We are big fans of mini muffins over here and have been for quite some time. Why mini?
Mostly because my kids don’t need a full size muffin nor will they eat the whole thing most of the time. So rather than making a dozen full size muffins and composting half each time we eat them, I get 24-30 mini muffins that all get eaten.
If they want more than one, great, I just give them two. Or three. I’m not cutting back on muffin eating, just on my baking efforts going to waste.
We go through a lot of muffins. They are a great carb for breakfast (I’ll usually add eggs or sausage and a fresh fruit), a super portable snack, and only take a few seconds to go from freezer to eating, so work great in a Kid Needs Food Immediately emergency. I try to make one batch a week so that we always have a good selection in the freezer.
Baking and Storage Tips
To make mini muffins, all you need is a mini muffin pan. There is nothing else different about minis than regular muffins. I currently have this silicon mold (it needs to be placed on a baking sheet - it’s not firm itself) and a non stick mini muffin pan I’ve been meaning to swap out for a while. I’m thinking about replacing it with this ceramic one. I suggest having two as most recipes will make more than 24 mini muffins, especially if the original recipe makes 18 regular sized muffins, like a few of our favorites do.
I use normal size muffin recipes and bake for just a few minutes less than the given baking time. I’ve been making them for so long I just eyeball doneness now, but when getting started maybe try 2 minutes less than the bake time, or start with the lower end if they give a range. The cook time is not all that different.
Once cooled, place muffins on a baking sheet and pop in the freezer for 30 minutes or so. Then store them in an airtight container for the freezer. The pre-freeze keeps them from sticking together. I have one large Stasher Bag that fits about 20 mini muffins and I also reuse ziplocks for muffin storage.
Muffins only last in our freezer for about a month at most with how fast we eat them, but I’ve never had issues with freezer burn using the method above.
To defrost, place in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. Or add them to a lunch bag frozen and they should be defrosted by lunch time.
Because the muffins end up in the freezer and I don’t want to keep track of exact ingredients, I never use nuts in our mini muffins. Our preschool is nut-free, as are many of the play spaces we frequent, so just not using nuts makes it much more simple when it comes to packing snacks and lunches.
To add protein, I’ll often add a few scoops of collagen peptides to the dry mix. I haven’t ever had it change the consistency of the muffin and anything to keep my kids full for just a few more minutes is worth it.
I make all of the recipes below gluten free by replacing with a one for one flour (our favorite is Namaste, which is also at Costco) and dairy free by subbing coconut milk, either from a can, homemade, or carton.
You’ll notice that most of these come from Super Healthy Kids. The site is a great place to find kid-friendly recipe ideas and so far we’ve yet to try a muffin we don’t like from them. Rather than finding more recipe sources, I just keep going back, because if it’s not broken…
Sweet Spinach Muffins - we call these “frog muffins” in our house and the kids love them. They won’t touch spinach on it’s own, but they know it’s in these muffins and still eat them. I’m sure the honey helps.
Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffins - we skip the nut crumble on top (see above) and the kids still love these. They are also super simple to make and my daughter can now do most of it herself, with some help on picking the right measuring spoons and cups. And obviously the oven.
Healthy Zucchini Oat Muffins - we just tried this one because I had a few zucchini that needed to be used. I wasn’t sure how it would go over - my kids are not big on oats. Which is why I also had oats that needed to be used. But they loved them! I do find that these need to be fulled cooled before you remove them from the pan. Maybe because the zucchini makes them extra moist?
Healthy Lemon Blueberry Muffins - I made these for the first time when I had extra blueberries that had to be frozen, now that my 4 year old is no longer willing to eat frozen blueberries. I mix a little lemon juice in with coconut milk for a buttermilk replacement. And I’ll probably try swapping the sugar for honey or maple syrup in the future.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins - these are really tasty, but I don’t make them often anymore as I’ve been trying to simplify and only keep one type of flour around. These call for cassava flour, but I think I’ll try them with our regular GF flour and see what happens. They are the most dessert-like of the muffins listed… so sweet and tasty.