Cupcakes are great (OK, they’re amazing), but we’re having a muffin moment. These light, fluffy handhelds are perfect any time of day—even for dinner if they’re savory. And as long as they’re made with wholesome ingredients and not the size of softballs (read: not a pound of sugar), they can be healthy. To prove our point, we rounded up 36 simple and nutritious breakfast muffin recipes. From classic blueberry and crumble-topped treats to ones hiding vegetables and made from mac and cheese (oh yeah), these simple, lick-the-bowl-clean recipes will have you hit with muffin mania too.
This vegan recipe puts the emphasis on health, so it’s pleasantly sweet rather than overloaded with sugar. And unlike their conventional white-floured counterpart, these use whole-wheat flour to retain fiber without adding too much density. It might seem like a lot of ingredients, but you probably already have most in your kitchen.
Who would pass up the chance to start the day with a treat that combines strawberries and bananas (and isn’t a smoothie)? These breakfast muffins may be dessert-like in taste, but all that sweetness comes from just honey, coconut oil, and mashed banana. Low-fat Greek yogurt and eggs keep them moist and fluffy, while staying healthy too.
Blueberry muffins are like the little black dress of the baked goods world—they work in any situation. This blogger gives the timeless favorite a modern-day nutritional makeover, swapping white flour for the gluten-free version, oil for applesauce, and a significantly reduced sugar serving. One thing she doesn’t cut back on? Blueberries. Each bite tastes like the classic (despite being way healthier).
Mango plus coconut is a no-fail combination. And yep, this recipe is 100 percent Paleo and gluten-free, so it’s basically the perfect morning treat for everyone. Eggs, coconut flour, and ground flaxseeds make up the base of the batter, and honey acts as a natural sweetener.
Flour, oats, and flaxseeds form the bulk of the dry ingredients in these muffins—a refreshing change from the crazy mix of obscure flours that gluten-free baking can sometimes call for. Combined with digestion-aiding coconut oil, some incredible edibles, and just a few natural flavorings, the yield is a simple yet wholesome base.
Never underestimate frozen produce. That’s the lesson to be learned from this blogger, who takes a bag of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries out of the freezer aisle, and bakes them into gorgeous, healthy muffins. With a generous pour of maple syrup lending some extra depth and sweetness to the tart fruit, these easy breakfast muffins are the ultimate way to get in some summery antioxidants, even in the dead of winter.
Amidst all the gluten-free, low-fat, nondairy options out there, sometimes you just want a good, old-fashioned muffin. This recipe fits the bill, using classic, no-fuss ingredients (with a bit of a healthy twist) for golden-brown, nutritious results. With plenty of banana mashed into the batter, they’re packed with potassium and flavor. And with chocolate chips, who could say no?
In a world where baking is a science, this recipe is a breath of fresh air. This whole recipe uses one bowl (yep, easy and no mess), and to add to the awesome coconut-berry taste, it’s gluten-free and vegan, so you really can’t go wrong.
It’s easy for recipes to think they can get away with calling for pounds of butter just because they have the word “carrot” in their title. These muffins stay true to their healthy promise, using whole-wheat flour, apple butter, coconut oil, and eyesight-improving beta carotene. It’s all the flavors of the traditional, but in muffin form for way fewer calories.
This recipe is all about getting healthy ingredients, like almond milk, unsweetened apple sauce, and olive oil, but these muffins certainly don’t taste like cardboard! Zucchini adds incredible moisture (no hockey pucks here), while blueberries add a touch of sweet flavor.
Whether it’s the unsaturated fat from the almond butter or omega-3s from the flaxseeds, this recipe focuses on getting the most beneficial types of fats into these goodies. But if their heart-healthy benefits don’t win you over, consider the heap of sweet potato whipped into the batter, which gives the baked results a texture that the bloggers describe as “bread pudding-like.” Need we say more?
Who wouldn’t eat their greens if they were puréed into a scrumptious batter that tastes like cake? These muffins don’t get their pine shade from fake food coloring, but from an entire bag of fresh baby spinach. Blended along with more typical ingredients, the results have the flavor of regular banana muffins but with all the goodness of the veggie. Even if green smoothies aren’t your thing, believe us on green muffins—you’re gonna love ‘em.
This recipe is not only super easy to follow (mix wet foods, mix dry foods, combine, and add toppings), but also pretty unique. Add in the bacon, which is key, and you’ll feel just like you’re eating any regular breakfast but in muffin form.
Don’t be fooled by the chocolate; this produce-packed recipe crams tons of vegetables into each muffin. And the shredded beets don’t only tint the batter a fun shade of purple, they also provide a high dose of nutrients. The recipe is super simple, with just brown sugar, agave nectar, flaxseed, and whole-wheat pastry flour to make up the base. Add the rest of the small ingredient list, bake, and you’re good to go.
If you’re not on the black-beans-in-baked-goods train yet, these muffins will make you jump on board. Packed with protein and fiber, the beans also add moisture and make the texture oh so fudgy. These gluten-free and flourless treats are filled with both cocoa powder and semisweet chips for smart snacking at its chocolaty best.
Double chocolate not enough? Try these triple chocolate muffins, which call for cocoa powder and chocolate chips both in the muffins and on top. All those flavonols pair up with the soluble fiber in oats for a (somewhat) heart-healthy dessert that’s also gluten-free—and that melts in your mouth.
For anyone who craves chocolate but doesn’t want to overdo it, bake a batch of these on Sunday, and you’re good to go when the urge strikes. With whole-wheat flour, Greek yogurt, eggs, and just a bit of honey, they’ve got all the taste of the traditional, but made in muffin tins instead of on a griddle. Studded with chocolate chips, they’re not just healthy, but also extra cute.
Chocolate, peanut butter, and vegetables aren’t words that often come together in a recipe that tastes good. But these dark chocolate treats deliver. The blogger skillfully combines veggies with your favorite sweet treat (chocolate) and creates an awesome, tasty final product.
Black forest cake has taught us that combining chocolate with cherries is a good idea. So a muffin that does so, and comes in at 110 calories per serving at that, is an excellent idea. Whole-wheat flour and fruit lend a good dose of fiber, and applesauce stands in for more than half the sugar.
Ten simple pantry items go into these incredible treats. Most of the flavor comes from the antioxidant-heavy dark chocolate and mineral-rich shredded coconut (use the unsweetened kind to keep the sugar count low). Calling for such basic ingredients and only 15 minutes in the oven, these are the muffins to make even when you don’t have time to make muffins.
Nut-based muffins can often be too dense, but these hazelnut-loaded treats escape that fate thanks to the vibrant orange flavor that bursts through from the juice and zest of the fruit. Cacao butter takes place of butter and oil in the recipe and gets all melty as the muffins bake, filling these baked goods with an irresistible chocolate flavor. Topped with flecks of orange, these would be a pretty addition to any brunch table.
It’s so easy to see the words “trail mix” on a package label and just assume that whatever is in there is healthy (we’re guilty!). But depending on the kind you buy, some trail mixes are filled with sugar and sodium, becoming more like dangerfoods than smart snacks. Bypass that trap and make these: Containing whole-wheat flour, oats, raw nuts, and dark chocolate, they truly are a wise choice.
Ditch those oversize, trans fat-laden sugar bombs you find at so many bakeries and reach for one of these in the morning instead. While bananas are probably most known for potassium, they also boast vitamins C and B6 as well as fiber.
These muffins are a dessert lover’s dream come true, with bananas on top and a generous amount of Nutella in every serving. Wary of store-bought nut butters? Make your own Nutella-inspired spread instead. Although the name says “breakfast,” we won’t judge if you eat one (or two) for dessert too.
When 3 p.m. rolls around, what better pick-me-up than an oversize yet healthy muffin, full of healthy carbs and nuts? No weird ingredients here; this recipe is simple and to the point. Slightly sweet pistachios balance out the spice, making these perfect for an afternoon boost.
What you won’t find in these Paleo breakfast muffins: flour, grains, gluten, dairy, or refined sugars. What you will find: protein-laden eggs; rich, dark chocolate; and nut butters (either homemade or store-bought). The “caveman diet” may not be for everyone, but these muffins sure are.
Most crumb toppings are pretty predictable: a bit of butter here, a sprinkling of sugar and a spoonful of oats there. These muffins take a delicious departure from the standard streusel, swapping the oats with shredded coconut for some extra nuttiness and a textural twist. The end result is melt-in-your-mouth awesome.
If there was ever a muffin modeling competition, these babies would win—and we’re not just judging on looks either. With plenty of vitamin A from pumpkin and a crumbly streusel made of heart-healthy oats and unrefined brown sugar, they’re winners in the nutrition and taste departments. That “beautiful inside and out” concept doesn’t just apply to people.
Get your daily fix of cinnamon with these tasty, spicy muffins. The recipe is basic in the best possible way, just like adding a pinch of something extra to a classic baked good. Add a super-inviting, caramelized sheen to the end product, and their natural sweetness eliminates the need for too much added sugar.
These muffins are just as simple and healthy as they sound. The base is made up of flour, eggs, olive oil, and yogurt. And, let’s face it, as healthy as the fruit is, it’s really the topping that’s the star of the show here. A touch of butter mixed into the whole-wheat flour and oat mixture helps give it that classic velvety but crumbly texture.
Look up “muffin” in the dictionary, and a picture of these will probably show up. They’re the epitome of the quintessential baked good—but healthier, cutting back on both the sugar and the oil. Between the applesauce and a full cup and a half of chopped, fresh apples, the fruity flavor is unmistakable. Still, you can’t have apple cinnamon muffins without topping, and this one goes old-school with oats, butter, and sugar.
Yes, it’s a Thanksgiving recipe, but do you really need it to be the third Thursday in November for an excuse to eat mashed potatoes and (meatless) stuffing? We didn’t think so. These gravy-topped, bite-size snacks aren’t just adorable and creative, they’re nutritious too.
However they’re cooked—scrambled, sunny-side up, poached—eggs are part of a healthy breakfast that sticks with you. Throw some cheese into the deal, and you have the perfect morning meal. We can’t think of a better way to start the day.
If the tricky temperament of phyllo is the only thing stopping you from making spanakopita, let these muffins come to your rescue. Ditching the paper-thin pastry for whole-wheat flour and eggs, they still taste a lot like the traditional Greek version but have the added benefit of bringing some butternut squash into the picture. How could you go wrong?
Ready-made tortillas eliminate the cumbersome step of rolling out a crust from scratch. Use regular cheese or a vegan version—the blogger even provides the link to homemade nondairy cheese sauce if you avoid store-bought substitutes. Go with prepared marinara sauce in a pinch, or simmer your own chunky, veggie-packed one to up the fiber quotient. Pizza for everyone!
Scouring the Internet for the ultimate crowd-pleasing appetizer/easy lunch/snack box staple? Your search ends here. With automatic portion control, these cheese- and ham-filled muffins are a perfect breakfast replacement. We’ll end here so you can get baking already.
Originally posted December 2014. Updated October 2016.