produces. If the recipe yields two 9″ by 5″ loaves (about 12 cups of batter total), then you might have enough for 100 minis. However, in situations like these, it’s often better to make more rather than less and freeze any extras. Consider increasing the recipe by 1.5x to be safe. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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