Making muffins is a lot of fun, and it’s always good to share them with friends and family members. Some people make them as a snack or dessert, but others will make them to accompany particular meals.
If you’re making muffins and you notice that they’re turning out far more crumbly than they should be, you might be left scratching your head. What is causing them to turn out crumbly, and is there anything that you can do to fix it?
Read on to learn about some of the common reasons why muffins will be crumbly. If you understand why this happens, it should be easier to fix the problems and get things right.
1 – You Measured Things Wrong
The most common reason why muffins will turn out crumbly is improper measurement. If you don’t measure things out exactly right, something is going to get thrown off, and this could be causing your muffins to turn out dry and crumbly.
It’s actually a lot easier to make a measurement error than some people realize. If you’re trying to mix things up quickly, you can easily read the recipe wrong or forget to level off a measuring cup.
To ensure that your muffins turn out the best that they can, it’s going to be better to slow down and really take the time to measure ingredients. It might seem a bit annoying to go so slow when doing this, but it’s a lot better than having all of your efforts be for nothing.
Also, you want to ensure that you’re using proper measuring cups that will give you accurate amounts of ingredients. Some people estimate by using actual cups, but this is going to lead to less than desirable results.
The ingredient that causes muffins to turn out dry and crumbly most often is margarine. Measuring the margarine wrong is going to put your muffins in a bad spot because you need to have just the right amount of fat.
2 – You Used Vegetable Oil Spread
Another common mistake to watch out for is using vegetable oil spread instead of margarine. Sometimes people use vegetable oil spread instead of margarine because they prefer it or because it is less fatty.
That actually works against you when you’re trying to bake muffins because you need the fat to ensure that the muffins turn out right. If you decide to use vegetable oil spread, the mix that you’re making isn’t going to have nearly enough fat.
Margarine is going to contain at least 80% fat, and you need at least 70% fat for your muffin mix. Using vegetable oil spread is going to fall far short of the fat requirement that you’re looking for, and it could be the reason why your muffins are dry and crumbly.
If you’re going to take the time to make muffins, then it’s imperative that you go out and buy some margarine. Ensure that you have the ingredients that are called for in the recipe so that you won’t run into issues by using substitute ingredients.
3 – You Used “Diet” Margarine
There are also products on the market that are referred to as “diet” margarine or “light” margarine. You’re going to want to avoid using these for the same reason that you need to avoid vegetable oil spread.
When you buy the diet version of margarine, it’s going to have substantially less fat than standard margarine. By lowering the fat content, it’s going to become that much harder to get the fat that you need for your muffin mix.
It might be a good idea to use this type of margarine for other things if you’re trying to cut fat out of your diet, but that isn’t going to work for muffins. Remember to buy standard margarine that has the right fat content for what you’re trying to do.
4 – Baking Too Long or Baking at the Wrong Temperature
It’s also possible that you could encounter issues when baking muffins too long or baking them at the wrong temperature. As you might expect, leaving muffins in an oven for too long will cause them to burn, but you can also bake them just a bit too long so that they will turn out kind of dry.
There is a state that muffins can enter when baked a bit too long where they aren’t quite burnt, but they also aren’t quite right. If you’re finding that your muffins are on the dry side, they’re also likely a bit crumbly, and this could be due to baking issues.
You want to use the temperature that is called for in the recipe, and it’s also wise to try to stick close to the recommended baking time. There could be some caveats to that which will be covered later, but following the recipe closely is usually the best route to success.
Temperature issues and baking things for too long won’t be the most common reasons why muffins will be a bit dry and crumbly. Even so, you should pay close attention to how you’re doing things to ensure that you get the results that you’re hoping for.
5 – Altitude Issues
Most people don’t think about this, but the altitude can have an impact on how your muffins are going to turn out. This means that baking them in a high-altitude environment such as Denver will be different from baking in a low-altitude location.
Most recipes are written to give you good results when baked at sea level. If you’re baking above sea level, some adjustments might be required to get the best results.
Sometimes it might be important to make subtle adjustments to the amount of flour being used in your muffins to compensate for the altitude differences. Temperature changes can also help you to get better results.
It might be wise to search for a specific recipe for muffins that are baked at a high altitude if you live in a high altitude location. This can ensure that you get things right and you’ll be more likely to have muffins that turn out moist.
Another little tip when baking at high altitudes to consider involves using brown sugar. You might have good results when replacing brown sugar with granulated sugar.
Do Your Best
Reading the information above should give you a much better idea of what can cause muffins to turn out crumbly. It’s most often related to getting the ingredients wrong and not using enough fat.
Thankfully, it’s easy to turn things around when you know what to look out for. If your muffins have already turned out dry and crumbly, you might wish to throw them out, but you can get better results next time.
Just be careful when you’re measuring out your ingredients and try to use the right type of flour to avoid problems. You should have a good experience so long as you’re not using vegetable oil spread or some type of diet margarine.
Muffins are definitely a great treat that the entire family is going to get excited about. You want to be able to have them turn out deliciously every single time, and it’ll be easier to do just that now that you know more about the common mistakes to avoid.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.